Andale Data for eBay Motors

Products by on October 13, 2004 at 1:20 am

I recently sold my car on eBay (more on that in a later post, once I get up the energy to retype my post).
Prior to listing my car, I did some research to figure out what sets of features I should use for the listing. I had always wanted to see what set of products and services Andale offers, so I went there first.

I was initially very excited by the sales literature on their autos page:

“Know the best time to list, best pricing strategy, best option duration and what eBay marketing features really work on eBay Motors”

This was exactly what I was looking for. I eagerly signed up, happy to easily pay $5 to $10 for these statistical nuggets of wisdom that would surely add percentage points to my final sales price. I was a little surprised to see that the service was being offered for a monthly trial (especially since I was looking for data to use for a single sale).

I was utterly shocked once I looked at the data they provided. I was actually convinced that there must have been an error, or there was some hidden functionality that I couldn’t find. I went through two levels of customer service reps to find out that the data they were providing was of no value at all.

Yes, all of the statistics they mentioned were there, but they were only available for the specific make, model and year of any given car. This would not have been that bad, but there were no 98 VW Passats in their sample (I’m guessing it is based on 15-30 days of transactions). In fact the most common VW Passat was the 2000, and it only had 6 sales.

A far more meaningful set of data would have been to aggregate the data up to all Passats, or all VWs, or even all autos! I’m sure the uplift provided by feature auctions really does not vary greatly between Audis and VWs and Hondas…

So, why isn’t the Andale data richer? Instead, they have focused on highly commoditized seller tools such as page view counters, ebay showrooms, image hosting, etc.

I don’t know the answer to the question, but I could guess that:

  • Their target customers (large-scale sellers) derive more value from the commoditized services that Andale offers.
  • Their target customers aren’t interested in statistical analysis (which I find hard to believe given that it could translate into higher selling prices or more auction completions)
  • They haven’t found an effective way to package and sell the data they have (clearly), thereby finding it difficult to convince customers that there is value there.
I’m guessing it is the third one.


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