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Can eBay Increase User Engagement through Collections Sweepstakes?

eBay is holding a sweepstakes to increase user engagement by offering rewards for sharing its new Pinterest-style “collections.” The eBay “Share It. Win It Sweepstakes” gives users a chance to win weekly $1,000 prizes as well as a $25,000 grand prize, all of which will be deposited into the winners’ PayPal accounts (the money may only be used on eBay.com).

Last year, eBay engaged the same company, Tenthwave, to run a sweepstakes in conjunction with its “Buy It new. Buy it now” campaign and, according Tenthwave, it helped increase eBay’s fan base on Facebook from 650,000 to nearly 2 million – a 300% increase – in three months.

It has its work cut out for it this year to promote eBay Collections, since it’s a new feature and it isn’t clear how much users wish to engage on eBay with a Pinterest-style feature when they already engage on Facebook – and on Pinterest.

What’s an eBay “Collection”?
eBay caught up with the curation trend in ecommerce when it officially launched collections 2 months ago. It explains them as “groups of items curated by sellers, experts, and members of the eBay community around specific themes or topics. They give buyers a new way to browse a selection of items that have been hand-picked to intrigue and inspire.”

Buyers might create collections that act as shopping lists, wish lists and, according to eBay, to “share their style, and connect with eBay members that share similar interests.” Sellers might create collections to showcase their expertise and knowledge to market their inventory, or to create a following.

Interestingly eBay included in its FAQs about collections, “What if I don’t have time to build collections? Is this going to impact my holiday business?” The response was, “We understand how busy it can get during the holidays. While it’s impossible to determine the impact collections may have on your holiday business, it is another way to market and get exposure for your items on eBay. Investing a few hours now could really pay off in the long run.”

However, it does not provide any reporting on how many times (if at all) it recommends collections. Here’s the advice it offered sellers: “There are a number of factors that go into how we determine which collections are recommended to buyers, including things like the popularity of a collection and how relevant a collection is to a person’s interests. The most certain way to get exposure for your collections is to develop high-quality collections and actively promote them in all of your marketing efforts, including those through social channels like Facebook and Twitter.”

eBay became serious about social networking features on its site and hired Michael Phillips Moskowitz as its Chief Curator and Editorial Director who oversees features designed to engage shoppers.

Terms and Conditions
For a chance to win a prize in the new Sweepstakes, sellers login to their eBay account, visit an eBay Collection, and share it by clicking on one of four share icons, which include Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and email. Users receive one entry in the sweepstakes each time they visit and share an eBay Collection.

Each time one of their friends clicks through to eBay from a shared post or link and visits that eBay Collection during the promotion period, the user receives an additional entry in the sweepstakes.

Online entry must be received by the end of day December 31, 2013 in order to be eligible; users are limited to 50 entries per person / per eBay User ID per day; users can also enter the sweepstakes by mail. One Grand Prize winner and 10 First Prize winners will be selected in a random drawing on January 7, 2014 from among all eligible online and mail-in entries received.

Consult the Sweepstakes website page hosted by Tenthwave for details and restrictions.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.