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May 14, 2007

Urban Myth or Fact? eBay Express Is Popular

While reading the thread WOW!  Opting out of ebay express really boosted our biz I was reminded that eBay has taken the stance that topics negatively impacting the public relations image of eBay Express are "Urban Myths."

Those topics are well documented, with evidence presented by reputable Sellers. In reality the "Urban Myth" is eBay has provided facts to support their suppositions; none have been presented.  But it is eBay's playground, and they are entitled to pout in public about the bad press directed toward eBay Express.

Today let us reverse the table, and look into eBay's contention that eBay Express is a popular buying site. Is this fact or "Urban Myth"?

eBay Express launched in April 2006. Eight months later eBay's official comment was:

"I can't comment on individual seller experiences but I'd say we're certainly in the early days of the site. It's a new channel and we're seeing traffic grow organically"
Lara Housser, Director of eBay Express, U.S.
December 2006


Less enthusiastic comments:

"We've certainly not seen the results we and other sellers anticipated, with sales and traffic generation under 1% of overall eBay activity."
David Yaskulka, marketing chair The Professional eBay Sellers Alliance (PeSA)
November 2006

http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/bal-ebay1225,0,2193425.story?coll=bal-business-indepth
"And while eBay's main auction site attracted more visits than any other online retailer in November, eBay Express was at No. 87 on the list of top shopping and classified sites, according to research firm Hitwise Pty. Ltd."

eBay presents this convoluted definition of popular, "historical buyer behavior on the site for similar searches." In normal speaking terms, popular = lots of hits.

For today's demonstration we'll use the free tool Alexa (www.alexa.com), and the Auction Site list from Power Sellers Unite (www.powersellersunite.com).

We have no financial stake or affiliation with either organization. The Power Sellers Unite list is commonly used. Alexa is being used because it is free.

We will use eBay's assumption that everything on eBay.com is available on eBay Express. The separate ebid.net sites are considered one collective. No Google, as Google includes everything. And throw in some ringers.

Here are the terms and the raw data chart.

Reach:
Reach is typically expressed as the percentage of all Internet users who visit a given site. So, for example, if a site like yahoo.com has a reach of 28%, this means that if you took random samples of one million Internet users, you would on average find that 280,000 of them visit yahoo.com.

Page Views per user:
The page views per user numbers are the average numbers of unique pages viewed per user per day by the users visiting the site.




................................................. Page Views ........ Reach per
............... Number of ... Traffic Rank ...... per user .......... million users
................ Listings .. Today . 3 mos AVG . Today . 3 mos AVG . Today . 3 mos AVG
eBay .......... 14,497,600 ..... 16 ...... 13 ..  15.5 .. 15.7 ..... 23,650 .. 27,560
eBay Express .. 14,497,600 . 18,626 .. 24,005 .... 2.4 ... 1.7 ......... 90 .... 81.5

**.ebid.net .... 1,138,347 . 29,515 .. 12,988 ... 21.6 .. 16.9 ......... 20 ...... 49
uk.ebid.net ...... 363,355
us.ebid.net ...... 270,653
ca.ebid.net ...... 253,164
au.ebid.net ...... 251,175

Yahoo .......... 1,095,626 ...... 1 ....... 1 ... 15.7 .. 15.9 .... 273,000 . 271,900
Bidville ......... 992,936 . N/A ..... 60,082 .... 7.0 ... 6.2 ........ 5.5 .... 16.5
MightyBids ....... 388,472 . N/A ..... 30,944 .... 1.8 .. 15.4 ......... 11 ...... 22
eCrater .......... 383,571 . 25,057 .. 17,240 .... 5.1 ... 6.0 ......... 45 .... 61.5
Tazbar ........... 132,712 . 54,683 .. 34,055 ... 18.8 .. 14.9 ......... 11 .... 20.5
ePier ............ 128,551 . N/A ..... 96,716 .. . 1.0 ... 3.3 ........ 5.5 ...... 15
Blujay ........... 122,781 . N/A ..... 74,682 .. . 4.8 ... 4.7 ......... 11 .... 15.5
Wagglepop ........ 100,696 . N/A ..... 53,683 ... N/A ... 18.8 ..... N/A ......... 13
TheAuctionMan ..... 24,394 . N/A ..... N/A ...... N/A ..... N/A .... N/A ...... N/A
Overstock ......... 23,769 .... 802 ..... 404 .... 7.3 ... 7.0 ........ 865 ... 1,590
Bid-Alot .......... 22,304 . N/A ..... 71,955 ... N/A .... 8.7 ..... N/A ....... 11.5
HiBidder .......... 21,821 . N/A ..... 88,965 ... 71.0 .. 27.6 ........ 2.5 .... 6.25
whaBAM ............ 20,566 . N/A .. 1,440,270 ... N/A .... 2.3 ..... N/A ........ 0.2
WeBidz ............ 20,161 . N/A ..... 45,798 .... 2.2 .. 19.4 ......... 15 .... 13.5
Lowbid ............ 15,667 . N/A .... 313,279 ... N/A .... 6.2 ..... N/A ........ 2.8
Amazon ............... N/A .... 26 ....... 21 .... 6.2 ... 6.8 ..... 19,600 .. 24,840
BestBuy .............. N/A ... 433 ...... 241 .... 6.1 ... 6.3 ...... 1,650 ... 2,650
CompUSA .............. N/A . 1,889 .... 1,066 .... 5.1 ... 5.0 ........ 480 ... 816.5
ProStores.com ........ N/A . 8,018 .... 8,150 .... 6.9 ... 5.7 ........ 115 ..... 125


Let's clean and reduce this pile of numbers.

This article is about popular, and we'll move measures of popularity, Page Views and Reach, leftward. Also eBay considers these measure of utmost importance. Page Views because the more pages viewed, the more advertising viewed. And Reach because you want a large audience products and spam.

Yahoo! will be removed. The site measures for Yahoo! include listings and everything Yahoo! They are Number One, so let's move on.

Overstock will be removed. Believe the statistics are skewed as they may reflect the viewing a automobile pileup psychology.

Organizations have good and bad days. As a running average is a good measure of performance, we'll remove the Today columns. Let's get rid of decimals and round up everything. Order lists according to Page View and Reach. And let's add statistic change or growth as a percentage.


3 Month Average
............. Page Views ... Reach per .... Number of .... Traffic
.............. per user .. million users ... Listings ..... Rank
HiBidder ....... 28 (+222%) ...... 7 ......... 21,821 .... 88,965
WeBidz ......... 20 (-21%) ...... 14 ......... 20,161 .... 45,798
Wagglepop ...... 20 (+26%) ...... 13 ........ 100,696 .... 53,683
ebid.net ....... 17 (-4%) ....... 49 ...... 1,138,347 .... 12,988
eBay ........... 16 (+1%) ... 27,560 ..... 14,497,600 ........ 13 <===
MightyBids ..... 16 (+107%) ..... 22 ........ 388,472 .... 30,944
Tazbar ......... 16 (-28%) ...... 21 ........ 132,712 .... 34,055
Bid-Alot ........ 9 (-29%) ...... 12 ......... 22,304 .... 71,955
Amazon .......... 7 (-3%) ... 24,840 ............ N/A ........ 21
BestBuy ......... 7 (+5%) .... 2,650 ............ N/A ....... 241

Bidville ........ 7 (-42%) ...... 17 ........ 992,936 .... 60,082
ProStores.com ... 6 (+16%) ..... 125 ............ N/A ..... 8,150

eCrater ......... 6 (-15%) ...... 62 ........ 383,571 .... 17,240
CompUSA ......... 5 (+4%) ...... 817 ............ N/A ..... 1,066

Blujay .......... 5 (+10%) ...... 16 ........ 122,781 .... 74,682
ePier ........... 4 (-11%) ...... 15 ........ 128,551 .... 96,716
whaBAM .......... 3 (-39%) ....... 1 ......... 20,566 . 1,440,270
Lowbid .......... 3 (+44%) ....... 7 ......... 15,667 ... 313,279
eBay Express .... 2 (-19%) ...... 82 ..... 14,497,600 .... 24,005 <===
TheAuctionMan . N/A ............ N/A ......... 24,394 ....... N/A

In Page Views per user eBay Express is virtually dead last.  eBay may wish to reconsider it's touting to the press that Page Views is an all important statistic of site performance.

3 Month Average
.............. Reach per .... Page Views .. Number of .... Traffic
............. million users ... per user ... Listings ..... Rank
eBay .......... 27,560 (-11%) ... 16 ..... 14,497,600 ........ 13 <===
Amazon ........ 24,840 (-13%) .... 7 ............ N/A ........ 21
BestBuy ........ 2,650 (+36%) .... 7 ............ N/A ....... 241
CompUSA .......... 817 (-1%) ..... 5 ............ N/A ..... 1,066
ProStores.com .... 125 (0%) ...... 6 ............ N/A ..... 8,150
eBay Express ...... 82 (+8%) ..... 2 ..... 14,497,600 .... 24,005 <===
eCrater ........... 62 (+51%) .... 6 ........ 383,571 .... 17,240
ebid.net .......... 49 (-10%) ... 17 ...... 1,138,347 .... 12,988
MightyBids ........ 22 (-22%) ... 16 ........ 388,472 .... 30,944
Tazbar ............ 21 (+173%) .. 15 ........ 132,712 .... 34,055
Bidville .......... 17 (-38%) .... 7 ........ 992,936 .... 60,082
Blujay ............ 16 (-3%) ..... 5 ........ 122,781 .... 74,682
ePier ............. 15 (-12%) .... 4 ........ 128,551 .... 96,716
WeBidz ............ 14 (-33%) ... 20 ......... 20,161 .... 45,798
Wagglepop ......... 13 (-32%) ... 20 ........ 100,696 .... 53,683
Bid-Alot .......... 12 (-12%) .... 9 ......... 22,304 .... 71,955
HiBidder ........... 7 (0%) ..... 28 ......... 21,821 .... 88,965
Lowbid ............. 7 (-47%) .... 3 ......... 15,667 ... 313,279
whaBAM ............. 1 (-91%) .... 3 ......... 20,566 . 1,440,270
TheAuctionMan .... N/A ......... N/A ......... 24,394 ....... N/A

In Reach per million users, eBay Express is more "popular" than the other smaller auction sites.

By Traffic Rank eBay Express is number 3 when included with the smaller auction sites.

eBay .......... 27,560 (-11%) ... 16 (+1%) ..... 14,497,600 ........ 13
eBay Express ...... 82 (+8%) ..... 2 (-19%) .... 14,497,600 .... 24,005

Compared to the eBay.com Mothership, eBay Express performance is abysmal.


When compared to the other auction web sites, is "eBay Express popular" a myth?

Leading in the Reach per million does mean popular.  But fact is these are small numbers when compared to eBay.com. Out of 1 million (1,000,000) users, 82 will view eBay Express, followed by 62, 49, etc. views for the competition. If eBay considers an 82 a brilliant success, a 62 share is not that bad of an audience.

Were the statistics for Overstock.com valid, throw them back in and eBay Express loses. On all fronts.

So ... yes and no.

eBay Express will be 1 year old in April 2007. Let's revisit the Myth question then.

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