EBay moves further from auction roots with changes

Users irked by moves to cut cost of fixed-price listings and end check, money-order payments.

Soon after the changes were announced, sellers began posting notes about their irritation in various eBay forums. One seller, posting under the name "Aunt Matilda's Attic," said that the move seems to be eBay's way of trying to compete more effectively with Amazon.

"Now eBay is going to try to take the competition to Amazon," the seller wrote. "I think it's a big mistake. They claim their reason for changing the focus to fixed price sales is that that sector of their site has grown more than the auction sales growth in the last quarter. Auction sales growth has slowed but is still growing. It's all about how much money they can make."

The seller, who noted that he or she sells on both Amazon and eBay, went on to note that the firm should focus more on eBay stores as opposed to fixed-price listings.

"Amazon doesn't favor its buyers over its sellers by a margin of 2000-1 the way eBay does," the seller wrote. "Amazon sellers are not going to start selling on eBay. It's too expensive and eBay favors the buyers over sellers and so eBay can forget about luring Amazon sellers away from Amazon."

Another seller, "egulch3," noted that he or she sold $3,000 worth of items on eBay in the past several weeks and only accepts checks or money orders as payment.

"I have not had one non-paying bidder, nor have I had any checks bounce," the seller noted. "EBay is lying when they say they are doing this for the good of the buyers. They are doing it to increase their bottom line. Pure and simple."

Another seller on the same forum as "egulch3" and posting as "Foxboxlots" said that for most small and medium sellers the new payment policy will mean that they will be forced to use PayPal, which is owned by eBay.

"I find this an outrage. I have mostly cut my eBay sales, and this will probably be the nail in the coffin," the seller added. "Goodbye to small sellers who seek out interesting merchandise - margins are just to small to justify the time. [It] was fun while it lasted but this is pretty much the end for me."

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Heather Havenstein

Computerworld (US)
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