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Mon Jan 3 2011 23:29:57

eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pages

By: Ina Steiner

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Dear Editor:
For the past 2 months I've been viewing many listings on eBay as a potential buyer. (I never sell.) I've come upon a growing phenomenon in sellers' listing, put there by eBay, that I believe would make the sellers hopping mad if they knew.

When I arrive at an ever-increasing number of the class of listings I look at (old radio items), I see only the very top elements of the listing, followed by a kind of "shield" that contains links to OTHER sellers' listings of similar items (with pictures). The shield fills my screen. I have had to figure out to page down to see the description of the item I came to look at, and there is also a tab that will let me see the description I came to see, if I click on it.

The upshot is this: the FIRST thing a potential buyer sees on the listing is links to go to other listings! This mode of presentation greatly increases the chance that an inattentive buyer will be led away from the listing before he even has a chance to read the
seller's description.

It appears to me that eBay has found a clever way to sell the "listing space" twice - or more than twice, in fact, since there are always several links on the "shield" I'm talking about.

Thought you'd like to know. This troubles me, and I'm not even a seller.
Cordially,
friarlen2

Note from the Editor: It sounds like this seller is referring to a change eBay first announced last November 2009 but appears to have been ramping up over the past several months. See this eBay announcement.





Comments (37) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa   eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa

by: Scott

Tue Jan 4 00:27:12 2011

I saw this as well when I was searching for certain items.  I am also a Power Seller.  I called eBay and asked the person on the other line if this were going to be applied to my listings as well.  She said it was and at that point I about blew a gasket.  I am not paying eBay to LIST MY COMPETITORS ITEM(S) ON MY EFFING LISTING.  This ranks (as in, "stinks") right up there with the Neutral is Negative BS.  I asked the person on the phone if she could understand why I didn't want my listings to look this way.  She said she did, but that this was "just the way it is", or something like that.  I don't recall her attempting to give me the company spin.  She seemed just as befuddled about it as I was/am.  Of course, she admitted to never having sold anything on eBay, so she couldn't relate to my . . . anger.  Seriously, I HATE EBAY.  I WISH there were ANY other place to go.  The sad fact is, I make more money on eBay than anywhere else.  I constantly wonder if it is really all worth it though.

eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa   eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa

by: Rick1313

Tue Jan 4 01:12:32 2011

I mentioned this a few weeks ago on another AB Blog/Letters thread and it passed with no comments (I believe) from other posters.

So now it has it's own thread. Excellent!

eBay's claim that if you opt out then you will not be part of the cross promotion is a blatant lie.

I have my account setting set not to take part in cross promotions.

As I said previously on the matter, when a buyer sent me a question ON AN ACTIVE LISTING, and I click on the item, the cross promo (3 pages of 5 items) appear between the top part of the listing and the bottom description field part of the listing.

Just happened again a few days ago.

Screen shots were taken.

Whether I use them in my current small claims court case or save them if I have to go with a bigger lawsuit, has yet to be decided.

If I am seeing links to other sellers listings, under certain scenarios, then how are buyers seeing my items UNDER ANY SCENARIO?

So many questions for eBay,inc. to explain.

Also, the more reason for them to stay in hiding in their corporate headquarters and refuse to show up in a court room.

eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa   eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa

by: eBuyer Feedback This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Jan 4 03:07:06 2011

Not only that but when this was first announced eBay made it sound like everyone could get their items promoted and those that didn't opt-in wouldn't be promoted.  I was able to easily find a case where a seller who was being cross promoted was not opted in to the cross promotions.  eBay was simply showing the top five watched items in that category.  That was it, no other logic involved.  The announcements of course said otherwise trying to spin it so that if you didn't opt-in your sales would plummet.

eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa   eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa

This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Tue Jan 4 06:21:08 2011

It doesn't get any better once a seller purchases an item.

Once you buy an item, eBay will show you the same items you could have purchased, usually for a lot less money.

So do buyers take their lumps and pay extra from a lesson learned or become resentful, either backing out of the deal or demanding a discount?

The free auction listings give eBay an inflated item count and also provide additional sites to plaster thumbnails and links TO OTHER PEOPLE'S ITEMS.

What seller's see on their computer and what the buyer sees are two different animals.

Small sellers pay a lot more money for LESS VISIBILITY while eBay pimps out the space that they ''pay for'', either through a direct cost or the grossly inflated Final Value Fees.

If you go to any other store, and learn about the better deals you COULD HAVE RECEIVED after you have already spent your money...

... well, will YOU be happy and return for more?

eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa   eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa

by: Jelly donut

Tue Jan 4 09:53:50 2011

logic, fairness, ethics and protecting sellers is not something ebay invests in because those things cost money and do not help ebay.

eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa   eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa

by: Rick1313

Tue Jan 4 10:24:58 2011

I am not against cross-promos. It happens all the time in the business world.

The only thing with eBay's way is that if you are participating, then ALL of your listings will have other sellers listings.

How can you judge how much of your listings are being shown in other sellers' listings, if at all, at any given time?

Is there an INDEPENDENT service that garners this kind of info that has proven that they provide accurate numbers?

Basically what is happening is that you have agreed (using eBay as the middleman) to have other sellers advertise in your listings. However, you have no guarantee of what returns you'll get from other sellers' listings.

With no valid numbers, guaranteed or not, in place to make a comparison assessment, it is a crap shot as to whether the gamble of going in blindly is worth it.

eBay says there is an opt out. My hard copied screen shots tell a different story.

They are liable. How much so is to be (potentially) determined in the future.

eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa   eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa

by: Scott

Tue Jan 4 11:12:07 2011

When I specifically asked the eBay rep (know-nothing) if I could opt-out, she said no.  Now, after looking at eBay's rules regarding cross-promotion, I'm just not sure.  The rules state "When a buyer places a bid or chooses Buy It Now for one of your items, they'll see up to 12 of YOUR other items."  But then it goes on to say "In addition, other sellers’ listings may be displayed on your pages."  I don't want OTHER SELLER'S listings ANYWHERE near MY pages.

When I go to the Marketing Tools link, to update my cross promotion settings, the page tells me, again, "When a buyer shows interest in one of your items (such as by placing a bid), eBay will display your other items to the buyer."  

So, which is it?  Are OTHER SELLER'S items going to be displayed in conjunction with my listings, on MY PAGES or not?

My number one beef is the way I became aware of this situation. Just as the OP describes, when my item is searched for, the description that I have worked hard on (I use my own photos & html) is hidden.  A potential buyer is required to click through AGAIN, just to get to my listing.  All they see is the gallery photo of my item, the current bidding/price status . . . and A BUNCH OF OTHER ITEMS BELONGING TO OTHER SELLERS?!?!!?!  WTF?

In addition, the "click here to view description" button is easy to miss, although it is in the middle of the page.  Placed just above the numerous pictures of MY COMPETITOR'S ITEMS.

ON MY LISTING.  

Why the hell does eBay want to make the buyer do more work to find my item. MY ITEM.  NOT EBAY'S ITEM.  NOT MY COMPETITORS ITEM(S).

I'm not paying to promote my competitors.  I do not want to pay eBay to promote my competitors, via my listing.

How long will/can eBay take me and people like me for granted before another, viable competitor comes along?

Hey, eBay, ef you.

eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa   eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa

by: Tex

Tue Jan 4 11:36:29 2011

I'm sure it's already begun happening but I can see someone buying an item only to see it for a better price upon checkout. At that point either the buyer backs out of the transaction and buys the competitor's item or uses the info as leverage to get the seller to lower or re-negotiate the price. What a nightmare.

eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa   eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 4 11:57:47 2011

This is what happens when the inmates take over the asylum (shrug)

eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa   eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa

by: Digby
Web Site

Tue Jan 4 12:05:39 2011

Another nail in ebay's coffin

But I do wonder why a buyer would bother to write such a long letter.

eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa   eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa

by: old timer

Tue Jan 4 12:15:06 2011

Why in the world would eBay show identical items to a buyer who has just purchased an item?  In the vast majority of cases, it is unlikely that the buyer will say "Hey, I sure can use a second/third/forth widget just like this one I just bought!"

More likely, if the buyer is provided with the same item for less than what he just  bought it for, the result is going to be an angry buyer, not only with the first seller, but with the eBay site in general.

And if the buyer doesn't complete the first sale only to buy the item from another seller at a lower price, eBay makes LESS money on the second final fees.

Doesn't make any sense to me.  But then again, an awful lot of what eBay has done in recent years doesn't make a lot of sense to me.

But the real bottom line is that I absolutely detest the idea that I pay money to eBay to list items only to have eBay clutter up MY listing with competitor ads.  Can you imagine any B&M mall manager renting a retailer storefront space and then putting up signs at the retailer's front door directing potential customers to another storefront (sometimes not even in the same mall)?

Sellers need to be willing to pay for performance, and if eBay or any other "venue" fails to perform, then fire the SOBs!

eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa   eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa

by: Tired of eBay's Bullsh*t

Tue Jan 4 13:22:37 2011

Perhaps it has been said (50 million times) before...

EBAY IS EVIL

A 100 years ago Donkeyboy would have been tarred and feathered long before this point, but nowadays we have to wait and hope for lawsuits.

But with the SEC, FTC, Justice Department, and State Attorneys General already mighty busy with the likes of Goldman, Bank of America, and BP ...

... likely a good long while before eBay gets in the crosshairs. I'm sure Donkeybrains knows that ... so, in the meantime we'll have to rely on the marketplace. And ebay's customers are its sellers, so let's hope that ebay sellers keep heading for the exit, and move on to Ruby Lane, Etsy, and a dozen other good options.

Let's hope the cellphone carriers come up with a good alternative to Paypal, and deprive ebay of its No. 1 cash cow.

- Tired of eBay's Bullsh*t

eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa   eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa

by: TacoRacoPacoSocko

Tue Jan 4 15:09:41 2011

Neutral is Negative! Remember Ebay? We will never forget!

eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa   eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa

by: doctordr

Tue Jan 4 16:26:16 2011

like cancer ebay continues to eat itself to death

eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa   eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa

by: summer in the city

Tue Jan 4 18:37:50 2011


old timer asks:      

''Why in the world would eBay show identical items to a buyer who has just purchased an item?''
_____________________

So the buyer will buy the same item from the Ebay-favored seller and return the one he just bought from you, or just not bother to pay you at all.


eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa   eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa

by: Pissed Opie

Tue Jan 4 23:07:19 2011

Ebay is at war with its small sellers. They just want me to pay fees and sell nothing. In the long run i will find another way. Yes, a viable competitor will come along. This kind of abuse has an end.

eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa   eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa

by: needsilver
Web Site

Tue Jan 4 23:12:45 2011

Sorry folks (current sellers on feebay) I feel you pain! Lucky for me I got out of there a few years ago. And I thought it was bad then! Ha
I wonder whats coming next?

eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa   eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Tue Jan 4 23:20:10 2011

eBay has been knowingly aiding and abetting unscrupulous sellers to commit wire fraud on unsuspecting eBay buyers for years; the absolute anonymising of bidding IDs served no other purpose than to deliberately further obscure such criminal activity. Regrettably, no one in authority seems interested in this criminal organization’s facilitation of this and its many other frauds on consumers.

eBay/PayPal/Donahoe: Dead Men Walking.

PS: I'm only a buyer too; that does not stop me from constantly criticising this criminal organization.

eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa   eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa

by: ebay nonsense

Wed Jan 5 02:35:44 2011

Start complaining to the BBB and news outlets and mention it on your blogs, twitter, facebook and wherever else you can get the word out.

State that ebay is charging you for advertising space but giving out space that YOU paid for to competitors.

It's no different than buying an ad in a newspaper and seeing your competitions ad covering part of the ad space you paid for.  

Searches will return (or should anyway) all the similar items so there is NO reason to screw up a sellers paid for ad space.

eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa   eBay Displays Competing Listings on Seller Item Pa

by: nadine

Wed Jan 5 04:51:03 2011

Does anybody know if opting out under Marketing Tools/Item Promotion/Promote Similar Items actually stops this marketing of other listings instead of your own?

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