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eBay Opens New Ad Space: On Sellers’ Shipping Labels

eBay sellers were not happy to learn that the shopping site was placing ads on their shipping labels. The ad appears at the bottom of the label underneath the USPS Tracking number and states, “Happening now on eBay deals. Always free shipping & up to 70% off top brands. Visit www.ebay.com/dailydeals or scan the QR code to learn more.”

The ad includes a QR code that recipients can scan with their smartphones that presumably links to the eBay Daily Deals site.

While sellers may not have minded as much if the eBay ad had advertised the eBay Marketplace in general, the ad links to an area that is closed to many sellers, leading some to feel eBay is advertising large merchants at their expense.

And the ads are an expense for sellers, literally, since larger ads with more writing mean more paper and ink used, as well as additional wear-and-tear on their label printers.

For those unfamiliar with exactly how eBay can put an ad on a seller’s shipping label: eBay allows sellers to purchase online postage through its website and print out the shipping labels. You can learn more on the eBay Labels page.

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The good news: sellers have a number of third-party services they can use to print their shipping labels, including USPS Click N Ship.

While sellers may or may not object to ads on shipping labels, it’s generally considered the seller’s real estate. One company has actually marketed a unique shipping label that folds out into a “brochure” that sellers can use to present buyers with promotions, as described in this article in EcommerceBytes last year.

eBay moderator “Mari Daw” confirmed this was a test, writing on the eBay discussion board, “Hi all, I looked into this for you. The eBay QR code you are seeing on shipping labels is a test that impacts a select number of sellers.”

eBay’s Social Marketing Manager Audrey T. told sellers on a social networking site the ads were part of a test. “Only 15% of sellers have it on their labels (sorry you are one of them) and we will likely run the test for a few weeks/months to determine its success. So the good news is that it is not permanent,” she wrote.

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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). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.