Tuesday, January 18, 2005

EBAY FEE INCREASE EDITORIAL

On 18 Feb 2005 ebaY will increase fees on some of their sites,
including ebaY US, ebaY Canada, ebaY United Kingdom, ebaY
Australia, ebaY Spain, ebaY Netherlands, ebaY Switzerland,
ebaY Germany and ebaY Austria. We have provided some
info on the increases for the ebaY US, CA, UK and AU sites.
Please visit the appropriate announcement boards if you need
information about the fee increases on ebaY Spain,
Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Austria.

**********
ebaY US is once again raising its fees to sellers, with many
increases in the 50 to 100% range. This fee increase is not
surprising since ebaY wants their stockholders and
potential stockholders to continue to buy ebaY stock, and fee
increases look good to stockholders. ebaY wants the public to
keep buying stock, so that the ebaY insiders can continue to
cash out their stock holdings. In 2004 ebaY insiders
cashed out $7,846,507,701.00 in stock (yes folks that is
7.85 Billion in the pockets of ebaY insiders). This is nothing
unusual, as ebaY insiders have been cashing out their stock
as fast as they can, since they were first allowed to do so.

For more insider info -
Major Stock Holders
http://finance.yahoo.com/q/mh?s=EBAY
Insider Transactions
http://finance.yahoo.com/q/it?s=ebay

As usual, the ebaY boards and chat boards across the online auction
and trading industry (OAI/OTI) are filled with outraged sellers
screaming about the price increases. Once again we will repeat
what we at TAG have been saying for the past 6 years. What
sellers can't be made to realize, is that the power to change the
industry rests with themselves, as ebaY will charge the sellers
whatever the sellers ALLOW ebaY to charge them. All it takes is for
sellers to move a sufficient number of listings to other OAI/OTI
sites, and break the ebaY monopoly. The buyers will follow the
sellers. If sites other than ebaY have what the buyers want, that
is where the buyers will go. If enough sites develop viable markets,
someone (Google?) will come along with an improved meta search engine
(the technology has been around for over 4 years to do this but was
never perfected) that searches all these sites, and updates in real
time, so buyers can search the net for items they want,
and sellers will be free to list wherever they want.

Petitions, one day "strikes", boycotts etc are all useless
and foolish. They have no impact on ebaY and do nothing to
expand the industry. So far they have all failed, and done
nothing but reinforce ebaY's arrogance. ebaY will sit back and
let the sellers moan and groan about the increase, maybe even
make some small concessions, and then go about
their business, confident that the sellers will NOT act to change the
industry. ebaY will continue to raise fees as long as the sellers
knuckle under and pay the fees. What will change the industry,
is sellers selling on what we at TAG call VOTE sites (venues other
than ebaY).

Here is what sellers can do to change the face of the OAI/OTI
permanently, which will mean more competition, hence lower
charges to sellers, and better customer service for
those who use OAI/OTI sites.

As individuals ˆ Build your own website and use it as the hub to
link to places you sell online. There are many very inexpensive
web site hosts, and most ISPs provide free server
space for web sites. Search Google for page templates, learn basic
HTML (many sites are available online to teach the basics for free),
use a site that has templates, or hire someone to build you a
simple site. Get your site indexed on Froogle. This is free, and
you can sign up here - http://snipurl.com/c27j Email every past
customer, thanking them for their business and telling them
where you are currently listing and offer them incentives to buy
from you from your website or from the VOTE site(s) you are using.

As organized groups ˆ there are lots of OAI/OTI chat boards, on
ebaY and off, and frequent communication between sellers of
same or similar items. Start a chat group OFF ebaY, such as on
Topica.com, Google Groups or Yahoo Groups, or on one of the
OAI/OTI bulletin board systems, and email sellers in your category,
inviting them to join your effort to move your entire category to a
VOTE site. Agree on a site, and have everyone participating email
all their past customers and tell those customers where the category
is now located. Put up a group webpage, and provide links to the
group member websites and VOTE site listings. As a group, you
can even pool some resources and advertise in a trade paper or
magazine for your category, or buy some banner ad space online.
Work together as a community and you will all benefit together as a
community.

You do not have to stop selling on ebaY. USE ebaY (as opposed to
letting ebaY use you) as a way to build your customer base. There
are ways to do this that are still ebaY legal, such as including
offers and incentives for purchases made on the VOTE sites you
are selling on, in every email you send out. Include your email
address prominently in every listing on ebaY, so potential buyers
can contact you directly, without having ebaY looking over
your (and their) shoulder. Encourage potential buyers to contact you
via email. Build opt in mailing lists of customers, via your emails,
and include incentives in your list mailings. Send a coupon in every
package you send out, offering incentives to customers who buy
from you either from your website or from a VOTE site.

When you use ebaY, do not use the extras. List 7 day auctions,
don't use gallery, don't use BIN, and close your ebaY store.
If enough sellers do this, ebaY will have to back off these
fee increases. TAG still holds that gallery is now and has always
been a waste of money, and anecdotal evidence from sellers is
that when they stop using gallery, their sell through does not
change. ebaY has been very successful at brainwashing sellers into
believing whatever ebaY tells them is true, including that the world
of online auctions and trading only exists on ebaY. It is time the
sellers took control of the industry back from ebaY.

For those of you who are just going to moan and complain and once
again knuckle under anyway, who want to do something that makes
you feel as if you did not take this increase lying down, even if it
really means nothing, here are some links to petitions, and boycott/
strike sites.

Anti Fee increase petition -
http://www.petitiononline.com/ebayfee/

Boycott/Strike page -
http://www.nolistingday.com/
There are also posts about not listing 1-18 Feb 05.

Protest auctions -
http://snipurl.com/c2fz
http://snipurl.com/c2gc
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=6505708303

Rate Meg Whitman's performance -
http://www.forbes.com/2003/05/01/cx_ceointernetpoll.html

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VENUES OTHER THAN EBAY (VOTE)
************************************************************
Several of these are sites that have been around for a few years,
have stable working sites, with tools that give the seller the
ability to easily transfer feedback and/or auctions from ebaY
to their site. These sites have been dedicated to giving online
sellers alternatives, but have not had sufficient participation by
sellers to give buyers enough merchandise to look for. If sellers
move around 3 million listings to each of these sites, ebaY's
shelves will be pretty bare and the sellers will go to these sites
to find what they want.

There are hundreds of online auction and trading sites on the net.
Search Google if what you want is not in this list. These are the
ones with the most traffic (as far as we know) and the ones we
have heard about most frequently.

Here are a few VOTE sites listed alphabetically-

GENERAL MERCHANDISE ˆ

Amazon Marketplace ˆ Though Amazon also has auctions and Z-Shops,
they are a mere adjunct to their Merchant Marketplace, and much
marginalized by Amazon. The Amazon Marketplace is very dynamic
and provides sellers an ever expanding way to sell fixed price
merchandise. When a buyer searches Amazon for an item, the retail
item comes up, but links also come up to Merchant Marketplace items
new and used. Listing in the Marketplace is free. Final Value Fees
are 99 cents plus 6-15% depending on the item. Amazon has chat
boards and a toll free customer service number, though their CS
can be a frustrating experience for sellers.
Selling on Amazon - http://snipurl.com/c45c
Marketplace Overview - http://snipurl.com/c44r
Marketplace - http://snipurl.com/c44o
Marketplace fees and explanation - http://snipurl.com/c44w
Pro Merchant accounts $39.99 per month, includes free Z Shop, Free
Auction listings. 99 cent Marketplace fee waived and more -
http://snipurl.com/c453

Bidville.Com ˆ auction site has approx 3 million listings (though
it is more like 2 million real listings, since over a million
listings are sports cards and records listed by 2 or 3 sellers)
There are no listing fees, final value fees are reasonable and
can be found at http://www.bidville.com/help/newfsf.html
Bidville also has stores with a basic store fee at $5. a month and
final value fees for sold items. Other store fees and options are at
http://www.bidville.com/storefront/fees.html
Sellers can import their ebaY feedback number from their Bidville
Trackpal page, but there is no auction import tool that we could
find. Random spot check shows a sell through rate of approx 23%
The search engine leaves much to be desired in that it is slow, only
returns a max of 2,000 items, and often does not complete the
search but gives a "timed out" message. Customer service is
believed to be responsive, and has good community boards.
http://www.bidville.com

ePier.Com - auction site has approx 145,000 listings. Full
feature stores (more like a mini website) have email and image
hosting, for $12.95/mo or $99. per year plus a final value
fee on sold items - http://www.epier.com/AdvancedStores/default.asp
There are no listing fees, final value fees are reasonable and can be
found at http://www.epier.com/pricing.asp
The search engine works fairly well as to speed, but we could not
get past auctions to show up, nor get the listings to sort. We were
not able to determine a sell through rate. ePier has a bulk upload
tool, but no import tool to move items from ebaY to ePier. In the
past customer service has been variable, as have the community
boards. http://www.epier.com/

iOffer.Com - negotiation site with approx 377,000 listing and
extensive wanted item section. Has good search engine, feedback
and auction import tool called Mr Grabber. Does not have
completed item information so no way to determine sell
through rate. Listing is free, stores are free, and the final value
fees are reasonable -
http://www.ioffer.com/help/feesNCreditPolicy.jsp?showTopBottom=false
Customer service is believed to be responsive, and has good community
boards. http://www.ioffer.com

Overstock Auctions - The newest site on the scene, this is a
general merchandise auction site, has approx 30,000 listings. With a
wide customer base for their Overstock merchandise, this company
is also doing the most advertising of their auctions. Overstock
has listing and final value fees that may be viewed at -
http://snipurl.com/c3gl
There is no completed item search but anecdotally sellers report an
approx 7% sell through rate. Customer service is good with a toll
free number to call for help. Chat boards appear friendly, with
Overstock personnel stopping by to help users.
http://auctions.overstock.com/

SellYourItem.Com - auction site, has approx 58,000 listings. Sell
through is at around 5%. Listing is currently free, and final value
fees are reasonable -
http://www.sellyouritem.com/SellersFAQ.html#cost
SellYourItem does not have stores, but does have an auction import
tool. Both customer service and the community boards are rated
very highly. The boards also include a board where users can post
items and get help from other users to identify what it is. The
search engine works well.
http://www.sellyouritem.com/index.html

Yahoo Auctions - auction site, has approx 200,000 listings. Sell
through is at around 10%. Yahoo Auctions has chat boards that
are ok. Their customer service is as bad as ebaY's, and that is
saying much. Their site generally runs very well, and has good
tools and features. http://auctions.yahoo.com/

NICHE SITES

ADULT/SEX/PORN/FETISH (Please don't look if you find this stuff
offensive)
4BidN - Brand new, only a handful of listings, currently no
listing or final value fees. http://4bidn.com

Naughty bids - 10 cent listing and final value fees -
http://www.naughtybids.com/faqs.aspx#
http://www.naughtybids.com/

ANTIQUE MALLS
TIAS - one of the oldest and best established online trading
sites (comes up 5th on Google search for antiques). Fixed
price stores $34.95 minimum price or 10% commission on
sales, whichever is greater. Can also upload items to auction
for a 2% commission (on top of auction site fees). See through
is unknown. Site claims over 570,000 listings. Programs are a
bit complex, for more info go to -
http://www.tias.com/makeashop/index.cgi?groupKey=1&page=fees.html

Ruby Lane - well established online trading site (comes up 12th
on Google search for antiques).. Fixed price stores Fee system
is complex, more info at-
http://www.rubylane.com/info/aboutshops.html#costs

AUTOMOBILES
AutoTrader ˆ $15. online classified ad, $27- $54. for combination
Ad in Auto Trader Magazine and on AutoTrader.com
http://www.autotrader.com/

CarsDirect - $25. to list a car For more details -
http://www.carsdirect.com/sell_cars/faq
http://www.carsdirect.com/sell_cars/home
http://www.carsdirect.com

BOOKS -
Abe Books ˆ Fixed Price listings, with monthly subscription fee -
$25 minimum, 8% final value fee and 5.5% charge card fee if you
don't have your own method of accepting charge cards.
http://www.abebooks.com/
Seller info - http://www.abebooks.com/docs/Sell/

AB Bookman - http://www.abbookman.com/
Auctions ˆ Currently completely free
http://www.abbookauction.com/auction/auction.asp
Books Wanted - http://snipurl.com/c4fi
Books fixed price listings- $10 minimum book value to list, 25 cent
fee for 90 days, currently no final value fee -
http://www.collectorsbookmarket.com/Mart/Mart.asp

Alibris - Fixed Price listings 20% final value fee on books $499. and
under. Seller info - http://sellers.alibris.com/why.cfm
http://www.alibris.com/

GUNS AND AMMO
AuctionArms No listing fee, final value fees are at-
http://www.auctionarms.com/help/fees.cfm
Approx 34% sell through. Lots of bids.
http://www.auctionarms.com/

PAGAN
ePagan - listing and final value fees are currently free
http://epaganauction.com/

eWitch - listing is free, 3.5% final value fee
http://www.e-witch.com/

AuctionWitch - listing is free, 2% final value fee
http://www.auctionwitch.com/

POSTCARDS AND EPHEMERA
Playle - 76,000 postcards, Ephemera, Stamps, Postal Covers.
Listing and final value fees with unlimited free relists in
postcards and other paper categories. Free listing in
Antiques and Collectible, Stamps and Postal Cover cats. Dealer
flat fee monthly packages. Sell through in the 30% range but
over 50% in some sub categories.
Fees - http://www.playle.com/accounts.php3
http://www.playle.com/browse.html

POULTRY/EGGS
EggBid - listing is free, final value fees 10% to 1.5%, 40% sell
through. Fees at -
http://www.eggbid.com/help/fee_schedule.cfm
http://www.eggbid.com/

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

TAGnotes Special Edition ebaY UK 5 Pence Promo on 6 Jan 05

The Auction Guild Notes Special Edition ebaY UK 5 pence
promo and other promotions 4 Jan 2005
************************************************************

THIS ISSUE -
************************************************************
EBAY UK 5 PENCE LISTING DAY 6 JAN 2005
************************************************************
EBAY US FIRST TIME SELLER PROMO 5-9 JAN 2005
************************************************************
EBAY CA FIRST TIME SELLER PROMO 5-9 JAN 2005
************************************************************
OTHER INFORMATION OF NOTE
************************************************************

MINSTHINS AUCTIONS End of Year CLEARANCE Sale. Everything
must go! Prices as low as 49 cents. Go where those in the
know go for great prices. http://www.minsthinsauction.com
************************************************************

PAYPAL'S ORIGINS EXPOSED IN "THE PAYPAL WARS"
An insider's account of PayPal's beginnings, and its clashes
with the Mafia, lawyers, and eBay! http://snipurl.com/bs0q
************************************************************

Wide variety of items in excellent condition, from a Patagonia
surfboard to digital equipment. Shop http://blujay.com/dustyseller
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Looking for reliable image hosting? Check TAG's image hosting
directory at - http://www.auctionguild.com/generic80.html
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This issue brought to you by the preceding ads, supporting TAG
through their advertising dollars. Please support them, by
clicking on or copy/pasting their links and buying their products.
TAG's advertising rates are at -
http://www.auctionguild.com/generic99.html

The complete TAGnotes archive can be found at -
http://www.escribe.com/business/TAGnotes/
Visit The Auction Guild Web Log at -
http://auctionguild.blogspot.com/

TAG does not endorse the companies or products advertised
9000 subscribers

************************************************************
EBAY UK 5 PENCE LISTING DAY 6 JAN 2005
************************************************************
On ebaY UK on Thursday 6 Jan 2005 between 00:00:01 GMT until
23:59:59 GMT, sellers listing in auction style, auction with buy it
now (BIN) or BIN only (fixed price) formats in an eligible category,
will pay 5 pence (£0.05 GBP) insertion fee.

Only listings in British Pounds Sterling on ebaY.co.uk will qualify
for the5p listing fee. Any item previously scheduled to go live on
Thursday 6 Jan 2005, will qualify for the 5 pence insertion fee
promotion.

If you relist an item on Thu 6 Jan 2005 that had previously closed
without a successful sale, the re-list will qualify for the 5 pence
fee. Excluded from this promotion are items listed in the automotive
(Cars, Classic Cars, Motorcycles or Other Vehicles) and real estate
categories, multiple item auction format listings (also known as
Dutch Auctions), identical listings that do not comply with
ebaY's duplicate listings policy, shops inventory format
listings, and listings scheduled to start after the promotion
has finished.

ebaY will only credit the basic listing fee. ebaY will charge all
other selling fees including final value fees, optional reserve price
fees and all listing enhancement fees such as "Bold" or "Highlight".
If the listing is listed in 2 categories, the insertion fee will be
5p times 2 i.e. 10 pence. PLEASE NOTE - If you revise a qualifying
listing created on 6 Jan at a later date, ebaY will charge the FULL
normal insertion fee, NOT the 5 pence promotional fee.

US sellers can participate if they list on the UK site and are
willing to ship to the UK and accept British Pounds Sterling, those
most or all buyers will probably come from the US.

http://pages.ebay.co.uk/sell/SWFLD06012005/

************************************************************
EBAY US FIRST TIME SELLER PROMO 5-9 JAN 2005
************************************************************

ebaY US is running a promotion for new sellers. ebaY will credit the
insertion and gallery free for the first three (3) listings. This
promotion starts on Wed 5 Jan 2005 at 00:00:01 PT (12:00 AM plus
one second) and runs through Sun 9 Jan 2005 until 23:59:59 (11:59 PM
plus 59 seconds). Listings created prior to Wed 5 Jan 2005 and
scheduled to start during the promotional period (January 5-9, 2005)
are eligible for the special offer. ebaY will not apply the credits
immediately and they will not be posted to the sellers account until
late February 2005. This applies to ebaY US and ebaY Motors
non-vehicle listings.

ebaY will still charge all other fees (including final value fees and
all other optional listing upgrade fees, such as bold, border, buy
it now, gallery featured, highlight, featured plus, listing designer,
gift services, subtitle, reserve, extended duration insertion
fees, etc.).

ebaY will not include motors vehicles, stores inventory listings,
live auctions, professional services, international and real estate
ad format listings in this promotion. The promotional rate does
not apply to listings revised during the promotional period. The
promotional rate also does not apply to listings created during
the promotion January 5-9, 2005, but scheduled to start after
the promotion ends.

http://pages.ebay.com/promo/firstlist05/?ssPageName=CMDV:AB

************************************************************
EBAY CA FIRST TIME SELLER PROMO 5-9 JAN 2005
************************************************************

ebaY Canada is running a promotion for new sellers. ebaY will credit
the insertion and gallery upgrades for the first three (3) listings
starting Wed 5 Jan 2005 at 00:00:01 EST (12:00 AM plus one second
on Wed 5 Jan 2005) and runs through Sun 9 Jan 2005 23:59:59 EST (11:
59 PM plus 59 seconds).

ebaY will not include motors vehicles, stores inventory listings,
multiple listings, dutch auctions and real estate ad format listings
in this promotion. The promotional rate does not apply to listings
revised during the promotional period. The promotional rate also
does not apply to listings created during the promotion January
5-9, 2005, but scheduled to start after the promotion ends.

http://pages.ebay.ca/promo/firstlist05/?ssPageName=CMDV:AB

************************************************************
OTHER INFORMATION OF NOTE
************************************************************
EBAY STOPS REVISIONS OF PROMO LISTINGS
************************************************************
In a ebaY move that TAG has long anticipated, ebaY is now preventing
sellers from doing revisions to auctions that are listed during a
promotion. For the first time, ebaY has stated that for the 5 Pence
promotion on ebaY UK, ebaY will charge the full fee for any item
revised once the promotional period is over. ebaY has had the
capability to do this for many years, but this is the first time they
have implemented it. To quote ebaY on this, "If you revise a
qualifying listing created on 6th January at a later date, you will
be charged the normal insertion fee, NOT the 5 pence
promotional fee." Is a similar move to be expected on ebaY US?

************************************************************
PAYPAL ALLOWING AUSTRALIA DOLLAR PAYMENTS
************************************************************
ebaY's PayPal is now accepting payments in Australian dollars on
PayPal.com. Australian users can now send and receive payments in
the local currency, eliminating the need to convert currency and pay
costly exchange fees for purchases or sales.

************************************************************
EBAY TSUNAMI RELIEF? OR MORE EBAY PROFITS?
************************************************************
Though ebaY is advertising ways for buyers and sellers to help
contribute to the Tsunami relief effort, these charitable
contributions appear to apply to everyone BUT ebaY. As far as we can
tell, ebaY collects all normal listing and final value fees, so make
their normal profits on all charitable listings. If you use PayPal,
ebaY gets the cut of that transaction also. Charitable listings
can be funneled through Mission Fish, who deducts an additional
processing fee.

For more info about Mission Fish and their ebaY giving programs go to
http://www.missionfish.org/Help/helpAboutMoney.jsp#fees

ebaY collects all normal listing and final value fees, so make their
normal profits on all charitable listings. If you use PayPal, ebaY
gets the cut of that transaction also.

For more info ˆ http://pages.ebay.com/tsunamirelief/index.html

TAG checked with PayPal to see if sending money to UNICEF through
PayPal was going to incur payment fees for UNICEF, and further
profits for ebaY and PayPal, or if ALL the money would go to UNICEF.
The customer service rep did not have an answer, but promised to
escalate this and get back with an answer in 48 hours.

************************************************************
OVERSTOCK AUCTIONS TSUNAMI RELIEF
************************************************************
Overstock Auctions is supporting a Tsunami Relief program. Sellers
can donate a portion of the proceeds from their auctions by listing
an auction as usual. When creating the auction, check the "Make This
a Charity Auction" box. Then select a percentage of the closing price
that you would like to donate to a tsunami relief fund, and choose to
donate to the American Red Cross, UNICEF, or Oxfam. Invoicing and
billing will occur as usual. ALL fees collected in association with a
charity auction will also be donated to the charity you selected.

http://snipurl.com/bs7u
***********************************************************
THE AUCTION GUILD
and eTRADERS GUILD
www.auctionguild.com
Not just a venue
877-SAFETAG
http://www.auctionguild.com
email us - tag@theauctionguild.com

***********************************************************
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