eBay Kills Close 5 App Marketplace

eBay Kills Close 5 App Marketplace

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It doesn't take being a genius to realize that eBay is really only good at being eBay, and even being good at being eBay isn't always a good thing.

On November 30, 2017 eBay will kill with one final nail, another of it's poorly manged alternative marketplace businesses; Close 5 a local community buying and selling app is dead. Long live Close 5.

Earlier in 2017 eBay killed, a marketplace for books, music, movies and similar media.  

Back in 2014, eBay sterilized its once famous which it purchased along with  You ever heard of or  O.K. I think you are beginning to get the picture.

eBay ruins another acquired marketplace in 2017. First it killed and now then it killed its Close 5 Marketplace App.

All three of these companies were once prosperous and vital marketplaces that had the potential of succeeding long into their future.  That is, until eBay purchased them.

Ebay has a tendency to buy amazing companies and run them much like they do eBay, with piss-ass customer service, poor seller support and unfortunately different than eBay, with less than required staffing.

If often feels like eBay buys these prospering companies and simply milks them for as long as some kind of profit can be made, then kills them off in some manner.

Close 5 had great potential, in fact all marketplaces launching on a smart device through an "App", have great potential.  Japanese founded company Mercari is a great example of a Marketplace App that is quickly expanding to compete even against those original marketplaces like eBay and Amazon.  Mercari began as an App, similar to Close 5.

Close 5 Local Selling App is dead as of November 30, 2017

Sadly, unlike which eBay purchased in the early 2000's during its prime, Close 5 has had a much shorter life span.

What is the most obvious to the careful observer, is eBay's notations and encouragement when closing earlier this year and then Close 5, suggesting sellers migrate over to eBay's website or the eBay app, but not providing a method for sellers to auto migrate their product listings.

As a marketplace reviewer, the common complaint I hear is "eBay hasn't provided us a way to migrate our products and I have hundreds of listings that will take me months to relist to eBay"

During 2017, eBay's main website has many poor decisions, including implementing unannounced limited population policy changes and what can only be called beta-test changes to the way it's main website functions.  This is discussed in the 2018 Ebay Professionals Review video on YouTube.  Is this also how Close 5 ultimately came to its demise?
A quick look at the two top recent Close 5 app reviews for IOS gives us the answer.

SCROTOR666 commented; "I've used Close 5 for years, but after continually not staying up to date with the newest and most popular features other similar apps are utilizing, the user base for Close 5 has almost completely vanished..."

eBay closes it's Close 5 App based marketplace with good reason according to comment reviews.

eBay's own branded App has been a big mess in 2017 also, with tons of sellers complaining about the inability to create full listings, being locked into "make an offer", being locked into 30 day listings, etc.   Despite complaints, eBay's App has been slow to listen or change according to it's App users need, instead releasing minor tweaks that fit into its own agenda and despite it's horrendous 2017 version of its app, notified all users of previous versions of its app, they would soon lose eBay access if they failed to upgrade.  

This counterproductive move means anyone using an previous generation android device or iOS device will soon become handicapped if their device is unable to utilize the new update.  I still use an Iphone 4, Iphone 5 and any Android Device running 4.4, but I am beginning to think I will not be losing much if I can no longer use eBay's app.  Mercari still works fine, despite having different features available depending on the version release.  I do not need new features, I simply need to be able to list product, buy product, pay for product and get paid for product wherever I sell. 

Similar to the eBay website, most focus of the eBay app is on trying to benefit its shoppers and not its sellers; Ergo, you can't have happy customers if their are no happy sellers, Close 5 makes that very clear.  Pay attention eBay!

eBay app receiving poor seller reviews on ios

As a marketplace reviewer, I'd love to be able to say that eBay's problems are limited to it trying to merge itself in a meaningful way via smart devices and App based marketplaces, yet I can not.  The reality is, eBay hasn't learned anything from it's or Close 5 App failures.

According to the Close 5 website statement, eBay will move it's Close 5 App support team to work on it's eBay App support team after November 30,2017. Hopefully, having additional support from a team of App knowledgeable people could help eBay, but not likely.

I expect that similar to, the transition from Close 5 to the official "eBay App" will require so much conformity to internal eBay-Think and company politics, that any possible innovations or positive outcome will be completely neutralized.   Imagine dropping a single drop of red food coloring into a swimming pool of water, it only takes milliseconds before the red color food dye is so diluted by the larger body of water that it no longer exists; this is eBay-Think.

So let me answer the ultimate question, can eBay successfully succeed with it's eBay Branded App as serious replacement for its now defunt Close 5 and in competition against App Marketplaces like PoshMark and Mercari?  The answer is simple, NO! and for good reasons.

1. eBay is only successful as a website marketplace because it launched and survived the eCommerce Bubble Bust at the beginning of the 2000's. Up until former eBay seller Jeff Bezo launched out of his garage, eBay had no serious competition.

Unfortunately, through out its history eBay has seriously damaged its reputation among sellers and buyers. (Especially among its sellers, who boycotted eBay in 2008).  

It's inability to make Close 5 succeed is a strong indicator that eBay as a corporation-think is to deeply ingrained in outdated eBay-think to become a serious threat to thriving app based marketplaces.

2. A successful marketplace like PoshMark or Mercari are built around a App Marketplace. As they grow they can expand into the Web base Marketplace relatively easy.  The same it not so, for eBay or similar marketplaces like that were built as a Web-based Marketplace.  

We are seeing Mercari slowly branching out to the web.  However, it's business-think is App and smart device based.  It's build model, payment models, support models are all built around its App and Social Media. 
Mercari is what eBay would look like today, if eBay had began today.  

Imagine trying to get "real" customer support from eBay via Twitter or Facebook, it's difficult enough to get quality support when you sell on its website and call its phone support.  (If you are lucky or a valuable seller or business, you will receive its USA phone support. If you're at the bottom of the valuable sellers list or just plain unlucky, you will get eBay's outsourced phone support in the Philippines which in my many experiences as both a common petty eBay seller and later as a Top Rate Plus seller, is often a complete waste of valuable time, poor results in getting problems or technical issues resolved, being passed around from Customer Service Representative to another CSR, at least 5 times per phone call, or being ping-ponged back and forth between eBay and PayPal.  My worst experience, occurred when eBay broke its policies, and after two hours being bounced around CSR's, I ended up with a Out Sourced Supervisor who literally yelled at me while arguing why she could not assist me, that I was wrong, etc.  Despite my pointing out the policies.  Horrible experiences, especially for a Top Rate Plus Seller with a Store, who usually receive extra assistance and higher quality of USA Support.  

Ebay App has much to be desired.

3. eBay's App which is now supposed to replace Close 5 is based on its web marketplace and isn't built for Local Sales.  Only buyers are allowed to leave feedback on eBay, so there is no genuine accountability.  Ebay would rather lose a seller, than lose a shopper.  It's "Defects" and "Seller Penalties" pressure sellers to ensure the USPS, UPS, FedEx or other carriers meet those shipping services posted deadlines despite it being outside of the sellers control and in the hands of the shipper. If the shipping service fails, eBay lets it fall on the shoulders of its sellers. 

As both a marketplace reviewer and seller on eBay, I can personally attest to this. Even after interacting with eBay's outsourced phone support and providing proof of delay on behalf of the USPS, eBay's CSR never removed the "defect" aka account penalty. It's really disheartening for a seller to bend over backwards, hand deliver a package to a shipper and obtain an acceptance receipt, and then still have eBay penalize the seller because the USPS sent the package to another state causing a week delay.  Unfortunately, this is common, and it causes eBay sellers on it's website and App a great amount of unwarranted stress.

4. It locks sellers into using PayPal and provides buyers with a 30 day 100% guarantee even on used and vintage products. Buyers who do not utilize eBay's 30 day returns, can initiate a 180 day return on PayPal instead.  What eBay doesn't seem to understand, is that people who sell via an App are generally not professional sellers, most are common people, similar to those who sold in the early years on eBay, people who wanted to sell a few things laying around the house.  This is why a Marketplace App like Mercari is more successful.  Mercari gives buyers three days to inspect the product, both seller and buyer can leave feedback, PayPal is not required, Mercari holds the payments to the seller similar to Alibaba until the buyer can inspect the product.  This payment hold adds a layer of safety to both the buyer and seller on Mercari, since Feedback is required by both parties to complete the sale.


 eBay's App as a replacement for Close 5 without the ability to transfer or migrate already listed products leaves Close 5 sellers either in limbo or as free agents to explore other similar apps.  Being that Local Selling Apps are plentiful, chances are most Close 5 sellers will migrate to another Local Selling App since they are going to have to manually relist all of their products anyway.   Considering eBay also owns Craigslist, Close 5 sellers might as sell just pop over to Craigslist to sell locally, or jump onto Facebook Local Marketplaces.   Even Facebook Local, is better set-up as a marketplace for former Close 5 sellers than eBay's app.   Those Close 5 sellers wanting a more eBay like experience (Non-Local via Shipping) would be best served by giving Mercari a try, and for clothing there is always the ever growing PoshMark App.

If eBay wants to survive, both as a web based marketplace and/or via the massively growing App based marketplace, it's going to need to stop putting its reigns in the hands of corporate Boomers and X-geners, deconstruct the buyer first eBay-Think and evolve.  During 2017 and in 2018 eBay's vision is to become a solid Amazon competitor, except eBay-think keeps it from successfully breaking through new glass ceilings. It's just not enough to buy a competitor and try to successfully build it into something wonderful. You have to build wonderful yourself.

Article by Randy Dreammaker; Randy has sold online since 2006, was a top rated reviewer for 14 years, began making money online in 1998, is the host of SellerThink on YouTube (Currently in its 6th season) and is known by some of the top silicon start-up CEO's, including the founder of Storenvy and ShopSeen.  For more detailed information, visit Randy's Angelist Investors Profile