EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 3022 - March 15, 2013     1 of 4

Why You Don't Get Invited to eBay Promotions

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Are you miffed that you've never received an invitation to participate in one of eBay's private free-listing promotions? Both you and eBay may be to blame!

eBay has been running such seller-selective promotions since the summer, and as we reported in January, some users are upset that they've never received any invitations to participate. But in a radio interview, two eBay executives said every seller should have qualified for at least one promotion - usually one a month.

The reason eBay may never have sent you an invitation is actually a combination of factors. The first is that eBay can only send emails to sellers who have set their preferences to receive marketing notifications from eBay. Similarly, some email announcements may be getting caught in sellers' spam filters. Another reason is a technology failure on eBay's part: there's no way for them to alert those users in their My Messages.

In a March 5th eBay Radio interview with eBay's Director of Pricing & Monetization Erez Yereslove and Senior Project Manager of Pricing & Monetization Alison Raphael, Yereslove said, "There are some technical difficulties." eBay wants users to know about the promotions, he said - the vast majority of users should get a promotion on a monthly basis. "We want you to know, we ache when we hear that (people aren't receiving invitations)."

"Everyone eventually gets into an invite, so if you don't get them, check your email," Yereslove said. eBay is working to have a module on My eBay to show users the promotions, he said.

Raphael said, "We want sellers to take advantage of the promotions." She advised sellers who do successfully receive invitations to promotions to check them carefully, as they vary. Sellers should check the category, the duration and the time frame of the promotion. "Get your best listings up as soon as the promotion becomes available."

Yereslove said eBay would continue to run invitation-only, rotating promotions in 2013 and beyond.

Why not run free-listing promotions (or as eBay calls them, Zero Insertion Fee promotions aka ZIFs) for everyone at the same time? He said, "Even with just 1-day notice of Free Listing Days, the site gets flooded with inventory, which is just not good for most sellers. Now that we do it much closer to the actual promotion - usually up to a day in advance - it is much more optimal, and I can tell you this, it's a much more optimal experience for all sellers."

In addition, with invitation-only promotions, eBay can extend them over several days. As opposed to 1-day and in some cases 3-day promotions, "we really haven't run anything under 3 - 4 days, and as many as 10 or 11."

"There is complete fairness in the promotions," Yereslove said. "We don't disclose the factors - everyone will get a promo - not the same promo, and not one user will get all promos."

Raphael said, "We've started to add in some optional feature fees into our ZIF promotions, so recently we had a subtitle promotion as part of the ZIF auction. We're testing out different things to see what is going to help those listings and what's going to make sellers happy as well when we're giving away those ZIFs."

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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 ina@ecommercebytes.com.


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