Hate the sweater you got yesterday, but uncomfortable with re-gifting it to someone with fashion sense? Still holding on to that Tiffany CD? Who let that ceramic cat into your home?
If you've got stuff to move that isn't entirely worthless, eBay's
What has become an annual discount two days after Christmas brings a lot of noise to the site. But eBay hasn't taken full advantage of the situation.
As a seller, you get what you pay for, because it's hard to stand out in the mob populated by too many people who want outrageous prices for their junk. Instead of loading up on the listings as a seller, I try to pick out the rare bargains that fall through the cracks as a buyer.
As an investor, I'm actually shocked that eBay is going through with its dime promo. It doesn't have to do with the wild nature of the dynamics that will come into play tomorrow. Discounting listings for items at ridiculous price points that will not be purchased finds eBay's pockets ringing hollow on both counts.
If anything, I'm surprised that eBay didn't really open up the floodgates by reverting to its free listings for the day. Yes, eBay actually used to have free listings a couple of days after Christmas. (The promo price wall crept up as the rest of eBay's fees have over the years.) Because year-over-year listings have been slipping in each of the past two quarters, this could have been a way for eBay to win back the unloaders who have moved to free sites like Google
A few more balloon animals and eBay could have gone after the power-sellers who are now moving more of their goods through either Amazon.com
With eBay having added a lot of Web 2.0 candy over the past year, why wouldn't it want to lure back disillusioned sellers who may have never checked out new eBay features like Playground or the community-driven MyWorld?
eBay's financials are still growing, though sluggish listings traffic finds some cynics wondering if eBay has priced itself out of the consumer-to-consumer auction market. A simple token -- perhaps going with nickel insertion fees instead of a dime -- wouldn't have alarmed analysts, while signaling to the community that eBay is willing to bend a little these days.
Alas, it didn't happen. I've already got my earplugs ready for tomorrow's noise, but I would have rather been hearing the cacophony of a more creative, flexible eBay.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a satisfied eBay user with 173 positive feedbacks to show for it. He does not own shares in any of the companies in this story. He is a member of the Rule Breakers analytical team, seeking out the next great growth stock early in its defiance. The Fool has a disclosure policy.