eBay Watch: Discounts and Sales Tax Tools

This week in eBay news, a seller discount, the launch of the My eBay beta, one-click bidding and sales tax tools.

This week in eBay news, there's a discount for sellers, My eBay beta testing, the introduction of one-click bidding and new sales tax tools, as well as a primer on reserve price listing.

News and Announcements
EBay unveiled a month-long, savings plan for eBay sellers in the United States and Canada. From Aug. 29 to Sept. 30, sellers who buy the Gallery upgrade and start any Auction-style or Fixed Price listing for $9.99 or less will benefit from a free insertion fee. Any listings starting at $10 and above will get 25 percent off the listing fee (up to $1.20 per listing). Full details, requirements and exclusions can be read here.

The team working on "My eBay" announced the beta launch of the new version. Changes include an item preview with details and images for items you are watching, the ability to re-bid right from within My eBay and to see a snapshot of critical seller information. There is also a space where you can leave yourself notes and reminders about items, plus the ability to create personalized item recommendations. A small group of testers are now being invited to try out the site, with the official launch of the new format slated for early 2008, according to . Blair Hamilton, product manager for My eBay.

EBay's Buyer Experience team has also been making some changes to bidding. Roughly two percent of eBay members will be able to use new "one-click bidding" features, where during the last 15 minutes of an auction, they will see a small window with some key information, such as time left in the auction, current high bid, and most importantly, your status. This information will update every three seconds during the last two minutes of the listing. If you are already a bidder on the listing, you can place a new bid from this window with a single click.

Other changes include a new field on the top of item pages where you can directly enter and submit a bid amount. Testing of the new bidding features are expected to last for the next month, with results posted thereafter.

eBay in the Headlines
This week the founder of fragrance e-tailer Perfume Bay, Inc. launched a new blog to tell her customers, vendors and the general public the "David side" of the David and Goliath battle between Perfume Bay, Inc. and eBay. The new blog, called Makes No Scents, details the lawsuit which is the result of eBay not wanting Perfume Bay to use the word "bay" in its domain name. The legal battle is still being resolved at the Appellate Court. In the blog Jacquelyn Tran reports on some small feats but goes on to detail the current battle:

"'A little background: in 2004, eBay threatened to sue our company over our name. We filed a Declaratory Relief lawsuit to prevent this, and eBay counter-sued us with a multi-million dollar lawsuit on nine different counts, including Trademark Infringement and Dilution. Curiously, on the eve of the trial, eBay dropped the damages claim. We went ahead and fought our case in the U.S. Central District Court and won on every count, except the use of "PerfumeBay" as one word, in November of 2005. It seemed like victory, but the case did not end!"

In other eBay-related news this week, Tom Online and eBay are officially launching the joint partnership site eachnet.com. The old site, ebay.com.cn is expected to close down by the start of September.

Third-Party eBay Services and Selling Tools
Avalara recently launched AvaTax for ProStores, offering businesses a sales tax automation service in which sales tax calculations are applied to shopping cart items upon check out. It works in the background of ProStores, using a secure Internet connection. Complete integration with ProStores means that once AvaTax for ProStores is purchased, it only requires selecting AvaTax as the Sales Tax engine from within ProStores and completing the necessary set-up.

Meanwhile, GarageSale, an application that lets people buy and sell directly from Facebook, followed suit this week by introducing CozyBug, a local zero-shipping fee way to sell on Facebook. Designed for sellers with items 'too big to ship' or just for those who prefer local buying and selling, CozyBug lets sellers create detailed product descriptions with multiple photos. Buyers can conduct single or multi-city searches for items. Other useful features include a garage sale mapper that lets bargain hunters print garage sale locations. It costs $1 to post one ad with four photos for 90 days using CozyBug.

UBidRight.com recently added a blogging space for sellers wanting to connect, promote and have some fun. Since launching last May, UBidRight has added auction enhancements and a boost lister for multiple listing insertion. UBidRight.com also allows members to list an item until it sells.

Learn the Lingo: What is an eBay Reserve Price Auction?
The ECommerce Guide Glossary offers online sellers an easy way to search for definitions of hundreds of general e-commerce, eBay and PayPal terms and acronyms. This week we take a look at what exactly defines an eBay Reserve Price Auction.

On the eBay auction Web site, a Reserve Price Auction, is a type of online auction selling format in which a seller sets the opening, or starting, bid at the minimum price he or she is willing to accept for the item. Buyers are not shown the reserve price until that reserve price has been met. To win, the buyer must meet or exceed the reserve price set by the seller. If you choose to list with a reserve price, as a seller you are not allowed to request that the highest bidder still purchase the item if they have not met the reserve. Also, you cannot end or cancel the item early because the reserve has not been met to avoid paying fees charged for listing in reserve auction format. Reserve price listers are also prohibited from ending or canceling the item early to avoid reserve fees. Reserve price listings do cost more to conduct (see eBay fee chart) but the reserve fees are refunded if the item sells.

Only on eBay...
This week our favorite IT will be a historic event for the winning bidder. This week the Singapore Airlines Suites is auctioning off a pair of tickets for the world's first A380 flight, flying from Singapore to Sydney. The Airbus A380 is a double-deck, four-engine airliner and is also the largest passenger airliner in the world. Included in the package is a BMW 7 series limousine transfer to and from your A380 Flight in Singapore and Sydney on the day of your flight, personalized assistance, an invite to the breakfast send-off party, in-flight dining options and commemorative premium goodie bags. All proceeds from this auction will go to charities. Currently the auction has surpassed $20,000 in bids. Other first-class and economy flight packages are also available on eBay.

Vangie Beal is a seasoned eBay seller and frequent contributor to ECommerce-Guide.com. She is also managing editor of Webopedia.

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