EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 343 - September 22, 2013 - ISSN 1528-6703     1 of 6

From the Editor - September 22, 2013

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eBay stunned sellers when it amended its user agreement to grant itself permission to exclude listings in search results for unspecified reasons, despite the fact eBay charges insertion fees to list on its marketplace. According to eBay's announcement:

"To further create a marketplace where buyers find what they want and drive positive user experience, we updated the provision regarding listing conditions to recognize that the appearance and placement of listings in search and browse results will depend on a variety of factors. So, in some situations a listing may not appear in some search and browse results regardless of sort order."

The move comes at a time when anecdotal reports reveal a number of sellers are experiencing low levels of traffic and sales. "I am surprised not to see any correspondence on your site regarding the really sudden drop in eBay sales," wrote one EcommerceBytes reader. "For the first time in many many years with 30 items for sale no bids in 8 days," and she said she wondered if it had to do the economy.

"Please, please tell me you guys are working on a story regarding the horrific sales and visibility on eBay for most sellers," wrote another reader. "We have lost over 30K in the last 60 days. Sold items per month generally around 1100 average, down to 650. Sales around 45K down to 20K. The entire board is full of sellers from 1000 feedback to 50,000 feedback complaining about this. We will do $2400 on a MONDAY and then $300 the next day. Then go for 18 hours without a sale."

Another reader sent me a link to a discussion thread started on September 17th on the Seller Central board in which sellers report experiences in which it appeared eBay was hiding listings in search results.

You can read what your colleagues had to say about eBay's announcement and leave a comment yourself on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

While online sellers object to changes that make their lives more challenging, they're not typically a gloomy bunch, so I had fun reading what they had to say in a recent survey we ran.

I asked readers what they would do if they received a $50,000 no-strings-attached cash infusion for their businesses. The hypothetical question was designed to answer the question, are online sellers investors, savers or spenders? In which areas would they spend the money?

The option selected by the most number of readers was to spend the money on inventory, followed by advertising and marketing. The answers and comments reveal that readers are serious about their businesses and can see exactly how investing in it can help them grow. See the results for yourself in the EcommerceBytes Newsflash newsletter.

We are less than 500 followers away from adding our 10,000th follower on Twitter. David was inspired to run a quiz on the blog that apparently drove readers crazy - only two readers came up with all of the correct answers, and we treated them to $50 gift cards. You never know what you're going to find on the blog and on Twitter, so keep your eyes peeled, and follow us at

We've got a great lineup today, including the results of the Sellers Choice Awards in the email list hosting services category, tips on email marketing, and an interview with author Barbara Weltman on turning pain into profit, as well as our regular Collectors Corner column and Letters to the Editor.

Thanks for reading!

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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