28.03.2023 | by Lili
In a bold move, eBay Germany decided to scrap seller fees for private sellers from 1. March 2023 onwards. The decision doesn’t affect businesses, only private sellers, and is restricted to Germany alone.
Selling fees on eBay depend on the sellers’ location and the nature of the goods. In general, there’s a fixed listing fee (0.35 € in Germany, $0.35 in the US, etc.) levied upon creating a product listing as well as a certain percentage of the selling price (usually between 11 and 15 %) vendors have to hand over to eBay after each sale.
Oliver Klinck, Managing Director of eBay Germany explained that the intention behind the decision was to encourage private sellers to be more active on the platform.
Klinck sees the scrapping of fees as a strategic investment. Since private sellers are twice more likely than regular shoppers to buy something on eBay, the new fee structure should convince them to shop even more on the platform, thus increasing sales and generating new revenue for the marketplace.
Screenshot of ebay.de displaying a banner saying “New: from now on you sell for free!” (translated by globaleyez)
Since selling fees remain in effect for businesses, there’s a possibility that some professional vendors will try to declare themselves to be private sellers in an effort to save money. However, duping eBay is not that easy.
The platform employs an algorithm that assesses selling patterns and quantities, determining whether a seller is indeed a private citizen trying to get rid of unwanted items, or a professional flying under the radar.
As the new fee system doesn’t affect businesses, brands shouldn’t encounter significant changes. At least when it comes to selling things. As for the safety of their IP rights? Unfortunately, that’s another matter.
Fraudsters infringing on your brand’s IP rights may feel like they’ve found the perfect loophole for increasing their audience. Although eBay’s software tools will make it harder for professionals to pretend that they’re private sellers, it’s not impossible for fraudulent sellers to evade capture if they limit the quantity of sales going through one account.
Screenshot of a random private seller’s random listing on ebay.de
Registering multiple private seller accounts could thus be a win-win for fraudsters: they can save money on professional selling fees and evade capture for infringing on your brand’s IP rights. And since professional sellers need to provide their VAT ID to eBay while all private sellers have to do is give their phone number and a bank account number, it may even be more enticing for fraudsters to pose as private sellers.
After all, the less information they give, the more accounts they use and the more scattered they are, the harder it gets for brands to find them, right?
Wrong. That is, if your brand has a comprehensive online brand protection programme in place.
globaleyez’s marketplace monitoring service finds IP infringing product listings on eBay (and over 150 other marketplaces worldwide). Whether the seller is private or professional, and whether they posted one listing or a hundred, we’ll find them.
Our experience shows that fraudsters often use the same product pictures on all their product listings published on over a multitude of accounts on marketplaces, single webshops, social media, etc. Tasked with finding infringing imagery all over the internet, our image monitoring service is the perfect way to discover the underlying connections between seemingly unrelated product listings.
By the way, this is exactly why we developed infrimage, our software tool that finds infringing imagery all over the internet and connects the dots between all the accounts and sales channels that infringe upon your IP rights.
Separating big fish from small time offenders is not easy - unless you’re using our marketplace sales tracking service. With careful tracking and data analytics, we’ll find out which sellers make the most money off your products, and can thus offer highly cost-effective takedown services. After all, disabling sellers who sell ten times as much as others yields much higher results with the same effort.
Finally, we can enforce your rights and demand the removal of the offending product listings and other types of content from eBay, Amazon, further online marketplaces, social media platforms, domain registries and any other corner of the internet.
eBay’s most recent reports certainly show a slowdown. The marketplace made $9.7 billion revenue in 2022 (a little over $1 billion of that in Germany), which is a 9.3% decrease from the previous year. In contrast to that, Amazon managed to grow its year-over-year net sales revenue by 9.4%.
This may be a clear impetus behind the decision to scrap selling fees. Besides private sellers themselves, the move and the subsequent growth in sales volume on the marketplace may even attract more businesses to eBay. And with more businesses comes more advertising, a significant revenue strain for eBay.
As the new measures came into effect earlier this month, we haven’t yet witnessed a real growth in the number of private sellers. However, this will likely occur in the near future as eBay users learn about the no fees structure and adapt their behaviour.
Unfortunately, it’s safe to assume that some businesses (especially those already on the wrong side of the law, e.g. counterfeiters and grey market sellers) may try to exploit the new rules and pose as private sellers to avoid having to pay seller fees. For us brand protection experts, this means that we’ll have to focus more on private sellers and their listings in the near future.
Another interesting phenomenon is how the no seller fees policy will undoubtedly make eBay more popular as a C2C marketplace - and thus increase competition with the already established eBay Kleinanzeigen.
Although these marketplaces share the same name, eBay Kleinanzeigen has nothing to do with the American e-Commerce giant anymore. eBay sold its German classified segment in 2020, complete with company name and domain, to Norwegian marketplace Adevinta.
Screenshot of the homepage of ebay.kleinanzeigen.de
The eBay vs. eBay Kleinanzeigen situation will continue to confuse consumers until 2024, at which point the classified marketplace will scrap “eBay” from its brand name and continue on as Kleinanzeigen.de.
Marketplace rules come and go as economic necessities dictate their changes over time. What doesn’t change is the fact that malevolent sellers will always continue to look for ways to make easy money - usually off your brand’s IP rights.
Don’t let this happen to you; contact globaleyez and let’s set up a comprehensive online brand protection strategy for your brand.