Thursday, January 04, 2007


Nathalie and I are not the pack rat type, but somehow we just keep accumulating lots of unwanted "stuff". We had a large yard sale last summer and got rid of a bunch of stuff and then gave away whatever we didn't sell to the local thrift store. Since our last yard sale, I've used eBay on and off to sell a few things and keep our mound of accumulated stuff at bay.

It always amazes me how somebody, somewhere, will buy what I put up for auction. Not that I'm making hundreds of dollars, but getting even $5 for something I was planning on just throwing in the garbage is nice. And who doesn't get happy about earning some extra money? You should see how excited I get finding a quarter on the ground.

Anyway, I received an email from eBay this morning regarding how they're going to raise their fees to use their service. Sure, nobody likes seeing costs go up, but it's understandable and it's a part of business. Whatever. That didn't bother me. Charging me 40 cents to place an item up for auction versus 35 cents isn't going to ruin my life.

But then I actually read the letter that they sent, and their ridiculous wording just made me laugh. And then I got to questioning just who runs their company. I've pasted an excerpt from the letter, highlighting the parts that struck me as the most ridiculous:
An important part of any business strategy is the regular evaluation of pricing structure. From time to time, we make pricing changes to correct unhealthy dynamics in the eBay marketplace, as was the case last July. Typically, however, we make changes on an annual basis at the beginning of the year.

Today, I'm here to tell you about fee adjustments for eBay.com and eBay Motors which go into effect on January 30, 2007.

Let me say that, while we believe these changes are modest, we consider any changes that may impact our sellers with great care. These adjustments are the result of careful analysis and we believe they're the right thing to do to keep the marketplace strong for our eBay.com and eBay Motors sellers.

The letter never went into much detail about what was so "unhealthy" about the dynamics of the eBay market with the lower fees. I guess the realization of the loss of potential earnings for Bill Cobb, the president of eBay, made him sick to his stomach, thus "unhealthy." The only cure being to raise the fees.

And the letter never went into any detail about how raising the fees will keep the "marketplace strong." Common sense would lead me to think that raising prices will keep people away, and lowering fees to use a service would encourage and recruit more people to use their services. But hey, I'm not an economist.

But it would have been better to just receive notice that the fees were going up. Not some stupid, misleading letter trying to convince me that raising the fees were done for my benefit. Bill Cobb, you're a doofus.