With May 15th less than two weeks away, it's no surprise that the Diablo III hype train is starting to chug along at full speed. Blizzard opened the game's doors to everybody with a Battle.net account for an open beta a couple of weekends back, and in the past few days, the company has released a slick new TV trailer and unveiled the fee structure for Diablo III's controversial auction house item-selling feature. (You know, the one that "forced" Blizzard to invoke always-on DRM, even for single player mode.) Are you ready to get gouged?
Online auction site eBay is slated to ditch Google Checkout as a payment option by next July. At that time, the only online payment method available to users will be eBay's own PayPal service. An eBay spokesperson claimed the move is intended "to give eBay buyers a consistent, speedy checkout experience and to ensure support for fast-growing sales via mobile platforms."
If you ask us, this has more to do with eBay owning PayPal than user experience. Google Checkout has had trouble finding widespread usage. Amazon does not support Checkout, so the loss of eBay will hit the service hard. Users of Android phones in most countries do, however, use Google Checkout to pay for apps.
Have you used Google Checkout to buy anything lately? Do you think either PayPal or Checkout is a better service?
Online auction site eBay is looking to entice users to spend a little more heavily by working with PayPal on a new cash back program. Any eBay shopper that lives in the US, and makes a purchase with PayPal will earn 2% cash back. The service is (cunningly) called eBay Bucks.
Purchases made on the website, as well as on mobile apps will count toward the program. However, come areas of the eBay site will not figure into a user's eBay Bucks balance. These include Classifieds, Business & Industrial Capital Equipment, eBay Motors, and Real Estate categories. At the end of each three month period, users will be issued a voucher as a payout. The eBay Bucks have to be spent within 30 days, and users will have to use PayPal as the payment processor.
Ebay claims that in a trial period, users in the Bucks program spent five times more than regular users. Only time will tell if the wider eBay user base will respond in kind.
One the biggest concerns sellers have when using eBay is that a buyer will not cough up the cash for the purchased item. EBay has continually evolved the rules regarding the buyer-seller transactions and has taken another step forward to protect against thievery.
EBay developed a more streamlined and automated unpaid item dispute process. Most of the changes come from sliced-down time windows. Where it used to take up to 60 days to resolve a dispute, they have cut that time down to 30 days. Further, the seller only has 32 days to report the dispute down from 45 days but you can begin filing 4 days (down from 7) after the item was sold. They reduced the number of forms and amount of communication the seller needs to have with the buyer. The new rules take effect immediately.
I am not a power seller on eBay, but I generally do not ship an item until payment has been confirmed and most people I have purchased from work it the same way. One might wonder if they’ll make an equally streamlined process for the item-never-received problems.
eBay is continuing to provoke it’s user base with big changes to it’s business model it seems. If the recent fee hikes were not enough to get sellers on eBay mad, they are furious over the deal eBay struck with Buy.com that allows the company to sell millions of books, DVDs, electronics and other items on eBay without paying the full eBay fees. This is making it hard for small sellers to compete. Since the beginning of the year over five million fixed-price listings from Buy.com have been added.
The reason behind this shift seems to be that eBay’s growth has slowed recently and new CEO John Donahoe, has decided that the future lies with a model more along Amazon’s design and larger sellers as opposed to the small mom and pop sellers that have made eBay such a success. You can read the tale in full over at nytimes.com
Like Obi-Wan said about Mos Eisley, “you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. We must be
cautious”. eBay has certainly had it’s shares of trouble makers on the site. Scam artists, Phishers, and con men have run roughshod over good sellers and customers alike. It’s been a good year since I bought anything on eBay because of the hassle of having to look at a seller from every angle to figure out if they are legit. Even worse than that is buyers that would run up the price on an item to retail. You can still get a good deal, but you have to be patient and ready to spend lots of time shopping.
I’m just not into that. Given the number of sites complaining about eBay it looks like a number of others are not happy with them either.
Are you still a big user of eBay? Tell me what you like and dislike about the eBay of today.