Answering anger, eBay cuts more fees

By Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- EBay Inc. bowed to pressure Monday from some of its high-volume sellers, saying it will further cut listing fees for books, music, movies and video games sold through the online auction site.

Monday's move amends a fee structure announced last month and could mean savings for merchants who sell those goods in high volume. Those sellers had expected to lose money from the new plan, slated to take effect Feb. 20. Some had threatened to stop selling on eBay.

The company said last month it plans to cut the fees for listing an item but raise eBay's commissions on items that sell. Merchants quickly complained the cuts were not enough to balance the hike in commissions.

Monday's amendment further cuts -- by as much as half -- the listing fees for items in the ''media'' category selling for less than $25.

Shares of eBay rose 10 cents, about one-third of 1 percent, to close at $28.17 Monday.

The two rounds of changes come as eBay struggles with flattening growth in listings and the number of active users -- and with a gradual loss of market share to, which does not charge listing fees.

Online message boards have been abuzz with threats of a site-wide sellers strike since the new fee structure was announced.

People who sell media items complained the changes would hit them especially hard because they post many more listings than other sellers -- some offering more than 40,000 items on eBay each month.

Lorrie Norrington, president of eBay's Global Marketplace Operations, which includes the company's online shopping sites, announced the new changes Monday.

''We heard your comments about the need for media and category-specific pricing,'' Norrington said in a statement posted online.

Steve Grossberg -- a top seller of video games and president of the Internet Merchants Association, which lobbied the company to take another look at the new fee plan -- said Monday's announcement will benefit thousands of media sellers like him. Now most sellers in the category, if not all, will see their fees go down, he said.

He says the media category accounts for 10 percent of core listings.

Company spokesman Usher Lieberman said the ''change in the media category will not have a material impact'' on company finances.

Media sellers have long asked for a fee structure specific to their category because of their low profit margins and average selling price and high listing volume, said Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Derek Brown.

''Part of the concern these sellers had was that their fees were likely going to be going up as a result of all these changes, and that would have discouraged their listings and sales,'' Brown said.

''I don't believe it was their (eBay's) intent to discourage listings from happening in the first place, but that may have been an unintended consequence, particularly in the media category,'' Brown said.