While the fees are pretty awful, they aren't even the real problem in my opinion. The real terror of ebay are the DSRs (Detailed Seller Ratings). If you've bought anything recently on ebay you'll have seen that in addition to being able to offer positive, neutral, or negative feedback you can also give a seller star ratings in 4 sub-categories on a scale from 1 to 5. The categories are item description, communication, shipping time, and shipping cost. While you're told that rating a seller a '4' is a 'good' rating, did you know that if a seller has a 4.3 rating in any category they are banned from selling on the site? Getting consistently good results will cause you to be kicked off the site and I'll bet most buyers don't even know they're screwing you when they give you a 4.
Even worse, just as ebay has raised their fees, they've offered a poisoned carrot for all of us to chase. If you're a powerseller (meaning you sell at least a thousand dollars of crap a month on ebay) you can get a percentage of your final value fees returned to you. The hook is that this cash back is based on your DSR ratings. You need at least a 4.6 across the board for 5%, a 4.8 for 15% and a 4.9 for 20%. For someone in my shoes who doesn't get that many DSR ratings in the first place, a few 4's kills any chance I will ever get a discount.
Right now, I think I have 24 DSR ratings from all my time on ebay. My lowest star rating is at a 4.58. That means that, on average, 10 of these 24 people gave me a 'good' rating while the remaining 14 said 'excellent'. That's also assuming that there wasn't one asshole in the bunch who just dropped a 1 in there somewhere to be a dick. What this means is that as of right now, not only do I not have a chance of getting any discount on my ebay fees, but I'm actually having my listings downgraded on their search engine. I can't even begin to tell you how frustrating this is, especially since a lot of this is out of my control.
The category I'm getting nailed in is shipping fees, and in large part it's not my fault that it costs a shitload to ship anything anywhere nowadays. In general, I try to cover my costs, often making a little money on shipping fees when the buyer is closeby and paying out a little when they're off in california. I'm hardly rolling around in my ill-gained lucre when it comes to shipping fees. That doesn't seem to matter to some people though who don't seem to have kept up with the unbelievable increase in prices over the past 5 years or so. The sad part about this is it's not even their fault really. A lot of these people are probably giving me a 4 because they feel they got 'good' service. What they don't know is that in ebay's lingo, 4 translates as 'shitty'. Where else can you think of that a person would get banned from a site or fired from a job for achieving a rating of 'good'?
Now, chances are, few if any of you people on the FL even bothered to read this whole screed, much less make it to the last paragraph. I'm thinking of actually trying to boost my DSR ratings a bit by selling fluff to people I already know. Maybe I'll 'sell' friends christmas cards for $.01 on the site with free shipping and if they're happy with the deal they can leave me some 5-star ratings. It's incredibly sad that it's even come to this. Anyone have any opinions about whether this is a good idea or any other suggestions? Anyone?