In an open letter on the Overstock forums, CEO Patrick M. Byrne chastised sellers for their attitude to Overstock staff. Angry sellers turned on them over new measures bought in to prevent auctions with a buy it now price a couple of pennies higher than the starting price.
“Starting price $29.95, Make it Mine @ $30.00.” Folks, that is not an auction, that is a classified ad. Our real auctions have disappeared under an ocean of such classified ads, which destroys closing rates for everyone.
In a sideways dig at eBay, he mentioned a “competitor’s environment where such behavior is tolerated”, whilst naming and shaming the biggest offenders.
We decided that our auctions of designer items were little better than the competition’s. I know that the ethic of auction sites is to hide behind the claim that they are a neutral venue, and in a legal sense that is what we are as well, but from an ethical perspective, I am simply unwilling to allow Overstock customers, even those visiting our auctions board, to be sold anything fake. If this means that all the auctions business dries up, then that is what it is going to mean. No one gets to sell fake merchandise on Overstock. It’s that simple.
It’s good to see that counterfeit items removed from sale on eBay are not going to simply end up on alternative sites. All auction sites should take note of his ethic “If we do not know if it is real, then it should not go up”.