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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I Fell Off the Cliff!

As I've mentioned several times recently, my sales have been growing very steadily over the past six weeks. I was flying high after my $1000 week last week! And then??

I hit a brick wall. Yesterday, I had ONE sale. For a grand total of $25. I was stunned. And I knew it wasn't just a normal fluctuation. Out of the first 20 days of September, 13 of them were $100+ sales days. Some of them were even $150-$200+. And the 7 days that weren't $100+ days were VERY close to $100. So I knew something was very wrong.

I decided to check out my Sellebrity app. Do you use Sellebrity? You should! It's got a really cool Spy feature that lets you see what people are looking at in your store right now. That's a fun feature. But in my situation, it actually was a very helpful app.

I checked out my visitors for the past week, and here's what I saw:

Check out that dip in visitors! On September 18, I had 606 visitors to my store. On September 19, I had 407! That is a 200 visitor drop OVERNIGHT. And it has declined steadily in the 2 days since then too. So I thought I'd check my longer term visitor chart and see what it looked like. I wasn't surprised when I saw this:

First, I'd like to point out the steady incline in my visitors. That coincides directly with the steady incline in my sales. That's how I know that this wasn't just normal market fluctuation. You can see from the red arrows that this happens consistently about every 3 1/2 - 4 weeks. The arrows on the left look like less drastic drops. Because I had a lower visitor count during those weeks, the drop looks less drastic, but percentage-wise, I think it's about the same as my more recent drops.

The arrow above September 4 may be unrelated. I had pulled 120+ listings of one category the day before. So that drop may have been due to the fact that I had significantly fewer listings that day. But the others? No explanation.

So I called eBay. I don't like to call eBay. I prefer to fix things myself, but I knew I wouldn't be able to fix this. I wasn't doing anything different. I hadn't pulled listings, I was still listing, there was just nothing I could do.

To my surprise, I got an eBay rep who not only spoke English as a first language, but was also very sympathetic. I told him my visitor and sales numbers, and he agreed that something was definitely wrong. I asked if there was a regional server down in my area, or anything else that might explain such a sudden drop. He said not that he was aware of. I asked if it was something a tech could check into, and he said they sure could. He was happy to put in a service ticket for me. They'll be "looking into it."

I fully expect things to be fixed within the next 2 days. Here's Tina's theory (and I completely agree): I'm in a rolling blackout. My items aren't showing up consistently in search results. I'm not sure why they do that. If asked, of course they would deny it. I suspect it's either because their servers can't handle everyone's items and traffic at once, so they turn some sellers off periodically. The other possible reason they might do that sort of thing is because, as a Top Rated Seller, I get a 20% discount on my final value fees each month. If my listings don't show up in search results, they don't sell. eBay doesn't have to give me that discount. Buyers are buying someone else's items, a non-TRS probably, who doesn't qualify for the 20% discount. eBay doesn't have to give that discount. They make more money.

Conspiracy theory? Maybe. But it makes perfect sense to me.

I'll let you know if my sales pick back up in the next day or two.


  1. Wow! Interesting! I'm having a bad run myself. No views. No watchers. No bids. Pitiful. I thought it was the time of day my items were ending, so I changed that but it didn't make a difference. I wonder if it has anything to do with the longer title. Too many search words maybe?

  2. My sales this week have gotten crazy low traffic, too! I don't use that app, but just by looking at my store traffic report, I can tell something's weird. I hope this doesn't become a regular thing!