EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2635 - September 21, 2011     3 of 5

eBay Pulls Bullion from Its Bucks Loyalty Program

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You can buy silver and gold on eBay, but you'll no longer earn any "eBay Bucks" on certain purchases.

As the value of precious metal increases, people have increasingly turned to eBay to buy and sell gold. And it's not just coins - there's also an increasing number of "dental scrap" and computer memory listings, as EcommerceBytes reported in April.

Noticing the activity, eBay created a Bullion Center in August and launched a Bullion Bonanza sweepstakes. But this week, it told eBay Bucks members that they would no longer earn points for transactions in its Bullion category within Coins & Paper Money, effective October 1, 2011.

In its letter, eBay wrote, "We appreciate your eBay Bucks membership and hope you'll continue to enjoy the benefits provided by the eBay Bullion Center, including great savings and fast, free shipping from Featured Sellers - and eBay Buyer Protection for your purchases." (Visitors to eBay are allowed to filter search results to display only listings from "featured sellers," top rated sellers, or listings offering free shipping.)

Sellers of precious metal were not pleased to hear the news. On one industry discussion board, a seller wrote, "A wise seller will simply move their items to other categories within ebay. I know ASE's and other coins that I see listed outside of the bullion category get just as high of prices as coins in bullion," though another seller responded writing, "I'm sure eBay would catch on to that extremely quick."

According to the updated Terms, excluded categories include "Coins & Paper Money, but only for Bullion within that category."

Another seller wrote, "The problem is many of us would buy from (eBay) because of the bucks incentive and buy bullion with those bucks. Now that those are gone there is no reason to pay the higher prices."

EcommerceBytes confirmed with eBay spokesperson Todd Witkemper that buyers would still be able to redeem eBay Bucks for bullion purchases.

You can learn more about the eBay Bucks loyalty program on this page, and see the updated Terms & Conditions on this page. Sellers were also discussing the announcement on the eBay discussion boards. One user said the only reason to purchase bullion from eBay was because of the 2% back in eBay Bucks. "Without that, the premiums over spot on Ebay will be outragous," he wrote, adding, "Only a fool would purchase bullion from Ebay without the Ebay bucks."

It appears eBay needs to clarify its message, since many buyers believe they are now unable to redeem eBay Bucks for bullion purchases.

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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