Deconstructing eBay, Part 3 of 3

A look at the new eBay policy announcement and the likely effect on eBay sellers

The last few parts of the announcements include a new dispute resolution process, free access to eBay Selling Manager, moving the shipping process from PayPal to eBay and tools to bulk edit your listings.

The new Dispute Resolution Process will be the most controversial, because it puts eBay between the seller and the buyer. Other changes I am trying to confirm include removing the eBay seller’s location from the listings and removing the date that a seller joined eBay. Personally I think buyers like knowing if a seller started selling last week, last year or ten years ago.

I will be commenting more on the personality change eBay is going through over the next few days so stay tuned.

Also I am now on Twitter. If you would like to follow me on Twitter, I will send you a tweet whenever I do a blog post.  Here is my Twitter Profile Page:

eBay Resolutions

Free Selling Manager with new applications

Pay for shipping, print labels on eBay

Tools to bulk edit your listings

The policy is so detailed and complex that it is just too much to describe here but it is critically important that every seller read this. Here is the link to read the full policy. I strongly advise you do this. There are a few highlights worth mentioning here.

·        It moves the resolution from PayPal over to eBay where it belongs

·        eBay will actually pay for the refund in some cases

·        eBay will take the seller’s reputation and customer service rating into account when settling disputes

·        As with PayPal you will need to get a signature confirmation on items shipped with a value over $250.

A major downside continues to be the feedback. Even if you ended up satisfying the buyer, they can still leave you a negative feedback.

On balance I like the new dispute resolution policy but I still think eBay could find a way to mitigate the feedback issue. That will be a big negative with sellers. The other downside is that this policy puts eBay between the buyer and seller –this is actually a precursor of more controls to come. So although some parts of the policy are welcome and useful, overall I have to give it 3-Stars.

Selling Manager is an eBay online tool that streamlines your selling activity, helping you monitor active listings, generate bulk feedback, and print invoices and labels in bulk. It’s a pretty good tool, but you still end up paying for photo hosting and scheduling. Personally I think the third-party solutions such as Auctiva, Ink

Frog, Vendio and others are a good value.  One advantage of using Selling Manager is the bulk listing tool which will help sellers comply with the new policies.

Selling manager Pro is slightly better, but it will still have a fee. Overall this is a big yawn. (3-Stars).

This one I really like. It saves time and therefore money.

Now you can do everything right on you’re My eBay Page without switching back and forth between PayPal and eBay. Here is some of what you can do:

  • Create postage-paid shipping labels in just minutes.
  • Pay for shipping and insurance with your PayPal account, with no monthly fees or surcharges.
  • Create and print a pre-filled packing slip, detailing what you are shipping to your buyer.
  • Ship internationally with online customs forms.
  • Track and confirm the arrival of your shipments with delivery confirmation.
  • Void your shipping label and get a refund for misprinted labels canceled within 48 hours.

I give this one 5-Stars

These will be helpful for sellers who have to revise their return policy and other factors. Here is how they will work according to eBay:

1.       Revise them individually (listing by listing) using Sell Your Item or your favorite listing tool.

2.       Revise them in bulk using our Bulk Edit tool, which is available in My eBay and Selling Manager. The Bulk Edit tool allows you to revise up to 200 listings at one time.

3.       Revise them in bulk using Turbo Lister. Use the Synchronize capability to bring your active listings into Turbo Lister. You can then bulk-edit all your active listings. After you have made your change, synchronize your changes back to the site.


So that concludes our review of the new policies.  You really do need to read all of them which is why I provided the active links. Of course we still won’t know all of the details until they actually roll out in June, but I really give eBay credit for giving us this 60-day lead time to prepare.

As you can see I gave eBay a star rating (on a scale of 1-5) just like their DSR system. So what is the total for all the policies overall?  It comes out to  3.7

Overall these changes are a big positive for sellers but there are two big disappointments.

1. It is pretty clear that eBay has permanently abandoned the level playing field concept. They have been favoring the mega sellers for some time now which is interesting because these guys are the least loyal of all the sellers and are all selling on other platforms. I don’t really have a problem with eBay giving fee discounts to large volume sellers. After all, you can get discounts for almost anything you buy in volume anywhere. But I don’t like the idea that large sellers get prominent placement and special promotions that the rest of us don’t get. If eBay is really into driving buyer satisfaction then give anyone who provides a stellar buyer experience the breaks regardless of their size or volume of listings.

2. The new dispute resolution process is another turn in the road that leaves the concept of community behind. eBay was founded on the idea of providing a marketplace where buyers and sellers could come together to do business with each other. Sellers were encouraged to brand their business and build an online personality through their feedback, their About Me pages, eBay store branding and on the forums and features like Guides and Reviews. With these changes and more changes planned for the Fall of 2009 eBay will cease being the provider of a marketplace to become the marketplace itself.

This is so strange because the rest of the online universe seems to be going in the other direction with platforms like Twitter, Facebook and My Space.  Social networking is the fastest growing phenomena extant today. While people are seeking more connections and more interaction, eBay has decided to depersonalize the buying experience and isolate the seller from the buyer.  Ina Steiner has already reported in AuctionBytes about the Certified Seller program now under study and the fact that eBay will soon restrict sellers from cross selling during the checkout process.  I predict that the next steps will be total control of the communications. All email will go through eBay and sellers will have no way to let buyers know their email address or learn of the buyers.  In the longer term, eBay could even get into warehousing. Sellers would have to ship all their goods to an eBay owned and operated warehouse. When a sale is made, eBay would ship the goods so the seller wouldn’t even know the buyers name or address.

See Also

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *