EBAY新政策惹怒商家
大耳朵英语  http://www.bigear.cn  2008-04-17 08:47:15  【打印
“It's going to be a bloodbath,” says Cheryl Johnsen, a platinum-level seller on eBay. Last month war was declared in the online auction community and how this battle plays out may have broad implications in terms of opening up the concentrated world of electronic auctioneering.

At issue are changes in eBay's selling policies, introduced by new chief executive John Donahoe, which began taking effect last month. They include fee hikes of up to 66 per cent; a 21-day hold on some monies received through eBay's payment partner, PayPal; and barring sellers from leaving negative feedback on buyers with whom they've had a bad experience. According to sellers on DelphiForums, Allspark Forums and within eBay's very own discussion boards, it is the latter that causes the most concern.

The latest policy changes reveal that ratings will now be tied to the fees eBay charges sellers. The lower a seller's ratings, the more they will have to pay. Sellers who do small volumes will be effected much faster by a negative rating, since the payment involved will represent a larger percentage of their overall activity. In addition, the disallowment of shared information on bad buyers strips sellers of a protective tool.

Within minutes of the new policy announcements on January 29, a call to strike was posted on eBay's discussion forums by disgruntled seller Mary Killion. Entitled “Sign the pledge – no sales Feb 18-25!”, the posting received some 15,331 replies. This was followed by a YouTube video that received more than 110,369 views and nine similar videos. A petition then circulated and Facebook and My Space pages were created with the same theme. On February 18, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of eBay sellers ceased activity for a week.

Trawling the forum boards, including one at AllSpark.com dedicated to buyers who swindle sellers, it would appear that bad buyers are rampant on eBay. Johnsen, who has sold 7,000 items on eBay, tells of one buyer with five different user names who purchases items, claims non-receipt and has successfully received numerous refunds through credit card reversals. PayPal policies stipulate that sellers must prove buyers received an item. If a seller skimps on or forgets to purchase tracking, and a buyer claims nothing has arrived, the buyer is entirely refunded, without investigation.

Johnsen says that the announcement of eBay's new structure has already inspired buyers to take advantage. “I've already had experiences where buyers want to hold me hostage for more goods by saying they can leave negative feedback, not realising that the changes haven't taken complete effect ... buyers who decide they want some money back or perhaps just don't like the colour of the item now have immunity.”

Theories have developed about the reasons for the changes. Sellers, including those represented by Nancy Baughman, head of the Online Seller Cyber Union and the author of Buy It, Sell It, Make Money (iUniverse.com), are speculating that allowing seller ratings to fall may be part of a bigger strategy.

“Donahoe has been quoted saying he wants to rid of eBay of the flea market look,” says Baughman. “How do they do that? They get rid of the small seller ... ”

However, Jose Mallabo, a spokesperson for eBay, simply says, “The changes made to the site are geared to maintaining the long term health of the marketplace and the user experience. As for the boycott, we are in wait and see mode as it is too early to speculate on it.”

Sellers like Cheryl Johnsen are looking permanently for new shores. She has taken her auctions to iOffer.com, an auction site with the second-highest volume behind eBay, partly because of the PayPal 21-day payment delay. “You can't walk into a store and take something out and then, 21 days later, if you decide to keep it, you pay the store!” she says.

And she's not the only one – she is part of a community group titled “eBay Sellers who moved over to iOffer”. A tracking site of the number of online auctions at any given time at the website Power Sellers Unite shows a shift away from eBay to other players such as iOffer, Bidville, eCrater, Bidtopia and HiBidder.com.

Baughman is creating her own feedback forum. “We're going to do what eBay should be doing. We're starting an online seller blacklist. We're working to make it fair for buyers and we're working on preventing libel.” eBay has already noticed her actions. “I've been kicked off the eBay Forum for seven days. They call it hate speech.”

Tim Church, organiser of the MySpace strike page, has indicated that a follow-up boycott, scheduled for May 1, will ask sellers to hold out indefinitely. “In return for holding out, we will be contacting four alternative sites and asking them to be prepared, because we will be promoting them, and directing buyers to these four sites,” says Church.

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“这将是一场血腥屠杀,”eBay白金级卖家谢丽儿•琼森(Cheryl Johnsen)如是说。上个月,在线拍卖行业燃起战火,而这场战役的结局可能会对网上拍卖交易产生深远影响,迫使原本垄断集中的市场对外开放。

战争的导火索缘自eBay新任首席执行官约翰•多纳霍(John Donahoe)推行的销售政策变革。这项于上个月开始生效的政策包括:将收费提高66%之多;对通过其支付伙伴PayPal的部分付款延迟21天交付;禁止卖家向买家给出差评。在DelphiForums, Allspark Forums 和eBay讨论版上议论纷纷的卖家表示,他们最担心的是最后一项改革。

最新的政策改革表明,卖家支付的费用水平将与其级别挂钩。卖家的级别越低,所需支付的费用就越多。交易量较低的卖家将更快受到差评的影响,因为其须支付的费用占总交易额的比例将会更高。除此之外,禁止共享恶劣买家信息的规定,也剥夺了卖家保护自己的一个工具。

1月29日,新政策刚刚公布,心怀不满的卖家玛丽•基莲(Mary Killion)就在eBay论坛上发布了一张号召罢工的帖子,标题为“签署联名信——2月18日至25日停业!”。该帖收到15331篇回复。之后,YouTube上的号召视频点击收看次数达到110369,并相继出现9段类似视频。接着,一份请愿书在网络上传播,Facebook和My Space上都出现相同主题的网页。2月18日,成千上万的eBay卖家开始集体停业一周。

浏览一下各论坛,你会发现恶劣买家似乎遍布eBay。其中,AllSpark.com的讨论版专门致力于揭露那些诈骗卖家的买家。琼森已在eBay上销售了7000件物品,她讲述了一个例子:有个买家使用5个不同的用户名, 购买商品后宣称没有收到货物,从而成功通过信用卡付款撤销获得大笔退款。Paypal的政策规定,卖家需核实买家已收到商品。如果卖家为省钱没有购买或忘记购买跟踪服务,而买家声称没有收到货物,买家将得到全额退款,无需任何调查取证。

琼森称,一些买家已经受到eBay新规则的启发,企图占便宜。“已经有买家用给出差评作要挟,要我搭送更多商品,他们没有意识到改革尚未完全生效……那些想要退款,或者仅仅是不喜欢商品颜色的买家现在有了豁免权。”

为什么要进行这一变革,人们对其原因议论纷纷。卖家们猜测,任凭卖家等级下滑,可能是一个更大策略的一部分。这些卖家以南茜•鲍尔曼(Nancy Baughman)为代表,她是网上卖家联盟(Online Seller Cyber Union)主席,曾出版《买吧、卖吧、赚钱吧》(Buy It, Sell It, Make Money)一书(由iUniverse.com出版)。

“有报道称,多纳霍希望eBay能摆脱跳蚤市场的感觉,”鲍尔曼称。“怎样做到这一点?从淘汰小卖家开始……”

然而,eBay发言人何塞•马拉博只表示:“网站改革旨在保持市场和用户体验的长期健康发展。关于抵制现象,我们还处于观望状态,因为现在考虑它还为时过早。”

像谢丽儿•琼森这样的卖家永远在寻找新的“港湾”。她已经将拍卖活动转移到iOffer.com网站,这是交易量仅次于eBay的第二大拍卖网站。而这样做的部分原因是Paypal的21天延期交付政策。她表示:“你不可能去商店拿回一样东西,然后21天后,在决定留下它时,才付钱给商店。”

琼森并不是孤身作战,她是名为“搬到iOffer的eBay卖家”的社团组织的一员。Power Sellers Unite是一家跟踪统计即时在线拍卖交易数量的网站,他们的数字统计显示,eBay的交易正在向iOffer、Bidville、eCrater、Bidtopia和HiBidder.com等同类网站转移。

鲍尔曼正在创建自己的评价论坛。“我们将承担本应由eBay承担的工作。我们开始制作网上卖家黑名单,努力公平对待买家,并防止出现诽谤现象。”eBay已经注意到她的举动。“7天前,他们将我踢出了eBay论坛。他们称之为仇恨言论。”

提姆•丘奇(Tim Church)是MySpace上罢工网页的创办者。他表示,下一轮抵制行动将于5月1号开始,并无限期持续下去。“作为卖家们坚持抗议的回报,我们已联系了另外4家网站,让他们做好准备,因为我们将对他们进行宣传推广,并吸引买家去这些网站购物。”

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