“I’m going to ask a question again that I asked yesterday,” said Larry Phillips from the IMA, which really set the tone for most of today’s Town Hall: there was really very little said that we haven’t heard before, though the feel of the meeting was positive and civilised, and the eBay execs responded enthusiastically to a number of suggestions from members.
Griff commented that of the seven Live events he’s attended, this is the one in which he’s learned the most: attendees are generally very well informed about eBay and full of constructive criticism on how eBay and their own businesses can move forward together. It was suggested that eBay find a way for bricks and mortar stores to offer the facility for their in-person customers to bid on their eBay listings without falling foul of the shill-bidding rules; this received a positive response, as did a request to give Giving Works greater prominance on the site.
There were two questions relating to the wording buyers see for feedback and DSRs: Larry’s first question asked why “4” scores in DSRs are labelled “good” and “acceptable” when in reality, they’re fail. Brian Burke said that wording on the feedback overview page which states that neutral feedback doesn’t impact a seller’s feedback score should be added to, to reflect the fact that it does now affect the feedback percentage.
There is a definite plan to introduce more granularity into DSR results so that sellers can see exactly where they have been marked down. Brian Burke said that anonymous DSRs had been introduced to counter the possibility of retaliatory feedback, but now that retaliatory feedback is no longer possible, eBay will revisit the question.
A detailed question was asked about the new links policy: may sellers “promote” off-eBay stores without linking to them? Can links still be included in classified ads? And aren’t eBay’s own Yahoo ads contradictory of the new policy? Brian Burke stated that the policy had been announced prematurely, and details were still to be worked out. This is certainly true: I called by the Trust & Safety stand yesterday to ask whether linking to an eBay blog or cross-promoting your own IDs would be permitted. Three Pinks told me they didn’t know, and though the fourth told me that both were permitted, I got the distinct impression that was his personal opinion rather than actual policy.
Responding to the point about Yahoo ads, Stephanie Tilenius said that the long-term goal is that sellers would buy advertising on the site, but she admitted that the current advertising is taking sales off the site: this is a welcome change from previous statements from eBay which have bizarrely tried to claim that ads don’t cost sellers sales.
eBay do seem to be recognising that their sellers are business people and making changes accordingly: a possible future development is a facility to control administrative rights for businesses with multiple IDs. There’s also a hint that merchant credit card accounts could be integrated into eBay Checkout. And PayPal’s Monroe Labouisse stated definitively that PayPal-only will not be introduced in the US.
Ina liveblogged the event if you want more detail.