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eBay to Protect Sellers Hurt by Hidden Descriptions

After reporting Wednesday that eBay was forcing some shoppers to click a button in order to read descriptions provided by the seller on listing pages, EcommerceBytes received confirmation from eBay spokesperson Ryan Moore that it was part of a temporary test. And the marketplace promised to protect sellers from any negative fallout.

Sellers are concerned that they will receive more “SNADs” (claims from buyers that their items were not as described) as a result of the new layout. Others are concerned that shoppers may be scared away from buying an item thinking the seller didn’t provide a description.

“It seems eBay has decided our descriptions aren’t important,” wrote one seller. Another questioned eBay’s motivation in making more room on the listing page: “Seems like a well calculated move, perhaps to have room for even more off site ads now.”

We asked Moore how many visitors were involved in the test and for the reasoning behind making shoppers have to click a button to read the description. He said it was designed to simplify and improve the buying experience, and he referred us to a postwritten by eBay Director of Community Jeff Terrell on Thursday.

Terrell was responding to six pages of concerns from sellers displeased that buyers couldn’t see the details they had so carefully provided in their listings: “We are currently conducting a temporary test that is focused on simplifying and improving the buying experience,” he wrote. “The experience you are seeing is how all buyers are currently accessing item descriptions when they use our mobile apps. We are exploring buyer experiences when the buying process is consistent across all devices and screens.”

His response didn’t change some sellers’ minds about the new “buyer experience.” Terrell went back into the thread and answered questions from sellers. He promised eBay would remove any negative feedback left for a seller that eBay identifies as resulting from the test.

And, he said, “We’ll test until we can get some statistically significant results. With our sampling rate, that should take less than two weeks.”

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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. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.