Yahoo Taiwan has delayed a plan to start charging transaction fees on its auction site, a victory for users and auctioneers who had rallied against the move.
The company said it will delay until Sept. 1 a transaction fee on successful sales on its auction website, which dominates Internet auctions in Taiwan with more than half of all such traffic.
The move comes just weeks after announcing the new fees, which run as high as 3 percent on each item sold. Originally, Yahoo planned to start charging on Aug. 10, but a backlash appears to have unsettled the company. Last week, auctioneers denounced the proposed fees at a protest in the center of Taipei that was aired on local news stations. They also moved to organize a trade group.
Some of Yahoo’s rivals in Taiwan ratcheted up the pressure by setting up a website to help register users on a rival auction site that charges no fees. Yahoo also said it received heavy feedback from users via a discussion board it set up over the issue and by e-mails to customer service.
The company also addressed nervousness over how it will handle canceled transactions. Auctioneers will be able to keep 15 percent of all transaction fees between the start of the service and the end of the year as they adjust to the new system, Yahoo Taiwan said in a statement on its website.
The company will also offer auctioneers five free listings on the site per month, and give kickbacks on a percentage of the fees collected through the sales. The more an auctioneer sells, the higher the kickback. For example, any seller paying between 5,000 new Taiwan dollars (US$152.58) to NT$10,000 in transaction fees will receive 5 percent back, while those paying over NT$30,000 will be paid back 12.5 percent of the fees.
The decision to start charging is a risky gambit for Yahoo Taiwan because rivals on the island charge no fees. They make money from advertising. One of the company’s main auction rivals, eBay, is teaming up with local operator PCHome Online to try to win market share from Yahoo. A website to woo Yahoo auction users was set up, promising it would remain fee free.
By Dan Nystedt, IDG News Service (Taipei Bureau)
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