Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Why Buy From on eBay? Not for Value!

These days eBay is all about 'buyer experience' and eBay has a mission to provide a 'more retail like experience for our buyers'. Those quotes are both examples of Bayspeak from Stephanie Tilenius. Sounds good, but what does it mean? eBay is just a venue, unlike the highly successful Amazon which is a vendor as well as a venue. eBay does not source, sell or ship product but instead provides a platform or venue for vendors. Vendors do have buyers but for eBay to claim those buyers as their own opens up all sorts of very interesting legal implications, but I digress.

On May 2nd eBay was 'outed' by Randy Smythe on his blog My Blog Utopia and forced into hurried transparency on a done deal with As the cat romped among the pigeons eBay Smoke & Spin man Usher Lieberman Bayspoke:

“eBay is aggressively using price as a lever to improve the value and selection on Consistent with our goals, we have entered into a partnership with to bring their new-in-season merchandise onto We expect to learn a great deal from this partnership and we will build upon the results.”

"Improve the value and selection"

This caught my attention right smart! I like value! After a bit of a tussle (I like definition #3) using eBay's mah-vel-ous search I found sells under the user ID buy and also has an eBay store. The store has a small discreet banner saying "Welcome Ebay Customers!"

I picked an item about to end; a hardcover book History, Literature, and Society in the Book of Acts with FREE SHIPPING for a mere $110. Just thrilled to see it had no bids yet (item ended with no bids)I hustled over to Amazon where I found it for $92.10 also with FREE SHIPPING. Hmmmm. My buyers mind tells me that given an equal perceived value between vendors on this new book, at $17.90 less is the better value.

Undaunted by my abject failure to find value in this partnership I tried again. Maybe a nice new game for the kiddies at $9.99 but no free shipping on this one, add $5.20 S&H (which seems a bit steep for 9.6oz shipping weight) for a total price of $15.19. Over at Amazon I found the identical item from Amazon seller eToys, same price but only $3.99 S&H, a savings of $1.21. My perception of value says AMAZON!

Third time is the charm. My eye was caught by this totally unintelligible title "NEW OMNT 2 SHLF FLT PNL FLR STND UP - 50" PCK 2 BOXS" IT turned out to be an OmniMount STUDIO 4B 2-Shelf Flat Panel Floor Stand, and who'da thunk that! OK, Price $799.95 plus $150 S&H, total $949.95. Back to Amazon where seller TheFactoryDepot has the same item for $551.27 plus $198.81 S&H, total $750.08
This represents a $200 (21%+) savings over eBay's value.

We are not done yet. Google Shopping found the same item from ProDigitalMall for a stunning $484.85 plus $233.16 S&H, total $718.00 and this is a whopping $231.95 savings (almost 25%) over the eBay price.

Message to buyer: Do your homework, you will find better value selection elsewhere, and as a high value bonus you will not have to deal with eBay or PayPal, you can pay with Google Checkout.

Y'all come back and be sure to click VICTORIOUSLY on any interesting links in the sidebar!


Anonymous said...

Aloha Henrietta

I am not at all familiar with However, this latest post led me to believe that people should not shop on eBay at all (be it or and move over to the other channels. Honestly, I was hurt by this since I still sell on eBay and KNOW that my goods are priced incredibly well and have TREMENDOUS value.

I can understand your frustration and anger over recent events at eBay, but to lead shoppers some where else because of this frustration and anger is not right. I rely on my eBay sales; you know that. I sell high end, luxury goods. Places like Amazon are not open to me. eCrater, Wigix, Etsy, etc, are all too new and generally not known though their popularity is rising. These places still do not have the demographics for me to sell there successfully. Consequently, eBay is a very good place for me to peddle my wares successfully as it is for people like me.

"The pen is mightier than the sword." While I think it would be pointless for me to ask you to reconsider your position, I ask that you remember honest sellers like myself whose only chance of success right now is eBay.

Aloha nui
Anony Mouse

Hoardmeister said...

Dahling -

I have to agree with Anony Mouse a bit, although I love the sheer outrage of your stance. I am an honest seller, and many of my items are one of a kind. I am looking actively into other venues, but for the time being I am shackled to Ebay like a galley slave. (Under other circumstances that would be great fun, but not these.) Etsy is a lovely site, but its prices are so LOW. As a seller, I don't want to sell an item for less than I paid for it.

But keep up the good work. We need the outraged voices out here.