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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2162 - November 18, 2009 - ISSN 1539-5065    1 of 5

eBay's New Cross Merchandising Feature Draws Fire from Sellers

By Ina Steiner
November 18, 2009

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Despite pledging not to disrupt the marketplace during the holiday shopping season, eBay launched a new feature on Tuesday that places ads for competitive ads right inside sellers' listings. Sellers complain the ads are for listings that are not contextual and in some cases link to lower quality products or sellers with lower customer ratings than their own.

eBay said the cross-merchandising feature is completely optional to sellers. A spokesperson told AuctionBytes, "If a seller opts out, other sellers' relevant items won't show up on his/her View Item pages, but his/her relevant items won't show on other sellers' View Item pages either. Sellers should carefully examine the trade-offs. The cross-merchandising feature is a great way for sellers to get items in front of more eager holiday shoppers." eBay was unavailable to answer follow-up questions by press time.

Of the timing, eBay's announcement read, "While we usually refrain from making changes close to the holiday season, the test results showed a considerable increase in sold items, and we wanted to offer this functionality to our selling community ASAP."

eBay made the announcement on Monday, giving sellers less than 24 hours notice. Items displayed in the cross-merchandising area are chosen based on popularity - the items in the same category most watched by buyers. Some are concerned about the ability for sellers to game the Watch feature.

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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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