eBay.co.uk will be making significant changes to its controversial tickets categories over the next few months that will mean changes for not just the buyers of event tickets but also sellers. The big winner will be StubHub, the US tickets company that eBay Inc. acquired in 2007 for a reported $310 million.
The changes will be phased in over the next six months or so with the first visible onsite differences coming in the next few weeks. But the eventual aim will be that all relevant ticket sales and purchases on eBay UK made in StubHub’s ‘strong’ categories of sport, music, theatre and festivals will have to be made via StubHub rather than eBay.
The first change you’ll notice (maybe as early as next week, but we have been advised that all timings we’ve been given are tentative) will be StubHub listings appearing in eBay search results. StubHub have provided us with a mock-up of how this will look.
When a buyer clicks on a link, they’ll then be taken directly to the StubHub site to complete the purchase.
It’s expected that eBay will retire the tickets categories altogether at some point by the middle of next year.
This is a sensible move from eBay which has often suffered criticism and negative press related to the controversy surrounding the ticketing secondary market. Notably, Bob Geldof and Harvey Goldsmith launched a scathing attack back in 2005 at the time of the Live 8 concert.
It also means that StubHub’s way of doing business with tickets will become the eBay norm. It’s purely a Buy it Now fixed price marketplace, so no more auctions.
StubHub also offer a marketplace purposefully honed to the sale of tickets. They offer a policy of “making it good” for customers if there is a problem. This means for sellers there will be no more worries about Top Seller rating, feedback or DSRs. StubHub guarantees all transactions between buyer and seller.
They also take away a lot of the grunt work. StubHub handles all the customer contacts and provides you with a shipping label. For sellers there are no more customer emails or dealing with other logistical issues.
Sellers also pay a single fee for sales and that includes PayPal costs. There’s no listing fee at all. Only a selling fee, which is currently a flat rate 25% of the sale price. It is understood that pricing is one topic under discussion for this launch, so watch this space. (The word on the street is that any new fees won’t be any higher than 25% and could be lower. I would also expect that StubHUb would also be willing to discuss merchant rates and special deals too in a way eBay doesn’t.)
It is also a new horizon for eBay and perhaps a sign of future developments. Removing categories so that items can be bought and sold in a tailored environment suited to the items in question is enlightened and is an approach that could be duplicated for other goods. We’ll keep you posted.