Ask the CEO: What's Your Take on Recent eBay Policy Changes?

Auctiva boss Jeff Schlicht answers this and other of your questions.

by staff writer
- Oct 31, 2008

What's your take on recent eBay policy changes, e.g. PayPal-only, shipping charge limits on certain items, minimum starting auction price, etc.? I think they're infringing on free enterprise and are going to force sellers like me to jump ship.

—Cynical in Sydney

Schlicht: I'm a little torn on this myself. eBay's overriding goal is to make buyers' experience safer and easier, with the added bonus of them making another 2 percent on PayPal, which would hopefully lead to more—and happier—shoppers who stay longer and spend more. The problem I see is that there are a lot of good reasons why someone might want to take paper payments, or pay with a check or money order.

Does Auctiva report all my listings for the year to the IRS? eBay says it doesn't do this.

—Audited in Austin

Schlicht: No, we don't, but it makes me wonder why you ask. Should we be?

Editor's Note: Electronic payment service providers, such as PayPal, will be required to report eBay sellers' transaction totals starting in 2011. Learn more about it here.

With the recent change in shipping charges for books, CDs, movies, etc., is it still possible to utilize the USPS Priority Flat-Rate Box? And if so, how?

—Boxed-In in Bell

Schlicht: Only if you charge your sellers less than what it costs you to ship—i.e., lose money on shipping. You can charge more for combined shipments, so this may create an incentive to encourage multiple purchases from your buyers.

Will the changing policies of eBay affect whether I can use your products?

—Concerned in Cambridge

If a buyer requests to pay by check or money order, you will be allowed to accept these forms of payment, but to otherwise encourage this will only get you in trouble with eBay

Schlicht: Policy-wise, I think you're safe. But some of eBay's recent changes do concern me. Many of those changes in the past year have significantly impacted our ability to promote our own products, and other changes they've implemented have reduced our revenue. This means we get fewer new customers and we make less money. The combination of those two facts may force us to begin charging some type of fee.

Also, the volume of recent changes presents a formidable task in adapting our products to keep up with those changes. This costs us a lot of money. The more changes eBay makes, the less we make. So the most likely affect you'll see from these changes is Auctiva being forced to start charging you for using our products.

When eBay changes to paperless payments only, I'm wondering if, in my Auctiva store "About Us" tab, I may say that I will still accept money orders? I own the domain, so I feel like I should be able to accept the payment methods I prefer. I don't want to break eBay rules, but seriously, this paperless-payments policy is a totally worthless concept. I need to know the loopholes.

—Scheming in Salt Lake

Schlicht: eBay and other sellers are going to be policing this. I wouldn't encourage sellers to attempt to use loopholes. If a buyer requests to pay by check or money order, you will be allowed to accept these forms of payment, but to otherwise encourage this will only get you in trouble with eBay.

Is it possible to list on Auctiva from an iPhone?

—Digital in Dallas

Schlicht: Probably not. I haven't tried it, though. You could always visit an AT&T store or a Best Buy and use their demo phone to give it a try.

I've been using Auctiva for a while and now it's asking me to renew my eBay token. What does this mean?

—Edgy in Edmonton

Schlicht: A token is what eBay uses to let us access your eBay account without us needing your password. These tokens automatically expire every 18 months. Renewing your token simply means you're extending our ability to get information about your listings from eBay by another 18 months.

When I'm scheduling several lots and I want to set them to list at three-minute intervals, it would be wonderful if the scheduling calendar would remain at the last setting. Example: I set a lot to list at 5:30 p.m. (PST) on a specific date. When I get ready to schedule the next listing, the time has reset back to the present and I have to remember to reset the entire date and time.

—Meticulous in Memphis

Suggestions can be entered on our new feature-request area on your My Account overview page

Schlicht: This sounds like a reasonable suggestion; we'll keep this in mind. I'd also like to encourage anyone with suggestions to enter them on our suggestions area at as well as our new feature-request area on your My Account overview page.

I'm an eBay and Auctiva user in Australia. It's great to have your excellent and free services. I noticed you are providing charged services such as postal insurance, etc., in North America. Why don't you extend such services into Australia?

—Wanting in Wagga Wagga

Schlicht: What we'd need to do is find an insurance company to partner with in Australia. At least in the U.S., we're required to use an insurance company licensed in all the states. We'd just need to research the requirements in Australia, I suppose.

Why is my Sellathon counter reading different from eBay's counters, and will we ever have the ability to add eBay's counters when creating an auction within Auctiva?

—Counting in Charlotte

Schlicht: The main reason counters would have different counts is because one or the other is missing hits for various reasons. It's possible, and does occur, where people's computers either connect more slowly or not at all because of Internet routing issues. People on a slow modem connection may have their browser randomly download one counter before the other, and then click the back button before the second counter loads, etc. It's not likely we'll offer the use of eBay counters as long as ours are free.

A few weeks ago, I posted my first blog about an item I was selling on eBay, but I couldn't find it to read anywhere. Can you explain to me where these blogs go when we've posted them, and how I can access them?

—Published in Palm Beach

Schlicht: Your blogs can be found at Or if you've purchased a domain name to link to Auctiva through us, it will be available at that domain name.

I have just opened an eBay store. Do I need to open a new Auctiva account to post images to my new store?

—Expanding in El Paso

Schlicht: You only need one Auctiva account if you're using the same eBay user ID. If you're using a second eBay user ID, then you need a second Auctiva account.

Would you please consider making Auctiva compatible with Opera for uploading photos, etc.? I cannot bear to use IE anymore.

—Disillusioned in Detroit

Schlicht: Sorry, we don't have time to test with every browser and Opera represents less than 5 percent of the browser market-some sources list it as lower than 1 percent. We generally test with IE and Firefox and, if we have time, we try and spend some time on the Mac browser. I have been using Firefox for the past couple of years, and highly recommend it.

To get more insights from Jeff about Auctiva, eBay and the business of selling online, follow him on Twitter.

About the Author

Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.

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