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Wed Sept 22 2010 22:08:39

How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay is no longer allowing sellers to list duplicate fixed-priced listings on it site as of October 26, the company announced yesterday. "The item offered in a seller's Fixed Price listing must be significantly different in buyer benefit and value from items offered in their other Fixed Price listings. In short, sellers may have one Fixed Price listing per identical item. Multiples of an item must be sold in a single multi-quantity Fixed Price listing."

But what about used goods? I saw an excellent question about this on the eBay boards. In a nutshell, for a seller of used items who may be selling 5 used forks in the same pattern with each piece showing different signs of wear, how would the seller ensure eBay won't incorrectly identify those five listings as dupes?

eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff explained, "if the items show differentiation (i.e. in a photo) like visible wear patterns, pits, marks, rips, tears, chips, etc., which would allow a person to clearly discern one from the other, we wouldn't declare them identical and the seller could list them in Single Quantity Fixed Price Listings. The seller would need to call out the differentiation by using separate photos for each one (and close ups of any unique condition marks) and indicate the specific unique condition item in each item description."

She further clarified for me, "If item condition values are the same, but the individual items have clearly differentiated types of wear patterns, or use, that can be shown in photos and described in item descriptions, we would consider them different and they could be listed individually."

So lets say you are selling two spoons in separate listings - make sure you clearly indicate how they differ in terms of markings or condition - and have different photos for each listing. If you can't tell the difference, then list them both in one listing with a quantity of two (in the Quantity field) so you can still sell them separately, but in one listing (see eBay's page on selling multiple items in a single listing on this page).

The same goes for books - even if you know the books are different editions or one has foxing and the other has a bent corner, eBay may not know - so be sure your photos and descriptions document the differences!




Comments (35) | Permalink

Readers Comments

How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods   How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods

by: eBay Stinks Like Cheese

Wed Sep 22 22:25:57 2010

eBay attemptd a de-dupe policy about 18 months ago. They stopped it abruptly because it wasn't working. The reason they claim they are able to try this again is that the technology to spot dupes is better. This is another way of saying that the automated processes are better. And that in turn means that items will be removed and people will receive penalties because a robot or spider-type program finds these violations.

Does anyone believe for a minute that these automated takedowns won't cause havoc for people? Or that sellers wont be wasting significant time trying to convince eBay that items were removed in error?

Most of all - isn't this all just a move to encourage people to use auctions, which are fully exempted from this new policy? So, after months of discouraging auctions and attempting to push everyone to fixed price, eBay is now attempting to push everyone back to auctions.

What a complete and utter joke this is.

How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods   How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods

by: nadine

Wed Sep 22 23:12:09 2010

Will it help ebay understand that the similar item has a different condition if it is listed at a different price? This is a common situation: you have 11 items, and you list 8 of them for a certain amount as being in excellent condition, but have three listed for less with some minor flaws.

How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods   How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods

by: Helen H.

Wed Sep 22 23:19:56 2010

What eBay says and what eBay does are two different things. This new policy is fraught with subjectivity and enforcement will vary depending on the Seller, the item, and the eBay employee making the judgment du jour.

How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods   How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods

by: fallonthalia
Web Site

Thu Sep 23 01:15:10 2010

In regards to used books--and pay extra money for additional photos? No thanks! eBay makes too much money on our stuff as it is.

I have a feeling that eBay will somehow go about this policy the wrong way (pick and choose by eBay employees), and end up hurting mainly the small to medium sellers.

It would be logical to apply this new duplicate policy to new items only. But what would happen is this: sellers would start listing new items as used in order to put up duplicate listings.

How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods   How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods

by: nadine

Thu Sep 23 01:43:06 2010

For years eBay didn't move to lower the number of duplicate listings, presumably because they liked the large number of listings on the site. So what changed? The site is swamped with Store-to-Core Chinese junk, that's what changed.

How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods   How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods

by: RJR

Thu Sep 23 02:38:22 2010

The dupe rule is being put in place for the Chinese. They list for free and have more throw away IDs than carter has liver pills do you really think it's going to slow them down?

How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods   How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods

This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Thu Sep 23 04:37:11 2010

Just a venue, huh?

Good luck with appeals on erroneously pulled items.

How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods   How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods

by: Kelly

Thu Sep 23 09:51:26 2010

This is a very confusing policy. :(

How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods   How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods

by: The idea is good BUT.....

Thu Sep 23 10:01:05 2010

Implementation is going to be tricky.
They should get stores out of core. It has been a mess.

The Chinese mega sellers will just list with different ID's

How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods   How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods

by: Jay

Thu Sep 23 10:16:46 2010

I sell duplicate used items all the time. I use different pictures for these items but the same text. As far as I can see if I use different pictures I'm OK.
Ebays bots should spot that out easily.
I'm not wOrRiEd, nO sIrEe

How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods   How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods

by: lookwhatbobfound This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 23 11:15:28 2010

"by: fallonthalia
      Web Site
Thu Sep 23 01:15:10 2010
In regards to used books--and pay extra money for additional photos? No thanks! eBay makes too much money on our stuff as it is."

fallonthalia, there has never been a charge for pictures if you embed them in your description.  I have sometimes put 20+ pictures in a listing & have never paid a penny for them.

How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods   How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods

by: fallonthalia
Web Site

Thu Sep 23 11:41:28 2010

@ lookwhatbobfound

I don't have a clue as to how to go about embedding pictures into a listing. All I know is if I want more than 1 picture, I have to pay 15 cents for each one.

When I used Auctiva, and then Sellersourcebook, I could put lots of extra pictures up at no additional cost, but I don't have those services anymore.

How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods   How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods

by: lookwhatbobfound This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 23 13:33:10 2010

fallonthalia, you must not have been listing for awhile.  You now get 12 free pics on ebay, that was started several months ago.  but you really should learn how to embed! it'll save you alot of money that feegreebay doesn't get!  it's easy to do once you learn it.

How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods   How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods

by: Buckwheat

Thu Sep 23 13:40:19 2010

I have between 5 and 20 identical listings for each item I sell. I use about 4 title variations to maximize keyword exposure (I don't keyword spam, but the products I sell have multiple applications and buyers use a multitude of keywords to find what I am selling.

Why do I list up to 20 identical listings? Because the Chinese competition uses anywhere from 20-50 or more, and its the only way to be seen.

My worries are:

1. Enforcement- if I play by the rules and the Chinese sellers don't, I have to pray eBay will enforce the new rule, otherwise my sales will drop and I will either have to live with it, or break the rules myself. Years ago ebay had a 10-item rule in regards to duplication. They never enforced it even though I would report a lot of violators.

2. For many sellers the dupe policy won't matter. For those that sell items that can be used in several different applications, sellers will have to pick the one title that gets the most traffic, while ignoring other potential keywords that are relevant but don't fit in the lone listing title. This will drop traffic and sales for all sellers of this item across the board, as it is likely to bring in less traffic from outside search engines.

Ebay does say that for items like cell phone chargers that fit two or three different model phones you can have up to 5 identical listings with different titles. But that sounds very subjective- I am not sure if my titles will fit under this new rule, and my discussions with my eBay account manager show he is not really sure either!

Simple solution for eBay- go back to 10 listing limit and enforce it. That way eBay won't be flooded with 50+ listings from Chinese sellers (and American competitors like me jockeying for exposure), but sellers can still maximize the use of relevant keywords...

How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods   How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods

by: Rupert Pupkin

Thu Sep 23 14:04:25 2010

Does anyone really believe that eBay, who has failed abysmally to police their own website, is actually going to devote the monies and personnel to scrutinize individual pickle forks for wear marks?

This "new" policy may prove a temporary impediment to the individual listing of a hundred identical flash drives, but the targeted transgressors will game their way around this "bar" before lunch on the day it goes into effect.

How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods   How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods

by: Helen H.

Thu Sep 23 15:26:07 2010

Rupert Pupkin asks: ''Does anyone really believe that eBay, who has failed abysmally to police their own website, is actually going to devote the monies and personnel to scrutinize individual pickle forks for wear marks?''

Helen: Great observation! I think you're probably correct about that. By in large, most (so-called)duplicates in those categories will go unnoticed by eBay.

However, I do think that eBay has given cutthroat Sellers a weapon that can be used against their competition. Although eBay itself may not be actively policing ''duplicate'' pickle fork listings... they'll probably respond to any complaints that they receive.

Rupert Pupkin observes: This ''new'' policy may prove a temporary impediment to the individual listing of a hundred identical flash drives, but the targeted transgressors will game their way around this ''bar'' before lunch on the day it goes into effect.

Helen: INDEED! It's not difficult at all to take hand-held photos of (truly) identical items and simply adjust the cropping, dimensions, lighting, angle, etc... and each photo will be unique (and unlikely to be spotted by any eBay auto-analyzing-bots.)

A list of plausible ''defects'' could be cut and pasted into each listing to make the item ''unique''.

- shrink-wrap wrinkled
- shop-worn on top corner
- shop-worn on back corner
- price sticker residue on box
- price sticker residue on shrink-wrap
- unopened box, shrink-wrap removed
- scratch on box
- crack in plastic shelf-hanger
- dusty

How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods   How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods

by: Phil in MN

Thu Sep 23 17:10:10 2010

Listen, knowing eBay, there is no possible way they'll be able to enforce this policy. I feel like attempting a couple listings under a couple user id's & see what happens, just for giggles.
I am in agreement with the overall policy for dupe listings of the same kind of item clogging up the system, but I've also had dupe items that were different in condition from time to time. There not going to have the manpower to differentiate these items. Theyre sure not making it easy for the average Joe to conduct business here.

How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods   How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 23 23:00:06 2010

ebay is going to look at each individual listing to see if it has different pictures?  i think not.  it will probably be a combination of title, item specifics and price.

i have a few duplicates of books in different conditions.  it will be interesting to see if any get pulled.

How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods   How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods

by: Jennifer

Thu Sep 23 23:38:31 2010

I sell dinnerware and flatware. My concern is going to be listings that have multiples. I already list them separate because people do not read listings and can become confused. If I have 9 bread and butter plates in a dinnerware pattern at $3.33 each. Normally I would sell them by listing them individually and have 3 total listings with 3 plates per listing and sell them at $9.99. Now if they are all in the same condition - I will have to list them in one listing, 3 plates, a total of 3 sets of 3 available. I don't think they realize how many questions this will cause me, or that the customer may THINK, that they are ordering more or less than they really are. Then my DSR/Feedback may be affected. Ebay will then side with the buyer because they have rated their experience with the transaction.

I don't mind conforming, but they need to do the job of explaining to the customers how these listings are going to look and what it will mean to the customer so that it will not come back and bite me and my feedback.

Not only myself, many sellers indeed, have problems with customers NOT reading the listings.

We need a different multi variational listing template for selling dinnerware and flatware so that we can show condition and items better to the customer and not just the description.

Please help US explain this to them and not just leave it to the customer to ''read and understand''.

How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods   How eBay's Dupes Policy Affects Sellers of Used Goods

by: gcar

Thu Sep 23 23:41:05 2010

When they start enforcing .99 cent CHINESE listings with $99 shipping, then I will be concerned about this new BS policy.
For me it is BS because 1 example is that I list the same digital scale under several relevant categories..now what TF?
And i also bet that BUY gets to keep all 900K of their listings intact.
Ebay has gone completely nuts

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