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Angry eBay store-owners have vowed to continue their fight against fee hikes after the end of their five-day protest yesterday. 

A spokesperson for the Campaign of Rebuffed Ebayers, which asked sellers and buyers to boycott the site between Thursday and Monday, said it would be arranging more demonstrations to promote eBay competitors such as Ebid, Tazbar and Amazon.

We would imagine that the next protest will have a very international flavour to it,” he said.

The latest protest focused on fee increases introduced by the auction giant in August, as well as the appearance of ‘scam listings’ on the site, reducing ‘genuine’ sellers’ visibility. Its organisers encouraged users to report dodgy listings to eBay in the hope that they would be cleaned up.

eBay, for its part, has remained silent after the protest – not generally a wise PR strategy but one that makes it difficult to judge the size of the demonstration's impact. It declined to release details of sales activity over the five days, but its listings figures did show a drop in the availability of popular items such as books, DVDs and CDs on ebay.co.uk.

According to those figures, the number of books, comics and magazines on sale fell from 432,935 on Thursday lunchtime to 314,029 on Sunday evening, while music items (595,033 to 390,126) and DVDs (324,742 to 240,267) also dropped. However, none of the three categories have returned to previous levels since the protest came to an end.

As for the clean-up aspect of the demo, sellers have claimed eBay’s complaints system crashed “several times” in the UK and the US, possibly due to the amount of reports, but a spokesperson for eBay said “this was not something we are aware of happening.

Meanwhile, AuctionBytes has released a survey of eBay sellers which shows many may be considering a move to alternative auction sites. Of the 1,225 people that completed the survey, according to AuctionBytes, 92% said they currently sell on eBay, but only 38% plan to be doing so in 6 months.

How majorly that would affect the auction giant’s hugely dominant market position, however, remains to be seen.

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Published 19 September, 2006 by Richard Maven

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Comments (3)

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Brian Snale, Private

The whole sorry saga following the latest fee increases by eBay show just how out of touch they are with their main customers, the sellers. Ebay seems to have forgotten that without the sellers they would not have a business, apart from its PayPal subsidiary.

Most people can understand price rises, if they are reasonable and justified, however to say that the increase is only 6% when it so patently obvious that this is untrue, is courting disaster, and this is now what they have.

A disaster of both PR and customer relations on a scale that I think is unprecedented in recent history. It is not just the increases that the store owners object to, but having been encouraged by eBay to open stores and stock them with inventory, now have them hidden from eBay buyers. Almost tantamount to obtaining money by deception.

The decline in income for eBay over recent months is probably due more to the fact that it has now become the haunt of fraud, ripoffs, and scammers, which Ebay does nothing to prevent, hiding behind the 'we are just a venue' argument. Many of the worst offenders are eBays much vaunted Powersellers, where a significant few are giving the good ones a bad name. The truth is buyers no longer trust the venue, and are now exploring alternatives like eBid.

Much has been done to manipulate the share price, but investors are becoming increasingly worried as the auction giant haemorrhages sellers and buyers. With the decline in items previously offered by the many stores that are now closed the venue looks less attractive to shoppers who are fed up having to trawl through pages of interminable listings from the Far East. The failure of eBay to admit they have got this one seriously wrong is only exacerbating an already perilous situation for the troubled company.

almost 10 years ago

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Jim Core, Coordinator at CORE

Ebay have now proven to be either clueless or very antagonising. In the light of the fee increases, they have now offered a cheap listing day for India to advertise on the Ebay.com site. Naturally this has provoked outrage:

http://twx.bloggingstocks.com/2006/09/18/ebay-whats-behind-the-20-cents-promotion/

Many have accused Ebay of offering this listing day to boost their flagging auction listing totals.

Furthermore, Ebay's inability to clamp down on scams has revealed some shocking results in another Auctionbytes survey:

http://auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y06/m09/i19/s02

Here, 98% of Ebay users had received a 'phishing' email, whilst 21% of users had experienced 'account hijacking'.

This clearly shows that Ebay need to get their priorities right.

almost 10 years ago

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george mccormic, PT-Lite

Ebay is very dominant in its niche. Probably very soon online shoppers will realize that they have to change and move to other sites that offer same or similar services. It appears to me that there is a new trend comming on the horizon - online auctions in reverse. Check this out - http://www.oltiby.com

almost 10 years ago

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