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Wed Sept 24 2008 22:37:23

eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

After years of seller complaints over ads served up by Google, Yahoo and Shopping.com at the bottom of its search results pages, eBay has admitted that the ads lead to concern on the part of buyers.

eBay's corporate blogger was answering a seller's question about a new advertising program the company is launching called eBay AdCommerce, which lets sellers buy advertising but limits the links to eBay listings. The seller wrote in the eBay Ink comment field, "It makes no sense to me if they aren't going to let sellers advertise their websites."

eBay's blogger replied, "People come to eBay to shop. Buying an ad on eBay gets your product in front of them when they are actually shopping for things you are probably selling. These ads have a similar look and feel to regular listings and we think buyers would be concerned if they clicked on one and were taken offsite. Rather, we think that a consistent shopping experience that is under PayPal's buyer protection plan makes buyers more confident and more willing to buy more stuff from smaller businesses. Small business is the engine of eBay, and our ad network is here to serve their needs for more exposure to likely buyers."

Yet he goes on to say that sellers who have their own websites through ProStores will be allowed to participate in the program, in spite of just having written that buyers would be concerned if they clicked on one and were taken offsite.

The new AdCommerce ads will be competing with ads from Shopping.com and Yahoo advertisements, but it looks like eBay just made an argument for making it an eBay seller-only ad program.




Comments (23) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising   eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising

by: unaware

Wed Sep 24 23:51:13 2008

I think this is just further proof that eBay has no clue as to what they are doing.... what is the master plan? the end game? What is their vision? When talking to eBay employees at eBay live it was evident that the vast majority of them have no retail experience at all... most of them appeared to be well intentioned but most of them (even ones involved in eBay marketing or eBay auctions/stores) have no idea what it takes to run a eBay business of any size.... either a small mom and pop store or a million dollar enterprise. I have indeed been moving more and more of by business to the river this year for a number of reasons. One reason is because they have a company founder who is still the CEO and still in charge... it is obvious that Jeff Bezos has a passion for Amazon and thinks long term a bit more then the Wall Street toadies at eBay. EBay is a lost company in need of leadership.... their changes and problems this year would be laughable if it didn't hurt so many, so much. I have been a successful full time seller since 2001 and have been doing $30,000 a year with them.... but this year has just about done me in. EBay is broke.... I hope they can fix it but I have my doubts. Sorry for the rambling... I am just SO FED UP with eBay!  

eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising   eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising

by: whatever

Wed Sep 24 23:53:28 2008

Ebay presenting something and contradicting themselves during the intial presentation?  Well it certainly saves a lot of time.  Everything they say turns out to be a lie anyway, at least with this one they're saving some time by pointing out that they are lying in their initial presentation.

eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising   eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising

by: ricroe

Thu Sep 25 00:01:42 2008

It is no suprise that eBay finds themselves looking to improve the buyers experience when they accept payments and run advertising for off site ads.

The message being sent to buyers is that eBay is encouraging them to make off site purchases. Ebay is allowing their own potential buyers to be poached off the site.

New to eBay shoppers become confused when they find these ads at the bottom of the first page of search results and due to inexperience, think they have seen all there is to view.

If eBay did not encourage buyers to look elsewhere with the off site ads, perhaps some buyers may have actually stuck around and made purchases on eBay instead.

How the logic of this escapes eBay executives explains plenty about why they find themselves needing to bring buyers back to eBay, and address lowered sales volume on the site.

eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising   eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising

by: bonni

Thu Sep 25 00:46:23 2008

The only thing I can figure is that eBay are trying to milk as much revenue out of their traffic before the whole house of cards collapses. Gotta fund those golden parachutes somehow, eh? (Yes, I'm very cynical. I cannot make any sense out of what eBay executives are up to. I wonder if they live in the same universe I do, actually.)

eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising   eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising

by: mindelec

Thu Sep 25 01:58:56 2008

"These ads have a similar look and feel to regular listings and we think buyers would be concerned if they clicked on one and were taken offsite."

yet a shopping or yahoo ad could appear in the same place taking the buyer offsite...

eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising   eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising

by: HealthyJerky4U

Thu Sep 25 02:15:02 2008

Stupid eBay...They bleed us of all that money we earn...Then wonder why we are pissed off, about all the ADS that are at the bottom and top of their website?...

Wake up eBay...Your killing your sellers off...Big and small!

eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising   eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising

by: To Richard Brewer-Hay

Thu Sep 25 02:28:51 2008

To Richard-Brewer Hay: You'll have to do better than that, we aren't that stupid.

Spin better or better keep that resume very updated and ready to go.

No personal offense intended.

eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising   eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising

by: Another Wronged Seller

Thu Sep 25 03:55:33 2008

Wow!
Who could have seen this coming?

Lets see... promote another competing business to YOUR customers. Another great idea by the ebay brain trust!

I like it so much, I am going to throw out all my business cards and start passing out my competitors. Right after I forward my business phone to my biggest competitors. Come to think of it, I could put a big sign in my window with advertising for other competing businesses too!

Why didn't I think of this sooner!

Ebay definitely has the right idea! (if they are trying to ruin the company)

eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising   eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising

by: eBuyer Feedback

Thu Sep 25 03:56:02 2008

Almost every day some buyer does a search for "leave feedback" on eBay, sees my Yahoo ad ,and then comes to my site.  The problem is they think they are still on eBay and then will try to log in.  This is a HUGE security concern.

eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising   eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising

by: Mechelle

Thu Sep 25 04:28:57 2008

And they have increased the ads from 3 to 5 at the bottom of the pages - so the searchers have to go even further down the page to learn there are more results.  I wonder how many make it that far?

eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising   eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising

by: charlie hollander

Thu Sep 25 06:31:20 2008

For the last 6 months I can see banners coming up on top of the  search pages on EBay who compete directly with the sellers on the bottom of the page.. Those banners are mainly from companies who are not selling on EBay, and they are sold  by Yahoo in association with EBay. Originally they should no compete with the items on the page they are coming up ( See the declarations on the bottom of this page)
. But today it is not like that, they compete directly. and they in fact  invite buyers to leave EBay.    
What make this situation even more problematic is that in certain search results , 95% of what is coming up is not relevant to what the buyer is looking for. The best match is a big joke.  When EBay launched this banner campaign together with Yahoo John Donahoe declared in the Guardian on 1 June 2006., and Meg Whitman the 25 of may
The advertising will have to be done carefully, or eBay sellers will go bananas. John Donahoe, president of eBay Marketplaces, told the San Francisco Chronicle the ads will be for complementary products so as not to compete with sellers. If you search for compost, for example, you might get ads for plants, spades or wheelbarrows etc.

By SAUL HANSELL

Published: May 25, 2006
Meg Whitman, eBay's chief executive, said the company was starting to change that policy because ''we have to embrace some of the things that are happing on the Web.'' Still, she said, the company will test the impact of the text ads to make sure they do not hurt its revenue.

She added that the text ads would be restricted so they did not offer products that directly competed with eBay's sellers. Rather they would be for ''complementary products,'' like accessories, and they would also appear when a user searched for a product that was not available on eBay.

eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising   eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising

by: Jim S.

Thu Sep 25 07:03:12 2008

Yes, ProStores websites can take advantage of AdCommerce if we are willing to pay a (minimum) 8% commission on ad generated sales (according to a ProStores newsletter yesterday).

eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising   eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising

by: greg s

Thu Sep 25 08:27:08 2008

If our financial institutions had received the scrutiny that ebay receives we would never be in this financial mess we are in.  It is an interesting culture where we will obtain a million dollar mortage with no investigation whatsover as to our lender but we know every breath that ebay takes.  Perhaps we should have Congressional hearing to help resolve this ''ebay crisis?'' Heaven forbid!

eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising   eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising

by: Peter Leeflang/CEO of Leeflang Archives Corporatio

Thu Sep 25 09:11:27 2008

Ebay blogger says: 'Small business is the engine of eBay'

I do not buy it.

His employer's actions contradict what he says. Ebay is actively acquiring major retailers to sell on its site and is discouraging small sellers from selling there.

With such a major contradiction in his story, I would not believe anything else that Ebay blogger writes.

eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising   eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising

by: rs

Thu Sep 25 12:06:53 2008

Pay Per click? Pay Listing Fees, Selling Fees, Paypal fees. without pay per click ebay gets 27% of the my sales every month.  I have to sell my item for about what I pay for it or less to compete with the competion.  I think ebay should come and buy me out of my merchandise at my cost and then I am done forever. I am sorry I got into the busness to begin with.  It use to be fun and now ebay sucks what ever profit there is and its done.

I can not afford pay per click: I need to a new site any suggestions for collectibles.  Amazon is not for collectibles.  ioffer is starting to pick up but 4 sale a month will not do it.  what other sites are there for collectibles that work?

eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising   eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising

by: bizzy

Thu Sep 25 19:34:10 2008

I quit selling on Sept 1 because frankly, I got tired of the never ending nonsense!  My monthly fees just to eBay ran 900-1000 a month.  Like many sellers, I felt lost but found a couple new homes (besides my website) and I love them!  IMHO eBay has lost (or Don Ho totally blew up) the main core on which eBay was founded and Bonanzle, Atomic Mall and eBid have realized what it is that made eBay unique to buyers and have all but mirrored it...both in look & feel but they've tossed in something that eBay NEVER had...outstanding customer service.  eBay is self-destructing and I for one, will not be one of the ones that go down with them.  eBay lost both my FVF's but a HUGE amount of buying - NEVER AGAIN will I make another purchase there *period*

eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising   eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising

by: The Graduate

Thu Sep 25 19:59:40 2008

''With such a major contradiction in his story, I would not believe anything else that Ebay blogger writes. ''


He's just a paid mouthpiece.  The truth is merely something that may occasionally intersect with what he has to say.
It's the same PR BS that Lorrie Norrington distributes except it has a picture of that guy that looks like a mole next to it and not a picture of Norrington.

eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising   eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Fri Sep 26 02:53:10 2008

Want to show your disdain for Brewer-Hay?

1. Refuwse to ist anything on his blog

OR post the following

2. You are not a credible source of accurate or truthful information, and we refuse to be further lied to whether intentionally or unintentionally.

eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising   eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising

by: o.c.d.collectibles

Fri Sep 26 21:45:44 2008

why would any of this be a surprise? ebay is failing. get your sticks and marshmallows ready!

eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising   eBay Admits to Buyer Confusion over Offsite Advertising

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sat Sep 27 04:06:11 2008

@ o.c.d.collectibles

get your sticks and marshmallows ready!

Everyone, let's brush up on the words to "Kumbaya" as we sit around the campfire waiting for ebay to self immolate

One, two, three, four!
Donna Ho out the door!

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