Sunday, March 29, 2009

A Seller Asked About Ebay....

...what our sales were and our views. He was about to leave because he could not get views or sales. Here was my reply:

I found a newsletter in MyEbay that said I was doing great…and listed the piddling amount of money I made on Ebay I guess in the past 12 months. It was a pitiful amount when put next to the large amounts I made in years gone by. They wanted me to write a bit about my “success” - I was sorely tempted….my cursor hovered over that link for quite awhile while I plotted and planned just how I would “tell them about my success”….then I deleted the newsletter. It meant little to me anymore - Ebay means little to me anymore. I list a few items here…ever hopeful that management might come to its senses but the bulk of my items are on my own website and other free to list or small listing fee websites (Etsy, Bonanzle, Overstock) and they are all selling. Nothing spectacular but constant sales and good views as opposed to no sales and few views here. Its sad to think of how far Ebay has fallen and how much they still think of themselves! If they can’t get over their useless attitude of superiority they can only fail. Most of us are moving on…

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Mr. Donahoe - What's Ebay Going to Be When it Grows Up?

Watercolor: "Cupcake Party"

Ebay's success came from the little people...buying, selling and becoming a community. Buyers had their favorite sellers, sellers of worth had a following of buyers....and so the cycle of buying and selling goes.

Actually, back in 2004 Ebay began to pare down the strength of auctions. First with the deletion of "Going, Going, Gone" and then the take over of the option feature plus that single handedly dominated many categories, computers, electronics, art, etc. Ebay at that point began to move away from auctions - undoubtedly Meg's idea. The idea of Ebay Express was a stab at fixed price listings but was so poorly thought out and executed -it was bound to fail.

2008, enter John Donahoe - Meg's handgroomed replacement who began to put into place a half-baked plan that was probably cooked up by the two of them. Let's shape Ebay into an Amazonish businessmodel! Well, it took a year for Mr. Donahoe to discover you can't simply change a business model and have it succeed.

Since the "Amazon" plan went into effect, Ebay set buyers against sellers with its feedback and DSR innovations. Ebay upset the balance of buyer/seller and, with countless new and outrageous policies made Ebay a hostile place for small sellers and for many powersellers as well. Thousands of small sellers left...leaving their following unable to find what they were accustomed to buying on Ebay. Sellers who left never came back to Ebay to buy either....then the disastrous 4th quarter holiday season report last year where Ebay declined 16 percent. Right then....John Donahoe and his team should have been let go and a team experienced in online sales AND customer satisfaction should have been brought in to replace them.

At this point Donahoe is outright fishing...first he says they're going to be the world's biggest retailer then at his bright and shiny Analysts Day he claims he is not a retailer but will be more like Overstock, selling end lots and discontinued wares. He pushed Paypal (I suppose so he didn't have to do a whole bunch of explaining about Ebay's core) on everyone and now claims it will be the biggest invention since fire! Anyone who ate that pap wasn't worthy of their job title. Unfortunately the wrong man is in the wrong job, combined with a board of directors who seem to be oblivious, and a multi-billion dollar company and its customers (the SELLERS who pay the bills) are suffering!

As Ebay's attitude says...."let them eat cake" so I thought I'd give you all something to munch on. My painting today is entitled "Cupcake Party"

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Ebay's Analyst Day - Nothing New

Watercolor: "Red Woodroses & Lilacs"

Wow! What can I say about Ebay's Analyst Day? Some blogger already put it into one sentence: "Nothing new here - move on". That's about it in a nutshell. Lots of posturing by the speakers and lots of promise for the future and lots of selling so many millions of items a day, per minute - I call them fish stories. You know that fisherman who actually caught an 8 inch fish retelling the story as a three foot fish. In this case though - they are making fish stories around the slow and steady decline of a once mighty company. They are trying to put the blinders on analysts...will they be stupid enough to fall for it? Ebay's management team has succeeded in several things - none good:

1. They succeeded in arriving at the first decline in a quarterly report...and it happened in last years 4th quarter!!! If you can't succeed during the holiday season then you can't succeed...its as simple as that.

2. They've succeeded in driving off thousands of small sellers. The very sellers who attracted buyers through selling their rare, vintage and unique items. The things that could NOT be found in any store.

3. In driving off small sellers they also succeeded in driving off a buying force - since sellers also buy on the site. Secondary - they drove off buyers who frequented these sellers - both can be found on smaller sites.

4. They made it almost impossible for buyers to find what they're looking for. With Ebay's new Best Match - even the inventor of it said it was never intended to be the only search!

5. With Best Match Ebay has succeeded in manipulating search so that the buyer sees what Ebay wants him to see....small sellers are often so buried in the listings that they are forced to go elsewhere.

This is only 5 of the points Ebay's new management team has succeeded in doing in the past year alone. I would say they were let off pretty easy at only getting their pay frozen to last year's standards. I would have offered them $8.75 an hour - take it or leave it!!!

It is clear to me that Ebay is headed pell-mell towards that cliff. Its almost inevitable now that they will fall and fall big. Perhaps that is what is needed in order to bring them down to the size they've earned. Perhaps that's what the board has to see in order for it to come to its senses! Right now they are a failure to most sellers and certainly to small sellers. Their reputation is so tarnished by their treatment of sellers in the past year that that alone could cause their continued downfall no matter what they do at this point. Even if they turned around completely - word of mouth will continue - lack of faith in the company will continue for many many years! Can Ebay outlive its reputation?....I think not.

A good start would have been firing the present management team...but that just isn't going to happen. All we can do is wait and that guy standing out on a ledge 20 stories up...will he jump?....we all hope not yet he moves ever closer to the edge... :-(

My painting for today is a watercolor: "Red Wood Roses and Lilacs"

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Buying Art on Ebay

I'm posting a very informative article from a fellow Ebay artist. Ebay has one of the largest art communities in the world...if not, THE largest. People need to take advantage of it. There is no need to have cheap dime store prints on your walls - art on Ebay ranges from $1.00 on up into the thousands of dollars. There is definitely something for everyone AND at reasonable prices.

A piece of Marie's artwork presently on auction on Ebay

Friday, February 27, 2009
Buying Art on Ebay

I may have jumped the gun here...with today's economy many people are probably wondering if they should even be buying art in the first place!

Is art a luxury or a necessity? Lets' talk about that briefly and then I'll follow up with some good advice about buying art on Ebay....or you can just skip to that advice by scrolling down.

Naturally, as an artist and as someone who majored in the Social Sciences, I feel that art is a necessity. Art is so much more than something to hang over the sofa. Art is the mirror of the society in which it was created...a true reflection of the concerns, joys, struggles, accomplishments, and priorities of the time.
Art is history.

Psychologically speaking, art holds it's ground here too! Our environment has a direct impact on the way we feel. Each color even has influence over our moods and the ability to concentrate or relax. If we find ourselves in a space that we perceive as open, warm and inviting we are serene, calm, and comfortable. If we find ourselves in a space that we perceive as cold, too cluttered, to stark, or sterile we can feel uneasy, agitated, or even depressed! Comfortable surroundings filled with objects that we find attractive & meaningful simply makes us feel at home and lifts our mood.
Art makes us happy!

So the next time you see a painting or a sculpture or any piece of art and that art speaks to you....GRAB IT! And do so, guilt free..."nesting" is healthy!


In my opinion, Ebay is a GREAT place to buy original art! From traditional landscapes to modern abstract paintings...Ebay has some of the most talented artists available! Not only can get some really good deals on original art. You no longer have to settle for prints and posters if you prefer original art, but are on a budget. Paintings sell on Ebay from $1 to $1000 depending on auction style, painting size, and artist recognition.

Now granted, Ebay isn't as easy to browse for unique items items as it used to be, but it's still pretty darned easy. Here are some tips for a good experience:

Pay attention to the selections!

From the home page, select: ART: from within the DIRECT FROM ARTIST menu select PAINTINGS.

This area will get you the better deals versus buying from a reseller or gallery...unless you're looking for something "vintage." If that's the case you may prefer the DEALER - RESELLER area.

Once you're in the DIRECT FROM ARTIST:PAINTINGS area you'll want to perform a strategic search. Ebay's "Best Match" search is not all that it's cracked up to be, often leaving out fabulous paintings from artists who are considered "small vendors" because they do not list 2-3 paintings everyday! Best Match might be great if you're shopping for gadgets, but it's the worst way to shop for unique, hand made items.

Having said that, Ebay also has a new tendency to force their ideas upon sure to look to the left of the may actually have to select DIRECT FROM ARTIST again to refine your search!

Still looking on the left side, scroll down and make any other selections you like in order to refine your search.

LAST, BUT NOT LEAST.....look for the drop down menu near the top right of the screen, directly over where the listings can find it...really you can! It is there, but by design it's less than obvious. Once you locate it, click to see all the selections and choose either ENDING SOONEST or NEWLY LISTED depending on your preference. NOW, you can really browse through all that is available. Here is where you'll find those wonderful pieces of original art: Landscapes, Original Abstract Paintings, Original Modern Abstracts, Urban Paintings and so much more...all original handmade art. Not some watered down search that features mass produced schlock preferred by Best Match.

Keep an eye on all of your selections, they do tend to revert to Ebay's defaults in between visits...or even if you jump out of a category and then come back.

If it sounds like a hassle, it can be at first, but after a couple of times it really is very easy.

Support the arts..... DON'T USE BEST MATCH!

Warmest Regards,
Marie Bretz
(formerly Marie Bahr)
Paint All Night Studios