An remark from a Citigroup analyst after a meeting with Bob Swan has caused such a stir that eBay have felt compelled to address sellers fears. Rather than reading the comment in context sellers have been mulling over the goal to “removing unproductive listings” from eBay.
With one of eBay’s stated goals for 2007 as “simplifying the site, improving finding, and accentuating the things that make eBay fun and unique.“, some sellers worried their listings would be cancelled under a “unproductive listing policy“. Whilst an “Unproductive Listing Policy” may have been said tongue in cheek, it was certainly worrying enough sellers for eBay to comment.
Laura (aka Daphne when posting on community boards as a “pink”) addressed sellers who’s biggest gripe was, as always, “It is not fair to us Sellers to intentionally do things behind our backs the things we need to know and understand so we can make our own adjustments as a Seller”. This is a real problem for eBay, so many seemingly minor changes occur on the site which to sellers can have a major impact on their business. What eBay may feel is a minor enhancement can have far reaching consequences for a sellers strategy to maximise sales on the site. Recent examples include unannounced experimenting with visibilty of UK listings on eBay.com, and the introduction of “Biddy’s Button“. (One change positive for sellers and one negative, just to be fair 😉 Both equally important for sellers to be aware of though.)
Back to the analyst’s comments and ensuing brouhaha, it stemmed from an AuctionBytes report of the CitiGroup comments. The comments were actually restating eBay’s goals dating back to early 2006 where eBay eventually took the decision to roll back Shop Inventory Items appearing in search results. In other words the analyst was largely talking about historical events, not future goals.
In a nutshell to reassure sellers eBay state “eBay is not taking any new actions to remove listings, and this is not what we told analysts”. Communication though is key, and with so many unannounced changes, it’s not surprising when news is reported off eBay it can be misinterpreted. eBay really do need to boost communications of events happening on the site so that sellers aren’t looking elsewhere to be informed of site changes and eBay news.