Scientists consider frogs a reliable indicator of the health of the environment. Could the Barbie doll be a similar indicator of eBay’s health? As the most celebrated doll in history approaches her 50th birthday, Therese Poletti from Market Watch has noted a peculiar absence of buying and selling activity around the iconic toy.
The situation seems to be a sampling of the bigger picture, in which sellers in what was once eBay’s strongest categories, Antiques and Collectibles, have begun moving out in search of other venues to do their business.
Their complaint isn’t a new one: they feel eBay has favored powersellers, ignoring and even penalizing smaller sellers, despite the fact they make up a large chunk of the market.
As a result, the ecommerce giant has transformed from a collector’s paradise into a soulless shopping mall for “Target merchandise, CDs, and electronics.” Collectibles sellers also cite eBay’s large fees as a motivation for them to look elsewhere.
Today eBay announced that all pictures posted for listings in the Collectibles, Art, Antiques and Pottery & Glass categories will be free of charge. This suggests that eBay is now realizing its mistake and is taking belated steps to woo sellers back in these categories.
Problem is, there are some very attractive competitors like Ruby Lane, Atomic Mall, Etsy, and Bonanzle. Chances are many collectibles sellers have already moved into a new home, and finding it more comfortable, friendly and profitable, have put down firm roots.
What do you guys think of eBay’s chances of revitalizing its fading collectibles business?