« September 2006 | Main | November 2006 »

22 posts from October 2006

October 31, 2006

eBay testing feedback in search results.

In the UK, all search results now include the seller's feedback score and percentage under the title of the listing.  For example: Feedback: (1247) 98.4%

US sellers have seen some A/B testing going on in the states as well as captured here (Thanks Lani!)


I think this is a great idea.  It creates a much more concrete and instant feedback loop between feedback and demand.  This will tend to reward large, customer-service oriented sellers over their more dicey counterparts.  Also consumers will have a much clearer idea of what they are getting themselves into.

For example, buying a digital camera you may have the choice between a 5 feedback 80% seller and a 1000 feedback 99% seller.  Sure the price is probably better on the 5/80%, but the risk is also higher.

Next, eBay needs to require sellers go through a verification process to help get rid of the scammers.  This could be done in a similar fashion with verified sellers showing in the search results and unverified not showing.  Over time smart buyers would go verified thus economically "fixing the marketplace".

Death by a thousand cuts.

One thing that's been interesting working with both Google and eBay is way each approaches adding features to their offerings.  eBay tends to be "seasonal", working for a quarter, releasing those efforts, working, releasing.  Google releases tons of things as they are ready, preferring to get them out fast and furious vs. waiting for a mass of functionality that warrants a press release/major QA effort/rollout, etc.

Here's an example.  Google Checkout today announced some significant enhancements to the way they handle coupons.  This certainly isn't worthy of a press release or major announcement, but from a customer's perspective, getting this out early, getting feedback and perfecting it for the holidays is HUGE.

It will be interesting to see which approach works best long-term.  We already have one datapoint from the Yahoo!/Google battle in search.  Google improves adwords incrementally, Y! waits for 6 months working on Panama...

October 29, 2006

Google Base 2.0 coming soon? (Froogle Replacement)

Garrett Rogers over at ZDNet has done some good detective work and discovered a new version of Google base with some froogle-esque features. Here are some sample searches:

  • ipod nano - Lots of initial noise, but the attributes let you narrow quickly.
  • Nike shox - List view looks good on this one, the tag/attribute nav makes it fast and easier than some other websites (umm, like ebay).
  • Volkswagen Bug - shows mapview in action.

October 27, 2006

US Sellers angry with our friends in Canada

As reported earlier sellers in Canada are having a real tough time.  eBay.ca threw them a golden life-line by offering a "eBay.ca seller pack".  What this does is for $50/month you get UNLIMITED GALLERY.

Gallery is usually $.35 so if you list more than 143 items a month, you safe significant money on this plan.  In fact here's a schedule:

Listings   /    Savings
143           /        break-even
1000      /  $300
2000     / $650
5000     / $1,700
10k       / $3,450
30k       / $10,450
100k      / $34,950

Yes there are sellers that could benefit THIS MUCH from such a program.  Heres' the problem:
A. This is Canada only
B. Canadian listings show up in the .com site
C. Canadian high-volume-sellers now have an economic advantage of their southern brethren.

All that aside, I have my fingers crossed this kind of concept moves to the US - FAST.  Charging for Gallery seems like a very silly thing to me.  If you go to any other ecommerce site every item has IMAGES.  Charging sellers for a thumbnail image in search results I believe economically gets eBay upside-down.  The GMV upside is much more than the $.35 is much larger.

In fact it's so expensive that now when you search around for DVDs, CDs and what-not, most of those listings don't have Gallery, resulting in a terrible buying experience.

eBay Strategy readers - what do you think? Are you pro "all you can eat Gallery" or against?

October 24, 2006

Saw a new eBay IT commercial!

During the World Series, I saw a 30 second spot (haven't seen it online at all).  In the commercial a couple are at an Italian restaurant, the woman eats her dessert (cake?) and inside the cake is a diamond ring (the diamond is in the shape of 'IT').  Then the "whatever IT is, get IT on ebay" kicks in where the IT rotates through about 20 items rotate through the word IT.

.20 core listings promo! 10/25

eBay is having a big sale tomorrow - twenty cent core listings (auction style and fixed-price) on both .com and .ca.

Details here.

Some analysts have issued reports showing a slow Q4 listing start, no idea if this is related to a slowdown or if they are stocking the shelves for Halloween weekend, when Holiday shopping starts for some.

Medved shows that listings have actually been up for October - not sure if that's from some other promo or not though..


October 22, 2006

This just in - they are logo people

According to ebay UK, the new UK ads feature "logo people" - they will talk about all the things they have purchased on ebay.co.uk.  Any of you UK readers - it would be great if you could video capture the ads, youtube them and shoot me the URL.  Free lunch/dinner on me for anyone that does!  Thanks to Dimes for the logo people tip!

October 20, 2006

Ebay UK TV ads are coming - rainbow people.

eBay UK has a new header on the site with these weird rainbow/flat people (in the ebay colors) 

here's a snapshot of what it looks like.


I'm guessing these characters will be part of the ads.

The yellow one looks a little like meg and the Red one Bill Cobb.  Not sure on the others ;-)

October 19, 2006

I wonder whether we know whether we're still connected?

SeekingAlpha has an eBay analyst call transcript online.  If you've followed eBay for a while and ever listened to a town hall or their analyst calls, it's a big industry joke that they always have the WORST telecom quality/issues every time.  The town halls sound like they are in Griff's shower and the conf calls always have some issue.  This time around in the middle of the call, eBay dropped off for a good 30 secs then came back on.

Here's the part of the transcript where that happened:


Please stand by.

Meg Whitman

So maybe we ought to do a test.  I wonder whether we know whether we're still connected?


You are still connected.  We can hear you now.

eBay - time to eat your own dogfood and use Skype for all this stuff!

Anyway, enough ribbing on the telecom quality, here are some highlights:

Bob Swan on Q4:
On the first one, in the U.S. business as we indicated, we felt a little bit better as we exited the quarter versus when we entered the quarter. Our guidance reflects about a 14% acceleration of revenue in the aggregate from Q3 to Q4. We are expecting a decent acceleration. It is consistent with what we said before. The trends we have witnessed during the course of the quarter give us comfort as we go into the key holiday season.

New TV ads next week:
As we head into the holidays, we are also gearing up eBay.com as the place to shop this season with a new variation of our very successful It marketing campaign. You'll see that start in the next week or so.

Meg on eBay Express (Noto Q+A confuses me, thought we wanted folks not on ebay already?):
89% of shoppers who have made a purchase on eBay Express say the experience met or exceeded their expectations. And buyers who shop both eBay.com and eBay Express are spending significantly more time, and nearly 25% more money with eBay, than those who have yet to try Express.

Meg, you had mentioned a stat on eBay Express. You said, people that buy on eBay and eBay Express spend 25% more. Will you focus on trying to get a greater percentage of people to use eBay Express or to use eBay, or will your marketing efforts focus on those that shop online that don't shop at eBay to come to eBay Express? And when will that start?

With regard to eBay Express, the focus of the eBay Express marketing for the fourth quarter is going to be around our core eBay buyers and getting an increased share of wallet. What we know is that our core eBay buyers love eBay, but they do shop at other sites for new items in a more convenience-oriented format. What eBay Express, although early, has convinced us of is that they will shop on eBay if they have an opportunity to in a slightly different format. So the marketing is all around our core consumer share of wallet. We may get some new users. We have seen some new users based on the television campaign that ran in September. But priority number one, two and three is more share of wallet from our existing very loyal eBay buyers.

eBay Q3 results - signs of life!

eBay released results yesterday that were in-line with Wall St, then gave new Q4 and 07 guidance that Wall st. took positively sending the stock up $2 - 7% and some analysts came out very bullish.  Heck even very conservative Scott Devitt put a $37 target on the puppy and I'll be darned if it may get there this week.  I think part of the lift is a sigh of relief.  After YHOO's lackluster results, the Street was stressed that eBay would whiff.  There's also been a wall of worry over Skype, China, eBay Express, etc.

Other Bullish items:

  • It's widely known that eBay is close to exiting China via a partnership - this seems bearish, but is bullish because it can take the China investment off eBay's plate
  • Paypal is killing it (thanks JJ!)
  • Wall St. loves the Yahoo! and Google deals
  • Bill Cobb is listening to sellers
  • eBay express could be a big catalyst (we haven't seen much action here)
  • eBay is starting TV ads next week (new ones around IT evidently)

Biggest Bull: Anthony Noto at Goldman: $38 with 30% upside on that.

The Bear case is that the rebalancing of the marketplace is having an impact.  Store listings are down as a %.  GMV for the quarter accelerated a little bit - the first time in a long time.  eBay also had some really positive eBay express comments (e.g. 85% of buyers say they like it, etc.)

The neutral/sidelines case is that most of the bad news is out, it's an 07 story.

On the bearish side, several core metrics continue to decline and cause concerns:

  • The delta between registered and active users continues to grow (absolute and %)
  • GMV/active users fell 8% y/y
  • Transaction rev/listing fell 7% y/y (darn stores)
  • Q4 guidance is below street guidance (bulls argue it's conservative)
  • 07 guidance midpoint is below street concensus
  • Skype is really underperforming
  • eBay GMV is growing slower than ecommerce
  • The euro/FX contributed $29m and was the bulk of the upside in Q3
  • German growth low - 5-10% y/y (below ecommerce)
  • Marketing costs increased per user increased 8%

Biggest Bear:

Derek Brown - Cantor Fitzgerald - $25

I think this is the biggest bear to bull delta I've seen on the stock $25-38+ - who will be right by this time next year?  Stay tuned...