Productivity Tools Policy Updates Technology Promotional Efforts and Partnerships
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ISSUE 11, July 19, 2000

This Issue's Features

PowerSellers Seminar-Sell What You Know

Find out how you can make money selling what you know to millions of people on Keen.com-right over your phone! Log in on August 3, 2000 at 10AM PST for a live Webcast with Keen.com's marketing executives to hear how you can make money providing Live Answers over the phone about everything from personal finance to computers, from auctions to personal advice. Keen.com is a Live Answer Community, where you get answers to your questions over the phone. It's absolutely free for you to create listings describing the knowledge you have to sell at a price per minute you set.

In order to attend this seminar it will be necessary for you to register. To register, please do the following:

  • Go to the eBay PowerSellers Seminar Page.
  • Click on the "View Scheduled Events" link.
  • Click on the seminar titled "eBay PowerSellers: Sell What You Know."
  • Click on the time of the seminar.

Live seminars are limited to 300 PowerSellers and registrations will be taken on a first come, first serve basis. Registrations for this seminar must be received by July 27, 2000. Please join us on August 3, 2000 at 10AM PST to learn how to Sell What You Know and participate in a live chat with Keen.com.

Correction for Previous Issue

We would like to apologize for an error we made in the previous newsletter regarding the details of our research on the true value of optional listing fees. The correct information was posted on the Announcement Board. As a courtesy, we have included the correct information below. Again, we apologize for this error.

More Details About Our Research

Our conversion rates (percentage of items that sell) were derived from a sample of 13,197,746 items listed during the first quarter of 2000. We only included features that were used on more than 8,000 items. We then compared the conversion rates of items with features against items without features.

To determine the value of each feature, we looked within the first sample to select 631,504 items with starting prices between $25 and $50. We didn't count other price points in our research because we didn't want to bias the numbers with sellers who list expensive items at extremely low starting prices. Note: Even though we did limit by price, there could still be a selection bias in our numbers if sellers only select features for items that are inherently more valuable. We think most sellers who follow this tactic do so by listing items with a starting price of $0.01 to $10. That's why we picked the $25-$50 price range.

Once we selected the items, we looked at the final price for each one that sold. We compared the final price of items with no features against the final price of items with either category featured, bold or gallery.

Also note that we only tracked single item listings in our research, so Dutch Auction sellers cannot rely on the effectiveness of the data above.

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Promotional Efforts and Partnerships

Celebrate Summer Coast to Coast

Summer is heating up, so let the celebration begin!

Starting "From this Day Forward," you'll be able to buy (or sell) everything needed for the perfect wedding. Featured items include invitations and favors, wedding bands for her and him, gifts for the couple, honeymoon travel and more! You can find the Wedding Theme Page from the drop down menu under "Brows by Themes" on the homepage.

The grand slam of the summer is our "Boys of Summer" Baseball Theme Page! Items related to ballparks, baseball equipment, 500 Home Run club and items for a fan at the game are a hit. You can find the Baseball Theme Page from the drop down menu under "Browse by Themes" on the homepage.

What's a summer without the BBQ? We're celebrating the "Good Ol' Summertime" by featuring American art & literature, summertime necessities, block party essentials, and items for an outdoor getaway. Start selling your summertime items if you haven't already. You can find the Summertime Theme Page from the drop down menu under "Browse by Themes" on the homepage.

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Technology Enhancements

Instant Purchase Using eBay Online Payments

eBay Online Payments (a service provided by Billpoint) recently introduced a new feature called Instant Purchase. This feature allows buyers to pay for items immediately after a listing closes, directly from the "View Item" page. To support this, some changes to the "Sell Your Item" form and the "View Item" page were made.

Here is how Instant Purchase will work:

  • On the Sell Your Item form, the seller can enter a fixed shipping, handling, and insurance price, an additional per item shipping price (for Dutch auctions), sales tax, and a return policy. Also, sellers will now be able to click on a box to automatically insert a Billpoint icon into their listings.
  • During the auction, the buyer can see all of this information on the "View Item" page.
  • Immediately after the auction, a "Pay Now" button will appear on the "View Item" page, and the buyer can click on this button to pay for the item. Additionally, we have added a link that provides details about eBay Online Payments.
  • The seller will not need to send a Billpoint invoice.

We hope that Instant Purchase will help make payments faster and easier. Please keep in mind that Instant Purchase is only an option-the existing Billpoint service will remain unchanged for sellers who would like to send invoices to their buyers. To find out more about eBay Online Payments, please click here.

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Productivity Tools

Item Watch Improvements

A few weeks ago, we hosted a moderated discussion with eBay sellers and buyers regarding Item Watch and what we could do to improve the way it works. The discussion was lively, and it showed that some sellers would like changes to be made to this feature. As a result of the discussions, we decided to do three things:

  1. We surveyed a random sampling of buyers and sellers to see what the overall community thought of Item Watch.
  2. We looked at a large sample of items both before and after introduction of the watch feature to see whether Watch changed the amount of timing of bids.
  3. We made a series of product recommendations (well, you made the recommendations... we just listened) to improve how Watch works for buyers and sellers alike.
We are ready to share the data with you on the first two points, and have rolled out most of the product changes that came from that dialog. Here is a summary of the product changes:
  • The location of the "Watch this item" link was taken away from the bid paddle on the individual Item page.
  • A Watch link will be added to the individual Item page once you Sign In. The link will show how many items you are watching and will provide an easy route back to your watched list.
  • The Watch list and Bid list within My eBay have been combined and are the new default tab within My eBay.
  • Later this summer we will roll out a reminder email system that will notify watchers which items on their watch list are ending within 36 hours. Watchers will be able to turn off this email at their discretion.
We believe these changes will help buyers to return to their watched items, thus promoting more bidding on the site. The following is a summary of the data:

We conducted a survey of 5,000 active sellers and 5,000 active buyers, and we received 1,780 responses. Responses were counted by User ID so there was no double counting of respondents. Of those responding, 76% of buyers said they either liked or really liked the feature and 59% of sellers said they either liked or really liked the feature. Among sellers, there was a significant minority, under 20%, who did not like the feature.

Next, we conducted studies to see how Watch was impacting the trading dynamics. To determine what was going on, we looked at 41,464 active item watchers. We also looked at 100,000 users from the same timeframe selected randomly (some who used watch and some who did not). We excluded Dutch items and items over $10,000, and we looked at the results to see whether active watchers acted differently than non-watchers.

We found that item watchers were more active in terms of their bidding. In other words, they bid on more items than their non-watching counterparts. For each individual item, watchers and non-watchers bid the same amount. Item watchers did tend to win their auctions more frequently but they had the same number of bids per item as their non-watching counterparts.

Next, we looked at auction timing to determine whether item watchers were bidding later in the auction process than non-watchers. To do this, we looked at those who use watch and at their behavior before the Watch feature was launched and after the Watch feature was launched. We learned that for bidders who use Watch bids within 24 hours of auction ending times increased 2%. We also learned that for all bidders (including those who use Watch and those that do not) bids within 24 hours of auction ending times increased 1%.

Finally, we looked at the total bid count before and after Item Watch was implemented. Total bids on the site did not decline (though it didn't increase either) after Watch was introduced. Average selling prices have increased slightly since the Watch feature was introduced. However, there was no difference between the average selling price of watched items and non-watched items. Therefore it is unlikely Watch had an impact on increasing the average selling price.

All in all, we found that Watch was primarily positive for most folks and that it didn't significantly impact bidding. We hope the product changes to Watch we are implementing in the coming days will do more to encourage bidding. We thank you for the suggestions you have made regarding this feature and look forward to additional input.

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Policy Updates

Shill Bidding: What It Is and Why It's Not Permitted on eBay

Recently, you may have read newspaper articles about sellers on Internet trading services who may be bidding on their own items. This is a practice known as shill bidding, a violation of the eBay User Agreement.

Although shill bidding on eBay occurs in only a small fraction of listings, we are very concerned with any activity of this nature as it undermines trust among users, which is so important to our community. We want to make sure that all eBay users understand shill bidding, why eBay does not permit this activity and what can happen if you do engage in shill bidding. Please go here to learn more about the policy.

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For PowerSeller support, contact us at powerseller@ebay.com.


Have a question?
As always, contact us at powerseller@ebay.com for a superior level of PowerSeller support.
Promotional Efforts and Partnerships
Celebrate Summer Coast to Coast
Summer is heating up, so let the celebration begin! Starting "From this Day Forward" you'll...
Technology Enhancements
Instant Purchase Using eBay Online Payments
eBay Online Payments (a service provided by Billpoint) recently...
Productivity Tools
Item Watch Improvements
A few weeks ago, we hosted a moderated discussion with eBay sellers and buyers...
Policy Updates
Shill Bidding: What It Is and Why It's Not Permitted on eBay
Recently, you may have read newspaper articles about sellers...
Newsletter Archive
See other articles from past newsletters.
eBay PowerSellers Program
Find out about top-level benefits and privileges available to you.
Dates to Remember
National Sports Collectors Convention, Anaheim,
CA - July 25-30

Wizard World, Chicago,
IL - August 4-6

ANA, Philadelphia, PA - August 9-13

Comicon, San Diego, CA - July 19-23

Siggraph, New Orleans, LA - July 23-28