eBay couldn’t force its Australian sellers to use its wholly-owned PayPal payment service, but that’s not stopping them from trying the same trick in the US.
I wrote about this previously, though I didn’t mention that eBay gave up in face of such clear opposition — the 700+ submitters and the ACCC, that is, not me! However Lauren Weinstein writes that in the US eBay has announced that PayPal (or credit cards) are to be the required mechanism for all transactions.
eBay is also making other changes to de-emphasize auctions entirely by making fixed-price sales more attractive — essentially undermining the basic auction model on which they built their business, and turning eBay even more into Just Another Online Store in many respects.
There are numerous alternatives to selling on eBay. I’ve wondered why so many eBay auction sellers have been willing to be fleeced for so long by eBay’s increasingly callous practices toward this bedrock group.
However as Scott Howard observes:
The difference is that in the US people probably won’t notice or care if this goes ahead.
Banking in the US is for the most part years behind where it is in Australia — and the concept of transferring money into someone else’s account is completely foreign to almost all Americans, and Cheques (err… checks!) still rule as the primary form of payment for anything other than small payments.
Even EFTPOS is only just starting to take off — and then only by banks marketing the cards as “check cards” (which are generally actually just Debit Visa or occasionally Mastercard cards).
The nett result of this is that the vast majority of sales on eBay in the US are already either PayPal, COD or occasionally (non-PayPal) credit card. Without the additional option of a fast/free/easy payment method like direct deposit, PayPal has already won here.
Hat-tip to Professor Roger Clarke.