BAM eBay Buyer Blog

Posts for eBay buyers about buying on eBay

Toolhaus Feedback Tool Suppressed Under Current eBay System

Toolhaus Feedback Tool Suppressed Under Current eBay System




Toolhaus.org has long provided a useful tool for looking at feedback of eBay members -- such as Negative/Neutral feedback left by users, a 30-Day Negs tool, to weed out where the negative feedbacks are; and an Item FB tool, which shows you user's recent feedback with the item's title, and groups feedback from Dutch Auctions into a single entry. (You can even search the item titles for specific terms). But now, according to its founder, Win Bent, on this EcommerceBytes blog entry, eBay is not allowing the tool to work with eBay's system.

In a letter to a donor, Bent says in part:

"...Then there's the "small" issue of eBay blocking Toolhaus. We're an independent site, long ago we turned down the chance to be an Authorized eBay Developer and work within their system. We'd rather do our analysis based on what anyone can see, not just people with access to inside information. But the result was that they could shut us down for any reason, and over the years they've done exactly that in big and small ways.

"A few years back, they started blocking us, but we figured out a good way to avoid the blocks, to keep eBay happy. Currently, their blocks have gotten quite big - big enough to make Toolhaus nearly useless."

One commenter on the post had this to say: "Toolhaus use to be a very desirable source of information.  But once we moved past being able to leave negative or neutral FB for buyers, it just didn't have as much importance to me.  Again, I do firmly believe Toolhaus proved a very good service back in the day, but not so much anymore with the changes in FB rules.

"Looking up a buyer just didn't always tell you the real story whether on Ebay or Toolhaus," they said.

"I'm with Rexford, looking up a buyer's FB just doesn't tell you much anymore," they continued. "However I do still look up the FB LEFT by a buyer.  Now that can still be very informative."

And one eBayer commented: "As a buyer I still use Toolhaus.org. I look for patterns in the feedback such as sellers who pack items poorly or claim an item is an original when in fact it is a cheap reproduction. There is a group on Facebook where sellers post the buyers they block and why. Recently I wanted to buy a very rare item but passed because the seller had a ton of negative feedback. I do agree ebay should bring back negative buyer feedback so sellers can block the scam artists."

What about you? Do you still use Toolhaus for vetting feedback, and has it not worked for you when you tried? Should eBay allow the Toolhaus tool to work with its system? And do you look up feedback left by buyers, and not just a buyer's feedback, when researching them? Given that sellers have for a long time not been able to leave negative feedback for buyers, what feedback tools would you like to see on eBay? Post a comment here!


EBay CEO Devin Wenig Reacts to Election Results

EBay CEO Devin Wenig Reacts to Election Results


EBay's CEO sent a memo to its global staff discussing the election results, acknowledging that the election was "emotionally charged," and emphasizing eBay's commitment to global diversity, as reported by recode.  Wenig highlighted that eBay was founded by "by an immigrant to the US.  Pierre built our business on the belief that people are basically good, and this enduring heritage is one of the reasons I’m proud to lead this company."  Recode saw this as perhaps a "not-so-veiled nod to the anti-immigrant push that galvanized Trump’s base."  The memo also stressed how people across the world and of all backgrounds are part of eBay, and "This diversity is one of the most valuable assets we have as we drive our business forward."

He goes on to touch on Brexit, saying, "Just a few months ago, voters in the UK made a similarly historic decision regarding their relationship with the European Union. People are expressing sentiments that economic progress has not been distributed fairly. We’ve also seen a sense of fear and disruption caused by the impact that changing economic trends, including technology innovation, are having on people’s lives."

But, he says, "While we are a technology leader, our platform is centered around people -- buyers, sellers and our employees. We connect people through the power of a global marketplace. In an era where technology can be miscast as dehumanizing and disruptive, we represent a philosophy where technology can lift people and create opportunity at all levels. We will continue to advocate for principles and policies that support the needs of the global eBay community, and I will continue to speak publicly about inclusion, trade, and the positive role that technology can play in peoples’ lives around the world."

He ends by saying the company should be focused on the holiday season, and ensuring "we finish what we started in 2016."
And, "While political seasons come and go, we will remember who we are, why we exist, and who we serve."

Devin"

I see the memo as a reaching out to eBay's employees and acknowledging that there are mixed feelings and perhaps some shock around the election results. While being careful to not take sides, the email does strike a cautionary note about the election results, and recode noted that Wenig donated $2700 to the Hillary Clinton campaign last year, according to public records. I think it's usually a good thing when the head of a company sends a note to the entire staff, keeping them in touch with what's going on in the head of the leader and striving to keep them on track despite whatever political or economic disruption.

What do you think of Wenig's memo to the eBay staff, and do you think it struck the right tone?  What do you think it should have said instead?  Post a comment here!



EBay Shares What Buyers Want for the Holidays

EBay Shares What Buyers Want for the Holidays




In an email to sellers, eBay is sharing what holiday buyers are on the hunt for now. Here are some of the highlights:

Electronics

In Electronics, some of the key trends are:

- The new MacBook Pro and MacBook Air launched on October 27. The new form factor and feature sets are expected to reinvigorate the sales of MacBooks.

-    Phone sales continue to outperform expectations with no signs of slowdown in older generation models.

-    Hot holiday items are expected to see sales increase early this year. Key items are VR, cell phones, 4K TVs, drones, laptops, and gaming consoles.

Some of the individual items under electronics included an Apple iPod Nano 16Gb 7th generation for $93.13; an unlocked Samsung Galaxy Note 5 for $574.26; and an Apple 27 inch iMac with Retina 5K Display for $1860.61.

Fashion & Beauty

In Fashion & Beauty, these types of items are hot:

-    Beauty gift sets in Fragrance, Skincare, and Makeup are trending as a value play for the holiday gifting season.
-    Shearling and faux-shearling boots and slippers are a big focus this holiday, especially with the new UGG Classic II release.
-    The athleisure trend continues to be the biggest driver in the men’s and women’s athletic apparel category.

Leggings seemed to be also particularly in demand, with three pairs listed in the trending items, including a pair of LuLaRoe leggings for $26.78.

Toys

In the ever-popular Toys category, eBay gives these tips:

-    With the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story quickly approaching on December 16, searches are on the rise for all things Star Wars.
-    Toys with tech are taking play to the next level this season by integrating tech and learning with fun: Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar, Love2Learn Elmo, Bloxels, and more.
-    Demand for LEGO on eBay is on the rise for the holiday season, including Technic, Star Wars, Friends, City, and Super Heroes.

One high-priced action figure listed is a Batman vs. Superman:DAWN of Justice armored 12" figure for $344.01. American Girl dolls often command high figures, and an American Girl Grace Opening Night Dress Pink Outfit GOTY Sandals Headband Tulle is commanding $133.60.

Meanwhile, what about holiday items? In the Home & Garden category, these tips are broken out:

Home & Garden

- This month, holiday is in full effect with the top 5 searched terms: Christmas, Christmas tree, star shower, Christmas lights, and ornaments.
-    Stocking stuffers continue to trend, especially decorative jar candles, oil diffuser gift sets, and Fitbit Charge 2.
-    This month is also all about cold-weather and winter readiness. In Home Improvement, space heaters, chainsaws, generators, and snow-blowers are in demand.

A Showers Red & Green Laser Light Show, as Seen on TV, is going for $24.99 - $39.99, and one of the Fitbits is going for $99.99.

In Lifestyle & Media:

-  D’Angelico Guitars announced the launch of its new electrical guitar strings, D’Angelico Electrozinc, combining modern innovation with classic original.
-    Serato teamed up with Roland to launch the DJ-808, an innovative DJ controller that works with Roland’s AIRA products and Serato’s DJ software.
-    Technavio’s research analysts expect the global luggage market to expand by a steady 6% from 2016–2020 as luggage continues to improve in comfort and style.

Samsonite suitcases are also in demand, with "Samsonite Suitcases Luggage Inova Spinner 28 Metallic Silver" going for $155.99.

In my experience, eBay is a great place to get unique and "old world" holiday ornaments you can't easily find in the stores, and of course there are decorations galore. If you are a seller, get out those holiday items now, from jewelry to Pere Noels and "old World" Santas; buyers love to purchase decorations in advance of the holidays and also to give as gifts.

What are you looking to buy online for the holiday season, and what do you look to buy on eBay vs. buying in the stores? Post a comment here!

EBay Revamps Its Discussion Boards

EBay Revamps Its Discussion Boards




EBay recently redesigned its discussion boards, announcing it on October 27. In eyeballing the page with the discussions, what struck me was it seemed to be very streamlined, with fewer topics on the top level, including fewer of the category discussion boards which I had found very helpful.

In announcing the change, eBay explained, "The Community discussion boards have been a staple of the eBay marketplace since the beginning. The boards have evolved with us, but in recent years, they’ve lacked important features that you’ve told us you want. Today, we deliver those new features:

    "A more personalized experience that serves up the content and conversations that are most relevant to you.
    "A recognition program that rewards your valuable contributions via ranks and badges
    "Enhanced user profiles that allow community members to quickly see the person behind the post, enabling more transparent interactions and meaningful connections.
    "A knowledge base built by you – our community members – featuring user-generated content curated by the Community team.
   "More engagement from eBay employees across the company - weighing in on relevant conversations."

The top level of the Community boards is now more graphic in its interface; there are featured discussions for Seller News and the Weekly Discussion with eBay Staff. On a positive note, there are also a list of "Popular Discussions" on the top level, and eBay is rewarding top contributors by featuring some of their posts on the right side of the screen.

According to Ina Steiner in a post at the EcommerceBytes Blog, the worst thing about the new boards is "hovering over titles of threads no longer shows an abstract."

I'd like to see more of the item categories on the top level, back to the way it used to be. In the new design, there are only eight categories listed on that level, including Electronics, Product Discussions, Fashion, Collectibles & Art, Motors, Home & Garden,
Sporting Goods,  and Toys & Hobbies.

What do you think of the new eBay discussion boards, or do you miss the way the old boards used to be? Do you think the recognition program will increase users' posts, and would it incentivize you to post? What do you think are the best and worst things about the new boards? Post a comment here!

Enterprising Seller Uses Cat in His Photos; A Turnoff?

Enterprising Seller Uses Cat in His Photos; A Turnoff?


This blog post of AuctionBytes calls out a seller on eBay who has been using his pet cat to get attention on his listings. It seems to be working: according to the Forbes article that features the story, seller Tim Dombrowski has been getting "plenty of messages, about three per day," he says.

It started out as an accident; "As I took my pictures," Dombrowski says, his cat Mercedes started wanting more attention and sitting next to his items, "so I just started using her to pose,” according to the piece. “Then she started to stand up, really hamming it up good."

The cat is apparently becoming a celebrity, according to AuctionBytes. But while this whimsy is reminiscent of the old-school days of eBay, when quirkiness reigned, it begs the question, are pets in product photos a turnoff?

Generally sellers mention their items come from a pet-free and smoke-free home, if they mention the environment at all. And many folks shiver at the notion that their item may come with any kind of pet hair and dander. But, as AuctionBytes points out, the items Dombrowski is selling are antiques and collectibles, so less likely to be affected by any kind of squeamishness.

But how would you feel about seeing a pet in a product listing? Would it turn you off whether it was a collectible or an edible? I once wrote a piece for EcommerceBytes about a cat that had been photographed by a seller of tea; that seems a definite no-no. Or is this kind of thing something that can bring more fun back to eBay? What do you think? Post a comment here!