Thursday, June 14, 2007

eBay Live 2007 Keynote: Will PayPal Improvements and eBay Fee Discounts Bring You "Windorphins"?

The main event of the first day of eBay Live 2007 started off with eBay's own employee band, "Twisted Lister," who I thought was pretty darn cool. They've got the covers down; now they just need to start working on the originals. Because you know I always like to bring you visuals, here they are:

I think the guy on the left is the lead singer. I'm sorry but I didn't catch his name. If any eBay employees on there know it and are reading this, please email me or leave a comment on this blog. (An about "She's snipey"...something along the lines of the Beastie Boys' "She's Crafty"? Only with a different melody. Ha.

After the band did their thing, the incomparable Griff (eBay's "Uncle Griff" and one of its earliest employees -- oh, you know who he is...came out and did a great ad-libbing audience interaction thing. I don't know if things behind the scenes were going late or not, but they sent Griff out a second time to do more ad-libbing before Meg came out, and he did it with humor and grace as always. Plus, he had a cool sparkly jacket made me think of last year's eBay Live in Vegas:

Thu_seth_godin_n_keynote_021Griff gave a lot of kudos to the sellers in the audience: "I don't know how you do it..where you find the time." He walked through the audience and asked several people what they sell, what they hope to get out of eBay Live and how they're doing. One lady, Barbara from Just Wigs in New Jersey, had been selling on eBay since the late '90s. Barbara's hair was a bright mix of red, blue, and other "primary colors" which she recommended for the head. "Do yo know you're wearing a wig?" Griff quipped.

Then Meg came out and did the traditional feedback countdown in the audience..everyone stands, and she asks people who have 100, then 500, then 1000, then 10,000 feedbacks to sit down. After 10,000 feedbacks, several folks were still standing and they all got a big round of applause.  Then they went up to 100,000 feedbacks and about six folks were still standing! Whew.

Meg showed a video and talked a lot about the Giving Works program. Then she introduced the head of PayPal, Rajiv Dutta, who had some juicy stuff to announce about PayPal, especially in the Trust and Safety areas. Let's sum them up:

- They're bringing the PayPal security key out of beta tomorrow -- it's a small electronice device, which adds an extra layer of security. It will be available to eBay customers.

[Since] they introduced online dispute resolution, there's been a reduction of complaints by 50%.

And they're launching payment review, highlighting those transactions that may pose a risk. "You'll be protected, 100% guaranteed," said Dutta, to much applause.

- And while PayPal has expanded comfirmed addresses by 50%, "I'm committing PayPal will deliver we'll make every address in the system confirmed." This got even more applause.

Dutta then intro'd Bill Cobb by reminiscing about the time he first met him. Meg asked him "what do you think?" and he thought he was great but "is it just me or does he have a really loud voice?" Then he quipped that "back then he was just a tad thinner."

Cobb came out and joked "I'd like to thank my friend Rajiv who just called me fat."

I'm getting low on time to I'm going to summarize the major stuff he said. I'd like to come back later and add in some of the anecdotes:

- There will be no increases in selling fees this [July] (I think he said this July; he may have said this summer).

- eBay is now holding some items most favored by criminals before they go into the search

- they already eliminated private feedback [much applause].
Then he unveiled the new marketing campaign, based on a concept called "Windorphins" (in case you don't know what the heck that means, I believe it's a pun on "endorphins," those feel-good chemicals in the brain; and "win," as in winning an eBay auction. It could also be a pun on "windows" as in computer windows but I'm just pointing that out. They showed a video of a commercial that was coming and it seemed very cute to me.

Also there will be new features such as visual navigation, and a cool thing calld eBay countdownm that has a more graphical representation of the bidding interface. Here's a visual:

Thu_seth_godin_n_keynote_024 What I thought was most cool about this was, if you click on the pic to enlarge it, you can see the little funky bidder avatars next to the bidder bars. So bidders can have kind of a persona. (Hmm..will this make us fel bad when we outbid people?  Maybe not).

- Also, a featgure is coming where you can place a bid WITHOUT HAVING TO WAIT FOR YOUR COMPUTER TO REFRESH! (Cobb's emphasis).

- He also plugged the new video in listings feature by showing a very funny video of a guy selling an acoustic guitar...he showed himself in all kinds of states of dress pants. (But Cobb urges us to "keep it clean.").

- Anchor Stores will be discounted $200 to $299.95.

- eBay will offer customer support to top buyers who buy 50% of merchandise on the service.

Here's something really cool. I shouldn't bury this in the bottom so later I'll try to blog about this separately. They're testing "Pricing and Shipping sort" - so it can sort search results according to the shipping and handling. This to me is very big, because the price of shipping can be a factor that is relatively hidden, and when added to the total cost of an item can totally skew the price results in the search. A $1 may have $39.95 shipping and make a similar $10 item with $2.95 shipping look relatively expensive.

- UPS is announcing savings up of to 31% on UPS ground and air by as much as 22%.


- The PowerSeller program - will be based now on both unit volume and dollar amounts, and they'll offer the option to high-level seasonal sellers on a seasonal basis.

Lastly (for now), starting in August, powerseller status will come with a "rebate" for unpaid item fees.

Oh more thing!  Summer relief: 1st traunche of listing fees will be lowered from 5.25% to 4.25%.

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