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Are Sellers Ready for eBay’s Mobile AMP Project?

eBay published a post on Thursday about an initiative to make its site more mobile friendly, but it failed to explain how it might impact sellers and their listings. We reached out to eBay but did not receive a response by press time.

In Thursday’s post on the corporate blog, eBay said, “we are working on delivering faster mobile browsing experiences leveraging the open source AMP Project. What is AMP? It stands for Accelerated Mobile Pages, and is essentially a framework built for speed that has gained traction with publishers and technology leaders like Google. Initially, AMP was primarily tuned for publishing-based content, but it has much promise in the ecommerce world.”

So far so good – faster load times for shoppers is always good. But given eBay’s history of abbreviating seller descriptions on mobile devices without notice, sellers may be nervous that there’s a price to pay.

eBay Engineering Director Senthil Padmanabhan said in the published interview, “The biggest benefit we get from leveraging AMP is that we improve experiences for users who come to eBay from external platforms such as Google, Twitter etc. We can give them a speed-optimized experience that gives them more context than they would otherwise have. They see relevant item listings very quickly and can make instant comparisons.”

Here are the questions we asked eBay:

  • When will eBay launch AMP for product listings? Is eBay already making sellers listings available to mobile shoppers in an AMP format?
  • What do sellers need to know about eBay’s AMP project – how does it impact their listings, and is there anything they should do to optimize for AMP?
  • eBay said, “This is where AMP comes into play. It helps us to deliver a speed-optimized mobile browsing experience.” Will these speedy pages be missing any elements that would show up for desktop users?

As part of the Spring Seller Update this year, eBay revealed it was restricting the length and type of HTML that could be used to display sellers’ entire descriptions on mobile devices – it explained, “We want to provide the best buying experience for our buyers on their mobile devices. These restrictions make shopping on mobile devices easier and quicker. Buyers can read a concise description summary of the item on the mobile View Item page.”

eBay said it would make available a “View Item description summary feature” in the Summer of 2016 that would allow sellers to customize and optimize the item description summary as it appears on mobile devices, but it has yet to be announced. (That was another question we asked eBay on Thursday – stay tuned.)

You can read eBay’s full interview with Padmanabhan on the eBay website.

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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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.