Thursday, 23 April 2009

Big fight Live Amazon Versus ebay

Which of them would win in a fight Ebay the bigger bruiser, with its mistreatment of its sellers, or Amazon the smaller lightweight with its higher prices to its sellers but a lot less work and the safer feel. Ebay with a set up for auctions, Amazon with the set up for BIN

I'm not totally sure which of them would win, as if you look at them both they each have things that would be a benefit in that fight.

I think the biggest question is do ebay have the courage needed to do what would be needed to take up that fight, and by what donthehoe is saying they are talking of changing over four years, which I suspect will be more to Amazons advantage than ebays, as Amazon keeps growing, while ebay is struggling to deal with the upset it is causing its users. Users that are more than willing to use any format possible to shout about the ebay sins against its users. (if you were a new user wanting to sell anything, would you start on ebay now, or even, could you start on ebay now?)

I do think the only way ebay would win, is to stand by their claims, and just turn off the auction option now, and then change totally to BIN, while they still have the size, as their system is no longer the best option for auctions.

It would bring out yells and screams but at least they would end, at some point.

However, I don't think ebay will do it, as they are making a lot of claims that auctions are over, but they have to know their actions towards sellers over the years are the main thing to hurt auctions on ebay, and if they did that, we ( the auction sellers) would move on, and I think it is looking as if ebay are still not totally sure that their BIN sellers are enough to bring in the customers they can bring in now or to keep those customers they have.

Add to that fact, if a lot of us are right and auctions are alive, the ebay story would end with us moving on, and the BIN sellers following, leaving ebay with a lot of empty space full of google adds.

The other option is what they are doing now and messing around on the edges for four years, as Amazon keeps growing stronger, by time ebay becomes ebayzon, they will be nothing more than a sad clone of Amazon, just as several of the auctions are seen as a sad clone of ebay now.

The alternative auctions will have grown, with the auction sellers that ebay no longer want, and a lot of the smaller BIN sellers. Then ebay will have a third contender, taking up its old users, as you are going to eventually loose that fight to stay on ebay. They are determined to get rid of you, and that sort of determination generally brings results.

Opening a new ebay account after the suspension

I have several links on the right for websites and BLOGs that tell you how to do just that, and most of them swear by their method, some of them are totally free, and trying to make at least some money from the links they have. Others will charge you if you wish to take part or ask questions. It is your choice which you prefer, but you can read through most of them.

I tell you to make sure you check them all out before following one, as some of them may not be updated as soon as they should be, and the more info you have with this the better. There also seem to be a growing number of pay to get back on ebay e-books available, I have looked at a few of them, mainly through their free pages. By reading them you would think ebay was some security master, who you will not get past without their help, which by this time you probably know ebay are definitely not, they seem to know less about ebay than they do about selling on ebay.
But if you have extra cash and would like to try them, then do a google search and they will turn up in their droves.

My advice for those of you wishing to get back on ebay, is don't. I know in the short term you need money fast, as the bills will quickly add up, and I don't know what you are going through (yeah right!) I have also had to face the ebay axe, which always seems to come at the most inconvenient time to all it has hit. Mine was due to competitors malice, but that is the new ebay (Great place you're fighting to save!)
So with this in mind I at least suggest trying to make use of the alternative venues, and try to build an off ebay presence, so that the next time this happens, and it will happen again, as ebay decides to change something else, then at least you have the option to look at it long term, and can quickly download your customer list from ebay or paypal if you do not back it up normally, and let your customers know where to find you with a simple email.

Ebay do not want you on ebay any longer, and that is why your being kicked, not because you are a bad seller (at least I hope not,) I don't think they really care about that. But just because they do not need the messing around with so many small accounts when they can have several large accounts, that are a lot less work. Auctions are being fazed out eventually, as will any used goods that do not fit the new image of ebay, so just think how important it is for you to build that alternative, as ebay want the masses to hang around long enough for them to change, while also preventing any alternative to get a grip of the market that they said was dead.

Another idea is if you do get back on ebay, make use of a blog or some other form of off ebay contact system, and make it interesting for your buyers.
Why not use google Blogs that are free, just press the B at the top of this page.
Make sure they add your blog to their favorites, as a lot of people will not, so try a simple request or bribe.
If the worst happens and you disappear from ebay, if you are lucky they will come looking to your blog, where you can point them in the direction of your off ebay venues.

So Ok you really need to get back on ebay and you have looked through the Forums and blogs, and think you know what to do, which is surprising, as they do seem to differ slightly and on reading some of their info myself, I know for a fact that there are easier, and often cheaper ways to do things.

I will give you what advice I can, as I have the links and feel I should at least offer a little guidance.

The IP address:

Now this one still has me puzzled, as most of us do not have a fixed IP, and the more popular your ISP, the more likely your IP will jump between ranges.
If you want to know more about IP address' then google the subject.

The point is that your IP could change automatically every time you start your modem, check by coming back after restarting your modem, (remember to bookmark/add to favorites before doing so.)

If your IP stays the same changing it depends on your modem and ISP. Again do a search on google naming first your ISP to see if they have a standard fixed IP, which you will have to contact them to change but if they do not then google search change my IP and add the name of your modem or router.

If it changes automatically, every time you start up then make sure you restart your modem before moving between accounts if you plan on having more than one, this also includes any old paypal accounts that you may need to sign into. Although some are suggesting that you now treat paypal accounts as throw away as an ebay account, so by their reckoning you should not be sighing into old paypal accounts

I would try to avoid the use of proxy servers, when dealing with money, as you are handing over your security to a third party when using them, even though it still may be safe, I personally would not be comfortable, but that is your choice.

If you use Dial up, then it tends to always use a different IP, and some will show very little data, so you may not have to worry, but please check before assuming it is fact.

Your telephone number:

If you have the BT home Hub, you may already know you have a talk number, which is a second number, where you can link a telephone to your modem that works like a normal line.
This talk number also gives you access to five more numbers if you go to the BT website and look up softphone, it will show you how. I think the cost is around ninety five pence a month for each number and looks a lot cheaper than the alternatives.

The softphone numbers, which works on your computer can be used as your telephone number with your ebay accounts.

 This will work with ebay but the softphone numbers no longer work with paypal so you are likely to need to use the virtual numbers mentioned. They charge a set up fee that seems to vary from ten to fifty pound per number, as you can have more than one, and you can change them quite easy if something goes wrong.
They also charge a monthly fee that is around five to ten pound per number, and then there is a call charge for when people call you, you are charged anything from two point five pence to three point five pence plus vat unless you want them to divert to your mobile and then prices seem to start around fourteen pence.

The normal lifetime contract with anything telephony does not seem to apply and you only have to give them thirty days notice to quit

You can search for them in google adding your country after writing virtual number or ghost phone number.
Here is a selection I found for the UK with a google search most of them seem to charge about the same but there are some differences. You should check with the ones you try to use, as they do not all work with ebay or paypal, such as the one shown on the top. Those that do just be careful you do not end up with another sellers used number that has already been conected to a kicked account. cheapest set up I found at £10.00 + Vat Seems to offer cheaper call costs at 2.5 + Vat, which may not be important unless you have to deal with a lot of competing attackers who may try calling the number.

I have not tried any of these yet so just read all the bumf they have on their sites, as always look out for things that can trip you up.

If you do not have BT then look at the how to get back on ebay links in my list, several of them offer you links to telephone services and number forwarders, and you support them by following those links and signing up.
They also have the links to the cards you will need, if you are only opening a savings account, you will need a passport or drivers license to sign up for those cards.

When they suggest deleting cookies and flash cookies, may I suggest you bypass that by opening a new user account on your computer, which will have its own set of cookies, unrelated to any of the other accounts on your computer. The other alternative is to use another browser that you have not used before for your new account, as cookies and flash cookies do not transfer between browsers.

About using your own name and address, I would not like to say, as it does not seem to set off alarm bells with ebay, if you have a problem with competitors, it could be a different matter, as they are not likely to change their hunt for anyone selling what they see as their product.
If you do not have another address or you are unable to obtain a PO Box, it may be the only way.

If you would like to find another address for bidding accounts, then look for empty places, or work places but they may have been used before, so be careful you do not get another sellers problems, if you have not protected yourself, as above first.

If you are opening several accounts on ebay, then make sure you keep good records of what is where. Possibly using some form of note book and/or a database style file, as it will get confusing, and mistakes can be annoying or even costly. Especially if like some claim you are operating around fifty ebay accounts.
I would also like to add do not leave opening new accounts to when things have turned bad, as you should be opening new accounts when things are OK, which will allow them time to mature, and you can always use them to buy the odd discount item that has been badly listed or from those silly buyers that continue to list when their stuff has been pushed back into no mans land

Try change as much as possible, and do not forget things like the backgrounds of your images, if you have a style, ebay is not likely to notice, but your competitors will. Plus ebay still may have the selection of idiots that search through listings just because they have no life and feel they are the lonely sheriff of ebay stalking the bandits. How their imagination must feel when they catch their VICTIM.

Once you are on, then start to build up slowly, as suggested by others, as if you suddenly start throwing on fifty items, then ebay will start asking you to prove everything, including that you have the stock. I heard one person claimed they had to have photographs of them holding the item with a newspaper.
If possible start selling a different stock, while you build up the account, and stay away from anything that could offer a VERO problem.

Others may also suggest hunting down low cost items to build your feedback before selling, that is your choice but there does seem to be a lot of feedback hiking bumf still left on ebay even after they removed the e-books, those little trolley coins were abundant the last time I checked. You really think they send them through the post????

I have also heard some suggest that you open up several accounts, and list several items that will not sell, and then buy them yourself, giving yourself the five star feedback you deserve. This will keep your seller rating up, and if you keep this up it could be the difference between staying on in the future and being kicked again.
I would have thought ebay would have tried to stop this, but by looking at some of those sellers that are  doing it openly, using accounts that are so obviously the same person. This may just be them over bidding, while they are shill bidding their buyers but it does seem to happen a lot. I have noticed they tend to switch  items to private listings, as they do this and switch the buyer accounts to private feedback.

This is no way intended to be a fully fledged get back on ebay guide, so please go read the proper ones, I am just adding a little info, that may help as a supplement to those guides.

Although you may find it easy to get back on ebay, the same problems may arise and have you removed and back where you started, so please take the opportunity to try out the alternatives, if it be other auctions, or your own website. They are growing with more and more members and more and more sales every day, as ebay shrinks, and the fact they are not full of all the problems of ebay, then that growth will continue. So consider your long term plans and start to build your off ebay presence.

PS please don't tell the new breed of ebayer, and hopefully we can leave the scum with the organization that deserves them. Christ! that place is creating some strange people, buyers and sellers alike.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Ebay showing again how little they understand selling

'Misleading' eBay prices ad banned

The advertising watchdog has banned eBay from boasting its prices are a quarter cheaper than those in high street shops.

The ASA has banned eBay from claiming it is a quarter cheaper than high street shops

A poster advertising the popular online marketplace read: "Guess what? 25% cheaper than the high street on brand new items."

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld a complaint that the ad was misleading because it did not make the basis of the comparison - carried out for eBay by a third party company - clear enough.

eBay said that for each of 288 new products, the average price from recent eBay sales - including postal charges - were compared with an average of prices in stores such as Debenhams and John Lewis.

However readers, the ASA said, would take the poster to be an absolute claim that eBay was cheaper than all main high street stores for all new items, although there was not enough evidence to support this.

The rest of the story can be found here

Ebay are constantly telling sellers that use ebay what they can and can't do, yet they are struggling with simple tasks like advertising.

But for those that are selling through ebay auctions, I would really consider what type of customer they are trying to bring onto ebay.

Those that are selling BIN and enjoying those discounts that ebay are giving them, I am sure you now see what you are supposed to be doing with them. But I hope you realise if ebay is not your only selling venue, and that if they do get you to reduce your prices then you may as well kiss your other sales venues goodbye, as you are working for ebay to close down your other venues, and we all know ebay can be a jealous mistress.

And if you follow the link to the ebay FAQ you will see the new logo that ebay are bringing out, all for those that sell their items with free shipping and for good value, as shown in the image. You think I would be wrong to think the good value, may be 25% off?

I don't know, it really is starting to look like an ebay seller has to be like one of those monks, that wack themselves with whips, as you have to see the pain coming your way, whatever way you sell.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Ebay making more of a mess for sellers

Some have classed this as the long awaited updates, or changes. Personally I think it is just more evidence that the lunatics are running the asylum.

So what are these changes?

More of the same sort of misunderstanding who their customers are, as they try to give the "sellers customers" more, which I assume their thinking is, if they just give the buyer everything for free, then they will have to start using ebay.
They are still struggling with the concept that it is the seller they have to keep happy.
Make it easy and safe for the honest seller, and ebay will grow. If they keep following this insanity, then ebay will continue to shrink, and these changes are a long way from any changes in the right direction for the honest seller.

You can find the changes in this FAQ here for US or here for UK but be careful of the ebay wording most of it is in bong speak, as in pass me the bong dude.

A few new pages that your customers will not use and a new super bargain logo, but as the new pages are using best match and also have to be selected during a search then who will use them, so we may as well forget they exist.

Here is ebays view on what they are doing

So that eBay remains a thriving marketplace we need a close partnership with sellers like you so that we all give buyers the experience they expect. We’re continuing to invest in driving traffic and buyer loyalty, and we need your help to make buyers happy and keep them coming back to you.

For our part, we’re also taking steps to make it easier and more profitable for you to sell - including consolidating the changes that impact your business and giving you plenty of lead time to adapt.

These updates are scheduled to take place the week of 15th June 2009 and you have to laugh or you would cry.

The new Smart FAQ

What are Smart FAQs? This is a new free feature that draws on live information from your listings to answer the top 20 buyer questions before buyers reach you through the "Ask a question" or "Contact seller" links.

So maybe the customer is not going to get through to you at all. You really think the ebay buyer is going to buy that? They really do not know the ebay buyer.

And there goes a way to really kill off any new customers if you look at number three

Direct buyers to another version of the Smart FAQ page from which only existing customers (users who have already made a purchase from you) can click "Contact seller" from the FAQ page to send an email directly to you. This option is not recommended unless it's absolutely necessary for your business operations. Removing the ability for buyers to contact you directly can cost you sales and have a negative impact on Detailed Seller Ratings.
A question to that last line, so why add it if it is not recommended and could even impact a sellers detailed seller rating. You can just hear the yells in their office of "pass over the bong before I start on these ebay changes."

How ever for those of you setting up new accounts with a thousand names, this one may be a good one to stop the ebay messages, and force the buyers to contact your email, which you add to the listing. Maybe ebay created this with you in mind, as it saves you having to log in to ebay.
Also useful for those that wish to have info to their off ebay venues in their emails.
But what good does it do ebay or any normal seller that just wishes to sell on ebay.

Tracking in the MY ebay section is useful if they bother to tell the buyers that it is there this time, or if it is clearly visible. They have not had a good record of informing buyers of this sort of thing in the past.

The next in the list is Return Policy and handling times.

This is another of those pointless exercises on ebay, but for what it is worth, you basically have to make sure you select either you do accept returns or you don't accept returns, which if you use Auctiva to list, it is already forcing the selection, so not really a problem.
Why is it pointless? Due to the fact that any return policy you have is overridden by paypal, and soon will be overridden by ebay.

More postage mess coming

Now we all understand handling time but ebay have decided to step over the line again, and make the seller responsible for not just the handling time but also the time it takes your postal service to deliver the item, as you can see here.

How will delivery estimates be calculated? We calculate estimated delivery time based on your specified handling time and the estimated times provided to us by the shipping service. Delivery estimates are calculated as a range of days, not a specific date.

Now there is a reason I have pointed this out, as we skip the next few items in their list, as they have little to do with me and if you care, then go read it. But the next important part, as far as I'm concerned is the new eBay Resolution process.

It seems ebay are struggling to control those with merchant accounts or those taking other payment methods, throughout the resolution process, as if the person does not use paypal, then there is little ebay can do about any problem at the moment.
So what it seems they have decided to do is move the resolution process, that will include any payment made by the seller to ebay, rather than allowing paypal to deal with it.

There are several things you need to worry about with this, as ebay seem to be under the same impression that they have been under for some time, which is "buyer good, seller bad" using my best Frankenstein monster impression, as I am sure ebay employees must have to chant every morning, as they sit at their keyboards, possibly using their best Frankenstein monster impression..

When can buyers contact eBay about a transaction? eBay Customer Support will be available for buyers at any time to answer transaction questions. In many cases, this will save time for sellers, because our Customer Support agents can answer basic questions that otherwise would have gone to the seller.

Seems a step toward taking the seller out of the loop, or they are board, as sellers are no longer wasting their time contacting customer support.

I have found one positive so far though, but not really

What if the buyer never paid for the item? Can they still call eBay with a dispute? Buyers are welcome to contact eBay for any reason. However, eBay will not permit claims when the buyer has not paid the seller.

At least that will stop those NPBs from playing their retaliation game on sellers, although how will ebay know if they have paid for an item or not, unless you only accept paypal payments.

That problem seems to be a theme with ebay and these changes, ebay could be paying back a customer who has not actually paid for an item, and then taking the money from you.

This one should also panic all those trading on ebay

Would eBay ever settle a case with a buyer without first contacting the seller? eBay may decide to refund the buyer before contacting the seller, but in all cases the seller will have five business days to respond to a claim. If a seller successfully settles the claim and the buyer had already been refunded, eBay will absorb the cost of the refund.

Is it me or is this just a little too much of that bong talk, as this really does not make sense, unless they already have the system set up to forget to inform the seller, when they feel like it.

Now another that you should worry about, even though it is worded oddly.

What if the item is still in transit when the buyer contacts us?
If the item is still in transit, eBay will consider the delivery estimate in the listing. If tracking indicates that the item should arrive within the delivery estimate plus a reasonable amount of additional time (3 days in most cases), the buyer will be told to wait and the seller will not be held accountable. If tracking indicates that the item will arrive outside this timeframe or is lost in transit, the seller may be held accountable. The same proof of delivery criteria apply to cross-border transactions.

In other words if the post office delay the delivery of your item, then the buyer will be refunded, and you will have a strike on your account, if your postal service loose the parcel and you have a customer with the brains of a nat, then you end up with a strike.
Also added from a pink on the ebay board, if the money is refunded and the item turns up, ebay will not request payment until the buyer contacts ebay to let them know that they have the item. And how many of the new breed ebay buyers are going to bother doing that.

So the basics of the above are if there is anything in the pipeline that will delay your postal service, such as bad weather, strike action, or anything else, then stop selling, as you are going to be blamed for their delays, as with the last UK postal strike.

For those that like that free stuff there is probably a few good ways to use this. One off the top of my head is do not be in when the item is to be delivered, do not request redelivery until the third day and try get your postal service to deliver on the fifth day. Or how about requesting all your packages go to your local post office or PO box, and they are not marked as collected until you pick them up. If the seller does not deliver to a PO Box, then just pay the small fee to your postal service to have your mail forwarded to a PO BOX.

Or the easy one, if they really do plan on acting like paypal, make sure your payment is an e-cheque, or take your time paying for the item, how much you betting that ebay are not going to look at when the item was paid for.

One good thing I have noticed is this

If a seller successfully appeals a dispute will Buyer Satisfaction Ratings be affected? When eBay decides a seller is not at fault for a dispute, the seller's Buyer Satisfaction Rating will not be impacted.

Which is better than the current system, where a seller is guilty until proven innocent.

And this one would be funny if it was not so damaging to sellers.

What can sellers do to protect themselves from buyer abuse? Sellers should report buyers who are abusive, either by contacting eBay Customer Support or by following eBay's process for reporting inappropriate behaviour.

We all know to take that with a pinch of salt, ebay will listen to what we say, yeah right and I am out hunting flying pigs in the morning, with a pea shooter.

For the Ebay UK there are a few changes that I think are basically ebay pushing that free postage scam they are trying to push on your customers. So check through them as they are going to force free shipping in several categories.
And if anyone from ebay is reading this, please look in my link section there is a link to a website called free shipping org ( Nip onto that site and see how the professionals offer free shipping, before you run your sellers into the ground.

The rest is basically the move of shipping labels to ebay, rather than having to use paypal, as you do now.

So what do I think of all this?

A lot of the changes are part of ebays plan at removing paypal from the complaint procedure, as stated above.

To be honest, the rest is really not that great either, as always with ebay, they just show how little they understand their own market place or any market place, as they make it more dangerous for the seller, who pay their wages.

You really need to start finding alternatives, as I think, ebay has gone so far out of the field, that even if they could work out how to get back, I doubt it will ever be what it used to be, as they are not only destroying the market place that was once ebay, they are also destroying the users that were once proud to be ebayers.

The new breed of buyer and seller is like nothing we have ever had to face from ebay in the past, as they have no pride in ebay, the market place or care for other users. They seem to have brought in a mass of scummy or powerless people that use the person they are dealing with as a punch bag to make up for what they are lacking in face to face confrontations.
Ebay is making their venue a place for the scum now so please lets get gone before they spill out into the other places we use, as something else I have noticed on ebay due to all these changes that the more unscrupulous a seller is then the more successful they are becoming, as they are willing to attack other sellers with no concern, and are very willing to shill bid up the price of their items without worrying about it, if they win it, then they just give themselves five stars and it is one less they have to do later, as that seems to be a normal thing for these sellers.

Most of the other changes are set up for BIN Sellers and they will already know about them.