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Thursday, July 20, 2006

Angry eBay store owners

I have received a bevy of emails in the past day from angry eBay store owners about fee and placement changes for eBay store owners. As of 22 August, insertion fees for eBay store listings will increase by 150-400%. Commission fees will be 10% on sold items.

Fee increases are always the most contentious because they impose the most direct consequences. However, eBay also announced that it will be making efforts to scale back the visibility of eBay stores. This is quite surprising for store owners, of whom there are 541,000 worldwide, because President and CEO Meg Whitman kicked off this fiscal year stating the company would increase exposure of eBay store listings. Clearly, the company now feels that these were misguided decisions. As of right now, store listings compose 83% of all eBay listings, but just 9% of gross sales volume.

In some of her interviews on the subject, Whitman noted how store listings have taken away eBay from its original "magic" - the auction format - and perhaps she is right. Nevertheless, the dramatic about face is a true disservice to eBay store owners, most of whom are eBay's most committed sellers.

(See AP article via the Boston Herald)