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eBay’s New Loyalty Program Pleases Some, Rankles Those Left Out

eBay's New Loyalty Program Pleases Some, Rankles Those Left Out

eBay launched a new loyalty program by invitation only available in the US in the Watches and Sneakers categories. eBay began quietly rolling it out May, and while it has a landing page where sellers can request an invitation, eBay has yet to make a formal announcement of the Top Star program.

One sneaker aficionado detailed his experience with the program in the following YouTube video. He speculated he was chosen for the program because of his buying behavior, and he included a screenshot of a FAQ that read, “Why was I selected for Top Star? eBay is committed to serve our top customers in a premium manner. You have been selected based on your level and nature of patronage on eBay. Thank you for being a valued buyer on eBay.”

But some disgruntled users say the program locks them out, preventing them from buying certain listings for sale on the site. A user named Joshua tweeted last week to @ebaysneakers accusing eBay of “picking and choosing who can buy an item at a better price or not,” calling it ridiculous and unfair.

eBay sellers discussed the new Top Star program in this thread from June. One user who was invited into the program said eBay emailed them a notification of enrollment and then sent them a package containing a resin cast of a Jordan 1 sneaker sole. (We found several listed on eBay showing the packaging label, “Step right up. Welcome to eBay Top Star,” including this one listed for $179.99.)

Sellers are also discussing the program in threads on Reddit, including this thread in which a user wrote, “It seems odd that they have this elite program and anyone is able to see the items? Couldn’t they make them just visible to these special buyers. As a buyer I don’t want to see stuff I can’t purchase. As a seller, I want to sell to anyone who has the money to buy my stuff.”

In the YouTube video referenced above, the Top Star participant said eBay promised to hold “Top Star Special Events” virtually and in-person multiple times a year. eBay held its “first-ever community sneaker drop” in June, which appeared to have been open to all users, you can read about it on this June 14th post on the eBay corporate 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). 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/.

2 thoughts on “eBay’s New Loyalty Program Pleases Some, Rankles Those Left Out”

  1. Ebay just never seems to get anything right as this will cost them both Buyers and Sellers. Just another step showing that they fully plan on going after fewer Sellers and buyers in an attempt to to drive away the lower end clientele but somehow continue to show higher fees from fewer Buyers and Sellers while driving away those customers who originally what built Ebay into the company it was before the IPO and the replacement of the first completely inept CEO in a long line of them since.

    They just continue to alienate more and more customers while trying to increase the average sale price but then still do not see the damage they continue to do to their customer base.

  2. I’ve been tracking this one since June. Given how much CEO Jamie Iannone has been leaning into his “high value buyer” strategy lately, I find it odd he hasn’t yet mentioned this program in any earnings calls or the fireside chat he recently had with Goldman Sachs.

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