eBay announced a new program that allows sellers to pay to get their listings extra exposure in search results, though when it launches in June, the Promoted Listings advertising program will be by invitation only.
eBay sellers already pay insertion fees to get their items listed on the marketplace. The idea of having to pay advertising fees on top of regular listing fees to get exposure doesn't sit well with some.
That said, many sellers participated in previous versions of eBay ad programs, showing some sellers are willing to pony up to get additional exposure to their listings.
But why would a seller pay for ads on eBay when they could advertise their own website offerings through Google or Bing? eBay's new Promoted Listings program is Cost Per Sale - sellers only pay for the ad if a buyer actually clicks through and makes a purchase.
In one way, the move is a 180-degree turn from what eBay has promoted since 2008. With its regular search, eBay factors in feedback to its Best Match algorithm - John Donahoe made quite a point of the fact that eBay would only surface the best sellers in search results. But the new ad program does not factor in a seller's feedback in choosing which ads to display and where to display them:
"In addition to looking at a seller's set ad rate, other factors are also considered, such as relevancy and how well an item is selling at the time the ad rate is set. Promoted listings from sellers with different ad rates may appear in different page locations."
That means a seller who doesn't have as a good a record as others could get better placement as long as they were willing to pay.
As we reported in the fall, eBay beta tested the program in October through December, and we noted that it's not the first ad program for sellers (remember eBay Keywords
, for example?).