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Rumors of New eBay Fee for Improved Search Exposure

eBay sellers around the globe are getting set for a rumored new Premium fee that would give sellers improved search exposure. We recently wrote about eBay's changes to their search algorithm, Best Match, and how it has affected sellers. Could this be eBay's solution to seller's complaints about the new search algorithm and the fact that it has caused sellers to lose sales? 

Rumors of this new Premium fee came to light last week, when some sellers were asked to take an "eBay Experience Enhancement" survey. Two questions in particular got survey participants stirring: 

"How important is it to you to improve your ranking in search results?" It then asked sellers, "How would you feel if you could bid on your Final Value Fees which would improve your ranking in search results?"

While some sellers welcome to oppurtunity to pay for added expsoure, this is a real sore point for sellers who are already on tight margins when they sell on eBay

Is this just a replacement for the now obselete Featured Listings option? Or is eBay taking another step that will widen the gap between the smaller  "mom and pop" eBay businesses and the Diamond PowerSellers with big budgets for Premium fees? 

If the only way your listings would get found on eBay was by paying a Premium fee, would you do it? How would it affect your profit margins? Share your thoughts below. 


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Comments (47)

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Dan on 21:05 5 Sep
I guess I would start selling on other sites.
Herb Hurtt on 21:05 5 Sep
I'm having a very difficult time making any money on eBay as it is. Another cost will hurt bad.
Dave on 21:06 5 Sep
It completely depends on the item(s) I am selling. I used to use the Featured Listings option in cases where I had either: A lot of one item and wanted better exposure or A high value / high demand item that would justify paying the additional fee. This all pre-supposes that you have high profit margins in these items, otherwise it doesn't make sense. Dave
Angie on 21:07 5 Sep
Ebay is far too greedy in my opinion, they make more than the sellers do hence I left!
Mark on 21:08 5 Sep
Ebay has a God complex! But their days are limited! I for one have almost completely stopped selling on ebay because of their unfair practices. We used to sell over $200,000 a year on ebay, but because we could not get them to help us in any way with difficult buyers, feedback removal, and continuously increasing fees, we have moved on. We still sell there, but it is less than $5,000 a year now, and even that is a last resort for us. I for one wouls not pay those fees for increased traffic. The bottom line is that ebay wants more money, at ANY cost. Sellers pay the fees, but sellers are not protected like ebay claims.
Brittnay on 21:23 5 Sep
I just started selling on eBay a few months ago, and have really only begun to sell a couple things that I have around the house. I would really like to expand, buying some wholesale and trying to sell it, but right now money is tight, so the only way I can afford to do that is to save up the money I have made on eBay, and put it towards buying more. Except with the fees paid to eBay and while PayPal fees are minimal, I haven't made a ton of money for another reason. Everyone on eBay expects to get garage sale prices, (and as if eBay isn't making enough money already), now they want to add something to generate more money? I really think it's unfair to the little guys out there to just give the big guys one more opportunity to take our business away. While I probably won't stop trying to sell my stuff on eBay, I'm really sick of the world saying that money is the only thing that talks. No one cares about hard work and dedication anymore. It's not what you know it's who you know, and the money you got. I just think it's bullshit. Sorry for ranting a bit, but everything I had to say was pretty honest.
Cindy on 21:34 5 Sep
It would depend on the amount of the fee but it's very likely that I would leave eBay.
Julia on 21:51 5 Sep
I agree with you. I am a very small player in EBay so, at this time, I won't be paying any more fees! EBay can see that the 'big' money is coming in through these 'Power - Gold' sellers who are so much bigger than the 'at home move a little stuff people' - like me! Of course EBay want to get more of a slice from these Gold Medal ranking sellers - that's a no brainer! Unless we cough up and pay more new fees, this will mean, for us 'little fry' we will be struggling as usual to be seen!
raul on 21:52 5 Sep
Its pretty similar to Google shopping becoming paid model, I guess all big companies wants more money as they don't care about smalls companies as mines.
Robyn on 21:54 5 Sep
Hi, I am one of those "Mom and Pop" sellers and definitely disagree with many things Ebay are doing at the moment. As of the 15/09/12, Basic Stores will be going from $25 per month to $50 per month. I will wear the cost until after Xmas as to cancel my store subscription at the moment would be a silly move with Xmas coming up. Once I cancel, all my sales will go into unsold. After Xmas, it is good-bye Ebay for me which I am sure is just what Ebay wants but I have no choice. Cheers.
Terry Sturtevant on 22:12 5 Sep
Their motivation is understood. But it takes eBay out of the hands of the hobbyist and makes it big business. I think selling prices will rise and those on thin margins will leave for alternative sites
Sonia on 22:19 5 Sep
No, I would not pay yet another fee to sell items on eBay. If I have to buy my way into being seen in the listings, then I'll go elsewhere to do my selling. My profit margins are almost nonexistent now, what with all the fees from eBay and PayPal. Seems like the big dogs are trying to get rid of the little guys. Maybe all of us "little pups" should put together our own eBay/Amazon type site exclusively for "Mom and Pop" businesses with limited budgets!
Carol on 22:23 5 Sep
I cant see paying anymore than I am already. 12% I think is too much to pay for final value fees... I am paying at least $350-400/mo if not more.... I wish I can get more exposure to my baby webstore and I would use ebay less..only reason that I am using them is for the traffic ......but I may not like it even more if I have to pay more....they should be charging 5% final fees for all the people selling on there... they are making the millions, not us!
Johny A on 22:25 5 Sep
Sounds like a scam by eBay Corporate "beancounters" to get into sellers pockets even more than they do now along with the hike from 8 plus percent to 12%!
Russ on 22:30 5 Sep
I will not pay eBay any more money for listing enhancements no matter what. They get more than enough of my hard earned money as it is. I will only pay the .05 listing fee which is too high to begin with.
Jan on 22:45 5 Sep
It would put me out of business. Right now my profit margin is ZERO!!! Here's an example. Last night I sold a Nintendo Wii bundle. After my cost for the bundle, eBay and PayPal ate up the rest. My profit was $1.32. Now after I pay the insertion fees and my store fee, I'm in the negative. I've found that on eBay, buyers will do a lot of searching for the lowest price. And my Nintendo wii is the lowest price along with 3-4 others with the same charge. So how do they think we can make money when all we do is pay eBay and PayPal. I've tried raising my prices but never got any sales. I get them now but not enough to pay them their fees. I have to take money out of my disability to cover most of it. Right now I have to work 4 different online auction houses because of ebay. I just started so I don't have any stats but time wise, I'm busting my behind for peanuts and all because of eBay. Why don't they get smart and just leave the sellers alone. If the sellers do something wrong, take care of it then but as far as the money issues, us sellers who do all the work, should be taking home the majority of the money not eBay and PayPal.
Kim on 22:46 5 Sep
I'm a new (early) retiree , just beginning to get my plan together for selling things to supplement my pension, and I've already decided I'll never make any money on eBay. I used to love shopping on eBay for vintage items, having personal email exchanges with sellers and collectors and artists, interacting with various communities there. eBay has unfortunately morphed into an ugly cyber-monster that has no interest at all in the types of sellers and buyers who built the site in the first place. This latest gouge is not at all surprising.
John on 22:51 5 Sep
eBay has become way to fee happy, don't get me wrong I'm all for making a profit but eBay has become so big that it feels that it can put any fee that it wants and we will have to pay it. I wish more people would go to webstore or ebid instead of eBay. If people left eBay then eBay would see that their fees are becoming too much. But I'm sure people will keep using eBay and eBay will keep adding more and more fees.
Tim on 23:04 5 Sep
Just one more reason for them to change thier name to Feebay. It is not worth selling anything on eBay because you lose almost 20% if not more through eBay and PayPal. Oh ya.. And they hold your money for up to 30 days. A lot cheaper just to set up my own website.
D Robinson on 23:10 5 Sep
It seems eBay's final value fees are the most effective way to bill it's sellers. After all, it makes sense to charge more if the seller's bottom line is more. But, to create a one size doesn't fit all premium fee pricing structure is not the answer. This will sabotage the efforts of many hard working low to mid-volume sellers. In a world where everyone is clamoring for everyone else's dollars it would be nice if eBay could continue providing a standard platform of opportunity to all sellers. So that large and small volume sellers could afford to maintain and grow their eBay business. At one point, every one who ends up selling on eBay starts out small. Why shoot them down before they launch. Come on eBay don't be like everyone else...continue setting yourself apart. If you have to raise fees adjust the final value fees a bit so it's relative. That seems to make the best sense and provides greater incentive for sellers to remain positive in a very dismal economic market.
Italysound on 23:17 5 Sep
It would help to know just how big this fee is. If it isn't very big, then yes, I think it would be worth it in order to be visible in the search engines. If the fee is large, then my decision would be directly affected by how much I am presently making. If I pull in a lot of money and have a lot of steady customers, it would be worth paying the premium fee. If I am running on a shoestring, I might try it and if it didn't make much difference, I'd drop it.
baldeelox on 23:18 5 Sep
One day we'll all wake up and a fairy godmother will wave her magic wand so that eBay will realize sellers are of value. Until then, keep realizing that ebay doesn't give a flying phudge about sellers.....until they leave.
Jeff Goyen on 23:34 5 Sep
Hmm, might have to wait and see about this but on the face of it, seems like those sellers who can afford it will do it ( why wouldn't you ? ) to get exposure and those who are marginal might have to reappraise their overall business to make more savings, then use the 'pay to get featured listing' approach to compete with the big guys....All i know is buy low, sell high, factor in your costs is still the way to go....but may have to trim off some fat to keep competitive..
Jan Miles on 1:32 15 Jan
How can you trim the fat when there isn't any fat left. I work about 16 hour days trying to get sales in ebay and I have some of the lowest prices on my items, but still don't get enough sales to pay the fees. Ebay even charges a final value fee on shipping. We don't make any profit off the shipping fees, but we get charged for it.
Wayne on 0:12 6 Sep
i expect the diamond powersellers won't be charged this anyway. so it would only affect the smaller sellers. My sales of about 200 items per month is up a little this year, but having to lower prices and and pay higher fee has lower my profit to about nothing. Best match doesn't work, had did everything to improve for searches and still below ones that did nothing. I'm already in the process of moving to Amazon and Ebid, sooner the better, will than only use ebay to sell used items if that.
Alice Delore on 1:23 6 Sep
Hmm looks as though most of you are on the same page: Concerned that eBay just keep upping their seller fees.

What troubles me about paying for added exposure, or more views on your listings, is that you technically have already paid eBay for this when you pay them the listing and FVF. eBay is essentially in the business of selling traffic/customers by providing a good retail environment for buyers, but they are already charging for this. How can they charge more?

Anyway, I suspect the survey results will tell eBay that the majority of sellers would not like this new Premium fee, and they might not implement it. Here's hoping.
Richard Lewis on 2:01 6 Sep
Well, just like many other's who have left comments regarding additional fees, I would not pay any increase. With the current final fees and the Paypal fees it's hard to show a profit on my sales. Oh yes, then there are the shipping fees that are very high. What's the small guy to do ? Where else can we go to sell our goods without outrageous fees?
Alice Delore on 4:36 6 Sep
@Richard Lewis

That's the golden question! There are plenty of places that you can list items and not pay too much in fees, but it's really about striking a balance between a good amount of traffic (so that you can actually make sales) and low enough fees (so that you can actually make a profit).

Often, marketplaces that have lower fees don't get a lot of traffic, so they encourage you to pull traffic yourself. This bugs me a little because you are essentially paying to bring traffic to someone else's website - not just your own listings and it's so easy for you to spend time and money getting buyers to a marketplace, but what if they look at your items then just start browsing around other seller's items?

I think selling on your own website is one of the best options. And it's easier than a lot of people think. Why build up someone else's website by pulling traffic to it (like cheap marketplaces need you to) when you could build up your own?
Peter on 9:44 6 Sep
I'd have to say that I would also be very nervous about another increased fee. My ebay business has been growing steady over the last 2-3 years. I'm making a profit but a rise in the final value fee (especially if it's up to 12%) would seriously affect not only my profits but my expansion plans for the future with ebay. Maybe ebay will take note if enough people show that they are against any such increase fees. But I feel that they would go ahead with it regardless of whether smaller sellers like it or not. Once they get an idea in their heads...........you know the rest.
Oleg on 10:52 6 Sep
That's a little hard for us who are new to ebay to make a good profit from increased rates, but I think we have no other option, because selling on our own website is really hard to adquerir a good traffic. I will more than 7 months with my own site the traffic is very difficult. The biggest problem is that we do not have information how to get traffic to our own site.
J Kent McGraw on 12:38 6 Sep
While having your own site would be nice, there are many things one must consider which makes selling on a marketplace site more attractive. First one must have the items to stock and sell on their site which for the small guy maybe difficult. It is not easy to find products at a price you can sell them and make a profit. Some people sell only a few things and that would not make a good web site. One needs a variety of products. I have read many posts in many places and I hear people say that once they got big enough they got their own web site and left eBay. The problem comes with the small to medium seller who is trying to get big enough. They can not afford to have their own web site and maintain the site. When you have a web site you must think about SEO and that can be time consuming and very distracting. It would make sense if a few people began to work together on a web site and offer variety while dividing the SEO work among themselves. They would need to be selling complimentary items. I too am fed up with eBay but the other market places do not get the traffic and no one ever talks about them.
Oleg khodyrev on 13:19 6 Sep
Really for us who are new to Ebay, this fee paying almost not won anything, but we do not have another option. I'm selling on my own site for more than 7 months is very hard to get traffic is not easy. Our biggest problem we do not have information as we where having and traffic.
Robert on 13:42 6 Sep
it is no secret ebay is screwing up the site for smaller sellers. To think that visibility has dropped 50% in a year, and that I will pay to get it back is naive on ebays part. I can and will go elsewhere. the exodus began 2 years ago.....just waiting for the final "enhancement", or straw.....as I call it.
Lead on 13:49 6 Sep
I only have a few more items on Ebay and I'm planing to close my store soon because of the high fee plus this? no way jose, I'm already selling an a new site with no listing fee and that is great, ebay you suck
Efrain on 13:54 6 Sep
they have not figured that at the long run they'll lose more? stupid, its so many site where we can sell with no listing fee, fired ebay
Jose on 14:20 6 Sep
I dont make enought with my sales now. Once you pay ebay and paypal fee. You dont make that much. Im tired of ebay charging so much i will leave ebay. Ebay is going to go down the way they are going. Ebay is like the politicians the more they make the more they want to put on their pockets. I wont pay another fee.
Gene Head on 14:28 6 Sep
I am just getting into this online business and now having second thoughts. It won't bother the already established businesses, especially the big power sellers, but for us just starting, then we won't see any profit or even get off and running before crash and burn. Eventually though, even the big dogs will crash and burn because Ebay will dwindle down to only a few sellers and then they too will crash and burn. Soooo! they need to fight Ebay with the rest of us to keep the fees moderate so that everyone will have a chance of making a living. I don't have getting filthy rich in my eyes. I have making a living and being able to retire with this business only, and being able to enjoy my family and friends without having to punch someone else s time clock. NUF said.
Lindajoy54 on 17:39 6 Sep
I have sold and bought on EBAY for years. I have had a store twice, but decided each time I was not getting really anything more to pay the store fee and they were not letting store sellers list for free like they let regular sellers list up to 50 items free. Then, EBAY stopped me for 2 weeks from buying anything and after 3 phone calls and different stories, I was told that I was penalized for leaving my opinion on high shipping charges too many times. Why do they give you the option to click on how reasonable the shipping charges were and then penalize you for telling the truth? Supervisor even went as far to say that maybe I do this to make my own store look better!!!!!! I was outraged and closed my store right then. But I have been out of work for almost a year now and trying to make a little money, although with all the fees already, it is hard to really make anything decent. It is still the best place to reach more buyers, but if I could find a better revenue, I would gladly try it.
Mande on 20:48 6 Sep
I was a "Top Seller" for two years at EBay but with the constant increases in fees, I closed my book store of five years last year and have moved all my merchandise to Amazon. Finally, I am showing a decent profit. I miss the personal contact with buyers I had at Ebay but the fees were just too high.
rkr on 21:46 6 Sep
I'm with the majority. ebay will be history for me!
Alice Delore on 2:35 7 Sep
Some interesting comments made about eBay's business practices and priorities. I hate to say it, but if eBay do value buyers more than sellers, as some critics believe, it's working for them! The NY Times says so: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/28/business/ebays-turnaround-defies-convention-for-internet-companies.html?_r=1&ref=business

I'll be watching this story unfold with interest. I'm anxious to see if eBay will implement this, and if they do, how much it will cost sellers.
Neil on 10:50 7 Sep
I used to be an ebay seller. I was exactly the kind of guy described by some people above. Then they introduced "best match"., They have modified it a little now, but when they introduced it it made my products totally invisible. Prior to then it was possilbe to predict pretty much how much I would sell as my products would always show up. My sales fell to zero and ebay stopped working for me. It is now too much geared to the big sellers for new people, and I was relatively new, to get a hold. I still use ebay for purchases, mostly small purchases and I find that "Best Match" is quite often anything but. I always change to the cheapest with postage offer. Most users are not that sophisticated. I suspect this has boosted ebay's income as most people are buying more expensive stuff. It taught me that you are always vulnerable as the little guy to these companies changing things and putting you right out of business instantly.
Ben Watson on 5:47 8 Sep
eBays recent doubling of the store fee (for ebay australia) has killed my business before it could get started. I was so pi$$ed off I closed my store immediately, changed my ebay name and deleted my about me page lol. After cooling off I'm still convinced there's a lot of money to be made on eBay, and I want some of it! I'm going to have a try at having multiple selling accounts so I can take advantage of their 30 free listings/month offer. The idea is to have 4+ accounts, so I can list 120+ things/month with no insertion fee. Hopefully spreading the sales over 4 accounts means I wont reach powerseller status either, which would remove my option to list for free. The main reason I wanted a store was because I was listing more than 30/month and wanted to list multiple quantity Buy It Now. No matter, I've got a few ideas so hopefully i can make this work. HOWEVER, if they're gonna slug us small fries with another fee hike, I'll be so peeved I'll launch my own online auction site..... iBay.com hahaha
John on 23:52 10 Sep
Adding extra fees to determine will definitely hurt the little guys on eBay who can't compete with the big budget of the big volume sellers. It astounds me how eBay continues to raise their fees and even tack on new ones. Unfortunately they have the power to do so because there is virtually no alternative auction site where sellers can get the kind of exposure eBay has to offer. On my site, DropshipCritic.com, I highly recommend that eBay sellers consider opening their own online store. eBay is an incredible place to get a start selling online but unless you are already an established seller, it can be very difficult to grow. Owning an online store can cut your expenses significantly and offer some great exposure when you introduce SEO and paid advertising. To get some more tips, please feel free to check out my site... http://www.dropshipcritic.com/quick-tips.html
Mary Wilkinson on 9:46 14 Sep
Most of the other replies have said it all. Most of the smaller sellers left eBay over 2 years ago and went elsewhere, because the profit margin is just too small and we can't afford the fees eBay is asking for. It's sad that the small sellers are how eBay got started, but once they were on top, they pushed the small guys off the cliff. There are many venues as alternatives, here are a few: http://www.Addoway.com (all items) http://www.eCrater.com (all items) http://www.Etsy.com (handmade or vintage) http://www.Bonanza.com (all items) http://www.RubyLane.com (Antiques & Art, Vintage Collectibles and Jewelry) http://www/RubyPlaza.com (home decor, fashion & jewelry) http://www.AtomicMall.com (all items) http://www.BooCoo.com (all items) http://www.Blujay.com (all items) http://www.eBid.com (all items) http://www.Webstore.com (all items) http://www.Wensy.com (all items) http://www.OnlineAuction.com (all items) http://www.StoreEnvy.com (all items) http://www.style.ly.com (current & vintage fashion) http://www.yardsellr.com (all items) http://www.Tophatter.com (all items) There are pros and cons to any selling venue, you just have to find the one that fits you. As Alice has mentioned the other option is starting your own ecommerce website to sell on, whether it be with SaleHoo or elsewhere. Some have no fees, while others charge either a FVF or monthly store fee. There are options to eBay, however getting traffic to your items is up to you, by writing good descriptions, having quality photos & many of them, using keywords in your titles & descriptions, not just being a copycat, but writing unique descriptions. All these things will help the search engines rank your results higher in organic searches. Having reasonable prices ( but don't undersell your items value) and fair return policies helps also. Whatever you do just remember to NOT spam/promote like nuts on Facebook, Twitter, etc. It all needs to be in small digestible amounts. Selling online these days is about building trust and having transparency. So try to establish yourself as a expert in your niche if possible, and offer information and help. This goes a long way in gaining a buyers trust. Selling online these days is definitely an uphill battle, there is no "easy button." You will not get rich quick. It takes a lot of time and effort to make it all work, therefore end in a sale. Good luck to all of us, as there is no magic potion to make it all work.
Jan Miles on 1:44 15 Jan
I have stores in 3 of the suggestions you gave. First, Bonanza. It's a fine place but to get sales you have to opt in for google and they charge 8% plus bonanza charges about 3%. So here you don't make any more than ebay. Webstore is a great one if people would go to their website. Here a seller can sell for free which means you can place your items on their website a little lower. Same with Onlineauction.com. You can list your products for less because they only charge $8 a month for a lot of listings. But again the problem is getting people to their website and they use an invoice system which when someone wants to purchase something, they click the buy button and then have to wait for the seller to see that they want to buy and send them an invoice. I've been talking with them about putting a buy now button that will allow the buyer to purchase right away instead of waiting for an invoice. But for me the last 2 is the best, just waiting for the buying population to see that they can get the same products for less by leaving ebay. That's where the problem is. Oh and Onlineauction.com is developed by an ex-ebayer who got tired of ebays games with it's sellers. He's working hard to get the website to draw in the buyers.
Tim on 5:07 22 Dec
eBay keeps killing their core business. They lie but facts show their traffic is about 10% what it once was. They are in dire straits and yet they continue to shoot themselves. It's not worth the 50 cent listing fee anymore. No one sees the listings.
Alice Delore on 19:50 19 Jan
Hi Tim,

I haven't heard any of the rumors about their traffic being so down. Interesting! Do you have a link to where you saw these stats?
Alice Delore on 19:50 19 Jan
Hi Tim,

Thanks for reading my blog post. I haven't heard any of the rumors about their traffic being so down. Interesting! Do you have a link to where you saw these stats?
Rob on 9:09 13 Nov
I pay for Premium fee now sales are not better,they have gotten worse


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