Print 46 comment(s) - last by Spivonious.. on Aug 22 at 11:16 AM

Ebay hopes that by shuffling its priorities it can compete with Amazon and others

It’s hard to argue with’s success in carving out a large portion of the online sales market; much of it out of the waiting hands of eBay.  Some of these gains have been eBay's fault, experts say, as eBay managed to alienate its sellers through a series of rate increases and policy changes.  Some, however, say that busy people just can't keep up with online auctions, and over time the sales approach is falling to instant fixed-price sales.

In the past, sellers could elect to designate an item as "Buy It Now", but this typically carried heavier fees.  Now eBay is overhauling its fees structures to change this.  Under the new system, which goes into effect in mid-September, sellers will be able to list "Buy It Now" or “Fixed Price” items for only 35 cents for listing that range up to a 30 days in duration.  This will also extend the amount of time the items are on site.

Another big change, which affects buyers, is that they will have less payment options.  Buyers can no longer pay with checks, cash, or money orders; a move designed to curb fraud.  Users must now pay with a credit card, debit card, or eBay's subsidiary PayPal.

Though some buyers may perceive the new policy as buyer-unfriendly, eBay CEO John Donahoe says that move is quite the contrary.  Experts are reticent about eBay's moves, but agree change is needed.  Scot Wingo, chief executive of the market research firm ChannelAdvisor states, "Buying online has changed.  Retail sites no longer make customers choose between convenience and price.  The current system puts eBay at a disadvantage."

Lorrie Norrington, president of eBay Marketplace, which includes the eBay site, admits, "Clearly there’s a strong buyer preference for fixed price.  We love the auction model.  It’s still a great model for certain types of sales."

Many sellers are praising the move.  Rhonda Shrader, a maker of women's clothing from San Francisco says she already changed most of her items to fixed price, so the cuts are especially helpful.  She says today only 10 percent of her sales come from auctions.  She adds, "I think the auction was a novelty at the beginning, but now people want what they want, when they want it."

 Wingo commented that in the past there was opposition to fixed price sales at eBay, due to its auction roots.  He continues, "The previous management tried to fight it.  This management is more willing to ride along with it."

The changes come just before the holiday shopping season in which eBay hopes to turn around slumping growth and show off a strong performance.

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By whickywhickyjim on 8/21/2008 12:59:22 PM , Rating: 5
Buyers can no longer pay with checks, cash, or money orders; a move designed to curb fraud. Users must now pay with a credit card, debit card, or eBay's subsidiary PayPal.

This means that the casual seller has no choice but to accept paypal - many casual sellers don't have the ability to accept credit or debit.

Ebay is officially over for me.

RE: Bye
By jjunos on 8/21/2008 1:08:44 PM , Rating: 1
Getting a paypal account is trivial, and linking that to an empty bank account is simple too. Sure, having other paypal competitors would be nice, but they would have the same level of entry as paypal.

Removing the opportunity for fraud I think is a positive step. From one who's been conned before, I am glad to see the removal of checks/money orders as payment options.

Paypal at least gives you options.

RE: Bye
By Brandon Hill on 8/21/2008 1:10:54 PM , Rating: 5
If gives you the option of being attacked with fees THREE TIMES.

1) Insertion Fees
2) Final Value Fees
3) PayPal Fees

At least if sellers were able to accept a Money Order, they'd be able to dodge PayPal fees which can get pretty expensive.

RE: Bye
By Spivonious on 8/21/2008 1:18:20 PM , Rating: 4
Don't forget Buy-it-Now fees, reserve price fees, picture fees, etc., etc.

RE: Bye
By 1frisbee1 on 8/21/2008 1:59:55 PM , Rating: 5
Don't also forget that Canadians who list in US prices get royally scammed by paypal ridiculous exchange rates...

RE: Bye
By siberus on 8/21/2008 3:47:13 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah their exchange rates are ridiculous..

RE: Bye
By dreddly on 8/21/2008 8:50:32 PM , Rating: 2
Not only that, but under this new system shouldn't ebay be forced to show local prices in the amounts they will be under the Paypal exchange rate system?

As it is now, they show you the current exchange rate's value of your item, but as far as I can tell paypal's exchange rates are both ridiculous and hidden....

RE: Bye
By tastyratz on 8/22/2008 10:33:44 AM , Rating: 2
What they should do if they were smart, is allow more payment systems. Instead they are greedy and want maximum profit even if it drives away all of their sellers. Imagine if they allowed google checkout? Ebay would likely flourish again far more than it is - even if they make a little less on each sale.

This is not a move to help people by avoiding fraud, this is to increase their bottom line by not allowing cash/check payments in auctions. While craigslist is the best location for local sales - many items are purchased and sold on ebay with the option of local pickup. Would you bother with paypal when your physically visiting the seller? This will hurt large item local pickup sales. I think cash/check/money order sales should still be allowed but they should put a few more red flags and notices to buyers.

People are aware of the risk. Its obviously less convenient but paypal has screwed so many people it retains the paypal haters on ebay.

How does this extend to ebay motors? Are you going to now be expected to send a $10,000 payment through paypal for a private seller used car for example?

RE: Bye
By tastyratz on 8/22/2008 10:36:42 AM , Rating: 2
p.s. I also forgot to mention:
This prettymuch spells the end of almost all of their "mature audiences" listings. Paypal was banned from use in mature audiences awhile ago (since we all know paypal has SUCH integrity as a wholesome caring company) This leaves credit card sales only, and that means nobody but large sellers can use it.

RE: Bye
By jjunos on 8/21/2008 2:08:54 PM , Rating: 2
True, I was never implying that paypal was the best choice. Obviously, if we could simply exchange cash for merchandise, it would be great.

But with money orders/cheques, there are no fallback if you are conned. Sure you pay fee's but at least Paypal offers you some security.

RE: Bye
By 16nm on 8/21/2008 10:39:58 PM , Rating: 3
if we could simply exchange cash for merchandise, it would be great.

You can.
Fees: $0.00
Knowing you won't have to mess w/eBay: priceless

RE: Bye
By jjunos on 8/22/2008 12:15:37 AM , Rating: 2
Craiglist is awesome for local things (and if you can find what you want local, there's no better way), but Ebay is an entirely different beast. While they do overlap in a lot of areas, until craiglist creates more of a global element to their site, I don't know if you can easily compare the two.

Just my 2cents.

RE: Bye
By mm2587 on 8/22/2008 12:49:55 AM , Rating: 3
craigslist's global element

"thing you want"

RE: Bye
By whickywhickyjim on 8/21/2008 1:33:12 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry to hear that you got scammed. I never meant to imply that paypal was difficult to use. I just had a very bad experience with paypal and simply refuse to ever use the service again, on principal. And I'm not alone in this regard. Money Orders were slow, but worked fine for me - even for international stuff. If I ever received a phony money order that I couldn't cash (never happened to me), I wouldn't have shipped out an item as a seller. And I never dealt with checks - I've heard enough stories about checks bouncing. Now that I can't accept or buy with money orders, I won't be doing anything on ebay.

RE: Bye
By jjunos on 8/21/2008 2:14:37 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I've had both positive and negatives with Paypal too. Don't get me wrong, I seriously wish there was a better venue for paying for this stuff without the large fees.

I think the money order has more to do with the people buying. If you send a money order to a seller, there is no way of ensuring you'll receive your bought item. A money order is basically the same thing as sending money in the mail. Once the other party has it, you can't do much. At least with Paypal, there are some securities.

The real question is, how can you make it better? Creating an escrow style payment puts the onus on the buyers to be honest. Money orders put it on the sellers.

RE: Bye
By Screwballl on 8/21/2008 3:35:09 PM , Rating: 1
Fairly new company that is an official bank and not some scam like Paypal:


RE: Bye
By Golgatha on 8/21/2008 3:59:33 PM , Rating: 4
It would be nice to have an option like Google Checkout. Oh wait, eBay doesn't give you that option since it violates their TOS. Looks like Amazon is going to get the lion's share of the fixed price business (like they didn't have it already).

RE: Bye
By Spivonious on 8/21/2008 1:11:45 PM , Rating: 2
Totally agree. I now have no choice but to get hit with Paypal fees if I want to sell something.

What was wrong with checks/money orders? Sellers can't get scammed, since they have the item, and buyers can't get scammed because they can get proof that the check/money order was cashed.

This move is a lot like preventing sellers from leaving anything but positive feedback - stupid.

RE: Bye
By jjunos on 8/21/2008 2:19:38 PM , Rating: 3
It's the buyers who get scammed.

If you look through the ebay forums, or some news sites at times, you'll see many examples of this. Usually an auction goes up for some really hot commodity. Seller has a 70-200 positive feedback. Selling X items at $Y, only money orders.

Then months down the line when your bought item hasn't shown up, you have no recourse.

Paypal at least ensures the identity of the person. (Well, I should say *should*...paypal isn't exactly perfect either).

RE: Bye
By Spivonious on 8/21/2008 3:40:40 PM , Rating: 2
So I send money via Paypal and months later the item never shows up. If I'm outside of the window (60 days?) I'm in the same position.

This move just seems like Ebay wanting more money (since they own Paypal now).

RE: Bye
By jjunos on 8/21/2008 3:56:23 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you entirely. Ebay is definitely looking for other revenue streams. Again, I'm not trying to promote specifically Paypal, but I am trying to remove the idea that money orders are safe.

In your example, it is true, you are in the same position either way. But at least with paypal, if you have not resolved your issue within the time frame, you have another avenue to go down (Paypal claim resolution). With money orders, you have ZERO opportunities to get your money back the second the buyer receives your payment.

RE: Bye
By Spivonious on 8/22/2008 11:16:22 AM , Rating: 2
Ebay can't help get your money back, but you can obtain proof that it was cashed and take that evidence to the police. I've heard stories of people calling the cops local to the seller and having them pay him a visit. Just because you have to put some effort in doesn't mean that money orders are a lost cause.

RE: Bye
By VoodooChicken on 8/21/2008 1:16:42 PM , Rating: 2
I understand checks, and to a lesser extent cash, but money orders or even certified checks should be valid tender. Sellers don't ship until they have received payment, not notes for payment (checks, money orders). If there's a problem when they cash the check, the buyer won't get their item. It's so easy this day to confirm identity and location of honest buyers and sellers so I don't see what the snit is.

RE: Bye
By Donkeyshins on 8/21/2008 5:19:26 PM , Rating: 4
Buyers can no longer pay with checks, cash, or money orders; a move designed to curb fraud. Users must now pay with a credit card, debit card, or eBay's subsidiary PayPal.

Ummm...yeah. The only time I've ever had to deal with internet-related money fraud was when someone hacked my wife's PayPal account and was attempting to pay for and ship $1200 worth of camera equipment to Estonia.

We live in Washington.

PayPal security? Completely unhelpful. They are dead to me.

RE: Bye
By BruceLeet on 8/22/2008 7:02:38 AM , Rating: 1
Lol yeahh..about that, sorry. It was the latest Canon DSLR man you understannnd right? If it makes you feel any better, I wrote down 1200 IOU's

RE: Bye
By BruceLeet on 8/22/2008 7:09:07 AM , Rating: 1
And dont forget, its probably your were downloading some porns and you got da trojans ja? jajaja.

Very selfish to blame an 'elite hacker' when that trojan did what it was written to do, send your logins :D

Buyers don't like the Auction?
By Spivonious on 8/21/2008 1:13:55 PM , Rating: 4
Buyers don't like the Auction? Then why go to Ebay at all? The Buy-it-Now prices are always equal or higher to prices at a normal store.

By slashbinslashbash on 8/21/2008 4:49:07 PM , Rating: 2
Not necessarily true. There are plenty of people out there selling used goods on eBay for well below retail, even with their Buy it Now prices. I for one am not much of a fan of the auction format. There is too much variability and time lost... why would I want to keep track of 20 auctions just to buy one thing? I'd rather just pay a little more and get it for sure. I use BIN 90% of the time when I buy on eBay, and every time I sell something, I set a decent BIN price; looking at recently ended auctions for similar goods, I usually set my BIN price at the high end of the range, and more than 50% of the time the BIN option is used.

For new goods though, you're absolutely right.

slumping growth?
By Mitch101 on 8/21/2008 1:18:18 PM , Rating: 2
slumping growth?

Well I guess they are just forever going to ignore the number one complaint of ever increasing fees as being a problem and just find people who are willing to pay it and pay it through paypal. If it weren't for craigs list the word Monopoly comes to mind but then they own a portion of them and to show how bad they are they tried suing Craigs. Its time to start anew.

BTW: is officially launched

USA - Free Classifieds! Buy, sell, trade, book events and use any pay service you like Free.

RE: slumping growth?
By mpc7488 on 8/21/2008 9:33:44 PM , Rating: 2
Craigslist FTW. It rocks.

RE: slumping growth?
By Mitch101 on 8/22/2008 9:37:45 AM , Rating: 2
I like craigs list but if it hasnt been posted in the last couple hours its hard to find things.

They should stick to what they know...
By jskirwin on 8/21/2008 8:27:16 PM , Rating: 2

I don't get why Ebay has decided to become just another retailer, competing against Amazon and everyone else. What next? Are they going to come out with a search engine to take on Google or an Office suite to challenge Microsoft?

Auctions are what made eBay and set it apart from other sites. Bidding on auctions was fun - at least before sniping. If sniping is to blame, change the auction format - don't give up on it entirely.

RE: They should stick to what they know...
By mm2587 on 8/22/2008 12:57:15 AM , Rating: 2
Sniping doesn't bother me so much.

What gets me is when I get sniped out on a $200 item by 50 cents. My thought on ending sniping has always been that if you are outbid by less then the current bid increment. (what is that 5.00 on a 200 dollar item?) that you should have 24 hours to meet the next bid increment.

By JonB on 8/22/2008 9:13:09 AM , Rating: 2
We use an intranet online "Silent Auction" setup at work to raise money for United Way. To stop (actually, we benefit from it) sniping, the bidding stays open until the last bid is uncontested for a full 10 minutes. Some of our items sell for $800 to $1200 dollars, many times reaching that after the official closing time when the two or three serious bidders are sitting at their computers overbidding and watching the 10 minute clock. Many times, they will wait for 9 minutes before bidding, hoping their opponent will miss the bid while going to the toilet or stuck on the phone, etc... Your 24 hour period would be very cumbersome.

Separating Auctions From BIN
By DXRick on 8/21/2008 2:58:03 PM , Rating: 2
I think they should separate Buy It Now sales from actual auctions. I hate going to Ebay to see if I can get something (like a camera, CPU, or computer) and have to wade through the many BIN auctions to find the real auctions where I have a chance to get something cheaper than retail. The vast majority of BIN auctions for electronics offer items for more than legitimate e-tailors, like NewEgg and B&H Photo.

RE: Separating Auctions From BIN
By mapesdhs on 8/21/2008 4:32:05 PM , Rating: 2

I suppose eBay would say one has the option of using
the listing choices to only show normal auctions, but
it's very klunky, especially with the stupid new
"Best Match" system.

I use eBid for selling items. Though it has a smaller
user base atm and is not available in every country
yet, the fee structure is so much cheaper than eBay:

- No listing fees at all.

- An account used just for buying items is completely
free, no fees at all.

- Only a final value fee (normally 2%).

- If one chooses not to have a thumbnail image in
the search results people see, then there is NO fee
at all! Zero. Zip. Totally free auction.

- NO fee if an item does not sell.

- A one-off fee of just 1 UKP for a Featured auction
(shown at the top of results searches), ie. no final
value fee. I've listed a valuable item in this way:

If it sells, the savings compared the normal final
value fee will more than cover the 50 UKP one-off
cost of the lifetime Seller+ account.

The eBid forums are full of people who are ex-eBay
users. I still buy things on eBay, but I only sell
items on eBid, which btw has its own electronic
payment service ( that unlike PayPal is
indeed properly regulated. PayPal is not a bank, your
money is not protected. I've been scammed on eBay,
it took months and more than 55000 words in emails
to get my money back, and then only by threatening
legal action. eBid does offer PayPal as a payment
method too, but one can use Google Checkout instead,
or the normal methods of cash, transfer, etc. See for the full horror story about
PayPal, and also see the post on the Wall Street
Journal page from the former PayPal employee:

It is titled, "help with paypal from a ex paypal manager".

Like all auction sites, eBid has its own quirks and
issues of course, but as its user base grows and it
supports more locations I think it'll become much
better than eBay for those who want to list normal

There are lots of other alternative auction sites
though (shop around), while some sellers have
switched to sites which specialise in the kind of
item they wish to sell, eg. musical instruments.

I know small-business people who've closed their eBay
account because the fees they were paying had gone
beyond 25%, while on news sites some sellers say their
fees are as high as 45%. People selling low-value
items are being hit particularly hard.

Why eBay think forcing payment by credit card and
PayPal will cut fraud is beyond me though. The idea
is ludicrous, so I must conclude their real intent is
simply more revenue.


Time for MMC?
By lemonadesoda on 8/21/2008 5:55:57 PM , Rating: 3
Time for monopolies and mergers commission (Antitrust, Competition commission) to look into ebay, paypal, fees, etc. ?

Long time user
By CyberHawk on 8/21/2008 6:19:44 PM , Rating: 3
And never used paypal. I can not believe this. I'll just quit.

I think there will be a hell of a lot of people leaving.

Ebay blows
By wills916 on 8/21/2008 5:27:52 PM , Rating: 2
I used to go to ebay when I wanted to sell something, or if I wanted to take my chances buying something on the cheap or used. Now they're only catering to businesses that use ebay to sell, and if I want to buy from a legitimate business, I'll go to amazon, or newegg, or the kajillion other retail sites out there. The onesy twosey sellers like myself ebay pisses all over. I hope this move, along with the other stupid moves they've been making, and likely will continue to make, will put them out of business so one of the less greedy competitors can rise up and create a place like ebay USED to be way back. but without the gay colors...

By bigboxes on 8/21/2008 5:43:11 PM , Rating: 2
I know I stopped using them a year ago. Not worth the hassles. Kind of like AOL. At one time it was an American icon too. Things change.

By Phlago on 8/21/2008 6:41:59 PM , Rating: 2
The corporate greed machine keeps on churning ... They killed those who made them moons ago. There are multitudes of alternatives out there. I use myself and it works well for me. Due to feebays over comercialism, I have abandoned them, as they have I, and would never look back at the beast.

whats wrong with Paypal?
By uallyn on 8/21/2008 9:14:32 PM , Rating: 2
So many sellers don't want to use Paypal but don't seem to understand that you pay for the credit card machine as well, and it's usually per swipe depending on which credit cards you want to accept. I think Paypal is a cheaper method all around as opposed to paying for a credit card terminal.

no cash???
By mm2587 on 8/22/2008 1:03:47 AM , Rating: 2
I don't understand how removing the option to pay in cash reduces fraud?

If you go pick up an item (say the stereo receiver I bought last week) and hand the seller cash, (Say a fifty dollar bill) Where is the potential for fraud? I just don't think realistic counterfeit money is within the reach of many ebay scammers

oh wait but if I go pay cash for an item then paypal and/or the credit companies don't get any money. That's the definition of fraud right?

thanks for watching my back ebay :rolls eyes:

By steamboat75043 on 8/21/08, Rating: 0
By aurareturn on 8/21/08, Rating: -1
RE: Grammar
By HsiKai on 8/21/2008 5:02:29 PM , Rating: 1
You mean "poor."

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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