Everyone is buzzing about eBay’s decision to restrict the sales of digitally downloaded items to the Classified Ad format. On March 31, the eBay pulser “make money” eBook auctions will be gone. Currently, the eBay Pulse in the Everything Else category is filled with Auction, Fixed price and a few Store listings.
Why did eBay do this? The official answer is,
The reason for this change is the concern about Feedback manipulation (or artificially padding a member’s feedback score). Since Classified Ad format listings are not transactional, no feedback is exchanged between buyers and sellers and no feedback manipulation can occur.
I’m surprised by the change and by the official reason. First, there are a lot of sales of eBooks and eBay will lose the revenue. (note to self: get the sales figures for part 2) Second, padded feedback isn’t that big a deal, is it?
The new Best Match search results incorporate shipping price and feedback. That makes feedback a bigger deal than in the past when search results were simply based on price, end time, and location.
There are comments from eBay experts like this from Janelle Elms,
Classified Ads on eBay As mentioned in the eBay announcements yesterday, eBay is removing all digital downloads (read e-books) from the site by the end of this month. This is awesome!! Bye-bye all you ridiculous e-book scammers who are driving our good customers away from eBay…and HELLO to Classified Ads for the seller’s with legitimate products…one of the best kept secrets of the online marketing crowd. You can learn more on the eBay site about Classified ads at: http://pages.ebay.com/help/buy/buyer-ads.html and you can read the recent eBay ‘digital download’ announcement at: http://www2.ebay.com/aw/core/200803.shtml#2008-03-24125416
Skip McGrath is a noteworthy eBook seller who writes,
Feedback Farms were 99-cent listings where a seller was essentially selling an eBook at no profit in order to quickly build up their feedback rating. Most of the eBooks were pure junk –bought from other sellers for 99-cents with full resale rights.
I just love watching the antics of eBook sellers. I bet this will stimulate some pretty inventive marketing techniques to write about next week.