Saturday, May 03, 2008

eBay Policy Changes 2008

Sweeping Changes occurring at eBay

It's been a busy start of the year for policy changes on eBay.

With so many changes how does one keep up. Looks as though policy changes are occurring faster than an eBay member can adapt to the previous change.

Following is a quick summary of changes so far in 2008.

* The announcement of BEST MATCH as the default search. Best Match considers factors such as time ending, relevance, seller performance (DSR), and shipping & handling charges. Items from sellers with higher DSR scores for shipping & handling costs may receive more exposure in search results. Best Match will also take into consideration how the shipping cost for an item compares to other items in the same sub-category.

* Meg Whitman leaves handing over control to John Donahoe.

* First round of fee changes. A reduction in the auction initial listing fees, but fees are raised after the sale in the final value fees affecting both auction and store formats. As part of this fee increase, called an increase because that is really what this so called fee reduction is, the gallery picture option will now be free. Not sure if additional pictures fees have been raised.

* Seller Standards change in 2 ways. Decreased listings exposure in search and safe payment requirements. This is for sellers who show a higher dissatisfaction rating and low DSR's over a period of 30 days. Requiring many new sellers with feedback under 100 and those who meet other risky criteria to accept only PayPal or a merchant account.

* Elimination of items priced under $1 in eBay Stores. A new minimum pricing policy that dictates to sellers what the minimum starting price can be.

* No more Digital Downloads in the general selling area. Digital downloads can now only be sold through eBay's classified ads section. Classified ads cost roughly $9.95per 30 days and do not get nearly the exposure they did receive. You will pay more money to sell your digital download only to have it buried in the thousands of classified ads. Also sales made through the classified section do not exchange feedback.

* Sweeping price changes for the Media category. Also, other categories have been restructured.

* New International Exposure FEE. A seller will now have to pay an additional fee for listing exposure on international eBay sites.

* Dramatic Feedback changes. Changes that are more anti-seller than anything else. Buyers will retain the same available options when leaving feedback, but sellers will only be able to leave a positive feedback rating to buyers, regardless if the transaction was bad or not. Removing a buyers negative feedback will require more red tape for sellers to remove. eBay claims they will step up monitoring and take action against known bad buyers.

* Standards for power sellers change. Competitive advantage is wording eBay uses. Not only does a power seller still need to maintain the minimum sales amount they must now maintain a minimum 4.5 DSR rating in all areas. As well as maintain the required level of positive feedback somewhere around 98%. Maintain these
with DSR ratings above 4.6 and receive fees discount and increased listing exposure.

* PayPal 21 day hold for what eBay/PayPal deem risky categories, sellers, or items. When such a risky transaction occurs the sellers funds will be held by PayPal for a period of 21 days. There is no specific criteria as to exactly what category or items will trigger this risky transaction flag. Along with this all new sellers and those with feedback scores under 100, sellers having low DSR ratings, and sellers in certain categories ( although what specific categories is not stated) will be required to use PayPal to accept payments.

The above list is only a brief listing of the many changes occurring on eBay so far this year. With so many changes occurring we are sure we missed a few. From the outside looking in one wonders how the sellers can even keep up. Before they adapt to one policy change another one is already on the table. For the buyers it seems not much has changed. From what we see the only changes they may see are increased prices and less selection.

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