Thursday, March 24, 2016

Why I just shut down my eBay store

For over eight years I had a listing running on eBay called "Buy a cruelty-free feather to help feed a colony of cats on my hobby farm in Minnesota USA!" Customers got a feather and an autographed thank you card for $2 -- and yes, it did help feed, spay/neuter, and vaccinate all the cats that people dumped here over the years. (The current kitty count is 10.)

The description very clearly said that we are not a charity and not tax deductible, that it is a private sale by a private person wanting to help some cats. My customers understood that, and many came back again and again.  Some simply paid the money and requested  I send nothing, because their real motive was to help animals.

And for eight years that was OK with eBay.  Then, once again, eBay changed the rules and, without warning, pulled the listing last week.  There were still seven "feed cats" sales waiting to be shipped (which I did) but I could not leave feedback, nor could I mark them shipped.  I can't even delete them from the list.

That was the last straw for me. As I have written before on this blog, I have become more and more disgruntled with eBay over the years.  Used to be, eBay was fun.  For me it no longer is. They did away with downloads, giving sellers only ONE WEEK to take them down and requiring us to go back into the Stone Age and ship files on disks.  So much for selling downloads of my books.

Next they closed the eBay blogs, probably under pressure from Google so they could link with them and their blogs. Lately eBay started requiring one-day shipping (impossible in rural areas) and tracking numbers (not available for First Class envelopes) in order to be a Top Seller. There went my Power Seller status even though I have excellent feedback.  But that doesn't count anymore.  It's not what the customers like or need anymore, it's what eBay demands.  And now they push sellers to offer free shipping.

In short, they want their sellers to compete with Big Box stores. Sorry, folks, I'm just one guy with some cats on a hobby farm.  I don't have a fleet of trucks planes and drones like Amazon or Walmart.

Each time eBay updates their service agreement, it becomes more and more draconian, as they punish everyone for the offenses of a few bad sellers.  Canceling the ""help feed cats" listing was the last straw.  It was time for me to pick up my business and go elsewhere.

As of today, my store domain name,, points to my eBay profile page.  (Which is also very anemic compared to what we used to have.  Gone is the ability to write more than a couple sentences, instead of the nice HTML page we used to be able to customize with graphics, colors, etc.)  The store is now empty of listings, and the homepage will vanish as of April 1.  Most fitting, I think, to be done with it on April Fools Day. I may still list things occasionally, but I'm not paying them for a store page anymore.

[Updated 3/25/16]

For those who would still like to help the cats, you can donate on GoFundMe at:

The graphic I used for years on eBay.  These kittens are,
of course, long ago adopted out to forever homes,
after which their mother, Chayah Cat, was spayed.