Breaking News – Digital Delivery on eBay is Dead Beginning March 31 2008
e-Books are Dead on eBay (core listings)
eBay has been breaking a great deal of news these last several weeks and now they have come up with one more controversial decision…
***New Policy Update: Digital Downloadable Goods in Classified Ads Format Only***
March 24, 2008 | 01:00PM PST/PT
Hello…This is Brian Burke, Director Global Feedback Policy. Digital goods are often reproduced at little to no cost to the seller. On eBay, this creates the potential for Feedback Manipulation (both real and perceived). To preserve the integrity of the Feedback system, effective March 31 all goods that can be digitally downloaded or transferred electronically must be listed using the Classified Ads format. Using the Classified Ads format, sellers receive a 30-day ad at a fixed price. This solution enables sellers to continue to market their digital goods on eBay; however, because Classified Ad listings are a lead generation tool and do not result in transactions that go through eBay, Feedback cannot be exchanged between buyer and seller.
Sellers who wish to continue to offer digital goods can do so by selecting the Everything Else>Information Products category in the Sell Your Item form and choosing the Classified Ads format (not auction-style or fixed price). For more information about the Classified Ads format, please read Advertising with Classified Ads.
Director, Global Feedback Policy
Examples of Digital Delivery Products:
How To Manuals
Classic Fairy Tales
This new policy is a major reversal and will end hundreds, if not thousands of very successful businesses using Digital delivery products as a means to deliver valuable information to the consumer without delay and at low cost.
Digital delivery is not a scam widely used to manipulate feedback. Unless you consider most of these sellers having maintained great feedback by serving customers with products they want and delivering these products via electronic means, a manipulation in some way.
eBay provides a service which is meant to advertise products and services at a reasonable cost. Why then would eBay suddenly determine that sellers who craft products to fill a niche are somehow scamming the system by actually delivering value for their customers? If these digital delivery products were all scams, the feedback would take care of the issue and the sellers would not stay on eBay long.
Given the fact that these sellers deliver a product quickly and give a good value for the price paid eBay feels they are using the system in a way which was not intended. They are selling and delivering fast paced items which bring them good feedback. If feedback were the only issue, why not limit the feedback tally to a certain number per week? Or put an asterisk next to a sellers feedback profile indicating “excessive good feedback due to successful digital products sales”.
e-Book and digital products sellers usually have a low sell through rate according to recent Terapeak research. With a 20% sell through rate and an average selling price of $1.20 per item eBay may be feeling this category is inefficient for fee generation when listed as core items. This change may coincide with the new listing fee system which recently went into effect. The new system benefits sellers who re-list items multiple times and have a low cost item with a low sell through rate. With digital delivery products averaging 3000 listings per day we assume eBay sees a less than optimal return from this segment of sellers.
What do you think?
Is eBay tossing out digital delivery marketers because they are “Manipulating” the feedback system?
Or is eBay trying to reduce the losses incurred by this category because of the recent fee changes?
Not all digital products sellers are exclusive to that niche. Many brick and mortar businesses sell low cost guides for equipment or how to manuals via digital delivery. (even Sears has sold PDF versions of manuals for lawnmowers to washing machines on their own website and on eBay). Do you think eBay has taken these sellers into account when they made this drastic change with almost no warning?
There are many sellers only selling on eBay for one reason, and that reason is to offer digital products to a massive market with incredible traffic. When these sellers are forced to use eBay classifieds they will also be forced to look for another venue to operate within and to sell these same electronically transferred products. Before this recent announcement digital delivery and e-books were one of the hottest growing categories on eBay. Why kill growth?