eBay announced it will call an end to the Dutch auction format in mid-May, eliminating the option to offer multi-quantity items in an auction-style listing.
Seller reactions to the decision ranged from the accusatory ("This is yet another way for eBay to make more money on final value fees") to relief ("Dutch auctions are confusing to buyers, and we don't need confused buyers leaving the site in frustration").
But the move also fed growing concerns that eBay's desire to create a fixed-price marketplace will ultimately leave auction sellers out in the cold.
"Whaddaya wanna bet, first go the Dutch auctions, then out with the auctions altogether," writes one eBay discussion board poster.
In announcing the decision, Dinesh Lathi, eBay's vice president of Seller Experience, tried to quell those concerns.
"Although we are retiring this one particular auction format, I want to emphasize that eBay remains committed to auction-style listings going forward," Lathi says.
eBay acknowledges the format's complexity confuses and frustrates both buyers and sellers. Consequently, Dutch auctions comprise "only a small fraction of all auction-style listings on eBay," Lathi notes.
Dutch auctions on eBay allow sellers to list multiple identical items in an auction format, in which a single bid determines the price for all the items on offer. This differs from multi-quantity fixed-price, in which sellers set the unit price.
Confusion about the differences in the two selling models contributed to the low rate of Dutch auction use.
eBay suggests sellers that use the Dutch auction format convert those listings to single-item auctions or multi-quantity fixed-price format. Dutch auctions that are live when the format is discontinued will be allowed to play out, and Good 'Til Cancelled listings will reset to a quantity of one when relisted.
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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.