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eBay Confirms It’s Still Testing Hidden Descriptions

Sellers continue to be disturbed by eBay’s latest tests in which it hides descriptions on listings, forcing shoppers who are part of the test to click a button in order to read more about product condition. And at least one seller said he’s suffered as a consequence of eBay’s stealth tests.

It’s been over 3 weeks since we first reportedthe testing on the EcommerceBytes Blog. eBay confirmed the testing, telling EcommerceBytesit was designed to simplify and improve the buying experience.

At the time, eBay spokesperson Ryan Moore referred us to comments made by eBay Director of Community Jeff Terrell, who promised eBay would remove any negative feedback left for a seller that eBay identified as resulting from the test.

However, this week, a seller said he received a SNAD return request from a newbie customer who didn’t read his product description due to the test.

“I have talked to at least 6 eBay CS agents and supervisors in various departments. None of them were even aware of the test, much less prepared to help me avoid having to pay return shipping, removing the defect which I already have received, nor removing the potential negative feedback which I might get at any time.”

On Wednesday, Terrell confirmed eBay was continuing to run the tests, writing in a thread on the eBay boards, “We just got confirmation that some variations on the test are still live on the site, and will likely continue to be presented to some buyers for potentially another week or two. We do not have any information on any plans to implement or not to implement any of the tested formats.”

We’ve sent an inquiry to eBay asking just how eBay was handling negative consequences of the tests.

Comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

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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.