First of all, it’s hard to believe that it’s been nearly a month since the last post on Wax Heaven, and longer since my first. As one of my friends says, time flies when real life happens. On the personal front, I’ve been in the midst of a job search since before Christmas. There are positive signs that things will turn around soon. Naturally, much of my absence from here has been in keeping the household together, managing finances, and networking for new employment.
Anyway, enough excuse making, and on to the post subject. I have been lucky enough to live about a 25-minute out-of-shape jog away from eBay headquarters for several years now. I’ve been an eBay buyer and seller since 1998, and over that time, eBay has invited me, off and on, to come to their campus and have the privilege to participate in “usability studies”. They bring in users and customers, and have them go through exercises and interviews to provide feedback and user insight.
Recently, eBay contacted me to offer an invitation to an expanded usability study that runs from this evening to tomorrow morning. So far, I’ve met product managers and engineers from the pricing, search, security, and platform / architecture departments of eBay. They’ve been very receptive and responsive to ideas and experiences with eBay that I and the other invited customers have discussed with them so far.
For my part, I mentioned some of the issues that I’ve both heard from the hobby community and experienced first-hand. For example, I mentioned the community perception of a “double dip” between eBay insertion / final value fees and PayPal processing fees. I also passed along concerns I’ve seen on message boards about the new pricing that eBay announced. New or lower volume non-eBay store users have minimal insertion fees, but eBay stores will see the five cent insertion fee for inventory (Buy it Now) items going away, and being priced higher. For card sellers on eBay, this can be a daunting shift to readjust dozens (to hundreds) of listings to find a way to sell low-price / low-demand cards, and still find a way to come out ahead.
eBay is, like it or not, the central marketplace for our hobby, whether you’re a dabbler or a retailer. Nearly every card shop I know that still exists does significant business on eBay. The most successful shops tell me they do nearly a third of their business on eBay, and it helps keep their physical store open (at least as long as rent doesn’t go up). Here’s a prime shot to tell eBay what you really think needs to change or be improved, at least for our “Sports Mem, Cards and Fan Shop” category that’s been as staple of the site since it was conceived.
Although this is short notice, I return for additional sessions tomorrow morning here on the West Coast, and I am inviting you to comment on this post with the things that both bother and concern you the most about eBay, as well as any ideas you might have to suggest for improvement. It’s one thing for me to interpret my experiences and what I’ve heard, and another to be able to go back tomorrow morning, point to Wax Heaven, and say “take a look”.
So, what would you tell eBay if you could?