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eBay sellers generally happy with the auction site

June 29, 2005

According to many sellers present at the 'eBay Live in San Jose' convention last week, and despite higher store and listing fees demanded on the eBay auction site earlier this year, the general feeling among sellers appears to remain fairly high.

"eBay Live" attracts mostly sellers and auction fanatics, but the people we spoke with offered some honest insights as to how they feel about eBay, how it's benefited their businesses and how they'd like to see the online marketplace giant improve.

The owners of AuctionInn, a marketing services company that markets and sells goods and services for nonprofit organizations, individuals, businesses, and manufacturers, mostly agreed that those who complained about the store fees rising from $9.95 per month to $15.95 were those who weren't prepared for changes in the marketplace.

"It's a dynamic marketplace," said Nathan McLaughlin of AuctionInn.

"For all those who lost revenue (because of the changes), we gained. You have to look at how you're doing business and adapt. We knew about the changes months before. Our business has been growing every month."

AuctionInn started roughly a year and a half ago, but each of its employees are seasoned sellers.

However, Mike Taylor, also of AuctionInn, said eBay raising its rates as "little" as it did hurt the company's stock more than anything and wasn't worth it.

"It allowed other companies like Overstock and Yahoo to come in. They wouldn't have gotten a foothold otherwise. For only a few dollars, it wasn't necessary," he said.

As for what changes these Power Sellers would like to see from eBay in the near future, the folks at AuctionInn agree that the company needs to improve its reporting features.

"Reporting is the biggest hurdle," said McLaughlin. "There are a lot of inaccuracies with fees and also having services work together seamlessly. They're aware of it, though. On the other hand, a lot of eBay problems create new businesses. eBay is really just a mediary."

"They have no problems accurately billing us, but when it comes to telling us how much we made, it's another story. But, I think, it's a result of their growth," added McLaughlin.

"There are small problems I'd like to see fixed," said Ron Matthews, also of AuctionInn. "There's still a problem integrating with PayPal and their management tools. I'm a customer service guy and I think the feedback system is poor. We're guilty until proven innocent and that can hurt us."

David Alford, owner of Have WiFi Will Travel, opened his own eBay Store six months ago and also has his own Web site selling various wireless networking accessories like the popular wireless hot spot locators. He says he's had nothing but positive experiences with eBay during the past few years.

"I've been a member since 2000 and I've bought and sold some things. I decided I wanted more of a presence (on eBay)," he said. "I started small and came here to see how to grow."

Alford said he's excited about the new ProStores e-commerce Web hosting from eBay, since it will actually save him some money.

"My site is on SpeakEasy. It looks like they (eBay) will be able to do it for about half of what I pay now," he said. "I get the same (domain) name."

Alford said, overall, he's happy with eBay, despite the occasional con artist he comes across, although, he does a few minor complaints.

"One negative is that they nickel and dime you with all the fees. Some things are free, some aren't. There's not much in the way of security problems, although I do get the occasional bum who doesn't pay. But, I'm pretty happy so far. I'm an unemployed IT guy, so I started my own company. I realized things were becoming more eBay-centric," he said.

As for his experience at eBay Live!, Alford says he's glad he signed up.

"I've learned a lot, what's available and how to make my shop look more impressive. I'm impressed by the number of Power Sellers here. I see most people pretty happy with eBay," he said.

Source: eCommerce Guide

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