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***A Message from Lorrie Norrington: New Pricing, More Incentives, and Other Changes to Bring More Buyers***

August 20, 2008 | 07:04AM PST/PT

Lorrie Norrington
Hi everyone. As we head into the busiest shopping season of the year, I want to let you know about some bold changes we're making on eBay to lower your up-front costs and help you to sell more efficiently. Combined with the improvements we're rolling out to deliver a more consistent shopping experience this fall, buyers will see more bargains than ever, and keep coming back to eBay to buy from you.

Listing fixed price items is more affordable than ever
We understand you have a lot of choices when it comes to selling online. That's why we're changing our pricing to reduce your up-front cost to sell and align with your success. Starting September 16, we are lowering the listing fee for all items sold via the fixed price format to only 35 cents, and a special rate of only 5 cents through the end of the year for Buy It Now™ fixed price listings in the Media categories (Books, Video Games, Music and DVDs/Movies) using pre-filled item information. (See our new Fixed Price fee structure here.)

Accordingly, we are shifting the majority of our costs for most categories to the back end (final value fees), which you only pay if you're successful in selling an item. In extremely competitive e-commerce categories such as Consumer Electronics, Cameras and Computers, we're decreasing final value fees. This means we're giving you an even bigger incentive to list these types of items on eBay.

In addition to the pricing change, we're extending the listing duration of all Buy It Now™ fixed price listings to 30 days, up from seven with an option for automatic renewal. For sellers whose items that may take longer to sell, this change will be a huge cost reduction and time saver. Taken together, these two big changes – 35 cents for up to 30 days - represent a 70 percent reduction in listing fees on fixed price items.

As for Auction-style listings, we've decided not to make any changes. We believe this format is already a good deal, especially when you list with a low start price. Auctions will always have a place on eBay – they are a proven way for sellers to get the best value for their unique items, and they continue to receive significant exposure in search as they are sorted primarily based on time ending soonest.

So that's the big news: 35 cents for 30 days. We're virtually eliminating the up-front cost to list an item at fixed price on eBay. And this is not a promotion - we are serious about making eBay the most competitive marketplace online.

The changes we're making in pricing also mean great things for buyers. As more merchandise comes onto the site, we're applying our search technology in a way that will make their shopping easier, faster and safer. Essentially, buyers will see the most relevant, best priced inventory from our most trusted sellers – all of which allows them to buy with confidence. And when buyers find and buy what they want for a good price, you win.

Free shipping incentives in all categories, plus shipping charge limits in Media
Shipping is an important factor for buyers as they shop online – and expectations are higher than ever. Today, buyers want free or reasonable shipping. So, if you're already offering free shipping on items, we're going to reward you even more.

Beginning on October 1, 2008 and running through the end of the year, all sellers will receive the option to use subtitle for free, worth $.50 per listing, when free shipping is offered. And for eligible PowerSellers, you will receive double your PowerSeller Final Value Fee discount on these items, starting on the same date and running through the end of the year when you offer free shipping - this is up to a 40% discount! As always, items with free shipping will get a boost in Best Match search results.

In addition to shipping incentives, we're introducing limits on shipping and handling charges in one of our biggest and most competitive categories, Media (Books, DVDs & Movies, Music and Video Games).

This means that Media sellers will need to offer at least one shipping option within the specified limit. The dollar limits are fair, especially compared to what e-commerce competitors typically charge for shipping. With this move, we're also ensuring that buyers encounter fewer excessive shipping charges, which is the number one reason they leave the site.

See more detail on reasonable shipping and Free Shipping incentives.

Faster, more reliable checkout on eBay
Starting this fall, we're moving to an electronic checkout process that's faster and more reliable for sellers and buyers. As part of this move, checks and money orders will no longer be accepted on eBay, although buyers can still use these payment methods for item pick-up, at the seller's discretion. In addition, the electronic payment methods will be fully integrated into eBay checkout. For example, if a seller has an internet merchant account, a buyer will be able to directly enter a credit card and never have to leave the site.

Today, items paid with check or money order are 80% more likely to result in an item not received (INR) than those paid with credit card or PayPal. Also, buyers who pay with check or money order are 50% more likely to leave negative feedback than those who pay with electronic methods. So starting in late October, 2008, we are moving to 100% electronic payments - credit cards, ProPay, or PayPal.

This means that sellers will be able to offer credit card payments through their own merchant accounts, and payments through ProPay and/or PayPal, with all payment methods integrated into the checkout process on eBay. Seller will also get paid faster and be able to ship items quicker. And remember, for those buyers and sellers who use PayPal, we're backing every eligible transaction with our buyer and seller protections. (See more information on paperless payments and more on terms for the PayPal Buyer and Seller Protection plans.)

Updated seller standards – minimum DSRs
Finally, we're instituting a new minimum Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) requirement, as a way to further improve the customer experience for everyone on eBay. As of November 1, 2008, sellers will need at least a 4.3 across all four DSR categories, over the prior 30 day or 12 month period depending on volume, in order to list on the site.

Today, only a small fraction of sellers fall below this threshold, yet they are responsible for a high percentage of customer complaints, which hurts you and our marketplace overall. We're urging all sellers whose scores fall below the 4.3 threshold to use the next two months to adjust their business models and/or work on improving their DSR scores.

Learn more
To learn more about all of these changes, please see our overview pages.

I know that this is a lot to absorb at once. To help you understand how these changes affect you, and how they can help your business, we're offering a series of Webinars over the next few days, as well as a Town Hall meeting on Friday.

Below is our Webinar schedule:

  • Wednesday, August 20 at 2:00 pm PT
  • Wednesday, August 20 at 4:30 pm PT
  • Thursday, August 21 at 11:00 am PT
  • Thursday, August 21 at 3:00 pm PT
  • Tuesday, August 26 at 1:00 pm PT

I'll be hosting a Town Hall meeting with leaders from eBay and PayPal on Friday, August 22 from 1:30 to 3:00 pm PT.

We also have a discussion forum set up and staffed by some of my top people here at eBay to answer your questions. You can access the forum by clicking here.

Sincerely,

Lorrie Norrington
President, eBay Marketplaces

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