eBay Stops Digital Product Downloads. This Is How You Fix It In 1 Hour
Yet again eBay makes another controversial decision when it decides to kick out all it’s sellers dealing in downloadable digital products.
This isn’t just about eBay getting rid of the crap eBooks, and we know there is a ton of those, but this actually hurts many hundreds of good honest people and businesses who have spent time and money building up a good service to repeat customers.
Lets take an overall look at what is happening and how we can fix it.
The fact that eBay will lose money is of no significance to me. In fact it would be good to teach them a lesson in humility but I doubt that will happen. eBay is just another corporate structure lining the pockets of it’s “Oh So Perfect!” rule making execs running the company. It is a far cry from the spirit, and humanity, that eBay had when Pierre first founded the business.
That being said it is OUR decision to do business with them or not.
Reading the reactions on the eBay forums gave me a weird feeling of working for a big company once again, which is something we all try to get away from – Right? Folk have become so dependent on eBay as their SOLE means of earning money in their business it is no different, (from a “being paid” point of view), to relying on your old company to give you a pay check.
So, effective 31 March, all products that can be digitally downloaded or transferred electronically can no longer be sold on eBay using an Auction or Fixed Price format. Additionally digital delivery products are not allowed in your eBay store.
However, digital items are allowed to be advertised using their Classified Ad format which runs at a basic $10 per 30 days before they nickel and dime you to death with their “upgrades”. What this means is that you can send people to your website to buy the product but you cannot transact the product using eBay. Obviously no feedback, (manipulation stated as being the main reason for this digital Panzer sweep), can be exchanged.
Remember that this change not only affects eBook sellers.
There are thousands of people selling…
- Digital Video
- Digital Audio
- Website Templates
- eBay templates
- Sewing, Quilting and Knitting Patterns
- Recipes, Photos and whatever…
I wasn’t going to rush into posting when I first discovered this because it’s always good to think on a problem. There is a lot of screaming and wringing the hands going on but I feel that this is not such a bad thing for us serious digital info product sellers.
The mere fact that eBay is suddenly pulling the plug is going to create a vacuum of digital products for the immediate future. So, we have to act fast and we have to act smart whilst always staying within the rules.
So don’t pack up your eBay store just yet.
The One Hour eBay Fix In Brief.
If you are using software like Download Guard, (my absolute favorite), your customers are going to be sent immediate product download information anyway – it’s just part of the automation.
Note: I have road tested SmartDD but there are support issues which are being sorted out and also since the upgrade to V2 it has difficulty with large downloads. My response from support was that it is something we have to live with unless we upgrade to a dedicated server. DLG has no such issues. Additionally, SmartDD now seems to be taking a back seat to the latest software being developed so there are many features incorporated but not fully functional as yet. There was meant to be an update last month but we are still waiting.
Here are some ideas for using Download Guard to get over your Digital eBay Woes. Understand that your prices are going to have to increase but this could be as little as the cost of a first class postage stamp.
1. List your item as normal and state that although you are physically mailing out the product download instructions, (that would have to be the product as far as eBay is concerned), they will receive an immediate email with INSTANT download instructions because this is the way your business is set up.
Being entrepreneurs we have to test the waters and see how eBay would interpret this but it’s better than just folding and complaining. Play this as close to the edge as eBay will allow but be sensible and let them think along the lines of… “This is close to being a policy violation but everything else looks good and they are NOT MANIPULATING FEEDBACK so we’ll let it through”. This time we are not thinking like our customers, we are thinking like the eBay enforcers.
Note: This is taken from eBay’s Chatterbox:
“Question: There is some confusion about what items this new policy covers. Can people still create auction-style and fixed price listings for digital media providing they send a physical CD ROM or printed piece to the buyer?
Answer: Yes, media that holds digital content, such as a DVD or CD, is permitted for sale on eBay. However sellers may not offer the buyer the option of receiving the content via physical media or via digital delivery or electronic transfer. Any product that is offered to the buyer via digital delivery or electronic transfer must be listed using the Classified Ads format.
Consider… You are not offering any option. You are going to ship whatever it is you have stated you are going to ship and because your business is setup with an automatic response directly after purchase, (what the heck is wrong with that?), your customer is going to receive a Thank You and the location of the item they have just paid for.
Just to repeat, if the eBay enforcer can see you are a legitimate business trying to work within the guidelines and also keep your customers happy then they are probably going to give a little leeway.
2. Burn a CD or DVD. We all know that a physical product has far more perceived value than a digital one so this can work in your favor in more ways than an immediate extra few dollars.
Decide how you want to go with this, a quick copy from your PC and post it out in a paper CD envelope or go the whole hog using a jewel case and cove graphics.
Remember you can get people to purchase many digital items from you for the same shipping cost. This is a great way to bundle products for a low cost shipping fee.
IN ADDITION… let your eBay visitors know that not only are they getting a great deal delivered on CD but they can also instantly download the items. This is a very effective technique. Download Guard can easily handle this. From the Admin section you just list what products are to be available as bonus products and everything is automatically handled for your customers to download. It really is as simple as it gets and your downloads are secure of course.
Do you see how Download Guard can help you get over your eBay Digital Woes? It is well worth the cost, you have SUPERB professional support, it installs in less than 15 minutes and it is a one off payment for life. In less than an hour you can have a few products up and running.