Ebay: The Online Economy Crumbles

Ebay, on it's way down.
Ebay, on it's way down. | Source

In 1995 when Ebay first came into being the internet was ready, willing and able to facilitate it's rise. The internet needed a market place and Ebay filled a void where it strongly needed. Throughout the late 1990s and into the 2000s nothing that came along could touch them in terms of membership, pricing. Indeed they even left competitors such as the now defunct Yahoo Auctions and Amazon in the dust. Although Amazon has remained a competitor I'd have to say they are worse off then Ebay because of the ridiculous prices they charge sellers to sell on their website.

In the early days Ebay made things very easy, their platform was simple and the prices charged to their sellers very low. They had few rules that effected being able to sell that were not fair. They were featured in magazines, television, even film and across the net as the next big thing. They became a household name and with good reason. However as time progressed into the late 2000s Ebay began to destroy their own business. They began raising the prices of listing, stores, etc and besides this they began to institute new rules for selling items and thus began the restrictive nature of the current Ebay.

As the economy sagged severely Ebay seemed to escalate their practices continuing to increase prices to sellers and again creating new rules to restrict the way and amount users could sell. As the economy lost it's momentum many sellers on Ebay began feeling the squeeze and over the next few years many sellers began at the very least looking for other options to sell their items. Many who enjoyed a full time business and large incomes went from making thousands on ebay to barely making a supplemental income. Sellers began liquidating their stocks many with the understanding that this would be their last stock to be sold on Ebay.

As things went from bad to worse Ebay's city to city tours went from jam-packed auditoriums to sparsely filled chairs and sometimes angry Ebay sellers that showed up and went on tirades only to be escorted out by security. Ebay spokesman gave speeches on how it was the end of the e-commerce era and that what Ebay was dealing with was mothing but attributed to that change.

In part that was an issue. The division of the internet from desktops on Windows and new technology such as smart phones and tablets drew people to other "applications" and away from Ebay. However there is no denying that the exodus of sellers put down by crippling restrictions on Ebay meant lest items and a lot less variety. Which of course in turn meant less buyers. All the while through sheer propaganda Ebay passed off their laundry list of new rules as helpful to sellers, that it was to somehow meant to help businesses when it clearly didn't.

These days Ebay is desperately trying to stay viable as a marketplace. They offer some free listings to sellers, and more frequently offer unlimited free listings on specific days. Whether this will reinvigorate their dying brand only time will tell.

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Comments 31 comments

writer20 profile image

writer20 4 years ago from Southern Nevada

You've a great helpful hub here.

Voted up useful and interesting.


dmop profile image

dmop 4 years ago from Cambridge City, IN

I had no idea Ebay was having these issues, as I don't use the site or keep up with anything going on there. I can say that I haven't made the first cent from Ebay here on HubPages. Good article either way, voted up and interesting.


terrektwo profile image

terrektwo 4 years ago from North America Author

writer20 - thanks for the vote, I have been thinking a lot of the rapid decline of sales on Ebay and figured I have the inside track on writing about it as a powerseller. I've seen and experienced a lot on the website, good, bad and horrible.


WorkAtHomeMums profile image

WorkAtHomeMums 4 years ago from Australia

I sell a lot on eBay and particularly as a trading assistant for others. The free listings offers and others specials are there to encourage listings but looking at the volume of listings you'd question their motive. I never though of it as you have put it. But you are right, in a world where we have other selling platforms in competition too they do need to change the way they operate. I still find however people are more inclinded to use eBay as it is the first one people think of to buy and sell. There certainly are enough people needing a trading assistant. I can't keep up. Good interesting hub. Makes you think. !!


wetnosedogs profile image

wetnosedogs 4 years ago from Alabama

I didn't realize Ebay had tours, or that Ebay was really doing that bad. That's really sad. Hope they make it easier for all. I used to Ebay a lot, but not so much now.


terrektwo profile image

terrektwo 4 years ago from North America Author

dmop - yes, for powersellers on Ebay everyones lost a whole lot of power these days unfortunately.


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

I don't use ebay but I know others who do lots of business on the site. It will be interesting to see what happens over time to these auction sites. Thanks for sharing the updates on this seller's platform.


jbosh1972 profile image

jbosh1972 4 years ago from Indianapolis, IN. USA

once a powerseller, they have become a joke. They do not see truth on how to run their business. I say its done and I want to hammer the last nail in the coffin for ebay. With ebay gone, other platforms can flourish. Honestly though, creating your own brand is best with your own website.


terrektwo profile image

terrektwo 4 years ago from North America Author

WorkAtHomeMums - ppl still flock to Ebay for the name, it's just that no one stays, its become more of a place to get rid of your junk when you are not concerned about what price you get. Businesses need to make a profit to survive but unfortunately at this point if anyone is making a profit it's Ebay. Trader Assistant may work well for you, if it does power to you :)


terrektwo profile image

terrektwo 4 years ago from North America Author

wetnosedogs - all I can really say is that if enough sellers get screwed and leave then buyers are soon to follow as there simply won't be enough variety and incredible items being sold anymore. Time will tell I suppose. Thanks for commenting :)


terrektwo profile image

terrektwo 4 years ago from North America Author

teaches12345 - for sure for those still on Ebay I say good luck, they'll need it. Thanks for commenting :)


terrektwo profile image

terrektwo 4 years ago from North America Author

jbosh 1972 - creating your own brand is great but it takes a lot of work. You are right about Ebay though, if they can't please both buyers and sellers they will eventually be phased out.


Allen Williams profile image

Allen Williams 4 years ago from Pennsylvania

I used Ebay from the beginning when they started up. I sold many things at a good profit. Today I rearely can sell anything. The amount of buyere are not there like it used to be and another thing that hurt Ebay that is out of their control are the expensive shipping rates. People might want to buy your product at a good price but after figuring in the shipping, they were just robbed. For the seller to eat the shipping cost also eats the profits.


WorkAtHomeMums profile image

WorkAtHomeMums 4 years ago from Australia

I definitely agree with you that people go there to sell their items just to get rid of them. As a business I'd stick to a website as a primary way of establishing brand and avoiding the ridiculous fees.


Lipnancy profile image

Lipnancy 4 years ago from Hamburg, New York

Very informative. I had an Ebay store for 5 years and just could not make it work financially. I am happy to hear that thing are going better for the sellers.


sligobay profile image

sligobay 4 years ago from east of the equator

I have no experience with ebay and appreciate the "heads up" to steer clear.


terrektwo profile image

terrektwo 4 years ago from North America Author

Allen Williams - your right shipping costs was another issue with postage continuing to rise. I also forgot Ebay's one sided feedback system, that really hurt sellers too. Thanks for jogging my memory :)


terrektwo profile image

terrektwo 4 years ago from North America Author

WorkAtHomeMums - well maybe Ebay will change, otherwise establishing a brand is anotherr option I suppose.


Lipnancy profile image

Lipnancy 4 years ago from Hamburg, New York

Yes, I have to agree that I just could not take the feedback system on Ebay. The customers could literally send back anything they wanted and you could do nothing except give them a full refund. Because Ebay owns Paypal too. I digress. so sorry.


terrektwo profile image

terrektwo 4 years ago from North America Author

Lipnancy - you are right, Ebay execs seem to be oblivious to what they were doing as they continue to destroy their own company with such blunders. No worries on digressing because your totally on the bullseye with that one.


terrektwo profile image

terrektwo 4 years ago from North America Author

sligobay - no problem, steering clear of Ebay is best.


catgypsy profile image

catgypsy 4 years ago from the South

My brother decided to give Ebay a try and had all kinds of problems getting signed up, for no apparent reason! I think Ebay is suffering from what a lot of these sites are these days...getting too big for their britches! :) Great hub!


terrektwo profile image

terrektwo 4 years ago from North America Author

catgypsy - I think you may be right, once a website like Ebay gets so big it goes to their heads and when things go bad they just enter a denial stage.


Lateral3 profile image

Lateral3 4 years ago

I guess Ebay are increasingly tied up with consumer legislation, hence the blanket returns policy, which must compound their own inhibitive tendency. Then again people are just not buying. This recession has been some years in the making. I had a Christmas craft stall four or five years ago which attracted a lot of interest. I barely sold enough to cover the pitch hire. Same story with antiques and bric a brac. Stall holders used to make a thousand a day no problem; now they lucky to sell one or two items. Ebay must be similarly effected.

I have sold a few junk items on Ebay and the bidders just aren't there. Sometimes you get lucky but increasingly valuable items are going for 99p. If you had more than one photo at extra cost, and by the time Ebay and PayPal have taken their cut; your out of pocket.

With increasing political interference from both the US and the EU in commercial activity; there is not much chance of a return to sanity for Ebay. It's becoming more and more difficult to do business.


Denver5280Click profile image

Denver5280Click 4 years ago from Denver Colorado

I don't sell anything on ebay that is large because of the shipping costs. The listing fees and paypal seems to be about 8% of the total purchase including shipping. If it can fit into a small flat rate box from the post office I may list it.


terrektwo profile image

terrektwo 4 years ago from North America Author

Lateral3 - yes recession is a big problem for sure, people are holding back and buying necessities but to be honest that should make Ebay less restrictive if they want to bring in sellers and buyers. Being more restrictive just makes things much worse. Here in Canada doing business is worse too because the Canadian dollar has been so high for so long US buyers aren't looking for deals from Canada anymore. There are a lot of compounding issues but if Ebay gets more and more restrictive they are only a big part of their own problem. Thanks for reading and commenting :)


Ruby H Rose profile image

Ruby H Rose 4 years ago from Northwest Washington on an Island

Good food for thought, I really don't know much about EBay, so this information really helped. A good read, a good hub. Thanks for taking the time to write it.


terrektwo profile image

terrektwo 4 years ago from North America Author

Denver5280Click - I've dealt in coins for years on Ebay an can say even items that small won't solve the problems. I've seen many in the same category as me drop like flies. You's think that would help but for some reason it does not. Thanks for commenting :)


terrektwo profile image

terrektwo 4 years ago from North America Author

Ruby H Rose - it is something to know if you ever deal with Ebay for sure :) thanks for reading.


Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 4 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon

Ebay has definitely become a frustrating place to buy and sell in the last 5+ years. I had forgotten about the rating system, that annoys me too! There was also controversy about feedback which drove me nuts. At some point, sellers started withholding feedback until the buyer left feedback! I figure as a seller, if someone pays the full amount on time or even quickly, that is the only thing you should leave feedback on, but apparently many had assumed a pirate attitude and if the seller left bad feedback, the favor was immediately returned - that makes no sense because the whole system of trust breaks down - which leads to one of Ebay's biggest problems: as a buyer, I could no longer trust Ebay sellers. That along with the glut of trashy cheap items that pushed out individual sellers (those for whom Ebay was meant), turned me off.

I like Ebay Motors though, it's a great combo of online classifieds and auction style selling, and you can find just about anything there. I even saw the Mad Max car there once for relatively cheap!

But I had no idea that things were so bad until I read your hub. Very sad that Ebay did not stand the test of time.


terrektwo profile image

terrektwo 4 years ago from North America Author

Alexander Mark - yes Ebay has major issues all around, needs a fix up job!

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