eBay Boycott Looms: Is the Power of Blogging Overstated?

eBay sellers are angry over the company’s decision to restructure its fee and feedback system, effective February 20. At the center of the Worldwide Buyer and Seller Strike proposed by bloggers, (which runs this week and urges no listing, no buying and no selling) is the auction giant’s decision to eliminate the ability to leave negative feedback for buyers. Sellers say that this change will leave them vulnerable to scamming bidders and buyers.

Blogging has become a medium wielding greater and greater influence, however, is the power of the blog overstated when it comes to influencing major policy change within a monster corporation?

If the past is any indication, bloggers’ efforts might fall on deaf ears. eBay has already countered by slashing insertion fees. And some play by mainstream media has fallen flat…so far.

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I believe in the power of press and in the power of the blog, but how much power do we really have?

View Comments (10)
  • In this case, I think very little.

    The proposed boycott is largely the work of a very small number of malcontents made up mostly of small part-time sellers who go through the same motions every year about this time when eBay announces fee and policy changes.

    This year is somewhat different in that they have been fortunate enough to have caught the attention of some of the mainstream media so it’s getting more press.

    However, the reality is that very few serious full-time sellers are getting on board, so it’s likely the boycott won’t even show up as a blip on eBay’s radar.

    As for all those threatening to leave eBay for other venues, that happens each year also. Some do, but nearly all of them end up back on eBay after a month or two because of the lack of buyers frequenting the other sites.

  • There are much better auction sites for particular niches, but unfortunately eBay works for the general population, and I doubt this is going to make much difference.

    I personally don’t use eBay any more, since they mucked up my wife’s seller account, and set a debt collection agency on me because I dared to dispute a subscription that I thought I’d cancelled. They have still refused to close my account, despite the fact that they’re now breaking data protection / privacy rules by holding data about me against my wishes.

    So, I’m already boycotting them, effectively.

  • Who cares? Only Power Sellers.

    Power Sellers are a business. Welcome to the real world. Where else does a business have a chance to leave “negative feedback” about a buyer?

    MSM has been all over this – reported everywhere.

    Nobody cares.

    Boycott? If Power Sellers go, it’s no big loss.

  • any way doing this for a project for school..i have been watching the numbers fall on ebay..hey their stock was 28.10 on friday close today feb 19 was 27.66 hmmmmmmmm could this be a trend has it finally crept up and bit ebay in the beazcac?any was this is a interesting project might i say i am enjoting it and i m ruting for the little guy..

  • I’m not sure whether those doing the boycotting have really looked into the fee structure changes. First, ebay lowered store listing fees 2 cents per item PLUS it gave a gallery picture free, which was one cent per item. So, a store, which had been listing an item per month for 6 cents, now is paying 3 cents. To me, that’s a big advantage because I sell books and have a lot of listings. Yes, the final value fee went up, but it didn’t go up that much. I benefit from the cost drop in listings more.
    There were advantages for powersellers also. Now, I not a power seller, not even close. What ebay did for power sellers was, even tho raising the fees, they offered a percentage discount to those sellers who maintained over a 4.5 rating in 4 categories. The sellers would get a 5% discount by meeting those standards. Well, to me, if you’re a good seller, that’s certainly going to be a benefit. Why would anyone complain? Then, if your rating was over 4.8 or higher on those categories, you would get a 15% discount. I think that’s terrific.
    There were comments stating that no store had a rating that high. Not true. I hold 2 at 4.8 and 2 at 4.9. If I were a power seller, which I’m not, I’d be getting that 15%. they are giving people like me more exposure because of my rating. I appreciate that.
    Again, I don’t sell that much. The store listing cost decrease does benefit me as a smaller seller.
    I would like to be one of the big guys, but that probably will never happen.
    When the statement to sign a petition to have ebay revoke the changes was put on line, I was very disturbed. To put me back to 6 cents per items would be awful.

    So, overall, even with increased final value fees, the changes benefit stores like me. for those power sellers that are upset…well, they must have categories that drop below the 4.5. i haven’t seen too many that really have, so they should be getting a discount on fees, which I think might drop their costs instead of increasing them. I can’t say that for sure, but it sure sounds like it does.
    I think what ebay was trying to do was make stores accountable for what they sell and how they sell it. I’m all for that. The better the sellers, the more sold, the greater the benefit for the store…at least, that’s my opinion.

  • Ebay and Paypal both should be boycotted! Paypal is going to hold our money for 21 days if we have under 100 feedbacks and if a buyer is displeased! This is so unfair! I am more upset with Paypal than ebay! How are we going to pay for the shipment of an item? I guess I won”t be using paypal as a form of payment I will be using http://www.paylit.com and money orders, Ebay buyers can still use paypal to fund paylit.com accounts. Okay the ebay fee hike made me mad but the inability to leave negative feedback to a bad buyer pissed me off! How unfair! A buyer can bid on our auctions and decide they don’t want to pay for it and then we get negative FB. What’s the purpose of a non paying dispute on a non paying buyer? The buyer needs to have negative feedback for non payment for sure! I am moving my listing to http://www.bluejay.com and I am using google checkout! I am a small ebay seller and I only list about 30 items a week! I am also boycotting until further notice! I am going to list 5 items instead of 30 after the boycott is over and tell those folks that interested in buying from me to purchase through my blujay store! I know that we can’t link the store in our ebay listing but we darn sure can state our website address! This is my plan to avoid the high ebay fees and to avoid paypal! I’ll put the items on a 10 day auction without a buy it now! I’ll tell those that ask me questions that the item can also be bought at my bluejay store as a buy it now! I think this may work! Bluejay is free and we can list as many items as we want! We can use paypal or google checkout!

  • First off, Gary if I’m a ‘malcontent’ then you’re an idiot. Maybe we should paint with a finer brush? I’ve been in business for over 35 years, and yes am one of those PT sellers. But, I’ve been a powerseller and was positioned to again. What Gary (didn’t figure this out?) is that not being able to hold BUYERS accountable is crazy. Late pays, no pays, fraud pay, scamming…. there is a lot of ugliness out there on the part of buyers. That’s probably 2% of total buyers. But, they’re out there. Just like bad sellers.
    With the new policies, there’s no telling others what they’ve done, if it is bad. eBay needs to visit they’re pricing, and to me, it’s a great deal. But, to lose the ONE tool that we have to alert the selling community about problems? And, what if some buyer racks up a 50-100 buys from another crony and they both are ‘positives’, then they go to Gary’s site and buy his most expensive piece. But, the money order they gave him was bogus. Even if he’s trying to get the product or money back, the guy has already bid and ‘won’ a bunch of other sites’ products. And, there’s no warning in place. The Discussion Boards will not let you flame them. And, by the time eBay suspends their account(s), it’s too late for the sellers. But, the Buyer had a POSITIVE experience. And, then there is ‘best match’.

    And before anyone says, that can’t happen, it WAS happening, and since the first few that got hit could neg. flag the buyers, they were caught and eventually jailed. Now, good luck!

    I sold since the first year eBay was around. Had a store too. Had about 1000 items ready to go and was going FT with it now that I’m retired. So, there is loss. And, Gary, till now I was on committees, groups, etc all touting the greatness of eBay. But, now I’ a malcontent.

  • I think many more sellers and buyers are on board than you or other stock holders are willing to admit. We will see how it turns out. Here is an open letter I wrote to ebay.

    An open letter to ebay:

    February 21, 2008.

    Dear Ebay,

    The fee increase advertised as a fee decrease was not only a slap in the face, but the biggest insult to the intelligence of the ebay selling community ever. It served to show just how far the management of ebay has removed itself from the old style online trading community once advertised as a ‘family’. Ebay was founded on the idea of a community of collectors, sellers, traders, and buyers, working together to bring about a pleasant and equitable transaction of goods. But I would venture to guess that the powers that be have forgotten from whence they came.

    Instead of remembering the first years of growth while we all traded or sold our duplicate Pez dispensers or our GI Joe’s with the kung fu grip amongst ourselves, you have chosen to look down on us and proclaim us as no longer a part of your idea of what an online community of sellers and buyers should be. Why else would you lie to us and advertise an actual increase in fees as a ‘decrease’ in fees, and take away our right to leave feedback appropriate to our trading partner.

    You recently ran a large advertising campaign that said “it” is coming. I wondered what “it” was and could hardly wait until the day “it” was to be revealed. Finally “it” was revealed,… “it” was everything!
    If you needed “it”, “it” could be found on ebay.

    Sheer genius as an advertising catch word. But now “it” is getting harder and harder to find, as many of your sellers are making a mass exodus to the other online auction companies thanks in part to your unwillingness to even run these new changes by us and let us have some input on them.

    An old proverb states:

    There once was a tiny tree that struggled to get sunlight and rain amongst all of the other large trees in the forest. But the tree kept trying to survive, and with each passing year grew larger and larger until it was so large it towered above all of the other trees in the forest. It thought it had need of nothing, and was tired of being held in place, so it pulled mightily until it broke free from its roots and fell to the earth. And there it lay until a farmer saw it and cut it in many pieces and built himself a beautiful new house.

    You are acting just like that mighty tree that thought it no longer had need of its own roots.

    Not only has the strike become much larger than you had anticipated, but even BUYERS are jumping on board and pledging not to buy until things are put back the way they were.

    I personally know of several HUGE power sellers,
    one with annual sales of around $3,000,000 MILLION dollars, and another who has ended 15,000 + items for sale in their store who are standing with us in the strike.
    And that is just the few I know about.

    Untold thousands have already closed their stores, and many more will shortly do so. Thousands of former sellers, from gold power sellers down to the mom & pop operations have already left ebay for the other online auction sites, who have recorded record registrations since the new changes took effect on February 20th.

    Mr. Donahoe, are you sure your actually working for ebay?

    The strike has garnered world wide support,
    with many sellers in other countries like Spain, Germany, India, and many more countries also striking against the new changes.

    The strike is not limited to sellers, but buyers both in the United states, and all around the world are also vowing not to buy on ebay until the planned changes are reversed.

    Media coverage grows larger day by day, and with plans to continue the strike well beyond the original strike date, more news outlets will be covering the strike.

    Ebay stock holders will start to see their stock fall by substantial increments unless something is done in short order to remedy the mass exodus and boycott.

    So I ask you ebay, have you become too big for your own roots?


    ONE unhappy camper.

  • Many angry eBayers launched a boycott against eBay or feebay as they would call it. You can view full details on the boycott here at WebPro News Long term eBay users are just plain fed up with eBay’s greed. Since eBay started many people have been loyal customers but now eBay wants to get greedy and give their LOYAL customers less bang for their buck! The constant raising of fees and the limitations they are putting on feedback is a big slap in the face for everyone. They tend to forget who made them what they are! They are trying to run off the little people and only keep the customers who are “power sellers” who spend a fortune with them. This is wrong on so many levels! Ebay will crumble and in time just become a faint Internet memory!

    So many people are turning to Craigs List. But, what most don’t know is that Craigs List is owned by eBay. Sure you can list certain thing for free, but you have to list it city by city. There isn’t a store option or any other options for that matter. Lets face it how long do you think it will take for eBay to make Craigs List completely overpriced as well?

    There are alternatives. We at USAuctionsLive.com have seen this coming for a long time. And like many of you we too were tired of being ripped off by eBay! We decided to take it to the next level and create an auction site that allowed live auction to be enjoyable once again. The sheer thought of having to pay out a percentage of your hard earned sale is sickening! And what you want your own store but you have to pay a monthly fee PLUS pay for every listing? It’s obsurd; you should be encouraged to do so by receiving a huge price break! And that is exactly what we have done. If you take a look at our store prices you will see you only pay a SMALL flat monthly fee and you can list UNLIMITED items in your store. We don’t charge additional listing fees, and close of auction fees. We believe it should be affordable and our customers should actually make a profit, not give it all to us.

    We want encourage people not to give up on live auctions. So, for all of you former eBayers we want to let you try our sit for free for a month a test drive if you will. List what ever you want for free and utilize all of our features and see that the auction world can still be enjoyable. just go to http://www.usauctionslive.com and insert this voucher code: 8A156D26C5D4 for all of your listings. Then sit back and see it is possible to get back in the game

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