eBay Sellers and Customers respond to changes…

… and boy are they ticked off.

Since the Antique Trader e-newsletter went out last Friday, Feb. 1, with the question about whether eBay, with its changes to sellers and final fees, as well as tweaking its feedback to disallow negative feedback on buyers, I have been overwhelmed with the responses. My inbox has been literally overflowing since early Friday and just slowed down last night. I have not counted the responses, but it is well more than 100 – I usually get 20 on a good week – and illustrates the passion that readers and eBay regulars are feeling in realtion to these moves by the auction giant. That, and the question is just now hitting newstands and subscribers.

As many of these as I can fit will be printed in the 2-20 issue of Antique Trader, and I will make sure the rest get onto the AT Web site and into the e-newsletter of 2-8. Some I can’t post in any instance due to the anger and language expressed… Let’s keep it clean, folks… I don’t want my dear old Ma and Pa to read this and get offended…

Here’s what I understand from the overwhelming majority of the responses:

eBay seems to be shooting itself in the foot, or as the old adage goes: “Don’t spit on my leg and tell me it’s raining,” which one reader wrote with a different metaphor for spit.

The companie’s loss of revenue and perceived competition, along with Meg Whitman’s resignations, have led to some abrupt changes in terms of those things listed in the question an d it seems that eBay is deliberately trying to squeeze out what it perceives as “small” buyers and sellers, or “mid-level” buyers and sellers. To me, this means anyone that buys and/or sells between $800 and $5,000 a year, give or take a few hundred or thousand.

There must be, literally, a million or two million sellers at this level and more buyers. These are the folks that are most at risk to be hurt and, cumulatively, I would imagine represent a great big chunck of cash for the eBay. Yet here they are, alienated and angry by abrupt changes made without explanation or ceremony. Trust me, the anger is palpable, and will drive people away from eBay – if they haven’t already bailed – and towards other already extant auction sites, or antique malls like Ruby Lane, where thet can deal in a setting that respects who they are, what they buy and – most importantly – what they spend.

Take note, eBay – if you read this – people are unhappy.

Perhaps this is part of the plan, to lost some business in order to gain liquidity an shift the business model elsewhere. Just as antiquers can’t forget what eBay has done for the business in the last 10 years, eBay should not overlook what antiquers have done for its business in the last 10 years.

All empires fall because they fail to change with the times.

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