This Christmas, it seems that shoppers just can't get into the competitive holiday spirit, the one that has lifted many a seller's year-end income and seems linked to "patriotism" and "the American dream," on eBay. In fact, according to Comscore, the online seller is reporting an unprecedented decrease in traffic; down 16% between Nov. 3 and Dec. 14 compared to the same period in 2007. One seller interviewed for this Wall Street Journal story noted a 30-40% decrease in his sales this season.
All fingers are pointing at changes made by new CEO John Donahoe -- changes which were made to turn eBay into a site more like WalMart.com or Amazon.com. I know! Donahoe decreased fixed-price listing fees and increased final-value fees, reducing profit for sellers who prefer the auction format. What's more, a change in search algorithm to include fixed-price listings has been confusing for me, and I consider myself something of an eBay wonk.
It's ended up hurting both buyers and sellers and -- it looks likely -- eBay itself. After so many years of explosive growth and opportunity, could eBay be on the decline? If so, what will replace it for consumers and sellers?
eBay shoppers not in holiday spirit this year