Fri, May 07, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Yahoo-Kimo happy with new volume

QUALITY OVER QUANTITY The auctioneer 's transaction volume rose 44 percent after it started charging for listings last month, though the number of listings fell

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

Despite fears that its decision to charge for listings would hurt its bottom line, Yahoo-Kimo Inc (雅虎奇摩), the nation's largest auctioneer, said yesterday that its transaction volume has surged by 44 percent even though the number of listed items dropped by over 50 percent since the change took effect almost a month ago.

"The result shows that the charging mechanism brought in more quality products and eliminated poor quality and repeated postings," Rose Tsou (鄒開蓮), general manager of Yahoo-Kimo, told a press conference yesterday.

The company's listings have dropped substantially since it announced last month that it would start charging for each sale posting.

Yahoo-Kimo started to charge its online sellers a listing fee of NT$3 per item starting on April 9. The number of listed products for sale dropped from 4 million before the announcement to 1.9 million as of yesterday, Tsou said.

However, last month's transaction volume rose to NT$40 million per day, which far exceeded the company's expectations, she said.

"Judging by that rate, we expect the transaction volume this year will hit NT$15 billion from NT$10 last year," Tsou said.

One Yahoo-Kimo seller nicknamed "Hsiao Lin" who attended the press conference said that after the company began to charge for listings, her sales-conclusion rate has increased 25 percent.

"The listing charge, although small and affordable, pushes me to think of how to sell my product as soon as possible," she said. "I started to put more details in the product description and payment methods and more pictures, which worked well."

To enhance security for online shopping transactions, Yahoo-Kimo plans to launch a program in July to offer compensation to its users who encounter online fraud, said Charlene Hung (洪小玲), director of Yahoo-Kimo's e-commerce business service division.

Hung said details of the offer are still being worked out.

Meanwhile, smaller rival eBay Inc's Taiwan branch said that it has no plans to alter its free-listing service for local users at present.

"We are still focusing on enlarging our customer base, which has seen a significant increase as users leave Yahoo-Kimo," said Angel Cheng (成葆齡), a public relations manager at eBay Taiwan.

"We believe our site will attract more amateur sellers who enjoy the free service," she said.

EBay charges its users in 28 countries but not in Taiwan, Hong Kong or Singapore, where it has not fared as well as its competitors.

The number of listed items on EBay Taiwan rocketed from 200,000 before Yahoo-Kimo announced its charging policy, to 816,000 as of yesterday, Cheng said.

She refused to reveal the transaction volume, but said the company has received good response from new members about its customer service, free ads and compensation policy. EBay compensates users who suffer losses of up to NT$7,000 from online fraud.

"We are glad to see the results and will keep improving our service to bring in more users in this market," Cheng said.

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