Friday, October 23, 2009

Ebay...Wha Happened? Amazon...Congrats!!!

Once again Ebay's third quarter report came in with a 29 percent decline in net profit and Amazon's third quarter came in with a 28 percent increase in sales!!! Skype and Paypal are now pretty much holding Ebay up. Mr. much longer will the madness of disruptive innovation strap Ebay down and beat it up? How much longer will the ridiculous "best match search" be around? Until the last light goes out? You may feel you're changing Ebay's business model but how much revenue and traffic has been lost during this project? Ebay had a monopoly on its niche on the internet - it was the place to go for the rare, the vintage, the collectible you could find nowhere else. That monopoly is now shared with the likes of Bonanzle, eCrater, Etsy, and the like as more and more small sellers leave and take some buyers with them.

The Ebay fiasco seems to be a textbook case in what not to do with a multi-billion dollar company. The sad part in all this are the small sellers - the stay at home moms, the out of work dads, the elderly and the disabled who made real money on Ebay before "the change" started. Many of those small sellers are gone now - pushed out of business by ridiculous new policies - the ones who remain are being treated with suspicion, like crooks and forced to adhere to some pretty draconian policies. From start to finish the new Ebay is a sad joke and each quarterly report verifies that fact. About the only thing that can possibly save Ebay is to split it up into the classic old Ebay where auctions are still king and the small seller is treated like the customers they are - and the new Ebay reserved for the diamond sellers of new chinese junk....but we all know that won't happen.

Mr. Donahoe - sorry, but Ebay can no longer hide behind the economy - not since Amazon's amazing quarterly report. You can no longer say people don't want auctions - they are still popular and fixed price is also available. Traffic is down on your site and buyers are getting rarer and rarer. I beg you to rethink Ebay's path and to once again look at the small sellers who built Ebay and see them as the important customers they truly are.

On the other hand, a company that stuck to its business model, kept its nose to the grindstone and worked hard and honestly to improve its standing on the internet is enjoying a giant leap in stockprices today.

You're a Class Act!

My artwork for today....a bit of sweetness to go along with the bitter pill ;-)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ebay....Boooo! Happy Halloween!

The weather is turning cooler. In the northern part of the country temps are falling and there has already been snow on the northeast section. It is all signaling the holidays are at hand. This is the part of the year when stores get out of the red and earn their profits....well, usually. This year there is a decided misery over the country. I am retired and with my social security and small pension I am somewhat isolated from what is going on in the U.S. today. Here, in California we have almost 12 percent unemployment and there are worse states such as Michigan.

Now would be a perfect time for families looking to earn a few extra bucks to put some of their gently used items on Ebay and an equally perfect time for buyers who are strapped for money to purchase the things they need. Normally, this would be a great outlet and would help families pay a few bills each month. Sadly, such is no longer the case. More and More small sellers are reporting a lack of traffic and a lack of views to their items. More and more they are reporting they can't even find their items in search! To add to that misery Ebay came out with the TRS program (top rated sellers). They are rightfully considering a seller's performance record - BUT - they've still set the bar high enough that a lot of more casual small sellers, also with excellent reputations, slip thru the cracks! Ebay, has and always will be a place that coddles sellers who sell the most and ignores sellers who are just as good but sell less.

With all that in mind most small sellers need to simply take a deep breath and move on! Now is the time to list on a lot of other sites - most of which take a small fee or no listing fee at all. Many offer free shops! - 20 cents to list any item for 4 months. - free shop, free listing. - free shop, free to list. - free shop, free to list. - free shop, free to list! I can go on and on. There is also Auctionbyte's - a directory of sellers and the sites they can be found on. Its a free service so take advantage of it!

The one thing sellers neglect to do when they move to other sites is they neglect to let their past buyers know where they are! This amounts to moving and not leaving a forwarding address. They'll move to a new site, list, sit back and when they don't get sales they will crawl back to Ebay. Always remember small sellers built Ebay in the first place. Ebay is losing buyers because of lack of these same small sellers. Ebay buyers do not want the brand new items they can find in Walmart - they want the rare, the vintage, the unique items they can only find on Ebay! Let these buyers know where you are! Comb thru your records of past purchases and contact these people. Let them know where you can be found and offer them incentives like free shipping or a percent off their purchases. Remember YOU built ebay and you can rebuild! Now is the time. The holiday season is breathing down our necks. It is my personal opinion that Ebay has set itself up for failure in the fourth quarter - don't go down with the ship!

Okay, ole Grannygoodpaint is getting down from her soapbox. I've posted some Halloween "treats" up above for those of you listening to the things that go "bump" in the night...

Monday, October 05, 2009

Ebay's New TRS Program - Good or Bad - You Decide!

"The Halloween Ball Dinner"

Well Ebay sellers - Ebay has rolled out its "Top Rated Seller " (TRS) and it has left many sellers bitterly disappointed. Especially those who used to be powersellers! Having cut my listings way way down on that site I now can sit back and be relieved that I don't have to walk on those eggshells if I don't want to. Selling elsewhere means less sales but far less stress - so if you don't absolutely have to sell on Ebay - you've already got my advise.

I think the top seller badges are cute - childish but cute. This is something Overstock has had for a long time. In fact I have a badge on Overstock, and have had one for a long time now, because of my repeat business there over the years. Overstock doesn't count how much you sell but how many times buyers come back to buy again...kind of a good indication of the kind of seller you are. Ebay sort of reminds me of a boss I had over 30 years ago. He wasn't the least bit interested in the quality of your work....just push out a LOT of it! Well, I guess that's sort of a business model....sort of. I know with my artwork only the best will do and with my customers also only the best service will do. each his own I guess.

The major thing I wanted to discuss about Ebay's new TRS program is not the cutesy kindergarten badge - that is silly and benign. No, there is something far more serious lurking on the left hand side of the listings pages. Its a purple box that you can click and get ONLY the sellers with TRS badges...the rest of the sellers who also paid their fees kind of float off into cyberspace never to be seen by the buyer! Ebay thinks this kind of favoritism is perfectly alright. They haven't yet grasped the concept of actually getting the service you paid for. Sellers be aware of this - don't sit back and wonder why your views are way down. BE AWARE THAT EBAY IS AT IT AGAIN! The veteran sellers who spotted this in 1/10th of a second are already voicing their opinion...will it do any good?...I doubt it. Only leaving the site enmass would ever do any good at all. In the end, each of us must be aware of what is going on so that we can do what is best for our own business.

My painting today is one I displayed last year around Halloween time. "The Halloween Ball Dinner"