Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Crystal Ball updated!

Something Wicked This Way Comes?

For a glimpse of what may be coming soon to an eBay near you it pays to keep up with news on the other side of the pond. eBay UK has told sellers with IDs incorporating website or email addresses to change them by October 2nd, no more grandfathered in, you WILL re-brand right before Christmas. Read all about it on Buildaskill BizBlog.

Italy killed stores this spring, eBay UK is following suit with the end of what they charmingly call Shop Inventory Format September 24th. Shops or Stores still exist although one has to wonder to what purpose below Anchor Level. Presumably eBay is hoping basic stores sellers are not good at math.

Please note: I have roughly translated pounds sterling to $US at a rate of $2 per pound.

To be fair, it is not all one way, the UK will loose the 30c gallery fee site wide and stores subscribers receive a 50% Insertion Fee discount for the new Buy It Now format from the $0.80 Insertion Fee charged to non Stores subscribers.

Essentially, to retain any brand visibility UK store owners are being 'encouraged' to upgrade to "improved shops", translating to subscription increases from $12.00 a month to $30.00 at basic level, from $60.00 to $100 for a featured* store and from $600.00 a month at Anchor* level to a whomping $700.00. **Featured and Anchor Shops require business registration and compliance with other UK/EU regulations.

With the end of SIF in UK Shop owners will have the choice between having their old format listings ended or their listings can be converted to BIN. BIN listings will appear in search. * Qualifying that statement; shop BIN listings will have the same search visibility opportunity as any other BIN listing.

Hopping back across the pond My Blog Utopia! asks will it be feast or famine for eBay sellers in Q4? After reading this and Scott Wingo's eBay Strategies post on the new BIN in which he says

Since eBay started changing the finding experience with the introduction of BestMatch, sellers have lost more and more control over how their items show up. Buyers seem to no longer be going beyond the first page of results. The first page of results has 50 listings and sellers are limited to 10 items/page now so the BEST case is 20% coverage. The worst case is 0.

I should tell y'all at this point that I am not a guru like Scott Wingo, nor have I ever built a million dollar business like Randy. I am just an old broad who has been around the block a few times and went to school when reading writing and 'rithmetic were not electives. I got out of my eBay shares about even (after allowing for inflation) to buy something which pays a dividend.

Do YOU see what I see? Is this deja vu (disagreeable familiarity or sameness) all over again? Those stalwarts who are going to close their stores (talking USA here in case you are confoozed) and list 3000 SIF as BIN 30 are going to have about the same exposure as they did in stores with a more than 600% IF increase.

There are rumors that the red door store link does not work in the new non store item listing page if this is true we would appear to have innovated ourselves right back to pre red door days! Back then you rotated between 5% - 10% of your store listings as auctions with a link to your store in each listing. Would that work now? Your guess is as good as mine. Consultant Scott Pooler has some thoughts and questions.

To add to the gut churning uncertainty that is eBay today, more upper management shrinkage (#6), ominously the eBay Stores General Manager Eric Shoup has left the company and Chief Technology Officer Matt Carey moved to Home Depot. Matt Carey is the man a 2007 article referred to as "Donahoe's key partner".

As Mike who sent me the link said,
"Did someone at eBay finally snap out of it, take a look around then flee?" Are the rats leaving a sinking ship? Time will tell.

Y'all come back

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