Well, this is an update on my earlier rant about ebay bringing in rules to prevent sellers charging postage for books and similar items. As predicted this caused a huge furore. Many sellers abandoned ebay, others tried to bend the rules: the result was less bargains for the book collector and an atmosphere of chaos and unrest. Now, eBay have suddenly decided they were wrong (well they didn't actually come out and admit it, surprise, surprise) and have done a complete about turn on the postage policy, scrapping forced free postage and once more bringing in capped limits.
I think this is partly a direct response to a huge number of complaints, but probably due for the most part to the falling sales/profits over the period that the policy was operating. According to Advertising Age (an advertising and marketing journal) eBay's income for the fourth quarter of 2009 was down a massive 31% and it's stock prices have also plummetted. At the same time its rival Amazon reported increased profits over the period: perhaps due to disgruntled ex-eBay sellers (and their buyers) flocking there?
Whatever the reason for eBay's u-turn, it is still debatable how much this will help them. Many sellers have left vowing never to return, and it has perhaps pushed some small businesses who were once totally loyal to eBay into exploring a wider range of selling platforms. People have begun to lose confidence in ebay and it may take more than this volte-face to restore it. For eBay is still tinkering around, changing the rules every few weeks so that no-one - buyer or seller - knows where they are. Sadly they have completely ignored the old adage 'if it ain't broke don't fix it.' If they want to regain the halcyon days of the eBay of yore they have to do a lot more than this - but perhaps it is a step in the right direction. I just hope if they are trying to bring back the old-style eBay it is not too late to do so.