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Wed Sept 30 2009 22:56:43

Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?

By: Ina Steiner

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Thursday's newsletter has information about changes eBay is making to Item Condition, including displaying the attribute in search results (link to story). As I was wrapping up the story and the blog post below, a reader sent me a copy of a survey they had taken that showed eBay was considering displaying other pieces of information on the search results pages as well.

The most startling was the Place Bid Button: "Click this button to begin the process to place your bid." We've created a mock-up of what such a page could look like - this image was not included in the survey - but it appears eBay thinks such a scenario is at least worth considering in a survey.



Now on to some thoughts about Item Condition changes.


According to sources, eBay is making changes to the Item Condition attribute, including displaying condition in search results pages, and it will make it mandatory in some categories. There are a number of likely reasons why eBay is paying attention to Item Condition. As it focuses on attracting secondary market goods - overstock, salvage, returns, etc. - it needs to make sure buyers are crystal-clear on what they are purchasing. Anecdotal evidence from sellers show that shoppers on eBay often fail to read details of the item description.

This may also make it easier for eBay customer service representatives to deal with Item Not As Described claims, as eBay gets more involved in the dispute process.

Finally, some sellers have been complaining for months that their eBay feeds to Google Base have not been working, and one theory that surfaced early on was that it might have to do with Google's then newly introduced item condition field. This was confirmed on Tuesday by Jim "Griff" Griffith on the eBay Radio show.

And last week, an eBay spokesperson told AuctionBytes it was actively working with Google to ensure that seller listings appear within Google Base via a single feed from eBay. "There remain some open issues, such as being able to map eBay's item condition to how Google accounts for item condition. We want our sellers to know that we are actively working with Google to resolve these issues."

It seems unlikely that eBay refinements have much to do with Google's requirements - after all, Google only allows users to select New, Used, Refurbished (Google Base Condition Attribute). But making the attribute mandatory in some categories may have much to do with it - Google requires product feeds to indicate item condition, and is making other changes as well (see this AuctionBytes news story).

I've tried to get answers to questions about Google Base, now called Google Merchant Center for retailers, but it's been difficult to get information from Google itself. I researched other marketplaces - Bonanzle said that since Bonanzle item traits offer sellers all kinds of different conditions ("Like new," "Mint condition," etc.), it automatically translates the condition sellers specify on Bonanzle into one that Google will accept.

Amazon of course has its own item condition attributes as well (Amazon Condition Guidelines).

Sellers may have mixed reactions to news about new Item Condition requirements from eBay. If it helps reduce buyer questions and reduces negative feedback caused by confused shoppers, then it will be viewed as a positive. But if it takes a lot of time to edit listings, and if sellers get fewer click-throughs and lower prices, it will be viewed as a negative.




Comments (51) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?   Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?

by: Jake

Wed Sep 30 23:59:58 2009

Lets be perfectly honest here, until eBay make the listing description a CONTRACT between buyer & seller nothing is going to change

eBay buyers are generally known as the worst possible due to very low intelligence or basically too dumb or lazy to read what they are actually buying……like driving past a car dealer and shouting out the window “ I want that one”…then complaining about  the stereo etc

I constantly receive Paypal Item not as described claims because I list an exact 32 inch waist item and guess what the fool who was a 32 inch waist last year is now a 34…just too lazy to check my exact item description & measurements BUT NEVER too lazy to file Paypal claims...this sums up the mentality of eBay buyers

Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?   Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?

by: John

Thu Oct 1 00:02:32 2009

Sounds like ebay is making changes for the sake of making changes. They should be examining the root cause of the problem. It's been our experience that high resolution detailed photographs have been the best way to convey an items condition to sellers. However some merchants seem to skip this step all together... especially the highly touted Diamond Power Sellers whose business model does not allow them to offer such attention to detail. The funny thing is that these same Diamond Power Sellers who have created this confusion with their lack of attention are exempt from the new rules meant to address the problem! They are ranked on an entirely different set of metrics that ebay has never revealed.

Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?   Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?

by: RicRoe

Thu Oct 1 01:06:26 2009

OK...so eBay has been changing view item pages. The excuses have been that the changes will make the pages easier for buyers to read and be better informed about items they consider purchasing.

That justification in mind, now eBay is considering  enabling buyers to place bids directly from the search page without even reading the item description.

Someone needs to explain to me how this format jives with eBay's previous declarations with regard to the the reasons stated for the view item page revisions.

The incoherent changes constantly spewing out of San Jose cubicles are contradictory and seemingly have no end.

This company under it's current leadership can only be described as schizophrenic.

It is high time they went back on their meds.

These disjointed contradictory format changes have to date done nothing to change eBay's declining fortunes.

Small sellers are being exterminated on a daily basis.

Perhaps with the disjointed processes currently in play Diamond sellers will find the eBay marketplace so unstable they begin to pull out as well and eBay can be allowed to die in peace.


Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?   Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?

by: matza

Thu Oct 1 02:10:03 2009

I think they just made the most catastrophic change possible with this new top rated seller program so any other change really won't matter much. This beats out best match in terms of the destruction it is going to cause.

I'm a top rated seller on all my accounts but I know this is the end. This will alienate more sellers than anything ever before. It's a horrendous move by a horrendous CEO. This is the cherry on top of a mega stupid pile of dumb.

That badge will lure buyers to all the sellers with it and the ones without will suffer and leave. The ones who have it and lose it will leave. It will be a vicious circle of getting nowhere faster than we have gotten nowhere for a year and a half now under this insanely criminally STUPID MAN JOHN DONOHOE.

How will any start up sellers ever have the opportunity to succeed in such a manipulated unfair and unbalanced marketplace?

How will longtime sellers without this badge handle this latest slap in the face?

There comes a time for everyone when god damn it ENOUGH IS ENOUGH already.

John Donohoe has absolutely totally destroyed this entire site from top to bottom and there will be no coming back.

There is nothing more he can do now to further damage the site besides pulling the plug on the entire thing.

The stockholders should be warned. It is coming down for sure no doubt. This holiday season should be worse than last year and the decline much more rapid than before. This one is a biggie!

Tossing out 80% of all sellers and going with 20% that have the badges and most of the 20% with the badge are smaller sellers. All this destruction just to save on the discounts which will now be lost tenfold by all the sellers that abandon them.

JD just doesn't get it. Alienating people doesn't spur growth. This is coming from a seller that holds 3 accounts all 3 with the badge and a functioning business brain and I know a loser when I see one.

Ebay is a BIG FAT Loser with a capital L

TOP SELLER IS THE BIGGEST MISTAKE CHANGE EVER MADE IN THE HISTORY OF EBAY. BEST MATCH IS NOW THE SECOND BIGGEST MISTAKE.

Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?   Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?

by: Tim

Thu Oct 1 06:18:30 2009

Very well said matza. I agree 100%.

And DonutHole is a BIG FAT D--- with a capitol D. Worst part is, he only has one eye and can't even see with it.

I think the word LOSER is way too kind to describe this idiot.

He doesn't understand that all of the sellers who are also buyers that he's driving away will never, ever return PERIOD! I stopped selling and buying there in October of 2007 and I'm never going back. I assure you that I'm not alone.

It appears he could care less, as long as he gets his 13 million each year.

I had to take the time to comment because as mentioned above: This Donahoe character is truly the Rotten Cherry on top of a Mega Stupid Pile of Dumb. Without a doubt, he's a legend in his own mind.

It simply can't be destroyed any more than what it is. I also feel the founder Pierre is nothing more than a Spineless Jellyfish for allowing this to happen to the company he created.

Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?   Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?

by: Hardrock Rules

Thu Oct 1 07:58:34 2009

***MATZA*** I agree with you this is horrible, John Donahoe is unbelievable ! What to H E double Hockey sticks is ebay to this man ? A game ? There are poor unfortunate people who relied on the $200 a week they could earn to feed their children, as they had no alternative, and this guy has IMPACTED so many lives while he gets $22,000,000 for himself.

I am Top Rated, but Best Match is not working like it did in auctions as some others have pointed out on here, and I agree the slap those other 80% feel, they must be home crying, I feel like crying for them. Over the last year, I have cried, had dizzy spells, stress, sleeplessness, kissed the customers butts like never before for what ?

To have auction style listings end in a time ending soonest format ? Meaning currently if you got your badge, but are listing with auction, your badge and FREE Shipping will not boost you in Best Match if the guy in front of you just ends 1 minute earlier ! What a joke !

Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?   Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?

by: Lisa

Thu Oct 1 08:10:14 2009

Could the TSR Badge BE any bigger?  It's bigger than the Seller's name!  It would have the opposite effect on me than what eBay envisions.  I'd immediately know it's a PS, I'd check their FB and negs before looking at the description, and in all likelihood, look elsewhere.  Knowing eBay like I do, I'd know that there are probably a lot of good sellers with the same item with better terms, non-stock pictures and that eBay wants me to see the TSR's first, even if the price and S&H aren't as good as the same item from a non TRS.  If I were a TRS, I wouldn't want that Banner announcing that I was one of eBay's pets.

Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?   Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?

by: Lisa

Thu Oct 1 08:18:10 2009

I have to disagree with Jake as far as the stupidity of buyers.

''eBay buyers are generally known as the worst possible due to very low intelligence or basically too dumb or lazy to read what they are actually buying……like driving past a car dealer and shouting out the window “ I want that one”…then complaining about  the stereo etc

I constantly receive Paypal Item not as described claims because I list an exact 32 inch waist item and guess what the fool who was a 32 inch waist last year is now a 34…just too lazy to check my exact item description & measurements BUT NEVER too lazy to file Paypal claims...this sums up the mentality of eBay buyers''

Sorry but that post is offensive to any eBay buyer, including those that also sell (like me).  I have more problems with Sellers deciding that certain condition aspects aren't worth entering and I don't find out until I get the item that it had flaws that I would not have wanted.  Some sellers pack poorly, others grossly overcharge for S&H.  If I thought aloud like Jake, I'd have to say eBay Sellers are greedy, overzealous and thoughtless if my opinion about buyers was that they are ''low intelligence, too dumb and lazy''.

I'm sure I'll get flamed by Sellers who think like Jake who say it's my fault for not asking about defects and flaws not referenced in the description or shown in photos, but seriously, are eBay buyers supposed to be psychic?  

I'm also getting really tired of eBay removing negs for it's preferred sellers like yourgmdealer (up to 9 out of 20 transactions with FB of 76.5 as of yesterday with Shark1998 buying cars like they're haircuts.  How many cars does one buyer need?  Obviously only buying to keep the dealer from going under with negatives but the eBay Double Standard is worrisome.  

The only dumb thing I see in the new search results page with a Bid Now button is the alarming heightened risk to both Buyer and Seller when the item specifics and description aren't read and item specifics are multiple choice giving the Seller the opportunity to represent their item is better than it actually is.  

eBay can't keep skewing results that favor the seller and place the Buyer at a disadvantage because of omitted details.  It's nice that eBay is resolving claims - I filed a claim for items I received damaged from HK - the Seller wouldn't resolve until I closed the dispute.  I escalated to a claim and found in my favor within an hour.  They just took my word for it.  Had I had the same items that I had gotten from a different Seller, and were I a dishonest individual, the opportunity to get something for nothing would be tempting.  Did eBay miss that?  They can't see the forest for the trees in their rush to satisfy Buyers at the expense of further eroding eBay's reputation (currently at garage sale status).

I can only see this making search even more cumbersome and time consuming with thousands more irrelevant results and more search refining in my future.

Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?   Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?

by: matza

Thu Oct 1 09:55:26 2009

Lisa, in case you haven't heard yourgmdealer saw the light at the end of the tunnel and drove to it as fast as they could in a Toyota.

Donohoe is way overpaid. Giving him a paycheck is like flushing money down the toilet and letting him continue to work is like a medical lab releasing all the bacteria specimens into the working environment on a daily basis.

Donohoe is TOXIC. He has a skull and crossbones tattoo on each of his butt cheeks and a sonic pulsating flicker in his brain.
He see's dead people and hears voices and they are telling him the GM deal was a great success story.

Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?   Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?

by: Hardrock Rules

Thu Oct 1 10:14:42 2009

WE CAN COMPLAIN ALL WE LIKE ! It Donahoes way or the Highway, and I can't wait till the Boss in the sky shows me a way to take the Highway and NEVER look back at this stupid company that constantly changes rules and afects people lives literally !

I wonder how many people became suicidal or actually did do it from all this BS and stress this man has brought down on decent sellers, or because he impacted their family ?

Hey Donahoe, your really affecting peolpes lives hear with your do this do that, no do this now we changed the rules BS.

Someday I hope your shown by the Big Boss in the sky what you have done to people since you took over you clown !

Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?   Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?

by: matza

Thu Oct 1 10:30:31 2009

There is one person who worships the ground Donohoe walks on and prays long and hard everyday he stays healthy and employed by ebay.

JEFF BEZOS

When Donohoe was hired he won the powerball jackpot.

He also holds the power to strike the fatal blow at any time if amazon launched auctions similar to ebay but more competitively priced there would be an ebay evacuation on a massive level never before seen and amazon profits and stock price would probably go up close to double what it is now.

Sellers are trapped in a crumbling building and WILL flee at a moments notice if given a solid option such as Amazon auctions.

At one point in time amazon wanted to be like ebay now they can be like amazon and ebay and control the world of e-commerce forever.

Why they are not taking this knockout blow opportunity I don't know?
When you have a chance to decimate your biggest rival you should take it.

Paypal would wither and die and amazon payments would rule the payment world too.


Donohoe has made ebay extremely vulnerable to losing everything very very quickly. He's missed so much opportunity at growth it's sickening to watch.

He could have had ebay being the talk of the business world during the recession, instead he wreaked havoc. Now that there is somewhat of a recovery he is wreaking more havoc.

I'm just stunned at the sheer stupidity of this man. It's stunning!

Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?   Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?

by: Competition Needed

Thu Oct 1 11:08:46 2009

If Google or Craiglist were to decide to offer FREE auction listings, that would be the nail in Ebay's coffin as well as Donahoes.

I pray for it every day.

Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?   Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?

by: Patricia

Thu Oct 1 11:33:27 2009

Putting a bid box on the list pages is just about the dumbest idea Ebay has ever had.  What about the description? Unless they're going to provide room for the seller's FULL description then this is yet another stupid idea.

As for item condition, if that's what it takes to get the items onto Google Base then do it!  But do it to Google's specs.

Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?   Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?

by: Patricia

Thu Oct 1 11:35:43 2009

@Lisa:

"eBay can't keep skewing results that favor the seller and place the Buyer at a disadvantage because of omitted details."

If Ebay did ANYTHING in favor of the seller they would give them back their right to neg a buyer!  Since that time, sellers have lost ALL rights and then some!  Ebay/Paypal has now reached a point where a seller can very well lose their money AND their item!  Don't talk about favoring sellers...there is NO favoring sellers on that site unless you're a diamond seller!

Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?   Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?

by: J

Thu Oct 1 12:31:33 2009

Great. A way to place a bid without reading the description. What "great mind" at eBay is being paid to come up with that.

It just never stops. I truly believe the employees at eBay are creating work for themselves to avoid the reality they are totally worthless and not needed.

Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?   Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?

by: Ebay Sux

Thu Oct 1 12:56:56 2009

These jerkoffs at Ebay say I'm "Above Standard" but since this garbage programming rolled out I haven't had a sale.

Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?   Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?

by: On Lies and Secrets

Thu Oct 1 12:57:10 2009

I agree wholeheartedly with RicRoe and Patricia about the inadvisability of putting a bidding box on the search results list page.  Although it is an extra click to do so, I think buyers should be *required* to look at the actual listing page prior to bidding/buying.  This protects sellers and the integrity of the buying agreement for both parties.  If ebay pages were better designed so that page loading was significantly faster, this would be less of an issue.    Because the ebay platform is so cumbersome and slow, there is a temptation for buyers to take short cuts in their purchasing and in my opinion, they shouldn't.  This will only lead to greater unhappiness for both buyers and sellers. I think the ebay corporation should focus its energies on improving its platform rather than on changing procedures that impact its customers (buyers and sellers).  IMO, the ebay corporation should be spending more time improving itself, its internal procedures and its platform, rather than putting the great imposition of changes onto  buyers and sellers.

IMO, ebay senior management needs to stop taking out its problems on buyers and sellers.  IMO the ebay corporation is badly managed and poor senior management is the *real* problem with ebay.

Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?   Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?

by: stryker

Thu Oct 1 14:10:09 2009


 I think this latest change is great!  JD is a genius! As anyone who took marketing 101 knows, the one thing customers hate is stability and consistancy. Just ask any successful retail chain they wll tell you. the way to keep a customer is to make sure the store's look changes  as often as possible. Move around departments, eliminate staff, change procedures... Buyers see this as a challenge and become loyal for life !!!

 This is the lesson jd has learned, change everything as often as possible!  If the changes don't work so what? buyers are patiant and there are no other retail web sites to go to right? . ebay users are happy to have learn how to re-navigate the site every few months and to work around the glitch's ITS FUN @!

I remember the search glitch, which kept going to page one of the results, I,  and am sure thousands of other users were happy to spend hours figuring a work around , what fun ! Likewise the stores disappear ? So what ! its fun to dig through the site to see if i can find a store link , its great !

 Please, Please change even more ! Hide more features ! move things around ! Keep changing the MYebay page,  its great, and the vast increase in site traffic is proof of the brilliance of this strategy !  

Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?   Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?

by: summer in the city

Thu Oct 1 14:27:08 2009



LOL stryker!

Jeff Bezos, if you're out there, just do it. Auctions. Now.

This is an official mandate of the people :-)

Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?   Changes to eBay Item Condition and Search Display Ahead?

by: Jon Donaho H8 club

Thu Oct 1 14:32:25 2009

I think JD must work for the local Wallymart, those idiots have done 5 redesigns of the store in the past year & it's only been open 3 years to begin with. Well, thanks to them idiots, I no longer shop there, as I need to find what I need when I need it & not have to look around. Found a better local market that's just as cheap. Good work there. There was always constant change on Ebay, constant change of quality merch, that is. That stuff is gone now. All the $10 rolls of Toilet Paper in the world ain't gonna make up for the Millions in lost opportunity. The only other company that I've seen self destruct this fast was WCW wrestling, and for the same reasons. Booking on the fly, short term thinking & constant change. Dropping storylines & changing the players caused a $50 million dollar promotion to be sold off in 1 year for about $3 Million to the WWE. Same thing is happening here, only NOT FAST ENOUGH. I can't wait til Jeff Bezos buys Ebay & fixes it so we can start making money again. Jon Donaho is a disaster. His tsunami of idiocy has hurt too many great people & favors the worst of Ebay.

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