eBay’s Changes to Blame for Decline

Recently, eBay has made some noticeable changes in both the way the site is promoted, as well as the rules buyers and sellers operate by. Originally trying to bill itself as a place for a full range of merchandise, they've come to emphasize used and off-season goods.This is what experts say is causing the fall off in popularity.

EBay’s audience—measured by the number of unique visitors in a month—has consistently been significantly higher than that of Amazon. But eBay’s traffic began to decline sharply last fall, finally dropping below that of Amazon in November. By the following May, eBay had nudged ahead of Amazon again. But eBay’s audience of 51 million users was still down 14% from May 2007, and the site looks even worse when it comes to total number of pages the site displayed. By that measure, page views in May were down 32% from a year earlier.

In addition to the advertisement changes, EBay has increasingly changed its rules to favor bigger sellers over smaller dealers and individuals cleaning out their basements. Most of eBay’s moves are meant to make eBay a more attractive and reliable place for buyers, competing more vigorously with Amazon.com. But the company has managed to alienate their sellers without fully meeting the needs of their buyers.

Over time, eBay will have the opportunity to reposition itself and attract new customers. But until then, the numbers continue to discourage. Courtesy of nytimes.com

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