As of today, March 31st, eBay will not be allowing the sale of downloadable digital items on their website. This includes all auction style and store listings. The change is to combat the recent growth of the reselling of eBooks without the original author’s permission. It’s also to curb the easy manipulation and fast growth of users’ feedback scores. Gone are the days where you could buy ten 1 cent items and get an instant “10” added to your feedback. The sale of digital items will only be allowed to be marketed in the form of a Classified Ad at the cost of $9.95/month for a 30-day ad. However, because Classified Ad listings are a lead generation tool and do not result in transactions that go through eBay, feedback cannot be exchanged between buyer and seller.
This new policy is both good and bad. For one thing, it will hurt the little guy who relies on eBay to sell downloadable items to make a living. On the other hand, not having the thousands of cheap eBooks that are not even worth a penny will be a good thing. It will indeed clean up the eBay marketplace and make it more ethical again. It will also provide a lot less competition for the legitimate digital item sellers who really do have a good product to market.
So, to break it down a little bit more…
Pros of the new policy
– Less competition
– No more cheap junk and less clutter in the product categories
– No more negative feedback
– No more final value fees
Cons of the new policy
– Those who only sell digital items will lose their PowerSeller status
– Those who have store listings will have to close up shop, or sell something else
– No more positive feedback
This affects anyone selling items delivered digitally.
This can include:
And any other digital services.
I’ve also heard rumblings among the eBay message boards where I’ve read some sellers say that they’ll continue to sell their eBooks, but in CD format and ship out a physical package to their buyers. This just means a higher cost to the buyer because of the labour intensive process of packaging and delivering an item which is clearly still digital. Only the strong will survive.
This just goes to show that in the world of making money online, you can’t rely on just one method to generate 100% of your income. As you can see, changes happen and you need to move on to other ways to sustain a living. I’m very fortunate in this case personally – most of the sales of my eBook were made from this blog, not eBay. I may have had the odd eBay sale here and there, but for the most part, readers of my site bought my eBook on-site.
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