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May 30, 2006

Why I think an eBay Store listing increase is coming (soon – ebay live?)

At Goldman Sachs based on what Meg said, I got the inkling that she was foreshadowing a listing fee increase for what eBay coins SIF (Store Inventory Format) with analysts (ironically sellers wouldn’t know the SIF acronym).

So here’s my case:

  • In the .com, the store listings are growing crazily
  • In Jan, eBay implemented Stores in Search (SIS) globally putting store listings in with core.
  • In the .com, this apparently caused buyer confusion (because of the abundance of store listings)
  • Therefore in March, eBay reversed SIS – for the .com ONLY.
  • At the Goldman Sachs conference last week, Meg gave several series of talks: Wednesday she had small meetings with 10-15 investors at a time that were webcast (voice only). Thursday she gave more of these as well as the main “all hands” Noto fireside chat.
    • The buzz Wednesday was that in an earlier small meeting she had said they would lower core pricing to bridge the value gap between core/store.
    • In fact, Justin Post at Merrill Lynch was listening and issued a report in the wee hours of Wed evening. In his report, Justin theorizes we could see a lower core or higher store to adjust the fees.
  • During her main speech which I recorded in parts V and IV on the blog, she said:
    • “As we manage via pricing and other techniques” we will bring more balance to the marketplace.
    • In the .com/US, the pricing difference is largest between SIF/core of 8 markets.
    • Finally during Q+A, Justin Bauldorf asked specifically: In an earlier session you were quoted as saying you would lower store/core listings? Meg replied: I didn’t say that, we’re looking at things.

Let’s dig into this. We did some research today (thanks ChristineM!) and checked every eBay country with stores and compared the listing fee only for an item that’s about $45 (ebay average ASP) for core and store and compared the delta (normalized to $USD):

  • .COM - $1.20 vs. $.02  - $1.18 delta
  • Ebay.co.UK - £.75 vs. £.03 - $1.35 delta
  • DE – €1.60 vs. €.03 - $2.02 delta
  • FR - €.90 vs. €.01 - $1.14 delta
  • IT - €.80 vs. €.05 - $.96 delta
  • AU – AU$1.40 vs. AU$.10 - $.99 delta
  • Switzerland – CHF 0.30 vs. CHF .02 - $.23 delta

  • ebay.ca – C$1.65 vs. C$.02 - $1.48 delta

So looking at this the biggest listing fee core/store delta eBay country is DE, then CA followed by ebay.co.UK and finally ebay.com. Based on this I don’t get what Meg was saying. Using her logic, the pricing difference on listing fees in these other countries should make store listings go crazy, but it’s only the case for ebay.com.

 Adding FVFs for a 100% conversion $45 item in the mix you have: 

  • .COM – Core: $3.11 vs. Store: $3.02
  • Ebay.co.UK – Core: £1.96 vs.      Store: £1.58
  • DE – Core: €3.35 vs. Store: €3.33
  • CA – Core: C$3.94 vs. Store: C$3.57

Based on the total fees, ebay.ca and the ebay.co.uk have the highest difference and ebay.com is one of the closest.

In any case, my prediction is we’ll see a listing fee increase in stores – maybe as high as .10 or it could be like some countries, where it’s .04 for 30 days and a .06 surcharge for additional timeframes.

What do you guys think? Seems like the FVF in stores was so recent, it will be interesting to see how they try to message any increases.

Of course I could be wrong and we could see a core decrease of some sort. Based on previous actions that would be very unusual (especially not in the lowest tier).

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