Wednesday, February 29, 2012

ebay hates you, unless you're a mega established company. then they're all, 'hey, let's be besties!'

Catchy post title, yeah?

So, as you know I have a pretty sweet vintage store on Etsy, but you may not know I have rocked a pretty sick (in a good way, silly) store over at Ebay for even longer. I never talk about it, because over the past few years Ebay has become a bit of an ugly step sister in comparison to Etsy. This is not in the sense that the traffic is smaller, because sadly it is much higher. I'm talking in the sense that they do next to nothing to help smaller sellers and do everything to cater to large volume stores that are generally already well established businesses with websites of their own (ie. the debacle). 

Even with that, I have still been pro-Ebay. I was even juiced several months ago, when Ebay's official Twitter account started following me on Twitter. FYI-They only follow 779 people and have over 88,000 followers. My ego felt pretty sweet that day. Oh, how times have changed.  

Ebay followed Kim K, Timmy Hilfiger, and A natural progression, really.

I forgot to mention that I am a top-rated seller over there, which is something that I have taken pride in over the past couple of years. Even though the program is highly flawed, in that if in one year three people out of the several hundred gave me a one for any ridiculous reason (trust me, I make mistakes, but sometimes buyers are ridiculous in their reasoning) then my top-rated status would disappear, along with the 20% discount that is applied to final value fees. This is because people don't realize how important it is to leave five stars, so many leave four stars, bringing the value down. Confusing, I know.

Moving on. The other day I got to read a SUPER exciting email about all the GREAT changes Ebay is implementing beginning June 1st.

So, the email read:

Starting in June, Top-rated sellers will need to have tracking information uploaded to eBay within their stated handling time on 90% or more of their transactions with US buyers. As of June 1, the 20% final value fee discount and greatest on average boost in Best Match will go to those listings from Top-rated sellers that include 1-day handling and a minimum 14-day return policy with a money-back refund option. Listings without these two services will still have the Top-rated seller badge and some boost in Best Match but will not earn the discounts or the highest average boost in Best Match. 

Ok, so let me break it down for you. I don't have a problem with the 90% tracking information. That makes sense. I get delivery confirmation on everything I send, so that's covered. The other two stipulations is where things get shady for me. 

I have to go from having a non return policy to 14 days? Doesn't Ebay realize that some people may be tempted to pull the classic leave the tags on the item for the event and return after(modified for the internet age)? I had one person recently ask if they could return an item that I know they bought to wear on Valentine's day. Conveniently they asked on February 15th. So, yes, it may sound paranoid, but it happens. Probably more than you think. Couldn't they say a three or five day policy? Why two weeks? That's ridiculous. 

And now to the biggest problem I have: one day handling time. Are you kidding me Ebay? You say you want sellers to act more like the stores they buy from online. Here's some news for you: most stores that I buy from don't send out my items for at least 2 days, if not three or more. As a seller who has always been quick with shipping, I probably shouldn't mind this, but there are situations when one day handling is just not an option. It also makes the buyers even more critical than they already are, if I were to wait a whole TWO days to ship something. 

I'm glad that I can work hard to maintain a top-rated status, but lose any monetary benefits that I get from this. Sounds so worth the time and effort. 

So, as if all this weren't enough, I was directed to a town hall meeting transcript and this one quote really stood out to me. It was in response to a seller's complaint about the new policy and said, "We're moving ahead with the program because we heard from sellers that this was the way they thought we should go."

Are you serious?

Ebay is trying to say that they are implementing ridiculous changes that are difficult for a majority of sellers to follow because they heard other sellers wanted it? THAT IS RIDICULOUS. It isn't just a little ridiculous, either. It is "I am about to have an aneurysm, because I hate when corporations make up lies" levels of ridiculous. 

There is also this terrible exchange between an irate seller and Ebay/the Guru (wtf?) concerning expectations buyers have if they were to buy something from SERIOUSLY. Read it here. Another note to Ebay: Walmart doesn't send out things I buy from them online in one day. Just saying. 

I just hate the fact that Ebay caters to large stores and not to mid-level stores like mine. If there has ever been a micro/macrocosm for the plight of the middle classes, this is it. If you don't have a store, you can list many items per month for free. If you have a large store, Ebay wants you to continue putting smaller stores out of business, presumably because smaller stores don't make them as much money and take up space/resources. If you have a mid-level store...well, no one cares. 

I want to say that I rarely complain when everyone else does about Ebay. Even with their higher fees, I've stuck with them and *gulp* even defended them from fee increases to their slightly criminal change to charging final value fees on SHIPPING. Never again. It is so depressing that this is my full time job. I guess I will be moving a majority of my vintage stuff back to Etsy, but what about the new stuff I sell? 

I long for the day when there is a viable alternative to selling things on Ebay, but where is it? Regardless of your choices, there just isn't a site that brings as much traffic and so I continue to sell on Ebay(at least until they blackball me), every day losing a little more self respect.


akaCINDERS said...

I hear ya. I've been selling on eBay for several years, and instead of making more money, I keep making less and less. I use tracking too and ship within my handling time, no problem, but I sell made to order. I can't ship in one day, because I have to make what I'm selling first. Thanks eBay and bye bye top seller discount. But I can't afford to leave eBay, because traffic is great there.