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Thu June 24 2010 22:22:19

eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay users were puzzled today when they couldn't find the link that lets them ask sellers questions about their items. A reader sent an email asking, "eBay Ask Seller a Question now missing from sellers listings -  glitch or deliberate?" eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff solved the mystery, telling AuctionBytes it was a test.

"Because sellers tell us that a large percentage of questions they receive are in fact answered in the item description, right now a test is being conducted where the ask-a-question link is located farther down on the item page. To encourage buyers to read sellers' descriptions and to set the right buyer expectations upfront before they click on the ask-a-question link, we are testing a new position with a small amount of traffic."

Obviously some eBay shoppers failed to find the new location of the feature. (Link to an eBay forum thread where the issue was being discussed.)




Comments (54) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link   eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link

by: kw

Thu Jun 24 23:09:30 2010

LOL!  Need any further proof that people don't read?!

eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link   eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 24 23:17:22 2010

well they are right in that a large number of the questions i get are for things in the description, moving the ask seller link from where it's been is not the answer.

eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link   eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link

by: On Lies and Secrets This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jun 24 23:29:34 2010

I've got to agree with mindelec - if they already know that people aren't reading listings then moving the link farther down in the listing just makes the buying experience more frustrating. I don't see how this is a solution to the problem at all. It seems like the ebay corporation is frustrating buyers on purpose... I guess they want buyers to click off the page and buy their widget on amazon instead...

eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link   eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link

by: orly

Thu Jun 24 23:39:08 2010

wow, slow news day Ina?

eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link   eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link

by: m

Thu Jun 24 23:44:11 2010

The VAST majority of questions I used to receive could be classified into one of the two scenarios below:

1)______ (something that was addressed in the listing - they couldn't be bothered with reading, but took the time to email me..go figure)

2) Will you take $__ for this? (No 'best offer' button present in the listing)

Of the very few people who didn't fit into the above 2 categories - I answered the question promptly, and rarely did the person purchase the item.

It all amounted to wasted time, and frustration...which is why months ago I turned the FAQ on, and acceptance of question Off. Occasionally someone will figure out how to contact me. If their question fits into one of the above categories, they are quickly blocked.

eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link   eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link

by: m

Thu Jun 24 23:46:26 2010

Nothing better to do, Orly?

eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link   eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link

by: Troglodyte

Fri Jun 25 00:23:54 2010

From my experience, the Ask Seller a Question is largely a waste of a sellers' time or at least my time and, frankly, I wish ebay would do away with it altogether.

Few questions result in sales, many comes from competitors seeking information about a similar they're too lazy to research for themselves or who are trying to tie up my time, with most of the remainder sent because buyers are too lazy to read the description and 'offers' when I specifically have a No Offers Accepted flag in the question list.

My experience is that 5% of questions AT MOST result in sales. I'd gladly give up those few sales not to have my time wasted with the kind of questions most members ask.

eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link   eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link

by: ok

Fri Jun 25 00:58:18 2010

Wow this was drastically needed. Finally a major improvement. Chalk up another Donahoe victory.

The guy is chock full of innovation.

Who woulda thunk moving the ask seller a question link would be such a major improvement?

Sales have skyrocketed since this major improvement.

I think he is underpaid for all the great work he's doing!

eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link   eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 25 01:15:37 2010

"From my experience, the Ask Seller a Question is largely a waste of a sellers' time or at least my time and, frankly, I wish ebay would do away with it altogether. "

easily half of the total questions i get are legitimate overseas buyers asking for a shipping quote.  a good portion of those DO lead to sales.

eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link   eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link

by: Beth

Fri Jun 25 01:45:55 2010

1. since eBay is anonomyzing emails and trying again to restrict the interaction from seller to buyer or vice-versa, this doesn't strike anyone as another nail in the small sellers' coffins?? I may be paranoid but it's doesn't mean it isn't justified.

2. Since they just acknowledged that buyers are not reading down by moving that link, why don't they put all that other "ebay" format crap at the bottom too and put the PICTURE and the DESCRIPTION at the top...where it belongs and where we used to get more sales when people could SEE it "above the fold"?

Oh wait, cause then I wouldn't have CHARGEBACKS and SNADS and UPI disputes for them to use against me come September..(see #1 for paranoia discussion)

Beth

eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link   eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link

by: whatever.

Fri Jun 25 02:48:46 2010

Put me in that 5% minority but if I take the time to Ask the Seller a Question it's going to be for an item that I am interested in buying.

I hate to say it, but many times the description isn't what it could be. As what I'm typically buying are books I need to ask of there's any ''foxing'' and explain what foxing is. I have to determine if it's a bookclub edition. I might have to determine which edition it is.

Or, if the shipping calculator is FUBARed I need to confirm the postage OR tell them that for a particular item Priority Mail is exactly the same or even cheaper than Parcel Post. I have to ask if they will consider Priority Mail over UPS.

Now, this might make me sound like a PITA buyer but I want both me and the seller to avoid conducting a transaction for an item in unacceptable condition, badly packaged, with an unnecessarily expensive shipping method, and not even right book.

And this would be because I have received bookclub editions with foxing tossed in a manila envelope that was already partially torn open billed for Priority Mail but sent Media.

I'm not a high-maintenance buyer, I leave 5 star DSRs across the board (or just don't leave feedback if I feel I can't leave ''5''s).

If I'm looking for the 1982 Berkley trade paperback edition of ''Dune Messiah'' (strangely hard to find) in as close to new condition as possible (and I am) and I'm willing to pay a preminum to get it, I want to make sure it's not a foxed, water stained mass market paperback from 1997.

eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link   eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link

by: Jackie

Fri Jun 25 02:57:29 2010

In the olden days, there were no pictures on the top left. Your picture was right up front and you could put your description right below the image.

Then ebay put a direct link right there near the top(where it is today) to buy/bid on your auction so there is no benefit for buyers to read further.

The link to bid/buy used to be under your description, near the bottom of your page so buyers were more apt to read the description on their way down the page to bid.

I sell figurines and 50% of the questions today are about the size of the item which is directly below my picture which is in the center. Buyers are getting nastier and nastier. They often ask WHY don't you put the size right below the picture. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Buyers somehow think I can put my description right under the ebay picture on the top left.

I agree this is just another reason for buyers to give low DSR's

eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link   eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen

Fri Jun 25 03:19:36 2010

I take eBay’s given reason for making this change to be simply one more example of the lobotomized chimpanzee logic (with apologies to real chimps) that the headless turkeys running this place are only capable of. The IT system is in freefall and someone is experimenting with the access point for messages to sellers. I find it hard to believe. Then, why not, few are selling anything anyway so, at the moment, not too many users will be confused by this further example of eBay’s stupidity …

eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link   eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link

by: Oppenheimer

Fri Jun 25 04:10:11 2010

This should have been done in 1999 and eBay knows it. Amazon sure did. eBay didn't want to deter any buyers, so a dysfunctional system was left in place. Jethro the buyer, meet Auntie Maw the seller. Chew the fatt!! Doesn't cost eBay any money if you do. So, they encouraged it...

Typical eBay buyer question: ''Is the red balloon red''.

So, you'd answer, ''yes, the red balloon is red''.

Then, another follow up question or a time wasting follow up of ''Thanks'', followed by the buyer's life story.
That describes a typical eBay sale. That's the reality of the ''community'', as it was pre-2008.

Blech, so 90s. eBay is still so 90s...

All this to maybe sell an item with a 45 cent profit after subtracing eBay's take rate and the rest of the overhead.

It may make an intersting (yet, sad) sociology book someday, the eBay ''thing'' .....

eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link   eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link

by: dick dona-ho

Fri Jun 25 04:11:44 2010

Here's a better solution....if they know buyers aren't reading the friggin description....then stop being so strict on seller standards and blaming sellers when buyers don't read the description. Morons.

eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link   eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link

by: Marvin This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 25 06:01:05 2010

The only ones puzzled about anything ebay does are those that don't see or don't want to see that everything ebay does is done out of pure greed for the sole financial benefit of ebay. Failing to understand that is called the Baby Huey Syndrome.

Make it hard for buyers to contact sellers to generate low DSR ratings for communications so they don't have to give discounts. Also it keeps buyers on the page longer looking for the ''Contact Seller'' link so they can say Oh,WOW, people are spending more time on ebay (makes stockholders happy and their stock more attractive you see).

If you plan to do something stupid like sell anything on ebay during the 2010 holiday season you better come up to speed on all the changes going into effect in September or you might find out they could take everything you make plus you end up owing them reimbursement and final value fees.

They are a pack of predatory rabid rats.

eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link   eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link

by: aint it the truth

Fri Jun 25 06:09:39 2010

If someone ( i refuse to call them a buyer because they rarely buy ) asks too many questions, bothers me, or asks a question that is answered in the listing I BLOCK THEM. I don't want anyone waiting to set up a negative or neutral. I do tell them that i did see the same item on iOffer.com and/or Bonanzle.com though....just doing what i can to educate the world how awful ebay really is.

eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link   eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link

by: @whatever

Fri Jun 25 06:17:05 2010

Could we have your ebay name SO WE CAN BLOCK YOU. You are the typical book buyer that is too strict and we do NOT want to sell anything to you including OUR COPY of the 1992 paperback you claim you are "looking" for. I did see it on Bonanzle and Albris, though.

eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link   eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link

This user has validated their user name. by: Stockmiser

Fri Jun 25 07:28:11 2010

I get about 1 ''dumb'' question per week, but many more are asking about shipping times or multi-quantity purchases.  Every single question that doesn't block emails is answered with a link to my website.

These questions have generated thousands of dollars of sales on my website.

This is the only reason why ebay is thinking about removing this, and the only reason why they are going to make anonymous email.

IMHO, they want to completely control sellers interactions with buyers so sellers can't sell off-ebay.  

Ebay is not stupid - that would imply they do things without thinking.  Ebay is greedy, short-sighted, and deceitful. They know exactly what they are doing.

eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link   eBay Tests New Placement of 'Ask Seller A Question' Link

by: Luxe

Fri Jun 25 09:41:00 2010

My experience is exactly the same as Mindelec. Most questions are for overseas quotes and often leave to sales.  

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