An eBay first: sales drop from quarter before

The Internet auctioneer, eBay, reported a sequential drop in quartlery quarterly sales Wednesday for the first time in its history as a public company. Sales totaled $2.12 billion in the 2008 third quarter, up 12.1 percent from the year before quarter, but down 3.6 percent from the quarter before, something that has never happened before.

The results included an accelerating sequential drop of 6 percent in “marketplace” sales, which includes its trademark auction business. They first fell from the quarter before in the company’s 2008 first quarter, when they were down 1 percent, and fell again in the second quarter by 3 percent.

Revenue from its “payments” division also fell (for the first time) from the previous quarter, dropping 1 percent.

The company cut its forecast for sales for the full fiscal year about 4 percent. It put a floor on its earnings estimate of $1.69, two cents above the low range of analysts’ estimates, but it shaved the high part of the range by 5 cents to $1.71, or 3 percent.

“Overall, we are pleased with the performance of the portfolio this past quarter,” said eBay Inc. President and CEO John Donahoe. “We took a number of steps during the quarter to further strengthen our business and better align our cost structure to invest and compete. We will continue to stay focused on connecting consumers on our various ecommerce platforms, maintaining financial discipline and capitalizing on new opportunities for growth.”

Until being promoted to CEO earlier this year, Donahoe was head of the marketplace division that is now  struggling.

Among the highlights the company listed in its release was the naming of Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen to its board, the lowering of its listing fees for its “Buy It Now” format (the anti-auction alternative meant to help it try to compete with online mega-retailer Amazon) by more than 70% and extended listing periods to 30 days, up from seven; and the company’s being honored by the White House with the National Medal of Technology award.

Donahue picked up the award from George W. Bush. Absent was eBay chairman and former long-time CEO and current board member Meg Whitman. As co-chair of John McCain’s campaign for U.S. president, having her photo taken with the current White House occupant was probably not a consummation devoutly to be wished.


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  • My ebay sales are down from about $3000 a month to less than $100 a month. Ebay thinks they have the right to tell sellers which items they can or cannot sell , how much to charge for shipping and handling, and now a requirement to accept Paypal or credit cards, yet sellers can no longer leave feedback to deadbeat buyers who use a credit card, complain that they never got the item, get a refund from Paypal, keep the item, and leave negative feedback to the seller! Any wonder fewer and fewer sellers (who pay ALL of ebay’s revenue) want to PAY ebay for the privilege of being screwed?

  • Joe America

    I agree with Frank… eBay has made it so painful for sellers and give buyers all the power. Forget it about.. it’s just gotten too painful. I see that eBay is trying to create the right balance between buyer and seller, while weeding out scammers.
    But I think they are moving away from the optimal space and scaring off sellers and buyers at the same time.
    BTW, I can’t sell anything off Craigslist these days…. even with stupidly serious price reductions…. it’s getting really scary…. everybody is clutching their cash so tight right now.

  • Joe America

    btw, what is a ‘quaterly’ time period… is it related to a ‘quarterly’ time period… geez.. how can we scold our kids for not caring about spelling when they see journalists with ready access to spell checkers get it wrong!

  • Jack Davis

    Hey Joe — Thanks for the scold. I usually do run the spell check. Really, I do.

  • PHC in VA

    FRANK HAS IT RIGHT ! Power seller with $3000 + monthly in Sales and that’s what they call you and claim they want for a seller. This month we dropped 2000 + listings and the next 30 days we might break $100 in sales. Try to talk to the Valley Girls and Dudes that answer the phone that try to help sellers….what a joke. Then again they EMAIL or call you looking for an opinion about the service. I’ve done Trade Shows for almost 20 years and was doing them succesfully well before EBAY. The show schedule will pick up now and HEY ! I’m selling things this month that sat on my EBAY store for almost a year. They are now even bringing more a shows. This way I keep all the sales money and EBAY can get some other New Bee to buy into their screw job.

  • hunter

    i agree with everybody here , ebay is taking the “fun” out of it , my sales are down to the toilet ever since i stopped taking money orders , and some rumors on the blogs say that ebay employees are bidding on your items and then asking you to pay with a debit/credit card , and if you don’t accept it then they just don’t want the bloody thing , its just one fee after another , someone should come up with a better bidding place and let Donahue keep his “screw job” as phc rightfully says

  • krander

    Other changes not mentioned here are the two Final Value Fee INCREASES this year and the new “Diamond Sellers” category. Diamond Sellers, by ebay’s own explanation, do not have to follow the same rules as the other sellers and can negotiate their terms with ebay. Millions of their listings are getting dumped on the site by these “Diamond Sellers” who are getting free or nearly free listings. Their items show up on the first pages of searches, burying the smaller, full-price paying sellers. In the meantime, smaller sellers are being suspended for receiving 4.0 DSRs (in a 5 point system, with 5 being the best. The “Diamond Sellers, such as (user name “buy”) also only use the ebay pages to drum up business to send their OWN site own site!

    ‘Want to know what ebayers think of Donahoe and his scheme?

    ‘Want to know what his employees think of him?

    glassdoordot com

  • Ebay will continue to sink with its new rules and regulations against sellers. Ebay is for the buyer and offer its sellers VERY FEW protections. One of the latest problems is now ebay and paypal are holding funds until the seller can prove via tracking the item has been recieved by the buyer and then they will release the funds to the seller 3 days after confirmation of the item being recieved. according to paypal, they wait 3 days to give the buyer time to evaluate the product now, it has indeed become a “try before you buy” marketplace. i wish i could go to and have the item shipped to me and then i can pay three days after evaluating the item!another major issue is the whole feedback system. it gives all the power to the buyer and none to the seller. sellers have DSR scores that rate the seller on shipping time,communication,shipping price etc. yet we as sellers do not have the priv of scoring the buyer on 1.time of payment 2.communication etc. sellers can only leave positive feedback for buyers, if that isnt bs i dont know what is. why should we be forced to leave false information? today, i recieved a neutral feedback from a buyer after buying one of my art prints. he said it was poor quality and left low scores accross the board on the dsr scores. ok, 1.he never communicated with me there was a problem so i could rectify it ( shouldnt i be able to leave him a score of poor communications?) 2. he left a low score on shipping time where as the tracking shows it was delivered 3 days after payment recieved ( false score).3 shipping fee. i have a receipt showing that i actually paid more to ship the item then was charged to the buyer ( why the low score?)..4.communications- low score on the dsr..realy ? low score? he never told me of the problem there for i couldnt communicate, not a mind reader here. IF ANYTHING I SHOULD BE ABLE TO SCORE HIM/HER ON POOR COMMUNICATIONS.. yet ebay takes all the rights away from the seller and hands it to the it realy a wonder ebay is losing its appeal and its members? there under new management, i got news for them, GET ANOTHER MANAGEMENT TEAM THAT ISNT BIAS!! buyers now know,since we as sellers arent allowed to review them honestly, they can do whatever, say whatever, score however the wish and there is NOTHING us sellers can do but bend over and take SICK of ebay. the problem is: EBAY KNOWS , right now that is, that they are the only giant out there and we either deal with it, or stop selling. if i as a seller am able to PROVE via tracking the item was recieved in the aloted time frame, and that the shipping was appropriate, then they should recount my dsr score. think they will? NOT! the scream “free speech,” they will not take down a feedback because it is free speech and a point of view from the buyers perspective, yet, OUR FREE SPEECH as sellers have been hushed!

  • shooshoo

    I am 99% out of Ebay. Shut the store and am down to 5 listings – just as sort of a trial to see if anyone is actually out there, cuz maybe I am over-reacting. But so far – nada. I am sick of paying Ebay for nothing….I think it’s time for me to get up from the table and go stand on the street corner, with my sign and my tupperware cup. I’ll make more money that way.

  • Lance Roebuck

    I will be so glad when Ebay shuts it’s doors……..What a freakin’ pig slop of a company. Flea markets get better results…….. and less fees……..

  • Bob S.

    I always love to hear from the angry sellers using eBay.

    Is someone holding a gun to your head forcing you to use eBay? Of course not. They offer a service, clearing defining the t&c’s, and get paid for this service.

    What, you don’t like that they charge you for this, hold your funds, etc., THEN DON’T USE EBAY TO SELL YOUR PRODUCTS.

    What? There aren’t any other good online sites to sell your products, oh well ….

    Seriously poeple, this is America, if you don’t like it, go somewhere else or build your own product or open your own website to sell your products.

  • DS New York

    I have gone from 4500 listing per month down to 0 Ebay is more concerned about their profit margin rather than the seller and do not realize that if the seller is happy they make the buyer happy and so on and so on. People who set policy on Ebay have little if no experience in selling on their own platform So how do you expect them to understand the dynamics of it . The nail in the coffin was when they started including negatives and neutrals as all negatives That is when my sales took a nose dive and never recovered even though then corrected this stupid policy where neutrals are not counted as negatives except in the DDR system they developed
    I have been selling on Ebay since 1999 and now have stopped compelely I am selling on other venues and doing much better
    This reminds me of when Coka Cola developed a NEW COKE a number of years ago and their sales fell down the stairs They had to bring back the old formula . Or another instance when A hollywond director approached M & M Candy and asked if they could use their M & M s in an Extra Terrastrail Movie M & M said they did not want their candy associated with something like that It would give the children nightmares and the would stop buying M & M s Well Reeses Pieces did the deal and went from a small candy company to the company it is today because of E.T.
    I guess the exec from M&Ms is not around anymore So give it time and you will see the air totally leak out of Ebays auction platform since they do not listen to the sellers They listen to industry reports that are written by Internet beaurocates.
    The CEOs of the most successfull companies in the world do not sit in their ivory towers they go into the trenches with the common folk to find out what works and does not work
    Prime example is Wal Mart and so on and so on and so on
    Need I say anymore

  • It’s all about greed and they ruined a profitable business for everyone. Thank you new CEO, cant rember your name, but noone else will for long either. A total obsession with collecting fees and a total lack of respect for the sellers that are 50% responsible for your profit. Feedback that is totally unfair and just assumes the buyer is always right. What was a lucrative company will soon be in the toilet if not alread

  • amazon4me

    Bob S…

    Yes, in the beginning it is a choice, but when the rules are changed and a seller has inventory to sell and no other options, the choice is gone. (I guess he can just take a loss and throw it in the dump).
    If you think you are smarter than everyone, you can justify calling them stupid for any reason. Don’t criticize if you don’t fully understand.

    I think ebay’s sins are much bigger than stupidity and bad business decisions. I believe the whole DSR system is FRAUDULENT. I know I am not the only one who has noticed a dip in scores around discount calculating time…that sure would benefit ebay’s bottom line. There is a reason that buyer ratings are all kept secret. A system full of admitted glitches, at best, should not be a basis for fee structure.
    A petition has been started and if we can drum up enough support, it will go to the US Attorney General & the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Ebay is not going to change based on anything its sellers say. Stop begging. The only way ebay will change is with intervention by a 3rd party. If enough of us suspect fraud and manipulation, the FTC can investigate…ebay does not have to approve anything.

    This is just getting started, but add your signature and send the link to other powersellers. Bob is right on one count. Ebay makes its own policies and we have to agree to them to be able to sell on their site. That is legal…but FRAUD is not. FRAUDULENT BUSINESS PRACTICES *ARE* INVESTIGATED BY THE FTC.

    Please sign the petition!!

  • Ray G

    I agree with everyone here. Except Bob S. of course (what an idiot), he must work for Ebay. Someone should file a class action against Ebay for not allowing sellers thier right to free spech. Bob S. you say “this is America”. That’s why so many countries hate us. Stop being a flag totting idiot and think before you go all red, white and stupid. Fees, loss of feedback for sellers, allowing scammers to hide as buyers to screw sellers, and on and on. When will this stop? Ebay has their own agenda and it obviously has nothing to do with America.

  • fullofit

    there are other auction placeS on the net…all you idiots that complain all the time really need to get a life..!! dont like ebay???LEAVE..!!

  • Termzero

    Just read post number 16..I agree.Leave ebay.Not that hard.I did it..

  • Kaynee 33

    Ebay is NOT the only auction/selling place on earth…There are plenty others.Ever heard of people power….???????….Go sell your stuff elsewhere.

  • dvmike

    eBay is well on its way to losing its core business. They are so concerned with the bottom line and the big sellers that they will lose out in the end. They got where they are because of the small seller but now that they have tasted the potential profits of the big boys, they are trying to rid themselves of the little guys. They seem to forget that it is those of us selling the little hard to find things that got them where they are.

  • Mandy


  • Ebayuser101

    I have been buying and selling at Ebay for 10 years! I almost quit selling starting in August or Sept. in 2008. Ebay changes its policies and it is total nightmare to sellers. Buyers must be happy to get free items and pay nothing at the end. One buyer can buy 200 cheap items and then buy an expensive diamond Rolex and get it free at the end. Truly ridiculous! I like the old way of Ebay. I hate the new Ebay! Total BS!

  • Rob

    I agree with much of above, and am myself thinking of pulling the plug. But can someone honestly tell me of a site where you can sell the type of volume us long time eBayers are used to? I have tried several acution sites and had horrible results, the same results have been experience with our own web site.
    I have talked to those who do Amazon and Yahoo and they always complain that sales are lackluster. I would love to walk, but where?