For some years now, Reverb.com has been a gateway for us to promote our products, which could reach more people worldwide. The service they provide is flawless and the staff is very supportive. Although we did not gain much more traction there compared with our website performance, we wanted to have a constant footprint in the largest community of music gear sellers in the USA and probably in the World.
Imagine if internet search engines would allow bidding for inflating the ranking of a webpage; what would the user end up seeing in the search results?!
During this time, the selling instruments were more and more refined but, as you may suspect, everything comes with a cost. For instance, at one point the BUMP feature was introduced. This allows us to bid for increased exposure for a listing within the ecosystem, and that voluntary bid may add up to 5% more to the selling fees.
It used to be up to 3.5% when first introduced, but after Reverb sold itself to e-commerce giant Etsy for $275 million the bumps bumped. If you wanted to have your listing being seen, you would want to go as high as possible with your bid for bumps. That adds to the 3.5% standard selling fee, AND to the 2.5% + $0.25 local payment processing fee, resulting in an actual 6% + $0.25 selling fees on top of the BUMP percentage. It seems convenient for Reverb to not consider bumps as a selling fee – they just condition you to use it and pay it. That is mainly because the system would hide the non-bumped listings in search results on the website. It doesn’t seem to be fair & equal to all sellers.
Bear in mind that we are not bidding for an ad here, but for the actual listing visibility. That might still be okay, but the bumping method wouldn’t offer much insight on who really sees a listing. Basically, we just trust that the listing was shown to the buyer after a paid bump, yet there is no way for us to check that. We would merely get a notification for “listing sold with a bump”. I suspect this notification is just for letting us know we would have to pay higher fees.
Of course, other fees must be paid separately to the payment gateway. They all add up and up to the cost of doing business and is not getting easier. In the end, these fees are stacked on to the final purchase price of a listing which may contain shipping cost that buyer pays, but which also boosts our grand total of the mighty fees. Fees, fees, fees.
And there is more. At times, Reverb puts up promotional sales which they advertise with a banner. These are nice but the discounts are totally supported by us, the vendors. Yes, we would all sell a bit more, but at an even higher loss, while the volume of the Sale gets pocketed by Reverb, in collective fees. Total investment from Reverb: a banner and a grouping of products participating in the promotion. Who’s winning what?
Reverb seems to be more and more of a cash cow and for-profit oriented, and less and less of an opportunity to get products in front of people.
And now, we just received word from Reverb’s CEO that they are raising the standard selling fee to 5% starting on August 4 – for “growing together”, they say.
We are modifying our selling fee to help us invest more to sustain our community’s continued growth. These changes will enable us to bring more buyers to Reverb on your behalf, support the long-term health of your online business, and continue growing together. – David Mandelbrot
It looks like it is WE, the fee-payers, who are supposed to sponsor this planned investment in “SEO, digital advertising, and customer support”, although we still need to bid for exposure! It is just too much for us to bear, really. As a consequence, we will no longer list our products on Reverb.
We are thanking all our users who trusted us on Reverb and gave their amazing feedback which won us a Preferred Seller rating. We want to assure you that we are here and stand by our products, regardless of the place of purchase.
The BECOS Team