Pity the poor Mom and Pop seller trying to make it on eBay. EBay is instituting more changes today to stack the deck against them and shore up the more established larger vendors.
As first reported by the Wall Street Journal over the weekend, eBay will be dinking with its algorithms in its search engine to favor new products. Additionally (and more outrageously), eBay may even out and out limit its "Featured First" product position to top sellers only. Sellers will also be able to stuff pages with more product pictures (and in bigger sizes).
Features used to personalize pages (big sellers don't have time for such nonsense, while for the little guy; it's their edge) are reportedly going away.
Also going away, apparantly; some of the features used to connect buyers and sellers in communicating back and forth. Big time sellers don't have time for all that one-on-one down home talk. Again, personalization and relationship with customers is Mom and Pop's edge.
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out where my sympathies lie on this one. My question: at what point does the Federal Trade Commission look at this to see if this is, um, fair trade?
A modest proposal:
Perhaps there should be two eBays; the traditional online flea market/auction site that we all remember and love and one for the hard core drop shippers selling everything from discounted auto parts to sneakers. There's a demand for both and there are plenty of entrepreneurs in both tiers that need a place like eBay to chase their small business goals. Why set them up for a train wreck with each other?
I leave you with a quote from one eBayer posted on a message board elsewhere :
"Until eBay lowers their commissions and fees they are merely re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic."
EBay will be holding one of its townhall meetings on Wednesday at 3:30pm P.S.T. to discuss the changes with its masses. Can't wait.