June 20th, 2008

Postal Crisis?

When you ship something you have sold on eBay (or for any purpose), you expect it to get there in a certain number of days–anywhere from 2 to 5 days, for Priority Mail. This system is in danger of vanishing, according to Gloria Banta, a postal employee and eBay seller I talked to today. Banta said the Postal Regulatory Commission is reviewing a request by huge bulk mailers (the sort who flood us with credit card applications and other junk mail) to limit the amount of “regular” mail people like us can send out. If this happens, our everyday mail will only be sent out a few days a week, not Monday through Saturday as it is now. All our eBay shipments will slow down. And everyone will be unhappy–sellers, buyers, and postal people alike. Banta urged people to get involved and voice concern about the proposed changes, which I heard about for the first time today.

June 20th, 2008

Live blogging from eBay Live!

I had the thrill of being able to live blog a particularly lively (almost explosive) session from eBay Live. eBay representatives were explaining changes to the feedback system, and facing questions from a group of unhappy sellers. You could feel the unhappiness in the small room. I heard afterwards that a long line of people were standing outside, unable to get in. What’s the deal with eBay holding this session in such a small room? Didn’t they understand the hostility this subject would engender? They will certainly understand it going home from eBay Live. Cries of “Bullshit!” erupted when Griff tried to explain that the changes were the result of the desire to protect buyers and keep them from leaving the site. One reason in particular: eBay’s studies showed that a primary reason for buyers going elsewhere was receiving negative feedback from sellers. So now they can leave negative feedback for sellers, but sellers can’t leave negative feedback for buyers. Sellers are naturally livid about this. eBay explains that a variety of systems are in place to report abuses of the feedback system on the part of buyers. But sellers aren’t “buying” it. The sound guy told Ina Steiner that it was all like sitting in on one of his union meetings.

June 19th, 2008

eBay Live

Incredible as it might seem, I’m at my first eBay Live convention. It’s being held at Chicago this year, so it was hard to miss. I’m writing for AuctionBytes. There is a whole crew of bloggers here–I sense more attention from the blogosphere than from traditional media. Attendance is down–about 7500 to 8000 compared to a reported 8500 last year. It’s getting harder to be a seller; the peak for eBay was apparently back in 2006, but now things are on the wane. More to come…

June 17th, 2008

eBay Live

I’ll be at eBay Live in Chicago Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; if you want to touch base, send me a message.

June 2nd, 2008

eBay Blog?

Some comments have been posted asking me to create an eBay blog. Is this correct? I will consider this, but frankly, I would rather post here about eBay and promote this site. Would this help you folks? What would you like to learn other than the obvious things, which I have covered in my books?

June 2nd, 2008

I’m an Oral Historian

I always have been, but I haven’t called myself as such. One of my ambitions is to write peoples’ life stories. I believe everyone has a story to tell. And I think I’m pretty good at uncovering those stories. I’ve been doing it since I was a reporter back in the 70s. I made a new Web page describing this service: check it out here.

June 2nd, 2008

Award Winner

An article I wrote for the UIC Alumni Magazine has won an award from CASE, the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education. The magazine received a Bronze Metal in the “Best Articles of the Year” category, 2008 Circle of Excellence Awards Program, for our entry “No Longer a Public Good (May/June 2007). The article, which analyzed how the declines in state funding for higher education have affected UIC, was one of 210 submitted in this category.