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eBay Kills Dutch Auctions and Extends Free Shipping Fee Discounts Through June

March 5th, 2009 by Skip McGrath

Are more fee discounts coming?

eBay announced they will be killing the Dutch Auction format effective in May.  Since eBay expanded and reduced fees on Fixed Price Listings, the Dutch auction format has been used less and less by sellers where it was once the favored  format for listing multiple items.  Sellers have until May to change their Dutch auction listings over to auction style or fixed price.

eBay also announced that Subtitle will also be free for all sellers who use free shipping and the double fee discounts for free shipping for PowerSellers will be extended until June.

In January when it was announced that eBay would extend their Power Seller fee discounts through March I opined that eBay has lost pricing power –a combination of increased competition from Amazon and other selling venues and the slowing economy.  Offering fee promotions is a smart move on eBay’s part because of the negative response that occurs whenever eBay raises fees.  This way if the economy starts to recover eBay can essentially raise fees by ending the discount promotion rather than announcing a fee increase. And if the economy doesn’t recover, they can just extend the promotion once again.

There may be something bigger about to happen.  It is no secret that many small and occasional sellers have been unhappy with eBay moves that promote large sellers.  eBay has been concerned about small sellers leaving for quite a while but has yet to really address the issue. Well, it may be now.  eBay often tests out ideas overseas before bringing them to the US. 

eBay UK has announced a new fee schedule for Private Sellers (non full-time business sellers) effective March 12th.  Items listed in the auction format at 99-Pence (about $1.40) are free – no listing fee.  And the Final Value fee schedule has been simplified to a flat 10%.  This is very interesting and I will be watching to see how it works out. I am not quite clear on what level someone goes from private to business seller but plan to look into that and will let you know as this develops.

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