Will eBay Announce Lower Listing Fees at eBay Live

Rumors are floating around about what eBay will announce at eBay Live. Could lower listing fees be on the table?

Each year eBay uses eBay Live to announce new features and changes to the platform.  Some of the no brainers this year include:

eBay Micro

This isn’t so much a new announcement as something eBay will be promoting heavily.  eBay Micro, also called eBay To Go, is a widget  that allows sellers to post their eBay content, including listings, on other websites.

San Dimas:

San Dimas is the code name for a project based on Adobe’s Apollo cross-operating system run time that allows developers to leverage their existing Web development skills in HTML, JavaScript, AJAX, Flash and Flex in order to build and deploy rich Internet applications (RIAs) to the desktop. This sounds complicated but what it amounts to is a really cool desktop application for eBay buyers and sellers that allows them to interact with eBay online of offline and even includes an auction launching utility.  You can see a short video demo here: http://www.demo.com/demonstrators/demo2007/91259.php

Social Networking Interfaces

The other eBay announcement will probably include tools and features that allow eBay users to interact with social networking sites like Facebook, Stumbleupon, and MySpace.

Lower Listing Fees

I was on a conference call this morning with some eBay investors and one of the other sellers mentioned something I had heard about but hadn’t really followed.  For several months now eBay has been beta testing lower listing fees in the media category in Great Britain (eBay UK).  They lowered the listing fees and upped the final value fees.  Why is this important.  Well, in yesterday’s post I mentioned that sell through rates on eBay have been falling over the past year or so.  This makes listing fees effectively higher thereby causing sellers to list fewer items. 

One of my longest running complaints about eBay is that they are not "performance incentivised."  By this I mean that eBay makes most of their money from listing fees which they earn whether people buy or not or even whether buyers visit the platform or not.  If eBay were to lower (or heaven forbid even eliminate) listing fees, then eBay would only make money when sellers make money –in other words when something sells.

If eBay were to shift their fee structure to lower listing fees offset by higher final value fees, i –and many other sellers, would dramatically increase the number and variety of items listed on eBay. The greater amount and variety of merchandise would in turn bring back many of the buyers who have left eBay for other venues such as Amazon and Overstock.

I have been selling on Amazon for the past few months.  The selling fee at 15% is nominally higher than eBay, but there is no listing fee.  So I can place merchandise on Amazon with no risk whatsoever.

Will we see something like this announced at eBay Live?  I am not sure, but eBay has used eBay UK as a beta test in the past before rolling something out in the US and from what I hear the test has been very successful in the UK. 

I will be posting to my blog during eBay Live –sometimes more than once a day. So if you want to see all of the announcements, be sure and click on the Chiclets at the top of the page to add my blog to your home page.

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