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eBay Adds User-Generated Videos to Seller Listings

There was a time when eBay allowed, if not encouraged, sellers to add videos to their listings – but as with many advanced features, it was ambivalent about the practice. But in 2014, it signed a deal with a company to increase the number of listings that include videos embedded in the listings.

eBay is using a service called WebyClip to add the videos automatically to seller listings based on the company’s algorithm. It appears that the videos are inserted into listings regardless of sellers’ preferences, similar to the product ratings and reviews that eBay adds to listings with structured data – we’re awaiting clarification from eBay on this point.

However, as longtime video service Vzaar shows, any seller can add video to their listings (at least listings on eBay UK) either through an integration with a third-party or manually, as it explains on this page.

Videos on eBay listings appear in the “Detailed item info” section underneath Item Specifics sections. When WebyClip videos are available in a listing for a certain product – a listing for a particular model of smartphone or an Apple Watch, for example – the video will also appear directly underneath the seller photos in the top left corner of the listing page.

This capability is presumably made possible through structured data. Once a seller adds a UPC code to a listing, eBay knows exactly what the product is and can match it to a product catalog to determine the brand, Model, color, etc.

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When a visitor to an eBay listing clicks on a WebyClip-provided video, it begins to play and displays the following message:

“This YouTube video has been automatically selected by the WebyClip service. The video contains an example of the item for sale, which may not be representative of the item you are purchasing. Please check the product description and condition before purchasing. No recommendation from the video creator is implied.”

Sometimes the videos are product reviews, other times they are “unboxing” videos. We saw WebyClip videos produced by PhoneArena and TechnoBuffalo that those sites had uploaded to YouTube.

A reader brought the eBay videos to our attention through a comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog after seeing a listing for a used microphone – “It was some random YOUTUBE video of a guy unboxing his own mic. I think it’s a terrible idea,” the reader wrote.

An eBay discussion thread from last year shows the dangers of automatically adding videos to sellers’ listings.

The seller explained that after he posted an auction listing on eBay, he saw that eBay inserted a WebyClip video in the listing. However, the seller was selling a Droid Razr Maxx (XT912M), but the video showcased a different model – the Droid Razr Maxx HD.

“I would prefer my auction not contain this WebyClip video which doesn’t relate to my item,” the seller explained. ” I clicked the button in the window to report the video as unrelated, but after a few days, the video clip remains there. I’ve searched around looking for quite a while, and I haven’t been able to find an option to opt out of including it. Does anyone know how to go about removing this clip that appears to be automatically included in my auction?”

What about eBay rival Amazon? We wrote last year about Amazon Video Shorts. Amazon told us at the time that the videos provide a great experience for their customers, “whether they’re watching video for entertainment, research, or to help them make purchase decisions. That means continuing to expand selection breadth and depth and offering content that helps customers find, discover and learn about great brand and products.”

We looked up an Apple watch on Amazon and found a video at the bottom of the listing – right above the “Sponsored products related to this item” ad section – a “Related Video Shorts” section that featured a BuzzFeed produced video called “These Girls Tried on Apple Watches And,…”

Presumably Amazon is curating its videos itself.

eBay partner WebyClip is an Israeli startup founded in 2013. In an article on Globes.co.il, the company said its technology knows how to search for relevant videos across the Internet that are not copyright protected and match them to a product on ecommerce sites.

“In addition to matching the video to the product, the company can also determine which of the videos available online will have the greatest conversion rate, and will lead to the most sales among the site’s users.”

Comment on the AuctionBytes 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.