|Sun Feb 20 2011 20:55:01|
eBay Diverts Traffic to Other Sellers' Listings
By: Ina Steiner
While browsing an eBay seller's Storefront on her Facebook page, I clicked on her eBay listings for jewelry. Instead of taking me to her listing, eBay redirected me to a page on its site that showed a small portion of her listing I was trying to visit, followed by a list of similar items from other sellers - the same type of redirect page you get when clicking on an eBay listing from the Google search engine.
That's because any time you try to visit a listing that has ended on eBay, you're taken instead to a list of competitors' listings. eBay redirects shoppers any time they click on a link of an ended listing, whether the link appears on Facebook, Google searches, or presumably any website, blog or email.
It even happens when you enter an Item number into eBay's own search box (type 360344791643 into eBay's search box and click "Go," and you'll see what I mean).
About the only time it doesn't happen is when searching for closed items on the eBay search box, those results will take you to the Item page of the completed listing.
The lesson for sellers is this: when you link to your eBay listings from other sites, make sure you only link to live listings - otherwise, you could be sending your traffic to other people's listings. If you've taken the time and expense to send an email campaign or set up a Facebook shop to drive traffic to your eBay listings, you don't want eBay redirecting that traffic to your competitors' item - especially if you have similar items for sale.
It's not always possible, of course - people may find links you posted on your Facebook wall or another site weeks or months after you posted them.
Adding insult to injury, eBay includes ads for off-eBay product listings on the redirect pages. When I clicked from the seller's Facebook storefront tab to go to her garnet ring eBay listing, the eBay redirect page displayed not only listings from her competitors, but it also displayed ads for jewelry from HSN. The eBay redirect page for her turquoise ring displayed ads linking to turquoise rings on JCPenney.com.
So she could be helping drive traffic from her Facebook shop to the Home Shopping Network and JCPenney - without getting a dime in advertising or affiliate revenue!
Doug Feiring of AuctionInsights posted last week about a similar redirect scenario that he calls the Google Penalty, but it affects live eBay listings, not ended items. I've observed eBay redirecting traffic from the search engines since at least 2009, but Doug noticed a new permutation.
eBay is either providing the best possible experience to shoppers by showing them more choices when shopping on eBay, or it's playing fast-and-loose with listing real estate that its sellers have paid for - let us know what you think!