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September 19, 2008

Some quick eBay news links this am...

We're a couple of days into fp30 and confusion continues to abound. I'm working on some details around what we're seeing with Finding+fp30 here already and I owe you epiii - the UK changes.  Until then here are some quick links to some news items today you may not have seen:

  • StumbleUpon a buyer? There are lots of rumors swirling that eBay is selling StumbleUpon which they acquired for $75m a little over a year ago.  Apparently traffic has plummeted from 4.4m users to 1m users since the eBay acquisition - ouch.  Last May, I thought this would be interesting to integrate as a recommendation engine.  Well nothing ever happened so I think this makes sense.
  • UK Webinar. For all you UK readers, we are hosting a free webinar for customers, and the community highlighting the eBay changes Monday September 22 at 1pm local time (GMT I believe).  Rafael Orta from eBay will be there to answer your questions. Register Here. This will probably be of interest to all of you cross border trade (CBT) people that are selling in the UK as well.  Their changes are vastly different and some would say even more aggressive around fp30 than those in the US so it's important to understand them if you participate in the UK marketplace.
  • Town Hall. eBay's hosting a town hall today (with short notice I might add) from 11:30-1pm PT hosted by Stephanie Tilenius. As mentioned, fp30 is very confusing to everyone and I bet the focus of this call is to try to clear the air on the new format.
  • Eric Shoup - GM of stores+prostores has left eBay.  I met Eric several times and thought he was a solid player so I'm sorry to see him go.  What's worse is he's going to a geneology company so we have no hope of continuing to work together as we have with lots of other ex-eBayers that are at other partners like google, yahoo, etc. Best of luck to Eric in his new gig.
  • Search (ok, Finding) Finding on eBay just seems systemically broken.  They are changing so much so frequently that I can't get a consistent result day after day. For example, yesterday I was trying to show a reporter how the catalog is integrated in eBay and I literally could not find a single catalog item in the new or old finding experience.  Where the heck did that go? We're constantly seeing weird things like TES upside down, FP's at the back of search, etc.  While I think Jeff King and co are very sharp, something is going on behind the scenes that looks to have destabalized things to the point where Finding has turned into a new search each day.
    • Some days the deduping is on, others it's off.
    • Some days things are inverted
    • Some days the 10 listing/seller/page is on, others its off.
    • DSRs seem to count sometimes and others they don't
    • Sellers that create multiple IDs see a new ID with 1/4 the inventory have 2-3X the conversions of those that are multi-million/yr long-term accounts with eBay.  Nobody knows why.
    • Indexing of the new fp30's seems to be 6-12hrs behind so it might as well  be a fp29

The bottom line

Search chaos results in seller chaos- Search is the Yin to the seller's Yang.  Sellers can't settle on a strategy with search changing. If you want to learn more about this, just go to this forum and spend about 20hrs here reading all the problems people are reporting with search.  It's easy to take the position that these are a bunch of wackos and there is definitely some noise/signal ratio problems here in the eBay forums, but peel that away and you find many many reports of finding just plain 'broke' as we say where I'm from.

I sincerely hope eBay can get this resolved or at least stable to some degree before the holidays or we'll (continue to) have complete chaos.

SeekingAlpha disclosure: I am long google and eBay




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