Lately, whenever we post about eBay, a huge crowd of folks shows up to complain about eBay. Many of the changes that eBay has implemented over the past few years haven't gone over well -- but a Business Week article suggests something else is up also: buyers just aren't interested in the "auction" model
as much as they used to be. Personally, I know that's true for me. I remember bidding on a variety of auctions on eBay, but I doubt I've done so in at least five years -- mostly because I can find whatever I'm looking for a decent price and just buy it elsewhere, without the hassle of the auction. When it first came along, the auction process was novel and fun -- and it offered up products that just couldn't be found elsewhere. But, these days, that's very rarely the case. The auction process seems like a pain and most of the products are available in a more convenient manner.
That certainly doesn't mean the end of eBay, or even the end of auctions (as Mathew Ingram notes, auctions are good for a certain class
of products). And, as the original article notes, eBay's business has been shifting increasingly to fixed-price sales rather than auctions. But many people still do think of eBay as an auction site, and its biggest near-term challenge may be convincing people that it's more than that.