AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Sun June 15 2008 17:01:25

Finding Yourself in eBay's New About Me Policy

By: Julia Wilkinson

Sponsored Link

For sellers with their own presence on the web, eBay's recent announcement that sellers could no longer link to outside web sites from their About Me pages was unwelcome to say the least. While no Internet company is going to be eager to send off customers to other sites, allowing sellers to have their relatively unobtrusive presence on the About Me pages, with accompanying link to their web site outside of eBay, seemed a fair compromise.

As one eBayer posting to an eBay Discussion board put it, "It makes me extremely upset that e-bay is so worried about losing $$ that they want to take away my few LITTLE $$ I make on my website."

In the ebook and Internet marketing communities, the About Me page links were sometimes leveraged, as sellers would place a prominent link to their About Me page in their auctions. It's possible this practice is one of the things that brought on this policy, as eBay may have found too many people getting funneled off to other web sites this way.

But coming on the heels of eBay's decisions to disallow off-eBay links in Classified ads, and to restrict sales of digital downloads to physical products, it's been a tough time for sellers of information products, as well as those who used eBay as a customer acquisition tool.

In some discussion boards on the Internet, such as MySilentteam.com, founded by ebook and eBay seller Jim Cockrum, sellers are looking for creative ways to effectively use the tools that are left which are not prohibited. I've asked eBay for clarification on whether these methods are OK under the new Links policy, and have not heard back yet; so until I do, you cannot assume they are.

- Linking to a "BANS" site, aka "Build a Niche Store" site, as long as it does not have non-eBay items in it. (A BANS store is a quick-and-easy way to create a standalone web site that sells only a certain type of eBay item. People then monetize it with Google ads and the like).

- Sending a flyer when you ship your product with links to your opt-in page, off-eBay web site, etc.

- Create an eBay ID which sounds like a web site. I'm not sure that particular method will get you a lot of mileage, and it has the potential to land you in trouble as well, as documented in this article from 2004!

Hopefully we will all have more information after eBay Live next week.


Julia Wilkinson is a blogger, freelance writer, and the author of several books including "The eBay Price Guide" (No Starch Press, 2006) and "eBay Top 100 Simplified Tips & Tricks" (Wiley, 2004-6); Her latest ebook, "Over 500 Books that Sell for $50-$5000 on eBay," is available on her website.




Comments (14) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Finding Yourself in eBay's New About Me Policy   Finding Yourself in eBay's New About Me Policy

by: Lisa

Sun Jun 15 17:21:58 2008

At the very least, John Donahoe and Ebay should clarify what direction the company is going so that the smaller sellers can plan accordingly. Let's hope we get some answers this coming week. Should be interesting.

Finding Yourself in eBay's New About Me Policy   Finding Yourself in eBay's New About Me Policy

by: Mary Ann Bernard

Sun Jun 15 18:02:02 2008

I read the "recent announcement" link in your article, and found no mention of About Me links. The announcement appeared to me to cover links in listings. I may have missed something.

I dug a little deeper and found this page at ebay, which definitely DOES allow links to your own website or web store on About Me pages:

http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/listing-aboutme.html


So,
is ebay just slow in updating all of their pages, or am I completely missing something?

Finding Yourself in eBay's New About Me Policy   Finding Yourself in eBay's New About Me Policy

by: Patricia

Sun Jun 15 18:21:23 2008

Mary Ann - go back and read it again - it clearly states About Me pages.

Makes me wonder - they treat us like dirt - don't care if we leave but pull a "hissy fit" like this over a link on an About Me page?  What gives here?  I KNOW Ebay wants to rule the world but sorry - they can go pull their tantrum now - Ebay is not about to dominate anything anymore!  You killed those days back in January of this year! LOL

www.ACEOart.net

Finding Yourself in eBay's New About Me Policy   Finding Yourself in eBay's New About Me Policy

by: Nancy

Sun Jun 15 18:26:40 2008

Even the current policy concerning links to your web page is ambigous and I know ebay, if notified, will force removal now, even months ago.

How do I know?  Because as a poster on the  Seller Central message board, using my real sellers ID and not  a posting ID, I've had my ME page reported and ebay required me changing it.  I had my web address, static mind you, not a clickable link even, on a photo of my logo on the ME page.

So once again, ebay's policies are written intentionally vague to confuse and leave you vulnerable to the unpaid ebay police members who love to report anything they can find, especially against people they disagree with :)

Finding Yourself in eBay's New About Me Policy   Finding Yourself in eBay's New About Me Policy

by: dimes

Sun Jun 15 18:34:12 2008

Is eBay having a contest among its different departments to see which one can come up with the most ludicrous policy?

eBay is now going to prevent sellers from listing a link to their own sites on a fairly obscure screen, at the same time it continues to plaster the search results* with as many outside links as it can squeeze in?


* Term is used loosely, since these days the results may bear little to no resemblance to the item being searched.

Finding Yourself in eBay's New About Me Policy   Finding Yourself in eBay's New About Me Policy

by: Jim Cockrum

Sun Jun 15 19:23:48 2008

Great article Julia. Thanks for mentioning MySilentTeam.com!

As long as eBay doesn't start scaring away customers with their policies I'll still be there.  It's their website to control however they want - let's enjoy the cat and mouse game!

Jim Cockrum
Creative eBay Selling News
SilentJim.com

Finding Yourself in eBay's New About Me Policy   Finding Yourself in eBay's New About Me Policy

by: froliky

Sun Jun 15 19:42:08 2008

Hammer Time.  
How can eBay restore core seller confidence?
Is there a rabbit in eBays hat? Is this a marketing or business arrangement experiment, or is this a very disturbing and sinister version of company value manipulation?   Is there going to be yet another secretary document shredding investigation?
  It may appear suspicious that eBay would form a business arrangement with Buy.com at the same time as the implementation of the controversial reputation and revenue damaging one-way feedback policies.  
  Whether or not management is "padding the numbers", (with questionable Buy listings), in a veiled attempt to keep up appearances, allowing time for new empowered buyers to gather is debatable.  Whether or not there is a solid case against eBay for the Better Business Bureau, the FTC, the SEC, or a class action lawsuit, or even a criminal prosecution is a matter to be very seriously pondered.   Whether or not John Donohoe will ever face justice, whether or not these policies constitute a criminal act, whether anyone is liable for irreparable harm is yet to be determined.
  Seemingly beyond an attempt to "cook the books", these combined policy decisions may appear to be the opposite of a "pump and dump" investment scheme, - a "bear attack"- (an attempt to drive down the value of company stock,) and bears close scrutiny.  
  If this is not a clumsily masterminded conspiracy, or misleading and deceptive practices, or some attempt to monopolize certain category sales for under the table profit, then what is it?
   Is leadership on the line with an attempt to defraud investors while the company poses to repurchase an announced 1.9 billion dollars worth of company stock, and is this going to become headline news?
   If there comes an announcement at the Live! convention of the cancellation of the questionable Buy.com agreement, if there is a sudden rollback of the feedback policies all this will just be coincidence and management comes out smelling like a rose, right?
 Wrong.
   When the gavel drops, company reputation, member trust and potential revenue have been wasted. The rising global flood of competition grows, steadily eroding this pathetic sand castle.
 Obviously at the very least, these decisions will be the focus of investigation and study by students of economics and law, by business law specialists and by media now and for many years to come.
 Until proper member safeguards are adopted, from the perspective of countless users,  eBay company reputation is no better than that of their worst member.

google this to find it:  troliky

Finding Yourself in eBay's New About Me Policy   Finding Yourself in eBay's New About Me Policy

by: Lars

Sun Jun 15 21:47:35 2008

I haven't looked at an about me page in a long time. I don't think a link to a website is going to drive to much business from Ebay. What I have found more effective is a well thought out thank you card (business card) from Vistaprint with an incentive to visit my website is a much more effective tool. Ebay is a great place to find new customers and my store is a great way to resale with higher profits.

Finding Yourself in eBay's New About Me Policy   Finding Yourself in eBay's New About Me Policy

by: B. Robert

Mon Jun 16 12:25:09 2008

Are outside links to videos still allowed on About Me page and listings?

Thanks so much for any clarification on this issue...
br

Finding Yourself in eBay's New About Me Policy   Finding Yourself in eBay's New About Me Policy

by: Frank Provasek

Mon Jun 16 18:00:25 2008

Ebay is an advertising venue with sellers paying 100% of the costs...yet ebay tries to act like they are the employers of the sellers.  

Finding Yourself in eBay's New About Me Policy   Finding Yourself in eBay's New About Me Policy

by: Brenda

Mon Jun 16 18:33:08 2008

There are still digital downloads available. Saw one yesterday.

Who really cares anymore?

Until there is viable, concrete customer service for ALL users. Ebay is still showing me S%^#.

Finding Yourself in eBay's New About Me Policy   Finding Yourself in eBay's New About Me Policy

by: Ann G

Mon Jun 16 21:57:28 2008

As an avid internet buyer as well as seller, I find the inability to find a particular eBay seller's own web store short sighted and smacks of constraint of trade.

Not all sellers list all their goods on eBay - it's cost-prohibitive! Frequently, I look to see what other items are being offered by the seller, knowing full well that many items may well be CHEAPER off eBay than on.

They may as well just shut down the site and start selling ads as that is where they seem to be heading.

I am beginning to think that they think the only place people shop is on eBay. Hope they wake up and smell the roses. Consumers have far more and a LOT less confusing venues to shop for items than on eBay and just as eBay was the ''darling of the hour'' in news and the ''public eye'' once, it is rather becoming passe.

eBay management seems to be living in the past. Like governments that had to keep making new regulations and laws to control their population, eBay is constricting, not opening markets or encouraging creativity. Like most totalitarian policies, that suggests desperation and may mark the beginning of the end.

As for any suggestion that I cannot include a flyer in any parcel I am shipping to a customer is ridiculous! In which case I want to know what my eBay employee pension benefits are, and if they are paying social security taxes on my behalf.

Finding Yourself in eBay's New About Me Policy   Finding Yourself in eBay's New About Me Policy

by: Michael Sherriff

Tue Jun 17 07:37:23 2008

So it seems there are more rules set upon us by eBay - but eBay isn't stupid, they know how to run their business and maybe they are on course to some new place?

eBay is about making money - not for the sellers anymore - eBay is about making money for eBay and plugging any leaks.

I agree and disagree with many comments on here. Behind all decisions there is a reason and I can't wait to see the reason for all these decisions by eBay.

Finding Yourself in eBay's New About Me Policy   Finding Yourself in eBay's New About Me Policy

by: Julie

Tue Jun 17 09:30:06 2008

With all the kooks and nutbars on Ebay, why would anyone in their right mind post anything personal about themselves on their site?  I learned this myself the hard way...

I am an author.  When I first started on Ebay, I linked to my books at Amazon on my Ebay page.  When I got my first kook, she posted nasty reviews of my books, and even went so far as to contact my publisher to get my home address and phone number (thankfully, my publisher has caller ID and refused the nutbar's request!).

As parents, we are bombarded with information about how to keep our kids safe online.  First and foremost:  never give out any personal information, no matter how insignificant YOU might think it is.  Kooks will always find a way to get to you with any minute info posted.

My advice:  steer clear of posting About Me information. Better safe than sorry.



Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.