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eBay Blinks… New President of Global Marketplace Lowers Media Listing Fees and hints that DSR System May be Revised.

February 12th, 2008 by Skip McGrath

eBay drops listing fees by 50% in the Books, Music, Movies and Video Game software categories.

The new fees will take affect on February 20th.  I spoke to a few media sellers over the past two weeks and all of them were disappointed that the eBay listing fee cuts were not enough for their listing.

$0.01 – 0.99 (auction-style only)
Original Categories Insertion Fee: $ .20
New Media fee: $ .10

$1.00 – 9.99 (auction-style and fixed price)
Original Categories Insertion Fee: $ .40
New Media fee: $ .25

$10.00 – 24.99 (auction-style and fixed price)
Original Categories Insertion Fee: $ .60
New Media fee: $ .35

Typically media sellers run large numbers of listing and have a low sell through (conversion) rate. This makes the true listing fees higher than for most other products. The other factor is the new PowerSeller fee discounts for sellers with high DSR scores.  There is something about the media business, that seems to attract both more negative feedback and low scores -especially on shipping.  Many media sellers felt they were unlikely to see much in the way of discounts.

In the official announcement, eBay’s new president of Global Marketplace Operations, Lorrie Norrington said:

“We heard many of our sellers believe the shipping Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) needs to be re-examined. Also, we heard you when you said you wanted us to be transparent about participation in the PowerSeller discount program. Let me be clear: our goal is to improve the buyer experience so much that at least 50% of our PowerSellers qualify for discounts. We will run these changes as announced in Washington D.C., but we will closely monitor the data. If buyer trust in the marketplace is not improving as intended within the next six months, we will take action.

To stick with the changes we believe are right for the marketplace: We will proceed with our plans to evolve our feedback system and with the weighting of Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs) in search, as announced. They are both central to our plans and will aid in providing a great buying experience from sellers buyers can trust.

The way I read this eBay will re-examine the DSR system fee discounts in a few months and revise it if it’s not working. In other words, if listing and sales don’t increase they will change or scrap the program.  However, the bad news in this announcement is that eBay is ignoring the opinions of most sellers (and many buyers) and they plan to take a hard line on the feedback program.

Despite eBay’s intransigence, the feedback issue refuses to go away.  In the AuctionBytes survey of 1600 sellers, 99% of sellers said that the changes to feedback would have a negative impact on their business.  You can read the complete AuctionBytes survey here.

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