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Angry eBay store-owners have vowed to continue their fight against fee hikes after the end of their five-day protest yesterday.
A spokesperson for the Campaign of Rebuffed Ebayers, which asked sellers and buyers to boycott the site between Thursday and Monday, said it would be arranging more demonstrations to promote eBay competitors such as Ebid, Tazbar and Amazon.
“We would imagine that the next protest will have a very international flavour to it,” he said.
The latest protest focused on fee increases introduced by the auction giant in August, as well as the appearance of ‘scam listings’ on the site, reducing ‘genuine’ sellers’ visibility. Its organisers encouraged users to report dodgy listings to eBay in the hope that they would be cleaned up.
eBay, for its part, has remained silent after the protest – not generally a wise PR strategy but one that makes it difficult to judge the size of the demonstration's impact. It declined to release details of sales activity over the five days, but its listings figures did show a drop in the availability of popular items such as books, DVDs and CDs on ebay.co.uk.
According to those figures, the number of books, comics and magazines on sale fell from 432,935 on Thursday lunchtime to 314,029 on Sunday evening, while music items (595,033 to 390,126) and DVDs (324,742 to 240,267) also dropped. However, none of the three categories have returned to previous levels since the protest came to an end.
As for the clean-up aspect of the demo, sellers have claimed eBay’s complaints system crashed “several times” in the UK and the US, possibly due to the amount of reports, but a spokesperson for eBay said “this was not something we are aware of happening.”
Meanwhile, AuctionBytes has released a survey of eBay sellers which shows many may be considering a move to alternative auction sites. Of the 1,225 people that completed the survey, according to AuctionBytes, 92% said they currently sell on eBay, but only 38% plan to be doing so in 6 months.
How majorly that would affect the auction giant’s hugely dominant market position, however, remains to be seen.