Whatever Happened to . . . on eBay? Updated

Three months ago the eBay community were up in arms about the ’special deal’ and front page exposure given to a new seller ideeli . At the time ideeli had a feedback score of just 20 and a feedback or customer satisfaction percentage which would have resulted in restriction for any other seller…..

Ideeli’s eBay storefront says

“ideeli is a shopping community offering the most sought after brands at up to 80% off Authenticity guaranteed.”

Clicking the ‘What is ideeli’ tab takes you a link off eBay to ideeli’s website. ideeli is a members only, by invitation community which you can join as a free “second row member”. Invitees who pay either a quarterly subscription of $23.97 ($7.99 a month) or $83.88 annually (which works out to $6.99 per month) become a member of the “exclusive First Row”. There are occasional First Row Only sales and First Row members may shop all sales an hour before the Second Row hoi polloi.

The ideeli business method is to schedule limited time period “events” around a big name high end manufacturer or designer. Their eBay debut was Cole Haan product, shoes, purses and accessories  July 9th - 13th, 2009. Risk is low; from their eBay terms of service -  “Handling time is 10 business days because we do not place final order with the vendor until the Monday after the sale ends (July 13, 2009).” and on their website the subscriptions are pure ‘gravy’.

According to Goofbay

In the 90 days between July 8th and October 6th Ideeli listed $77,657,748.00 and sold $38,593.00 with a sell-through rate of 0.05%. That is one half of one percent. Standard fees on those sales would have been $9,211.70 or approximately 23.87% of gross. Ideeli offered free shipping throughout their promotion.

What did eBay get out of the deal?

  • Publicity, both positive and negative
  • A nice boost to listing numbers, and value of listed merchandise; still considered a viable metric by the very dimmest Wall Street analysts.
  • Ill will from other sellers, this is not new
  • Presumably some Final Value Fees, possibly Store subscription and inventory insertion fees
  • Possibly an additional fee for the nice red tab on the front page

What did ideeli get out of the deal?

  • Publicity, both positive and negative
  • Minimal sales (poor ROI)
  • New members some of who may be subscribers
  • Immunity from all those silly eBay rules, initially.
  • Increased overhead to list and service listings
  • Customer service headaches

Click to enlarge image.

I deeli has no items currently listed on eBay. Last sale appears to be July 13th although feedback is still trickling in. Their storefront is still visible and the link to their website is still active.

The remaining questions -

  1. Was this experiment a success for either party?
  2. Were sales expectations met?
  3. Was it all as easy for ideeli as eBay said it would be?
  4. Is it over?
  5. What do you think?

Y’all come back!

Henrietta!

Just discovered this well detailed post on EventHorizon1984 Blog complete with screen shots of feedback manipulation by eBay on behalf of ideeli.

2 comments.

  1. Yeah, right! It’s unbelievable they would get such high ratings for shipping time (4.6/5.0) and shipping and handling charges (4.9/5.0), since:

    “Handling time is 10 business days because we do not place final order with the vendor until the Monday after the sale ends (July 13, 2009).”

    It’s unbelievable that they would prefer the lowest-priced sellers, with low feedback percentages. They are going for the lowest denominator, hoping to be successful. They are driving the other sellers out of business, as well as driving themselves into the ground.

    Thanks for reminding me why I am out of there! Just too unreal to believe. But it’s true, nonetheless.

    Thanks for reminding me why I am out of there!

  2. Their shipping was free so IMO that should be an automatic 5, period and their sell through rate is not going to drive anyone out of business in the near future. Unless they got a very very special deal on fees this little experiment cost them plenty. Wonder how they liked the new eBay buyer mentality?

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