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!