Something Fishy about eBay

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When I started selling my pictures through eBay about 2 years ago, I was amazed at the amount of traffic it generated. I made sales into countries I had never even heard of, and inquiries for other projects started rolling in. In a nutshell, it was the best marketing tool we had for our work!

tn-ebayBut since the introduction of a new pricing scheme in September 2008, things have taken a dramatic downturn for my products, which have been faily popular until then. I thought I’d share my experiences with you.

First of, a basic eBay Shop used to cost only £6. Having an eBay Shop is the only way to direct a customer to all eBay listings you’ve got going at any one time. That’s gone up to £14.99 – not that it makes sense, becasue the benefits haven’t changed a bit. The other two tears have also been increased in price, with the most expensive/front page exposure anchor shop now being a whopping £350 a month.

Listing prices have also changed: eBay claims they now offer a lower insertion fee per product to encourage sellers to list more for less money, cutting the up-front cost from 30-40p in my case to about 20p. On the other hand, they have now increased the so called final value fee, which is applicable if an item sells. So instead of 5%, it’s gone up to 10-15%%, depending on the listing category.

FIBRE SPACE - one of last year's most popular images with over 200 hits per listing, generates less than 20 this year
FIBRE SPACE - one of last year's most popular images with over 200 hits per listing, generates less than 20 this year

The final change that’s been introduced right in time for the Christmas sales period this year is eBay’s Search Feature. Traditionally, auctions and 3-10 day listings were promoted much better than the cheaper 30-day listing alternatively, which used to be available only to shop owners. You’d only see those latter listings at the bottom of the search page, if at all. The change made it possible for 30 day listings to appear in search results, but that’s not the whole story: if you’ve been voted to have bad customer service, or too high a price tag on your postage fees, your listings are now penalised to appear at the lower end of the search results (say page 35 instead of 1).

Although my account is in good standing, my feedback is healthy and I’m listing around 100 items at a time, since this new change my traffic has dropped dramatically. Previously, even on unsold products, about 40-50 people looked at each listing – now that’s gone down to 5-10. Needless to say, sales are down a lot, but somehow my monthly outgoing haven’t changed.

I’m afraid to say that although eBay has been good to me in the past, it’s no longer working to get my work out into the open. Other factors might be responsible for the reduction in sales on eBay for me. Possibilities are: 

  • the overall econimic situation
  • or maybe that I’ve reduced our exposure at exhibitions
  • or the fact that there havent’ been many new recent additions to my portfolio of posters
  • or that due to cheaper listings, there are more of them, meaning more competition and less fo the pie to go round

Whatever the reason, as a result, I will have to drastically reduce my listings on eBay from January as it’s no longer worth my while.

I’d be interested to hear about other eBay sellers’ experiences, and of course from eBay to evaluate how things are working out for them. Visit my eBay shop one last time before I’ll put it on ice: (now defunct so don’t try).

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