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eBay Watcher Marketing Rumor Goes Unfulfilled

Those auction watchers on eBay should present an amazing opportunity for future conversion opportunities, but eBay doesn’t allow sellers visibility into who’s watching. One person claimed this situation was about to change.

A recent rumor at the eBay Community Forumssuggested a long-time desire of sellers would be met. Sellers would be able to contact auction watchers and reach them with opportunities to bid on or buy from future listings.

“The way it will work is say you have 10 watchers…you will be able to send them all a one time offer and (first) come first (serve)..they will not be able to reply back to you at all for any reason,” forum poster “blue_jean_heaven” wrote. The poster also noted sellers wouldn’t be able to see the IDs of these watchers; sellers would have an option to send an offer to those watchers and that’s all.

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The suggestion elicited the usual skepticism and criticism one anticipates from suggestions about changes to eBay policies. Poster Emmbook wrote, “I watch items for a lot of reasons, but I often have no intention of buying. Offers from sellers would be unwanted and unwelcome, and I doubt I’m alone in that thinking.”

“I think that would almost have to entail revealing the ID of the watcher,” poster Buyingtime777 wrote. “I wouldn’t want to find myself sending an offer to a competitor unknowingly.” And poster Expaik, responding to a concern about the potential for such contacts becoming junk mail or bogus offers, expects “if Ebay were to implement this fairy-tale idea, they would also implement a notification option to turn off any incoming offers from Sellers.”

Anyone who’s ever visited eBay and then visited other websites, whether or not they opted to watch a current auction, has seen how eBay the company already re-markets to those watchers and visitors. Through use of their advertising network and browser cookies, those visitors likely find themselves viewing eBay ads encouraging them to return to a particular auction, or to ones with similar items.

That method of remarketing is less obtrusive than the rumored idea to contact watchers with a followup offer, even on a one-time basis. As to the level of veracity regarding this idea, eBay isn’t saying right now. EcommerceBytes reached out to eBay for comment but hadn’t received a response by publication time.

 

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David A Utter

David A. Utter is a freelance writer based in Lexington, KY. He has covered technology topics from search to security to online business and has been quoted in places like ZDNet and BusinessWeek. He considers his appearance on NPR’s “All Things Considered” with long-time host Robert Siegel a delightful highlight. You can find him on Twitter @davidautter and on LinkedIn.


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