Specializing in postcards and antique photographs

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Our eBay day

Today was the first of the month after a 3 day weekend, so it was a busy eBay day.  I had several items to package up & ship off, I had to start up a new spreadsheet for June, and figure out final final totals for May, in addition to the normal listings and eBay related housework type activities we do every day. 

May was officially our worst month of 2010, beating out February for that honor by a healthy margin.  This was caused by a combination of eBay's "lowest fees ever" costing us $75-80 a month more than before, and moderately lower sales.   It's not as if we didn't have any sales - we sold things and received money for items every day of the month. And we did make a profit for the month. But sales were down.

There are a lot of unhappy sellers on eBay right now.  I keep up with various eBay discussion boards, auctionbytes.com and other news items about eBay.  Sometimes I learn something, but most of the time it is people posting who are very upset about something. 

Sometimes they have a point - eBay customer service is terrible to the point of non-existent.  If you have a problem and you can't figure it out, you're pretty well SOL.   That's my biggest beef anyway.  Other times it devolves into the same people complaining about the same things. 

Some sellers say their sales have dwindled to almost nothing since the change in the fee structure and especially change to eBay search on March 31st.  We actually did a little better in April than in March, even with the higher fees.  May was a different story, however.

Up to this point, and I consider it unfortunate, we haven't found anything that works as well as eBay.  We've tried other sites, and will continue to try other sites, but so far our sales on non-eBay sites are beyond dismal.  We've kicked around the idea of developing our own website, but so far it's not go out of the kick around stage.

I personally am not as upset about things eBay-wise as some people I've "heard tell" of.  I do have some cynicism tho, and I do fear that their direction is to become an outlet for huge fixed priced online box stores, who sell the same old boring crap you can buy anywhere.  I fear at some point they will actively try to rid their site of sellers like us.  I guess when I think about it objectively, I can't blame them.  It's all about money.  The pittance our little business provides them in fees, the pittance that would be so important to us if we could keep a bit more of it, is nothing to a large corporation.  They can make a lot more money from a huge online box store that sells the same stuff every other huge box store sells.   I'm sure the mega-store "Buy", (buy.com off-eBay), provides eBay more in fees in a day, than we do in a year.  Probably more in a few minutes than we do in a year.   Who would turn that down?

But even if the goal is to gravitate toward these large sellers, what does a large corporation gain from making things more difficult for hundreds of thousands of small sellers?  Money from small sellers adds up, collectively.  So, I don't understand, and I'm not entirely sure that is what they are doing.  A lot of people are absolutely convinced that's what they are doing though. 

Anyway, until they make it impossible for us to make a profit, I guess we'll keep selling.  It's been a long time since we actually lost money in a month.  Hopefully June will be better.

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