eBay woke up. What a concept! A real person answering your e-mails. Now, of course, the downside of this is that the e-mails will be answered in Bangalore and Mumbai, and will still be from controlled response scripts.
But still, it’s somewhat of a concession from eBay that they stumbled a bit…and that the response to the latest earning results may force them to re-think their end-to-end response.
Oh, and in case eBay missed it, the “Lincoln Fries” were auctioned at Yahoo! Auctions…And JupiterMedia is talking about alternatives to eBay. [here]
Re-invention is a wonderful thing. And the response from the community is likely to be…when will eBay begin encouraging its leaders and evangelists to take to the Blogosphere?

A Message from Bill Cobb
Since becoming the President of eBay North America in December, I’ve spent a lot of time listening to you, our Community. There’s a lot on your minds right now. I’ve been taking it all in and thinking hard about how we can make sure eBay remains a fun, safe place to trade, and a prosperous home for our many dedicated sellers.
One of the issues I’ve heard a lot about is our recent fee increases, particularly the increase in Store Inventory Format final value fees. I’ve also heard concerns about customer support, the amount of change we make to the site on a regular basis, and trust and safety. We’re listening to everything you have to say.
eBay has become a hugely successful marketplace as a result of the innovation, enthusiasm and hard work of our Community. The site has also become more complex as it has grown to meet many of your needs. So our challenge is to keep pace with the Community’s changing requirements, while preserving the things that make eBay so special. With that in mind, I’d like to give you a preview of some upcoming changes for the United States and Canada.
eBay has a fantastic Customer Support team, but Meg and I agree we haven’t invested enough in giving our CS reps the flexibility and tools they need to really take care of you. So, to start, within the next 90 days, we’ll shut down most of our automated email responses. Our users will get a “real” e-mail response to their questions – you’ll hear from a human being who will try to help you with your problem or question right off the bat. We will only use auto responses to acknowledge receipt of spam or policy violation reports.
We also think the time has come to expand phone support. Currently phone support is available only to Silver, Gold, Platinum and Titanium PowerSellers. Starting April 1, all eBay Stores owners also will have access to phone support. We’ll provide details on the benefits of phone support to Stores owners soon.
We know pricing is a critical issue for our sellers. While we stand behind our decision to increase final value fees on Store Inventory Format listings – because they make sense for items that list with insertion fees of two cents – I know this increase has been difficult for some of our sellers. To reward our eBay Stores sellers, we’ll be crediting $15.95 – a month’s Basic Stores subscription – in May to all sellers who operated an eBay Store for the month of April. Stores owners will receive more details on this soon.
We also want to do something for the rest of our sellers. I’m happy to announce that effective at midnight tonight, eBay.com and eBay.ca will reduce minimum insertion fees for Auction-Style listings, Fixed Price, Motors Non-Vehicle and B&I non-Capital Equipment Categories from 30 cents to 25 cents (CA$0.35 to CA$0.30). eBay Germany has always used this pricing, and users there have benefited from higher conversion rates on items with lower starting bids.
One of the great things about eBay is the candor and passion of our Community. Your input keeps this company focused on what’s right and important. Later this month, I’ll be hosting an online meeting to hear more from you. You’ll see more details on the Announcement Board soon. And I’ll periodically post notes like this one to talk about issues of importance to all of us.
eBay has never stopped listening to our users and we never will. I know many of you already have Meg’s e-mail address and frequently send her messages about things you care about. I hope you will do the same with me. My e-mail address is billcobb@ebay.com. I promise I’ll read every e-mail. And most of all, I’ll listen.
Bill Cobb
eBay North America