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Wed May 31 2017 11:47:52

Spring Cleaning at eBay

By: Bob

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eBay is cleansing its site of old listings, saying they clutter the site and are unfair to other sellers when their listings are difficult to find. Online seller and AuctionBytes blogger Bob takes a look at how eBay is straying from tradition and examines the issue from all sides.

According to eBay discussion boards and the EcommerceBytes Blog, some eBay sellers are being targeted for what eBay considers "old listings."

Items targeted appear to be ones that are listed as GTC (Good 'til Cancelled) and have been active on the site for either one year or two (claims vary, I suspect it is one year). 

The process is simple. eBay sends a message informing the seller of what items they intend to eliminate. If the seller doesn't act, the listings are removed from eBay - completely. Gone. Not 'unsold' or 'ended' but completely gone and irretrievable.

This is the modern way of thinking that mature (read that as older) sellers fail to understand. It is not limited to eBay. Everything moves fast now. List it, sell it, pack it, ship it, mail it, list another. Buy and pay with your cell phone while driving 20 miles over the limit on a crowded highway. Some sellers love this system as they need the quick cash because they lost their factory job and now work mowing lawns and that doesn't bring in enough to pay for both rent and Netflix.

Long-term planning? Patience? Building? Those are no longer acceptable traits. Sell fast for cheap or get the heck out of the way!

There are many great reasons for eBay to do this. Some sellers can be lazy and leave worthless items up for sale because, when you get free listings through a store subscription, there is no real penalty for doing so. Others leave overpriced items up hoping to nab a sucker who hasn't quite figured out how to compare prices yet. These items clog up the searches and often make it very difficult for buyers to find what they actually want. 

On the other side, there's lots to be said about selling unique and rare or even harder to find items - as eBay became famous for doing. Selling the latest video game or a new electronic gizmo might be a fast way to pull in some cash. But how long should it take to sell a gas cap from a 1979 Mustang or an antique photo of an old bearded guy with the last name of Whipple? Some items will simply take a lot more time to sell than others. eBay should recognize this as a strength. Though the company seems to want to stray from the tradition, it is customary for people to go to eBay exactly for the hard-to-find items that few other sites carry. Hopefully, while signed in, they'll decide to pick up a new electronic gizmo too.

Currently, there appear to be ways to get around this. Most important, DO NOT IGNORE EBAY MESSAGES. If eBay sends a message do not treat it like spam. If the message says that eBay intends to permanently delete some of your items, believe it. You will not be able to sweet talk a customer service rep with the cute accent into bringing your items back from limbo. Act quickly to eliminate the ones you care little about while changing the others. 

Moving from GTC to 30 day listings might work BEFORE eBay sends the warning but probably not afterward. Once warned, sellers should revise the threatened listings, review their asking prices and make other necessary revisions to prevent losing them (the key here is to not simply relist but to actually get a different item number attached to the listing through, for example, Sell Similar). 

Also, a wise seller should back up their information and photos in case other measures fail and their hard work is deleted permanently from eBay's website.

About the Columnist
Bob has been buying and selling online for almost 20 years. Some experts claim that his limited budget was the major cause of the 2001 dot-com crash. He denies the charge. Got a topic you'd like Bob to cover? Let us know.

Comments (21) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Spring Cleaning at eBay   Spring Cleaning at eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Wed May 31 12:30:16 2017

As mentioned on the other blog regarding this ''cleansing'' of eBay, they need to concentrate on DUPLICATE listings, not the unique items which buyers are seeking.

Not to mention the many dropshippers who actually do not have the listed item in their hands. If they could rid the site of even as little as 1/3 of these listings, the merchandise which is not available anywhere except eBay can be featured.

One EKG comment on the other blog put it best: If a seller is paying to list something, it should be always available, even if they want to keep the item active for 20 years.

If eBay does not want to allow all items to be listed as long as the paying customer chooses, then they should just sell the company, as they are obviously not in the right business.

The new owner can put money into the site, instead of constantly regressing it. This would benefit all involved, not just management and shareholders, but everyone- buyers, sellers, and investors.

Spring Cleaning at eBay   Spring Cleaning at eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: blueribbon1844

Wed May 31 14:17:05 2017

@extinct "One EKG comment on the other blog put it best: If a seller is paying to list something, it should be always available, even if they want to keep the item active for 20 years."

Precisely. WHY do they think they can take my dollar for 18 months for a listing fee, take my store fees, hide the listing in the search, and then delete it altogether?

Oh that's right, we are dealing with the most unethical company in the world. Makes sense now.  

Spring Cleaning at eBay   Spring Cleaning at eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Wed May 31 16:26:51 2017

That's one thing I really love about eCrater: once I list something, it's there, being seen by potential buyers, until it's sold or I remove it. And as others have already mentioned, sometimes it takes a while for the right buyer to find your item.

eBay is the cause of their "stale" products since hiding listings, rolling blackouts, and seller limits are responsible for buyers not being able to find what they want.  

Spring Cleaning at eBay   Spring Cleaning at eBay

by: Beth This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 31 17:19:55 2017

AND no they are not sending emails to everyone.  Only a few folks got emails. Most I know got zip.  

Spring Cleaning at eBay   Spring Cleaning at eBay

by: I Must be Crazy This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 31 19:27:23 2017

I have to think, with 167 million registered users, Ebay would be able to sell darn near anything on the site. That said, if they would simplify search, and stop hiding listings, then perhaps fewer items would have a chance of becoming stale. In any case, it should be up to the seller of an item to decide when to end it. Ebay needs to spend money upgrading and strengthening their infrastructure, not eliminating items. It's like the power company always telling us to conserve. They don't want to build a power plant to meet the need, but rather reduce what people use by charging more for less. Ebay is no different.

Spring Cleaning at eBay   Spring Cleaning at eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Thu Jun 1 01:56:31 2017

Very nice essay, Bob.  

Spring Cleaning at eBay   Spring Cleaning at eBay

by: pebbles This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 1 03:15:48 2017

IF eBay made more listings actually visible rather than hidden, they might actually have a chance to sell! When I can't see my listings, even searching with the item #, that's no fault of the seller that's failure on eBay's part.
Just the other day I was shopping for glasses. I typed "juicy couture glasses" 0 results. I then typed " juicy couture eye glasses" still 0 results BUT when I selected from the suggested drop down menu, bam! Well over 100 results. Cant-see-ini, we have a problem!

Spring Cleaning at eBay   Spring Cleaning at eBay

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 1 03:59:02 2017

I think the cleansing of GTC is a good idea.  However -- look at AMZ.  They don't have such policy -- yet, and I'm grateful for that.  I've had stuff on AMZ for years and years, and just yesterday sold a headphone that was listed in 2013.  I think Ebay should take another look at this policy.  Maybe extend it to 2 years.

Spring Cleaning at eBay   Spring Cleaning at eBay

by: frustrated This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 1 07:00:00 2017

Where did it say they were ending and completely deleting them?

Since when did I pay them to host my items, and then they decide to get rid of turbo lister, and make my item GONE?

Good thing I have inkfrog.

You don't need to take NEW pics, BTW, just change one for another, raise the price by at least 1.00, and for GOD'S SAKE change the title.

Looks like no matter how bad can't see me IS, they refuse to abandon it. Even if they start posting losses, year over year.

DOOOOOUUUUUHHHHH. Beginning to think these guys don't like money.

Spring Cleaning at eBay   Spring Cleaning at eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Thu Jun 1 08:04:26 2017

Looking forward :o)

Spring Cleaning at eBay   Spring Cleaning at eBay

by: Modlcitizn This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 1 08:56:20 2017

I'm happy to see this! The collectibles categories are loaded with overpriced and worthless garbage that has been listed for years. I have watched one old postcard that's been for sale for over 6 years. There is one stamp item that is damaged and worthless that's been for sale for over a year for $40. It comes up all the time in my eBay emailed searches, which drives me nuts.  It's become very tedious to sort through all of this garbage. eBay has become the luggage carousel at the airport where things go through the sales cycle over and over.

Spring Cleaning at eBay   Spring Cleaning at eBay

by: Windkissed This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Jun 1 09:08:41 2017

Thats unfair to sellers.  Sellers specialize in different catagories and items.  Who is ebay to determine what someone should sell or not.  They are bent on pushing the merchandise because that is what gives them their income.  Sellers are different,  I sell for a profit on a certain item not how fast it sells.  I have searched items on ebay and only got a few brought up and then if you keep searching for days you will eventually find what you want, because ebay picks and chooses what items get first pick in the searches.  Or what ends up on the first page.  I have searched my own items and some don't even show up on a search.  What with that.  I sell vintage, pre owned, New and handmade things.  They are not items that are typically  bought because of a trend or whats popular at the time.  Things like this will not sell quickly.  Besides we pay for listing those items, sellers should be able to list what they want when they want and for how long they want.

Spring Cleaning at eBay   Spring Cleaning at eBay

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 1 10:10:15 2017

ebay is not a classified ad site anymore, their sole purpose is to take as much money from the seller and their items as legally possible, and if that means deleting items that don't produce for them, so be it.

I'm almost sure ebay finds it Really entertaining to read some of the rants from sellers,

 

Spring Cleaning at eBay   Spring Cleaning at eBay

by: epuise This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 1 11:14:12 2017

"Dusty" listings need to be "dusted off" or moved to another site.

Spring Cleaning at eBay   Spring Cleaning at eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Jun 1 13:21:44 2017

@epuise

Maybe so, but it isn't Ebay's place to make that decision, it's MINE!!!  I pay them to do a job, they should be concentrating on that and leave me to do my job!

They can significantly unclutter Ebay by getting all the duplicate listings off the site.  Especially with the Asian sellers.

Spring Cleaning at eBay   Spring Cleaning at eBay

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 1 13:52:15 2017

I want a discount on monthly fees and I want to see them rid of Chinese millions of duplicate listings.

If not..I'm picketing

Spring Cleaning at eBay   Spring Cleaning at eBay

by: donald This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 1 22:45:01 2017




The Chinese duplicates are the main problem or sellers listing in the wrong category not the one or two odds and ends. I'm not lowering my prices to satisfied ebay. They either wait till it sells, at my price or they will lose me too. I sure can live off my other venues, especially Amazon.


Also Bob says that sellers leave worthless items on the site because, you get free listings. That's not true we get discounted prices do to a store subscription. eBay has never offer nothing for free!

Spring Cleaning at eBay   Spring Cleaning at eBay

by: Lightning This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 1 23:05:25 2017

As suspected, ebay is refunding fees for removed listings, at least according to the announcement just made:
''We have identified a relatively small number of unproductive listings and have begun removing those with one or more years of no sales and minimal page views, and are refunding any associated listing fees.''

On an unrelated subject, ebay sent me a selling tip in my weekly status report:

''Tip:
You can be super smart with your selling. Seasonal items will sell well at the right time of year.''

If they think this is ''super smart'', that might explain a lot.

Spring Cleaning at eBay   Spring Cleaning at eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Fri Jun 2 13:59:40 2017

@lightning

Well yes and no.  First, Ebay would have to show how these listings were violating an actual policy just because of their age.  Ebay doesn't currently have such a policy.  So they shouldn't keep the listing fee.

HOWEVER, for those listings getting closed that were listed using one of your FREE listings, Ebay does not give back a free listing because they closed a listing.  So you lose out on that.

The Announcement last night did NOT address the question I've been asking.  Are they CLOSING or DELETING the listings.  It makes a HUGE difference.  If they just close them, then we can access them in our unsold items.  Revise them and repost them if we so desire.  But if the delete them, then we have no access to the listing anymore.  If we want to repost the product, we will have to create a brand new listing, take photos, etc.

And of course when we list it again, there goes another one off my free listing total for the period.

If you have TL, I suggest you synchronize with Ebay for all your items, sold, unsold & scheduled.  This way you will have those listing in TL at least.  Just in case Ebay is actually deleting the listings they are closing.
 

Spring Cleaning at eBay   Spring Cleaning at eBay

by: DSShop This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Sat Jun 3 20:55:06 2017

Yes, I would have to agree that Ebay need to update software to make it easier for the customer and seller when it comes to listing. This however, for them to decide to just say your listing is done or else is over the top.

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