Taiwanese Internet auctioneers plan to pull together to combat fees proposed by Yahoo Taiwan that they deem unfair.
A group of auctioneers gathered Saturday in Taipei at the gateway to Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, a major landmark at the center of the city, to protest Yahoo Taiwan’s proposal to start charging transaction fees as high as 3 percent on each item sold on its auction site.
“We already have to pay a 5 percent sales tax, and with this 3 percent transaction fee, that will total an 8 percent surcharge per item. That’s a heavy burden,” said one protester. The protest group numbered a few dozen people, many holding placards denouncing the planned increase and calling on auctioneers to join a new trade group being formed to fight Yahoo Taiwan.
Yahoo Taiwan has said it will start charging transaction fees from Aug. 10 in order to upgrade its auction site and improve services. Until now, Taiwanese Internet auction site providers have made money via advertisements.
Taiwanese auctioneers said they will fight Yahoo through the trade group and also push members to sell their wares on other websites that don’t charge fees, such as one run by popular local portal PCHome Online.
The beta version of a new website has already been set up to collect auction account information from Taiwanese sellers and implore them to move their business to PCHome Online.
A note on the site asks auctioneers and buyers to input information, and reminds them that transactions on PCHome are free.
The efforts will likely face some resistance. Yahoo runs the leading auction site in Taiwan, capturing more than half of all transactions during the first three months of this year, according to market researcher ACNielsen. Its dominant market position means sellers who move to other sites risk losing a large audience of consumers.
Still, the move by Internet auctioneers to form a trade group and combat the transaction fee is getting a lot of attention from Taiwanese newspapers and TV stations, in addition to blogs and trade sites. The attention could encourage users to try auction sites that don’t charge any fees.
-Dan Nystedt, IDG News Service (Taipei Bureau)
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