Operation Catalog: Can eBay Sellers Handle the Truth?

Posted on September 10, 2008. Filed under: eBay, eBayInkBlog | Tags: , , , , , |


On September 6th, Ina Steiner of Auctionbytes posted a controversial article titled eBay’s Operation Catalog Flies Under the Radar in which she wrote the following:

“I’m hearing that eBay is introducing a pilot program next month in which a number of manufacturer and big-box retailer catalogs will be launched to eBay.   Third-party vendors will work with these sellers to get them onto the eBay platform – no small feat given the quantity of product SKUs in their catalogs.

These Diamond PowerSellers will be given special privileges. Commission (FVF) fees will be negotiated individually, and it’s my understanding that participants in this pilot will not be charged listing fees, nor will they have to meet eBay’s seller standards during the 90-day pilot program, which I’ve dubbed Operation Catalog.”

As you would imagine, the internet has been on fire since the Auctionbytes article.  In a Damage Control Spin Effort, Griff posted on the eBay owned Blog, eBayInkBlog, with a post titled Some Needed Clarification which generated another round of howls from eBay sellers.

I have some information I would like to share concerning Operation Catalog.  But, first, I want to point something out to folks and that is that several manufacturers and large retail stores have already tried selling on eBay and they have failed.

Just take a look on eBay at

Compusa (NARU) or
Circuit City (not a Powerseller because of low DSRs) or
Sears (Shipping DSR of 4.3 will soon result in restrictions)

just to name a few.

Now, keep in mind that manufacturers and large retailers, even if they could actually manage to successfully sell on eBay given the unique buyer demands of the eBay marketplace, really don’t want the public at large to know that they are selling their wares on eBay.  Selling on eBay could create problems in their distribution channels, among other things, and would not generally work well in an overall strategy to maximize profit for long-term survival. 

And keep in mind one other key piece of information – manufacturers do not want their product “dumped” on eBay as this lessens their ability to sell more product through wholesale channels because of the lower values associated with their products.  Brick-and-mortar stores complain loudly to manufacturers when product is consistently sold cheap on eBay so manufacturers are actually motivated to keep their product off eBay.

Solution: third party vendors who specialize in online sales and who will sell manufacturers’ and big box retailers’ items for them indirectly.   And these authorized third party vendors are given the VERO rights by the manufacturers so that the third-party vendors can remove other eBay sellers’ (competitors) items.  I have first hand experience of having items removed because a third-party vendor did not like the price at which I was selling an item (and I have it in writing).  These third-party vendors seem to fear no one, including eBay.

To illustrate, CSN Stores eBay Store is an example of a third-party vendor who represents manufacturers on eBay.  You can learn more Information about CSN Stores by visiting their website.

Small sellers have already been competing with “the big boys” on eBay for some time now even if the competition has been indirect through authorized third-party eBay vendors.  And as the economy continues to stall, I would expect more manufacturers to consider allowing third-party vendors to sell their product on eBay.  We don’t know how long we, as small sellers, have been subsidizing these third-party vendors.  eBay would never have told us about the Buy.com sweetheart deal had it not been for the super sleuth reporting of Randy Smythe’s  My Blog Utopia and so it is safe to assume there is much we don’t know about eBay’s secret dealings with third-party vendors, manufacturers, and others.  The truth is that it’s every man (or woman) for himself on eBay and the sooner eBay sellers come to terms with this reality, the better prepared they will be for any future curveballs that eBay throws out.

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If this is true, eBay is becoming the WalMart of online ecommerce.

[…] (See the blog post titled “Operation Catalog: Can Sellers Handle the Truth” by clicking HERE)  Manufacturers do not want their product sold on eBay for many reasons.  Specifically, […]

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