Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Make an Offer to a Watcher: An Idea for eBay

A very quick one I've been meaning to suggest: Give sellers the ability to "make an offer" to someone just watching their auctions. Keep the watcher anonymous and all that, as will probably be needed. But I've noticed in some cases people watch my auctions and then seem to forget about them.  (Of course, it may be my stuff is to blame). And I know that with eBay's new look, watched items are more in buyers' faces than usual.

More on eBay's look soon. I also have a guest blog post from a friend coming, that I am overdue in putting up.

Happy watching!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Gut Reaction to eBay's New Look

eBay has changed their home page more than I can ever remember in recent years.  It now looks to be divided "above the fold" into quadrants, and the most in-your-face are My Recent Activities and My eBay at a Glance. I've been trying to decide how I feel about the whole thing and I can see some positives, such as it certainly keeps whatever is on your watch list on your mind. (This is something I asked for a while back -- a way to have watch list items more visible to bidders, because I think they tend to set them and forget them).

But there's also a disconcerting feeling of change; a strange unfamiliarity that may just be what comes when things are this different on this top level.   Is it due to the Specialty Sites, formerly on the upper left, being gone? The list of Categories are still below that spot, but they seem less prominent for some reason. You can, however, now click the new Categories tab on the upper left, next to other new tabs Motors, Express, and Stores. I don't know how many people will do that, however. I'd like to see the list of Categories moved up; I'm not sure we need My Recent Activities in that spot when we already have My eBay at a Glance livin' so large.

Speaking of that, I think I like the way the My eBay at a Glance is very prominent..from a seller's perspective I think that will keep my stuff on people's minds. I hope so. And I think the Connect links to My World, Groups, and Blogs (further down on the page) are good, although I don't see why eBay couldn't make small, elegant tabs or links to all that stuff right across the top of the page.

Are people that busy these days that they may not even take the time to scroll down the page that far to those My World, Groups, etc. links? Yeah, in some cases, I think they are.

On the other hand, some folks have said eBay has tried to do too many things in recent years with blogs, wiki, guides, etc. and needs to focus on the core auction buying and selling business.

I don't see any problem with those things as long as they don't detract from the core business, and I think the Guides and Reviews are actually very important to stay competitive with amazon, which I think has the edge with all its reader reviews right there on the product pages. Would be nice to see eBay somehow incorporating reviews or a ratings system somehow directly into auctions and listings, or giving sellers a way to do that.

This, of course, would be easier to do with new items.

I still think the balance of Stores and regular auctions is very important. Stores now has the tab on the main screen, but I think it's how store items are incorporated in the search results that matters the most. And the other day I noticed that I couldn't select a photo gallery option on the stores search results, making a batch view of the search results that were stores items impossible. I haven't verified this but I hope that isn't something permanently gone bye-bye.

Well, those are my gut reactions to the new screen. I'll have to use it more to see how it grows on me.