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eBay's Imminent Collapse

Posted on February 5, 2009 by Zach

Recently, I've been trying to use eBay to sell some old electronics and other items I no longer have a need for (my new year's resolution this year).  However, I continue to ask myself why it seems like every facet of eBay has gone downhill?

Now, you have to understand, in my latter high school and early college days I was nursing an eBay addiction. The buying, the selling, finding great deals, and sniping were gripping.  It wasn't just me though, good times were had by all.  I got to sell items I didn't need and never had a problem finding buyers. Now however, I can barely sell an item on eBay, with most of my auctions being for used, in great condition electronics and accessories, I only seem to get a handful of bids. Not only that but it seems like the entire process has become more expensive and more complicated especially in terms of listing and selling items. No wonder it seems like people aren't buying from eBay, the process is an expensive convoluted one for sellers which directly affects potential customers. The purchasing process is cyclical. Sellers do better when they have more images, better quality data, a clean and user friendly interface, etc. eBay instead discourages sellers from implementing the above, if the seller wants to add an extra image, it's an additional charge, a cleaner template for listing is also an additional charge and so on.  A "good deal" only gets the purchaser interested, if you're lucky you will convert, but consumers are used to seeing high quality images from multiple angles, multiple checkout options, related products, product reviews, the list goes on and on. The lack of incentive for sellers to provide this information for consumers only furthers the lack of interest in purchasing through eBay.

The Gordian Project also has an eBay store which provides a different perspective (this one likely more negative). We used to have a very profitable eBay store, listing thousands of items in both auction format and buy it now. This however did not continue due to eBay's fee structure changes, store list changes, feedback changes and ranking algorithm changes. It's been a sad fact but we have watched our eBay store dwindle to a fraction of what it once was, where we list a handful of our products and constantly seem thwarted by the changes mentioned above. Even though we have tried our hardest to turn around our store performance, despite the changes, it seems as though we are swimming against a current which will not let up.

Having an intimate knowledge in both situations has caused me to not only think about but expect the imminent demise of eBay. Especially now when you think a site like eBay would thrive on these economic conditions, yet I still have a hard time buying and selling on eBay.



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