I think this is probably because the spring updates were quite drastic, and eBay didn’t want to rock the boat anymore this year. [Ironic for me, because I just moved into a private community with boats and a yacht club, and I can't wait to rock some boats on the lake with my kids this year! Just a side note.]
Let’s take a look at the four major announcements, one by one.
Policy change: 25 more characters in your title
I was super happy when eBay went from 40 to 55 title characters about six years ago. Forty was not enough. Eighty may be too many. I’m not sure about this update yet. I will have to do some in-depth research with my eBay sales. However, this is a very positive move for those sellers who need more characters. Now, they don’t have to pay for a subtitle that is not searchable.
The only downside I can see is spending too much time with each listing trying to use all 80, when 55 or 60 characters would be sufficient. I do think that for one-of-a-kind, unique items, you should stop and not try and use all 80 characters once you have typed in all you have to say—this could be a huge time waster.
Policy change: Buyer Protection cases won’t be included in your count of opened cases unless the buyer contacts you first.
I think this is a positive move for sellers. I hope it signifies more moves in this direction down the road. However, why doesn’t eBay make buyers contact us before they leave us negative feedback or low Detailed Seller Ratings? I would much rather have buyers made accountable for the feedback that really impacts us as sellers. I have never been harmed by a Buyer Protection case, but I have been harmed by low DSRs and negative feedback.
Policy change: No including e-mail addresses or links that send buyers off eBay to make purchases.
You can still have links that send buyers off eBay, but they can’t be links to pages, where shoppers can buy from you off eBay. Since I started selling on eBay in 1998, I have rarely included an e-mail address in any listing. I always thought this should be taboo. These customers come to us because of eBay and, honestly, we are lucky that they become our customers for even one transaction. I would never try and get them to buy from me off eBay, or contact me off eBay, and I think this new policy is a good tactic to keep more eBay sellers as honest as most of us have been.
Policy change: Longer return policy time frames to get more sales.
Starting in the fall, your return policy can’t be just three or seven days—you have to have a longer time frame. Who really cares? If someone wants to return an item they bought on eBay, we all know they have 45 days to file a claim with PayPal and, in 99 percent of the cases, PayPal finds in the buyer’s favor, so to me this is a moot point for sellers.
In conclusion, I think eBay is trying to extend an olive branch to the sellers. Thank you, eBay! We appreciate it. If you would like to receive my free bi-monthly e-zine, please sign up at www.thequeenofauctions.com.
Lynn Dralle is a third-generation antiques dealer and a PowerSeller who's been selling full-time on eBay since 1998. An award-winning author, she's lectured around the country on eBay and appeared on national television. Dralle is the author of iBuy and iSell, a two-part auction-tracking notebook system carried in The eBay Shop. She has built up a loyal following of thousands who subscribe to her weekly e-zine through her Web site.