PowerSeller revolt looms as eBay CEO Donahoe tinkers with business model


Online auctioneer eBay's legions of sellers are digesting the likely fallout from a significant raft of policy and fee changes announced by company CEO John Donahoe today. The quick and dirty version -- kiss the old, quirky fun eBay (EBAY) goodbye and say hello to a site that looks a lot more like Amazon.com. I spoke at length to Ina Steiner, editor of AuctionBytes.com, a noted eBay expert who has been critical of the website at times.

Steiner has a decidedly opinionated take on the likely impact of the changes, which she sees as both carrot and stick. "For companies that are selling one-of-a-kind items such as antiques or rare jewelry, these rules could have a really negative impact," says Steiner. That's because the company will now offer a higher 20% discount on fees paid to eBay for its new Top-Rated Sellers category who have the very best customer ratings, while offering a diminished 5% standard PowerSeller fee discount to longstanding vendors whose customer ratings don't qualify them for the higher discount.