Saturday Snippets for eCommerce Buyers & Sellers

Posted on November 21, 2009. Filed under: Amazon, eBay, Paypal | Tags: , , , |

Today, I am following up on some previous ecommerce news and adding some updated information to each of the news stories.

eBay’s Cross-Merchandising Promotion

On November 16, 2009 eBay announced that they would begin a new cross merchandising promotion the following day whereby other sellers’ items would appear on current listings.  The following day I tested what eBay was doing with this new promotion and in my blog post titled “eBay’s New Approach to Marketing: Throw the Kitchen Sink at Buyers” I reported on what I found (that buyers were shown related items that were in fact NOT related to what they had originally searched for) and stated my opinion about why I was going to opt out.

On November 19th, eBay Seller Advocate Griff stated my article was “misleading” on the “Ask Griff & Lee Show #168 Nov 19th, 2009” Discussion Board (note that you have to be a member of the Group to access the eBay Radio Discussion board).  Specifically, Griff’s comment about my blog post is post #34 of 186.  Also, on that date, Griff spent the first part of the Radio Show defending eBay’s decision to implement the new cross merchandising promotion and stated that anyone who opted out was making a bad business decision.  Griff said that he would opt into the promotion because he offers good merchandise at competitive prices with excellent pictures and descriptions and his eBay reputation (feedback) was good.  As such, Griff felt that he would gain more than he would lose by remaining opted into the program.

On November 20th, Ina Steiner of AuctionBytes posted an  interview  with an eBay representative where she asked some really tough questions and even asked eBay to comment about what I had written.  Sadly, eBay didn’t take advantage of the opportunity and pretty much blew the interview by providing answers that were, at times, not even relevant to the question being asked. 

So, today, I thought I would follow up to the week’s events by looking at the Top 5 eBay seller accounts based on the number of feedback received and see what each of these sellers had decided regarding the new promotion offered by eBay.  If, as Griff had stated, remaining opted into the new cross merchandising promotion was a good business decision for sellers who have an excellent track record on eBay and who are offering merchandise priced competitively, then I would expect many of the top sellers to be participating in this new promotion.

According to, the top 5 eBay sellers (based on feedback) are Accstation, Eforcity, EveryDaySource, ITrimming, and Buy

* All Top 5 eBay sellers are also Top Rated Sellers 

* All Top 5 eBay sellers have received more than 1 million feedback ratings on eBay
(note that because of some buyers leaving multiple feedback, Buy’s actual feedback score is just under a million)

I reviewed the listings of all 5 of the Top eBay sellers and NOT ONE of these sellers remained opted into the promotion.  This begs the question: If my assessment of the new cross merchandising program is so misleading and if it is a bad business decision to opt out of the promotion then why did all 5 of the largest eBay sellers opt out?  I guess eBay’s weak arguments “for” remaining opted in did not convince these Top 5 eBay sellers.

PayPal Mastercard News

On October 31, 2009 I wrote about A Glitch With PayPal Upgrade on October 14th Caused Some Problems for Some PayPal Mastercard Members.  Following that post, the person who supplied with the information (a close family relative) called into PayPal and received completely different information.  My source was told that it was originally an error for users to be allowed to charge their PayPal shipping to their PayPal Mastercard and that the upgrade remedied that “error”.  She was also told that they would try to fix the error which was not allowing her to use her Discover card to pay for postage (currently she could only pay for her shipping labels by using her PayPal balance or her checking account). 

When the PayPal representative was asked why she could use her PayPal Mastercard to pay for postage on the USPS website, the representative did not address that question but instead told my source that using USPS for shipping instead of PayPal would void any seller protections (which we all know is erroneous information).

Last week, my relative was printing a label on PayPal and was surprised to see that not only could she choose to fund the postage purchase with her Discover on file but could also use her PayPal Mastercard to fund the postage purchase.  Interesting.

It’s Not Just eBay Kicking the “Small Seller” to the Curb

On November 12th I wrote that I had received my email notification from Amazon letting me know that I had qualified to sell Toys on Amazon during the 2009 holiday season.  Amazon has strict requirements every year but one thing that was different about this year’s requirement was the tougher “sales volume” requirement:

Merchant must have processed and shipped at least 25 orders (do not need to be Toy-specific) during the 60 consecutive days preceding 11/1/2009

The 2009 sales volume criteria required at least 25 orders to qualify, as in the previous year, but the time period for those sales was decreased significantly.  Instead of needing only 25 sales for the year, as was required in 2008, Amazon sellers in 2009 were required to have 25 sales in the preceding two months.  This more stringent sales volume requirement has caused a great many “hobby” or “part-time” sellers, many of  whom are actually long-time Amazon sellers, to be left without selling privileges for the 2009 holiday season.  Most of these toy sellers I spoke to say they have no choice now but to list their items on eBay this year.

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7 Responses to “Saturday Snippets for eCommerce Buyers & Sellers”

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I’m TRS but with 10k feedback, nowhere near these big boys, but I opted out of this one the moment I knew about it.

I’m still trying to see how this “promotion” makes sense for me, any other seller, or eBay itself?

Well-intentioned but misguided?

I’m the one who posted the link to your original blog post about the new cross-mechandising promotion. I decided to opt back in based on Griff’s strong recommendation, mainly out of respect for Griff, but I may end up opting out again. We are trying it out and will monitor results as closely as we can.

Excellent article, BTW — you made some compelling points about why we should opt out, and knowing how well eBay’s Worst Match system doesn’t work, I am a little nervous that results will end up being irrelevant/inaccurate as happened in your test.

But as I said, out of respect for Griff and also because I really shouldn’t knock it if I haven’t tried it, I am opted back in. For now.

eBetsy, thank you for posting the URL to my blog on the discussion board.

4 of the top 5 sellers you mention for eBay are all the same business. Jack Sheng had to have have multiple accounts to circumvent eBay’s multi-listing rules in years past before he and Buy became the poster children for the “new” eBay. Maybe including the top 10 sellers and a few accounts who aren’t Diamonds would provide a better cross section, but I doubt the results would change. Those 2 have told eBay what they want and how things will work for years, not the other way around. It’s too bad they don’t listen to other sellers in the community the same way and hold their opinions in the same regard.

Let me second Cliff, brews, one the main reasons I read you is to get a heads-up on eBay’s latest stupid plan that I need to opt out of.

Opt in or out of the direct cross promotion as you choose, I don’t believe you can opt out of eBay’s Google result cross promotion.

Not being an eBay seller any more, (it is unprofitable for my line of products) I don’t have any skin in the game.

As an online shopper I prefer being taken directly to the results of my search without having to do the site tour.

See screen-shot images on my blog today.

Let us all keep in mind that Griff works for eBay and his job is sell eBay to sellers…your fees pay his bills, so, proper perspective should be kept. No disrespect intended, I just always encourage sellers to think for themselves, and don’t “drink the eBay kool-aid”.

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