Wed, Aug 02, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Yahoo-Kimo tries to placate upset users

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Yahoo-Kimo Inc (雅虎奇摩), the nation's largest online auction site, yesterday announced that it would offer more promotional programs to both buyers and sellers, hoping to ease users' growing complaints against the firm's new payment scheme that starts Thursday next week.

The portal also stressed that it has never suppressed Internet users' freedom of speech, nor has it ever canceled some users' accounts, as some have accused it of doing.

"All comments posted by users, both positive or negative, will be kept intact on our Web site," Charlene Hung (洪小玲), vice president of Yahoo-Kimo's e-commerce business service division, said during a press conference yesterday.

"However, to maintain order in the discussion area, we'll follow regulations to delete improper content, such as malicious or insulting personal attacks, information that was already posted, and advertising content," she said.

Hung also clarified that charging vendors a listing fee and a transaction handling fee on items sold via auction sites was a common business model seen in the international market.

US auction giant eBay Inc started charging such fees within a year of launching its operations, and Yahoo in Japan did the same within three years. Both transaction handling fees top 5 percent of the concluding prices.

But Yahoo-Kimo, now in its fifth year of operations, will only charge a 3-percent handling fee up to a maximum of between NT$150 (US$4.57) or NT$300, depending on the categories, she said.

For example, the transaction handling fee for a laptop computer auction will not exceed NT$150, accounting for less than 1 percent of the concluding price.

An association established by Yahoo-Kimo users plans to launch a protest against the company, saying the new fee is unreasonable given the site's poor service.

This will be the second fee Yahoo-Kimo has imposed on its sellers. It began charging a listing fee of NT$3 per item in April 2004. Buyers can use the site free of charge.

Unlike foreign sites' approach of charging handling fees immediately after an auction closes, Hung said the firm allows vendors 15 days to conclude transactions before a final fee is imposed.

If buyers cancel the deal, sellers do not have to pay the 3-percent fee.

Since Yahoo-Kimo announced the new scheme last week, transaction volumes and the number of items placed for bidding have not changed dramatically, Hung said.

Moreover, the firm has upgraded its system to add two new functions to benefit its users, she said.

In addition to setting up an online message board to facilitate communication between buyers and sellers, the company has also increased the amount of its fraud protection.

Users will now be entitled to maximum compensation of NT$10,000 -- up from the previous NT$7,000 -- if they are the victim of a fraudulent transaction.

This story has been viewed 2541 times.
TOP top