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Leaving eBay: Risking Your Business or Just Good Business

Feb 29, 2008
The recent decision by eBay to restructure its fee structure for sellers is getting mixed reaction among many long-time users and well as potential new users and much of it is not good. Many sellers, some who grudgingly but quietly accepted eBay's changes in the past are no longer willing to stay silent. And a new rule which eliminates negative feedback on buyers is adding to seller frustration. All this is leading some to take action.

A seller revolt is brewing and attempts are being made to muster support for a boycott that will coincide with the February 20th launch of the new policies.

CNN.com recently posted a number of articles surrounding the changes and the impact they're having. One of the more interesting articles profiled five former eBay sellers, all of whom have moved on from doing business with the giant auction site.

These five sellers were varied in their geographic locations, business size and seemingly, their personality. However they did strike a common theme: After a lengthy period of ever-growing frustration with eBay's pricing policies and bureaucratic difficulties, they've decided to take a different road. More are likely to follow them out the door, though like some of the five sellers, they won't be going it alone.

As is often the case in business, as in life, one man's trouble is another man's opportunity.

Many current and former eBay clients are being heavily courted by other auction sites and third-party stores. Amazon in particular is making headway into the third-party store arena with success and at least some of that success is coming at eBays expense.

One large former high-volume eBay seller, Bargainland, has even started their own auction site, Bidtopia.com. What originally was expected to be a "side project" is turning out to be much more as heavy interest from the public is causing Bargainland to commit significant resources to it's auction site's development.

It would seem those who use online auctions aren't waiting around for anyone to roll out the welcome mat. They're taking matters into their own hands and seeking out other venues on which to ply their trade.

However, eBay is not circling the wagons just yet. They state that 70% of sellers will benefit from the new fee structure and they can take comfort in the fact that many of their PowerSellers are not on board with the boycott. These sellers feel that boycotting hurts their business. Some are professional sellers with a lot to lose and have even expressed a desire to work with company executives on this and other issues. Many have built significant businesses on eBay and feel they have much to lose if eBay falters.

For those sellers, supporting a boycott would be akin to holding a gun to their own business' head and doing so simply doesn't make good business sense.

So, what is the right thing for your home based or internet business? If you're selling a unique, high profit margin product or have affiliate marketers doing the same for you this current situation may not have a significant impact. The same may not be true for businesses that require a high volume of sales to remain profitable. Low margins may well force many of them elsewhere. It also remains to be seen what if any impact this will have on eBay's fortunes.

Yet not all of the effects of the current and previous problems have been negative. One of the former sellers profiled by CNN.com even gave credit to eBay. Robert Tucker of KratomCafe.com thanked eBay attributing their current success to their willingness to leave eBay behind after finding the auction site too difficult to do business on.

Not all change is bad but only time will tell where the chips will fall on this one.
About the Author
Thomas Schaffer is a successful internet entrepreneur and affiliate marketer who has recently escaped the bondage of the corporate world. Get his ebiz newsletter at http://www.jerseyshoremarketing.com or see an example of affiliate success at http://www.jerseyshoremarketing.com/redirect88.html
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