EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2884 - September 04, 2012     1 of 5

Sony Gets Diamond Treatment from eBay

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Five years ago, all sellers on eBay had what was more or less a "level playing field" - or at least, eBay wasn't open about special treatment it gave high volume sellers. But with a new CEO in 2008, the promises of founder Pierre Omidyar and longtime CEO Meg Whitman were cast aside, and the Diamond Seller was born.

In June 2008, eBay announced that sellers who achieved $500,000/month in gross sales would be eligible to negotiate with eBay on special pricing and other benefits, calling them "Diamond Powersellers." It also helped large merchants onboard their catalogs of inventory by introducing the Large Merchant Services API. (See more in this post about Operation Catalog.)

Given how deeply engrained the egalitarian spirit of "classic" eBay was, it's still odd to encounter instances where eBay gives large brands special marketing and exposure on the site. The latest example is a marketing campaign Sony is running on eBay.

If you include the word "Sony" in a search on eBay, you'll see a banner at the top of search results linking to the "official" Sony store on eBay.

On the eBay homepage, a Sony promotion is featured in the slideshow ("slider") at the top, rotating with three other promotions, including eBay Daily Deals. The slide advertises a special promotion in which Sony is giving away a PlayStation 3 when you buy a Sony TV.

eBay also tweeted the Sony PS3 promotion using the eBay Twitter account to help drive shoppers to the Sony store on eBay.

eBay's new management believes the presence of the Diamonds on eBay helps all sellers by attracting buyers. Longtime sellers believe the brig brands are only interested in using eBay as a way to drive traffic to their own websites.

As we enter into the fifth holiday shopping season since the launch of the Diamond Seller on eBay, how successful do you think this approach has been for eBay, for brands, and for non-Diamond sellers?

Comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

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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