Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue July 11 2017 14:47:08

eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay continues to make changes that impact users outside of the two major seller updates announced already this year, and unfortunately it's leaving users in the dark. eBay finally addressed some of these changes in a blog post published by Bob Kupbens, head of Seller Experience (pictured), on Tuesday.

While acknowledging sellers need time to adapt to impactful changes, Kupbens provided a reason for making changes outside of the Spring and Summer Seller Updates: "continuous innovation." 

While that may explain the "small-scale tests" eBay undertakes to "evaluate new platform capabilities," it doesn't explain why eBay didn't tell sellers about the changes once they had grown into larger-scale tests or permanent policies:

"As your partner at eBay, we aim to consolidate impactful changes that may require action on your part into seasonal seller updates so you have time to adapt - our spring and summer updates are examples.
 
"At the same time, we are a company of continuous innovation, and we regularly evaluate new platform capabilities. These typically start with small-scale tests, and when we see positive results that benefit buyers and sellers, we want to bring these new features to the broader ecosystem right away."

The lack of communication extends to eBay's own customer service reps. That makes things confusing for sellers (and in some cases, buyers) when they encounter a test or change in policy and contact the company for clarification, but are unable to receive clear answers.

Kupbens' post comes 3 days after we blogged about the most recent concern we heard from eBay users: Immediate Payment Required is no longer optional if listings meet certain conditions - it had always been an optional requirement. (Kupbens said it was a test eBay was running.)

The EcommerceBytes blog post, titled "eBay Furtively Changes Payments Policy," may have conveyed to eBay management the way such changes come across to sellers. Having to adjust to a major change to payments policy is difficult enough, but deducing it after hearing reports from buyers rather than hearing it from eBay itself is frustrating - and that's just one example.

Sellers who want more information about changes taking place on eBay should read the post. For example, Kupbens addressed the change to Best Offer, which we recently blogged about, and he updated sellers about Promoted Listing Ads and Product Reviews. 

There were several issues Kupbens did not address that were described in the following EcommerceBytes Blog posts:

"eBay Hides Item Descriptions from Shoppers" (link to blog post) - Shoppers viewing a listing must now often click on a link in order to read the seller's description.

"eBay Hampers Sales Due to Messaging Crackdown" (link to blog post) - Sellers are dealing with the fallout from a crackdown on messages sent through the eBay messaging system.

Kubpens did allude to the latter crackdown: "Also starting this month for the small group of sellers who repeatedly violate important eBay policies like completing transactions outside of eBay checkout, their active listings will be suppressed from search and browse results in line with selling restrictions." But he provided no answers to the questions raised by sellers who say they are being warned or even suspended without cause.

Be sure to pay close attention to the other parts of his post under the section, "We've also taken a few steps recently to benefit the marketplace," and let us know what you think.

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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes   eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes

by: Martha This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 11 15:18:57 2017

If we actually think we have control over our listings and our ability to market through online venues, we are delusional.

My store renews June 1..  I fretted about whether to keep it ($59.95/month) as my sales have been chaotic.  

I have been on ebay since '97..  and it has always been pretty consistent within the parameters of what I have listed and the time of year.

I am certain that ebay is not the only venue "toying" with the market at the expense or with disregard for the sellers..  Etsy and Amazon are as well

Our own websites leave us essentially out in the cosmos in a leaky boat, free floating... tossing out emergency flares via google or social media to draw attention to our wares..

There is a never ending supply of sellers..  the venues are in short supply.

:(

Perminate Link for eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes   eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 11 15:37:34 2017

You know global warming would be non existent if Ebay mouths would just spew the truth instead of all the hot air.

This is just a fall guy speaking with a forked tongue as directed by the clowns in the crystal palace.


Does no one have the morals to for once JUST TELL THE TRUTH.








Perminate Link for eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes   eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes

by: JQ This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 11 15:56:25 2017

Good story here Ina. I suspect your reporting may have prompted eBay to finally issue some form of statement about these unadvertised policy changes.

My gut seized up with momentary rage when I saw Kupbens describe eBay as my "partner" in selling. No Mr. Kupbens, eBay is my primary obstacle in selling. If it were my "partner" it might ask me before changing selling policies, or, at minimum, alert me ahead of time before these changes are put in place. Looks like your hideous self will fit in perfectly in the eBay corporate lounge.

Perminate Link for eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes   eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Tue Jul 11 16:22:17 2017

Kupbens: ''Starting this month, listings missing valid identifiers will not be able to be revised and relisted, and starting in early September, Good ‘Til Cancelled listings will not automatically renew.''

This is extremely disturbing. Will these ended listings remain in a file to somehow ''correct'' and relist, or will they vanish and have to be started over from scratch??

And would the same cycle repeat again?? Also, how long will eBay Stores listings go until renewed? 30 days like they are now, or every 7, 10, 14, or 15 days???

If they decide to end a listing more than once a month, this would mean the amount of included listings a seller pays for with their store subscription would be cut in half (if not more).

We as sellers need some definite clarification of eBay's plans in the near future regarding what format they will be choosing for GTC items, so we can prepare our businesses accordingly.

Ina, I think I speak for all sellers. We should have the right to know exactly what they will be doing soon!!!

Perminate Link for eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes   eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 11 16:55:03 2017

Is there a person ON THIS PLANET that believes this man?

I know I DONT.

eBay ISNT my PARTNER - are they yours?

I cant think of a time since 1998 that they have actively chosen to WORK with me, and I dont think Im alone - every person I know that uses eBay says the same thing.

For such few sales, eBay produces so much headache.

As an aside I was just offered HUNTER boots - GREAT margins - and Im scared sh_tless to sell them ON MY PARTNERS site (can on Amazon the maker is blocked (gated)).

Im still trying to get Walmart up and running .. so eBay would be/should be IT.

Can I count on my partner to help me? To fight fraud? to fight countless counterfeit claims? (Ive got legit invoices for EVERYTHING)

.. short answer - NO

eBay got caught with its pants down and trotted out this troll of a man to tell us more BS.

For a company whos stock is STILL below $35 a share .... lord, the drama!

Perminate Link for eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes   eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes

by: Bidderboy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 11 17:11:09 2017

eBay is not my partner. It is my out of touch, interfering boss who could never actually do my job on a day-to-day basis with the degree of success with which I have done it. Their changes are getting crazier and crazier and are indicative of their increasing desperation and contempt for sellers and the selling process. Please let no Tool person tell me how much money eBay has made as a sign of the company's greatness. The money they make is at the expense of their sellers. It only demonstrates that they continue to find ways to prosper while sellers continue to take the hits and fail to prosper as a result of their insane policies.

Perminate Link for eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes   eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes

by: mjw2366 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 11 17:22:00 2017

Is there any recourse for being blocked permanently from the community help page? I cant even read updates and rules changes, let alone the debate about them. The lovely mods at Lithium Technologies blocked my ID's and ISP for calling then out on their meddling in posts. Been selling on ebay for 20 years... And with all the glitches you would think they have enough to worry about.  

Perminate Link for eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes   eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes

by: Scotty This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 11 17:39:06 2017

What experience selling on ebay does the ''Head of Seller Experience'' actually have?

and....

What's with these photos??

Perminate Link for eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes   eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes

This user has validated their user name. by: BuildingMyOwnSite

Tue Jul 11 20:33:32 2017

Mr Bob: YOU are NOT my partner.  If you did happen to wanna be, you would first have to change your title.  Why not just “VP: Ebay Sellers” instead of  “VP:Seller Experience”.  WHO talks like that???   We still speak “Adult” where I live, not “Patronize”.  FYI, Ebay has YET, in 19 YEARS, to even ONCE, enforce their OWN rules, when I reported SEVERE violations, that PAGE AFTER PAGE asks us to report.

Starting this month, you are going to suppress violators from search (AND that worthless browse).  Why  not just fire them, if you can prove they're violating policy?   Why would you CONTINUE to take their money, & HIDE their listings?  That's just a childish and bizarre strategy, that makes no sense.  But many, many sellers on this forum, can tell you a dozen reasons why you will do it that way.

Oh, and regarding your “Pricing Guidance”.  Ebay management has no more accurate pricing knowledge than some low-grade algorithm coder can come up with.  Recently, it was pointed out on this forum that after some auctions had ended,  eBay advised the seller to relist them at .99. You even had a button to do it automatically.  Do you think, that ANY experienced seller is DUMB ENOUGH, to believe that a human being had anything to do with that advice, (Other than another failed algorithm)???

—YOU FIX SEARCH!!!  AND SHOW THE BUYERS WHAT THEY SEARCHED FOR!!!
—YOU CLEAN OUT THE FAKE VINTAGE ITEMS LISTED BY THE THOUSANDS  IN SOME CATEGORIES!!!
—YOU STOP THE LISTING OF FAKE, CHEAP IMPORTS, AS HANDMADE!!!

THEN..... you and I can talk about being partners.  (Although some of my friends have a few things to add to the above list)

Perminate Link for eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes   eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes

by: justchangecarriers This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 12 03:57:05 2017

If Ebay would actually crack down on video game reproduction cartridges  made in china that category would clean up alot. And US sellers who sell the fake reprinted labels. Ebay allowing it for years now. Counterfeit collectible merchandise. You report it, they do nothing.

Yet they contact me and remove something that is completely valid listing to sell and in the correct category. No one trusts you ebay.  

Perminate Link for eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes   eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes

by: justchangecarriers This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 12 04:08:30 2017

They better not make immediate payment required a thing. I sell internationally and my buyers have to be able to buy without paying so I can make custom invoices for shipping. Ebay already makes it hard enough for them. If they try to use the cart system it makes them pay full shipping for everything.

For once Id like to see a positive addition/change to the site. Like I can create an invoice for a buyer with the shipping. Send it to them, then they agree to buy. How hard would that be. Or they could create a cart and submit it to the seller for approval and correct shipping before they pay. These types of things would help sellers. But no ebay is concerned with making dumb clothing commercials about carts full of color. NO ONE GOES TO EBAY FOR NEW MERCHANDISE!!! EBAY IS AN ONLINE USED PEER TO PEER SELLING PLATFORM!!!!! We aren't a department store for you to use ebay.

Perminate Link for eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes   eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Jul 12 07:32:12 2017

"As your partner at eBay".....

LOL, eBay haven't felt like my partner in many years. Good one.

"Continuous innovation".......John Donahoe's "Disruptive Innovation" repackaged.

Perminate Link for eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes   eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Jul 12 07:38:30 2017

" their active listings will be suppressed from search and browse results in line with selling restrictions."  (He should have added, but yet we will still take your money.)

This is being done anyway, so how is that punishment?  Anyone who has sold on eBay for many years knows when there their listings are hidden and when they are not.    The patterns don't lie.

I've watched listings become more and more suppressed over the years.  Enterprise sellers and the Chinese however are never suppressed, not matter what they do.

Perminate Link for eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes   eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Jul 12 07:46:22 2017

Ina, I would love to know what the "valid identifiers" will be.  I use a third party site to list, and when listing, lately I've been seeing messages that say something like "Brand X has a valid UPC number.....please use the valid UPC number"   This message is now popping up when I list certain well known and popular brands.

I think to myself, why is this now popping up?  Obviously there is a reason for it, and it is likely connected to something that eBay have in the works.  Will they no longer allow you to list a certain brand if you don't have the UPC number?  That would be my guess.  

Perminate Link for eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes   eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes

by: ignatz This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 12 09:48:51 2017

Ina, you're being too kind to ebay in the headline.  eBay didn't "come clean" about this, as you pointed out:

While that may explain the "small-scale tests" eBay undertakes to "evaluate new platform capabilities," it doesn't explain why eBay didn't tell sellers about the changes once they had grown into larger-scale tests or permanent policies:

Perminate Link for eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes   eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 12 09:58:09 2017

If this tripe is the best eBay has to offer, to counteract Amazon Prime Day - they are out of their minds.

eBay brass is so used to getting the fat weekly pay checks that they dont have (1) iota of whats going on in the market.

Its defiantly Amazon vs Walmart for online dominance, with Target (via a shout out from their CEO) who is relishing entering the battle.

That puts eBay further behind - a very poor 4th place.

Yes eBay does ALOT of business - but its not in any way shape or form close to any of the other 3 - and they all do commodity goods.

Those goods have a place - but eBays genius's have no clue.

I again point to something COMMON like Ziploc. One of my large customers was looking for goods and did a price comparison between Amazon and eBay .. and most of he common SKUs have no sales and VERY high prices.

PARTNER would mean finding a solid seller and trying to get categories like that off the ground - to be competitive with Amazon etc.

BUT, eBay would rather throw more BS at the wall to see if any of it will stick ... and it wont.

Until eBay buys %50 of the shares in my company - they ARENT my partner.

Now if I can only figure out why %50 of the US states NEVER buy anything ... I guess no one lives in ND, SD, WIN, NE, NB, VT, OR, WY etc .....

Perminate Link for eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes   eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 12 12:14:54 2017

That guy is an idiot. No wonder ebay sucks for buyers and sellers with morons like him at the helm.

Why don't they innovate a better search engine?

Oh that's right because the one now let's them display their Chinese masters listings and big box partners.

I.hope this guy and his family suffers

Perminate Link for eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes   eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 12 12:24:22 2017

We need to sue ebay so they are forced to tell sellers when their item is supressed..instead of us willy nilly resisting items which will never be seen yet taking up our paid for listing slots.

This is evil. Not only should we sue..we should picket aND unite..let's occupy ebay.

Let's do this.

Perminate Link for eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes   eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 12 12:53:50 2017

We no longer put our full focus into ebay, they are more of a competitor, then a partner, for sure

As a business we need to know what is going on to adjust our business, and we just can't do that when ebay decides at any time to change whatever they feel like, sorry that will never work for us,

Totally different if we were casual sellers, but we are not.

Really a disgrace of a company, not good for any seller long term.

Too bad it took us 15 years to find out, but we would never go down that path again, no mater what ebay say's.  

Perminate Link for eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes   eBay Comes Clean about Recent Changes

by: ignatz This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 12 12:57:00 2017

Interesting side note:

Kupbens seems to actually be an ebay seller.

What's interesting is that on every listing I checked (about 10), he ***doesn't offer returns!***

(And somehow, that didn't prevent him from achieving a perfect feedback score, and perfect DSRs!)

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