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eBay Provides a Reason for Hiding Descriptions in Listings

After we reported last week that eBay had resumed hiding product descriptions in sellers’ listings as part of testing it had initiated in February, eBay confirmed it had resumed testing – and explained the reasoning behind a move that to many is counter-intuitive.

Thanks to observant sellers, we reported on the EcommerceBytes Blog on July 1st that some people were unable to view listing descriptions without clicking on another button in listings labeled, “See full item description.”

While we reached out to eBay several times requesting more information, the company has been unresponsive. However, an alert reader pointed us to a post on eBay’s Facebook page. There, the eBay for Business account confirmed it had resumed a test that it had run a few months ago – “we’re currently running it again.”

Why? “We want to improve and simplify the overall buying experience, and our goal is to have a consistent experience across all devices and screens. This is how buyers are currently viewing item descriptions on mobile devices today.”

The eBay moderator said users could reset their session to try to drop out – but to be clear, sellers cannot opt their listings out of the test – they can only opt themselves out as shoppers.

The eBay moderator explained, “It’s not a permanent change and we will use your feedback when evaluating the pros and cons. Feel free to reach out if you have any additional questions or concerns, I’m here to help in any way I can.”

The testing is extremely unpopular among sellers who say shoppers are missing key information in the description before hitting the buy button, resulting in dissatisfied buying experiences, as reflected in the comments on the July 1st EcommerceBytes Blog.

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.