Changes to search and SMI to come?

CATEGORY: News

Auctionbytes has an interesting piece, quoting Citigroup analyst Mark Mahaney’s report on this week’s conference of the Internet Merchants Association, a US organisation of high-volume Powersellers (who really should have more of an online presence than an eBay Group!). Mahaney says that eBay are due to bring out a new filter to search results, the ability to sort by total price. At the moment, item price and shipping costs are listed seperately and sorting by price relates only to the item price. In an attempt to appear cheapest, some sellers have pushed all their charges into the shipping column, giving rise to the phenomenon of the ‘1p item with £30 shipping’: not only is this misleading to buyers and unfair competition to honest sellers, it costs eBay themselves in lost FVFs. Sorting by total price is likely therefore to be popular with most members.

Rather less likely to win popular approval is the suggestion that the threshold for the safeguarding members’ IDs initiative will be lowered. Mahaney reports that the program has seen an 80-90% fall in fraudulent second chance offers, and speculates that this may well lead to eBay lowering the entry point below its current US$200 level. Given the controversy over SMI at its current level, eBay will need to make a lot more noise about its positive achievements to convince many members that it should be extended.

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