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Buying Popularity to Boost eBay Search Rankings

Can you buy your way to higher placement in eBay search results? Some companies are selling “watchers” and “views” as a way to game eBay’s Best Match search algorithm.

eBay rewards listings that are popular with buyers, according to its help pages. That means if many people view a particular listing, it will appear higher in search results. And listings get an extra boost if people add the listing to their Watch lists.

Watcher Boost, a site registered in Florida, shows a listing for 30 eBay watchers to an item for $5, or 150 watchers for $12.50. Or, you can choose to purchase 500 views to an eBay listing for $5.

In the FAQs on its site, Watcher Boost answers the question, “Is that method safe?” with the following response:

“Yes . Our servise is 100% safe . Your ebay account will never get a warning or get suspended . It does not matter if you add 1000 watchers and 10000 views for 1 item in less than 24 hours. You dont have to worry about nothing. Only pay attention to selling. We do the rest.”

People are also selling such services on other marketplaces, such as this Fiverr listingthat promises, “I will improve eBay SEO by adding watchers to your listing for $5.”

The listing states, “So you need more exposure for your eBay listings? I’ve found a way to improve my eBay SEO by getting more visitors to my listing – and I’m able to do this for you today!” In a FAQ section, the seller says the buyer will receive a total of 100 eBay watchers to their auctions in 24 hours.

“I’ve been doing this for several months now, for both myself and hundreds of clients, without any adverse effects,” it continues. “Do you need access to my eBay account? No. Just submit your auction url to me, and I’ll do the rest!”

On eBay, once a listing has reached a certain level of “popularity,” a display pops up with a message showing visitors how many other people viewed the item per hour/day – another incentive for sellers to try to grow the number of views to their listings.

There’s a fine line (and sometimes not so fine line) between search engine optimization and search engine manipulation, as anyone who follows Google knows.

Would a seller get in trouble with eBay if it discovered he or she was buying watchers and views? We take a look at that issue in the accompanying blog post.

Comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
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.