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eBay Messaging Crackdown: Part 2


eBay logoeBay has been cracking down on buyer-seller communications through its messaging system, which, as we wrote in June, has the potential to hamper sales. Now it appears the other shoe has dropped.

A reader wrote today to let us know about a new but related issue: “If someone asks seller a question on an item that ended without sale or bids, the answer link in the message will no longer work.”

The eBay seller said he had received multiple inquiries about whether an item he had listed was still available, but was getting a “page not responding” message.

This could be a glitch or a new policy (eBay is running so many tests and making so many changes, it can’t keep up with informing sellers, according to one eBay executive).

The reader was skeptical: “I am sure it has nothing to do with a server being down which is what most people would think after getting that kind of response. It must be eBay no longer allows that communication since there is a small possibility a seller would take the transaction off eBay. But why are they still allowing the potential buyers to even ask? When I do not respond it makes me look uncaring, etc.”

There are some similar complaints on the eBay boards – let us know what you’re seeing. It’s likely the more hard-to-find items are the ones would-be-buyers would be asking about – a missed opportunity for these types of seller.s Have you had any problems responding to would-be-buyers who inquire about an item that ended without a sale?

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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/.

7 thoughts on “eBay Messaging Crackdown: Part 2”

  1. Thank you for this article! I had a buyer the other day who was asking me questions through messaging on a listing that had closed and I kept getting the error message. However, I was able to answer questions to another buyer on a “live” listing. I didn’t understand, at the time, what was happening.

    What a pain! The first buyer was asking about what else I would be listing so she could BUY! I kept having to go to the “contact” link on her feedback page to get responses to her.

    Ebay, get your paranoid head out of your arse and let us communicate with potential customers!

  2. Yes, I have a message I haven’t been able to reply to in my inbox, now I know why! It wasn’t regarding an ended listing, however, but someone asking if I wanted to buy their collection. So it appears the only way to have a two-way conversation is via a live listing.

  3. If eBay is truly trying to make communication between buyer and seller more difficult, then expect eBay to eliminate supplying a seller with the buyer’s email address after a sale. But, until then, that is an easy way to communicate freely with them.

    Regarding communication from a non-buyer after a listing has expired, OnlyPollyPocket had the right idea to go to the member’s feedback page to connect via their “Contact” link. But, again, if eBay is serious about preventing off-eBay sales, they will probably start preventing the potential buyers from ever asking the question by disallowing key words, just as they disallow phone numbers, email addresses and web addresses.

    I’m hoping that all this is just another in a long line of aggravating computer software glitches eBay is so famous for.

  4. It is exactly crap like this as to why our website that we have started is becoming so successful. Buyers are so tired of dealing with ebay’s shenanigans. We hear it almost every day now. Ebay is really in a death spiral. Ebay’s worst enemy is ebay.

  5. All of the hurdles, obstacles, heartaches & headaches that eBay is creating for its ‘customers’ should be viewed as an entrepreneurial person’s opportunity to create a whole new venue, for the people that it feeds off of. Wasn’t that what or how eBay initially came to be? For buyers and sellers convenience? Why should the users need to know and or have to read the fine print on a 5,000-+word ‘policy’ manual (on its ump-tweeth revision) just to answer the most BASIC of questions (such as, “does it work?”) because eBay is too paranoid that it might not be able to garner a fee that it believes belongs to them! When did they become a governmental taxing authority wherein customer goodwill get redefined as “fee cheats”?!!

  6. I’m not surprised by one more CHILDISH idea, instead of an GROWN-UP program to fix the problems.

    BUT, far more than these constant interruptions between Sellers and THEIR Buyers, isn’t it AMAZING that an Ebay EXECUTIVE would ACTUALLY DEFEND this action, by saying that they are SO BUSY, with tests and changes, they can’t even tell sellers what is going on!!! WHO WOULD RUN A COMPANY THAT WAY??? FOR CRIPES SAKE, I’d fire that “Executive”. Hasn’t he heard of the Ebay policy of “Secret Policies”. This isn’t because of tests & changes, it falls under the “DREADED SECRET POLICY” policy. I guess the above boils down to just 4 (Or More) possibilities,.

    AND Since Ebay just can’t tell us what is going on, ’cause they’re TOO @#@#@#@ BUSY, I guess all we can do is vote on it. Voting will be “Multiple Choice” (and YES, you CAN pick MULTIPLE CHOICES!!!, you can pick any or all of them, MORE THAN ONCE!!!)

    So, like, here are the choices, remember, like, you can like pick more than like one, if you like! ie/eg:
    1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 1&2 / 1&3 / 1&4 / 2&3 / 2&4 / 3&4 / 1&2&3 / 1&2&4, etc, etc, and of course: “All of the above”. I have left out “None of the above”, as cheerleaders, are like, NOT WELCOME!

    1) Glitch. (Well, They Do Happen)
    2) Policy Change. (Likely)
    3) Money Grab. (Like, For Sure!!!)
    4) Management Is INEPT!!! (WHAT??? HUH???)
    5) WRITE-IN Answer: ______________________ Additional numbered “Write-In Placeholders” are in fact available PAST number 5, but I can’t tell you what they are, or how many there are, in order to protect the integrity of the election. And because it falls under one of MY policies. That policy was plagiarized from elsewhere, and I changed 3 key words (Get it??? “Key Words” HAHAHAHA!!!) to make it apply to ME. And NO, I can’t tell you where I got it from. That would also violate the policy, and I would have to “………” you.
    Here is my Secret Policy: “The vast majority of MY policies are not publicly stated. This helps to minimize abuse of MY protection programs, as those who seek to commit fraud are not able to exploit some of MY procedures.” (See the link below for a thorough discussion on the matter):


    Remember when voting, choose ALL you like, including multiples, but PLEASE!, vote only once, this is not RUSSIA!!! Here in America we all work together to achieve mutual success, happiness, respect, and admiration, with our comrades in commerce…..

    за здоровье !!!

    Please send your votes to Devin Wenig. (cc: John, Meg, Pierre)

  7. If eBay could allow its Sales Enabling group to stay just a few steps ahead of its Sales Prevention Group… yeah, that would be nice.

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