eBay Watch: Fee Calculator, Interactive Pricing Guide, Bye Bidville

Why neutral feedback isn't so neutral, Bidville.com goes bye-bye, a new online flyer ad site and an interactive pricing guide for sellers. Plus, we try out a new auction fee calculator.
Why neutral feedback isn't so neutral, eBay gives discounts to free shipping sellers, uBid shutters Bidville.com and Trading Post launches an auction alternative to eBay. There's also a new online flyer ad site and a new interactive pricing guide for sellers. Plus, we take a look at a new Pheebay auction fee calculator.

Feedback Percentages Clarified
This week, eBay's Brian Burke (director of global feedback policy) posted a public note in response to sellers who are wondering why their actual feedback percentages have dropped since the new feedback system was rolled out.  Under the new formula, neutral feedback is figured into the equation, meaning sellers with neutral feedback will likely see their overall percent score lower, depending on the number of neutral feedbacks they have received.

In his post Burke said, "Some sellers have seen their positive Feedback percentage drop since we introduced the changes. Though we mentioned that we would include neutral Feedback in the Positive Feedback percentage calculation, it seems that most sellers didn't realize this would impact their Feedback percentage. We know that seeing your positive Feedback percentage drop is hard. But I want to be clear about why we did this. By not including neutral Feedback in our calculation, we were actually doing a disservice to our best sellers."

Personally, I am surprised that neutral feedback has been calculated. To me, the word neutral itself means "not causing or reflecting a change in something". In the case of feedback on the auction Web site, it would seem that eBay is actually using the word neutral to mean "slightly negative."

Trading Post Offers Australian eBay Alternative
SENSIS, an information resource for Australians offering Web search, Yellow Pages, CitySearch and Trading Post, just launched a new Web site for its Trading Post, which now includes auctions. According to Sensis CEO, Bruce Akhurst, there are two million people already using tradingpost.com.au each month, and now the site will be catering to the additional 3.4 million Australians using online auctions but not currently using Trading Post.

In the official announcement, Akhurstsaid "Trading Post's new Web site and auctions means we now offer a strong local alternative to eBay — one that lets you choose payment options and provides terrific value for the money."

The launch of the auction-enabled trading Post Web site comes at a time when Australian eBay sellers are unhappy about eBay's decision to require PayPal payments on transactions.

Bye-bye Bidville.com
Just as one eBay competitor launches overseas, another stateside alternative is closing. Next month uBid will close Bidville.com, as the parent company changes its focus to liquidating excess inventories.

uBid.com Holdings CEO Jeff Hoffman, said in a statement, "uBid.com Holdings is now a multi-channel asset recovery solutions provider. Clearly, our expertise is in a business-to-consumer marketplace dealing only in certified supply. We are simply not equipped to run a C-to-C marketplace like Bidville.com."

sers will be allowed to bid in open auctions on Bidville until June 13, 2008, when existing auctions must close. No new auctions may be listed as of May 27th, and existing sellers have until June 27th to complete transactions. Prorated refunds will be available to sellers who provide their username, e-mail address, and amount due in an email to refunds@bidville.com.

Old School: Flyers
eBay store owners can now advertise their items for sale outside of the eBay site thanks to ClassifiedFlyerAds.com. The Web site lets customers create professional-looking online flyers that are automatically posted to a host of Web directories and has added a new feature to allow eBay store owners to automatically list their goods on these directories as well as online classifieds sites.

The new system uses eBay store owners' RSS feeds to automatically import and create online flyers with their own landing page. The flyers, which link back to the store and are optimized for maximum search engine visibility, are then posted to ClassifiedFlyerAds.com's list of directories that include Oodle, GoogleBase, Vast, Lycos and OLX. Eighty percent of flyers posted to ClassifiedFlyerAds gain first page ranking on Google, according to the company.

Wisdom of the Crowd for Pricing
Ztail.com just launched its interactive pricing guide, with the goal of becoming the "Kelley Blue Book" for common commodities, even homemade items.

Ztail gives sellers four ways to determine the worth of an item:
  1. Estimate: simply enter your own price and description of the item on Ztail; users build feedback based on their accuracy;
  2. Ask online networks: Create an e-mail or widget profiling the item, and post it on blogs or social networking pages such as MySpace or Facebook to invite Worths from those communities;
  3. Link: Enter a link from a retail site or marketplace such as eBay or Craigslist for that item; and
  4. Search previous sales: Look at recent eBay sales on similar items to calculate average value.

For sellers, Ztail enables pushbutton selling to list products on eBay in less than a minute, without leaving the Ztail site, according to the company. Earlier this year, Ztail was a grand prize winner in the 2008 eBay Developer Widget Build Off Contest.

Ztail has also released the "What's It Worth?" application for Facebook, which creates a game out of letting users "guesstimate" the Worth of items for sale on Facebook Marketplace. Points are allocated depending on the accuracy of each Worth, and users with the most points can earn prizes. What's It Worth application users can also request Worths from their Facebook friends for items they want to buy or sell.

(Continue to Page 2 for Shipping News and Fee Calculator Review)

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