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Thu Apr 21 2011 11:49:25

Use eBay Auctions with Care when Duplicating Fixed-Price Listings

By: Ina Steiner

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Last week an AuctionBytes reader wrote to say they were unable to list some items. They said when they called eBay to find out why, they were told that sellers would be in violation of eBay's policies if they ran an auction that is materially a duplicate of any Fixed Price Listing in their store.

eBay has a clear policy against fixed-price duplicate listings, and a more ambiguous policy against auction duplicate listings (they are allowed if the seller maintains at least a 30% average sell-through rate for all duplicate Auction-style listings). But I'd never heard of a policy banning sellers from listing auctions just because they also had the same item listed in fixed-price format.

I received clarification from eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff, who wrote in an email:

"An eBay seller is able to list an Auction that is a duplicate of a Fixed Price listing in their store. It doesn't change the Fixed Price duplicate policy (the seller can't have two duplicate listings in Fixed Price), but we do allow sellers to have a Fixed Price listing + an Auction listing that are the same.

"Please keep in mind that while duplicates can be listed in Auctions, the inventory must sell or we will contact the seller. Here is the language in the policy: "If you have too many duplicate auction-style listings that end without a sale, we may remove some or all of your listings or give them less visibility in search results."

"And here's the Search & browse manipulation policy on the site: Link."

In the past, before eBay eliminated the Store inventory format and put Store in Core, sellers would often run auctions to advertise their Stores, where it was cheaper to list items.

Now that all Store items can be found in eBay's main search engine, would some sellers continue to employ that strategy?

Skip McGrath of Auction Sellers Resource said yes. He continues to use auctions to drive traffic to his eBay Store and includes statements such as, "Want it now? Don't wait for the auction to end, visit my eBay Store now to get your garden lights right away."

Skip explained that auction listings come up to the top of search results in Best Match during the last 4 hours of the auction, and said he often sees extra eBay Store sales during that period.

Lisa Suttora, an ecommerce consultant who writes frequently about eBay at LisaSuttora.com, said depending on the item, the category and the seller, her clients do get results using the auction/fixed-price format in their listing strategy. "For new consumer goods, I advise people to TEST running a POPULAR item at auction and then use the additional traffic they get from that auction to direct people to their fixed-price listings."

However, she said sellers should always be testing new strategies, and also warned that increased traffic/visibility in Best Match is "all over the place":

"There is no rhyme or reason. Sometimes the above strategies work and sometimes they don't."

So if you're a seller that uses auctions to promote your fixed-price listings, keep in mind that too many non-selling duplicate auctions could spell trouble on eBay.




Comments (8) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Use eBay Auctions with Care when Duplicating Fixed-Price Listings   Use eBay Auctions with Care when Duplicating Fixed-Price Listings

by: Wilma F.

Thu Apr 21 12:13:46 2011

Lisa Suttora hits the nail directly on the head when she says ''There is no rhyme or reason. Sometimes the above strategies work and sometimes they don't.''

The reason for this inconsistency is because ''Best Match'' is inconsistent. For the small sellers, the ''Best Match'' programming has been a devastating failure.

In their hearts, I think the eBay execs and programmers and policy-makers ALSO know that it's been a failure, yet they are too proud and stubborn to admit failure and abandon it.

Instead, they continually ''tweak'' and reprogram it and allow it to go live without testing it. It's poorly constructed code and a flawed logic that's held together with baling wire and duct tape. Every ''tweak'' here, requires a ''fix'' over there. Every ''fix'' causes something else to fail, resulting in more temporary fixes and hacks.

The whole thing should just be scrapped. It's a complete disaster!

The same inconsistency we see with ''Best Match'' is ALSO present in how polices are made, and how they are interpreted, and how they are enforced.

Even within the company itself, the different departments have NO CLUE what's going on. They're isolated from each other, and isolated from the reality of trying to sell on eBay. It's little wonder that they cannot explain policies (or properly advise sellers on how to maximize their earning potential).

The incompetence and dysfunction is never more obvious than when you have one group of people (or ''advocates'') recommending to sellers that they do things that are in direct violation of policies. Or even at best, the recommendations are ''sometimes'' in violation of a vague policy... depending on WHO is doing the enforcement... depending on their mood... and depending on if it's a Friday or a Monday.

Little wonder that sellers are FED UP with eBay's nonsense and are choosing their own web stores and other venues instead.

Based on the amount of time that's needed for me to BABYSIT my eBay customers, along with all the EXTRA TIME it takes for me to **CONSTANTLY** update my listings to remain compliant with the new policy-du-jour... I can tell you quite honestly (and without hyperbole) that I make LESS per hour with eBay than any of my other online sales sources.

''Disruptive'' indeed!

Use eBay Auctions with Care when Duplicating Fixed-Price Listings   Use eBay Auctions with Care when Duplicating Fixed-Price Listings

by: anyone out there

Thu Apr 21 12:23:39 2011

When Fleecebay drop store listings into core I stopped doing auctions.

Increase my store items by about 2000 items and now I sell more than ever.

Why run an auction when I get better sales with fixed price while spending less on fees.

Use eBay Auctions with Care when Duplicating Fixed-Price Listings   Use eBay Auctions with Care when Duplicating Fixed-Price Listings

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

Thu Apr 21 12:36:53 2011

It’s nothing to do with pride or even stupidity (although if I had to choose I would lean towards stupidity, or criminality) eBay can never abandon “Worst Match”; it is their devious way of trying to favor their “preferred” sellers; it is their fraud on all other sellers who actually pay listing fees; now that they have driven away or crippled so many “other” sellers, if they did away with Worst Match, there would be far too many listings for buyers to sort through and eBay’s referred sellers would soon find out just how difficult it is now to sell anything on eBay, even with a level playing field.

Enron / eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking.

Use eBay Auctions with Care when Duplicating Fixed-Price Listings   Use eBay Auctions with Care when Duplicating Fixed-Price Listings

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

Thu Apr 21 14:17:21 2011

Excellent post and analysis, Wilma!

Experimentation is exactly what ebay wants small sellers to do.

Spend a substantial amount of time "experimenting" instead of creating new listings, improving existing listings, and providing top customer service.

The WANT small sellers to fail -- the sooner the better to eliminate small sellers and their FVF discounts.

So they create contradictory, inconsistent, and stupid policies for the express purpose of suspending small sellers.

They constantly tamper with search to favor the Diamonds and create an unreliable, undependable, inconsistent, poorly functioning platform that INTENTIONALLY doesn't work for small sellers.

Not only is ebay the poster child for sadistic, narcisstic sociopathic corporate management, it is also the poster child for the thoroughly dishonest, corrupt corporation/Wall Street cabal that has ruined and continues to assault our economy.

Use eBay Auctions with Care when Duplicating Fixed-Price Listings   Use eBay Auctions with Care when Duplicating Fixed-Price Listings

by: john

Thu Apr 21 18:13:14 2011

So in other words the OP who posted saying it was against policy to post an auction that is the same as a fixed price is an absolute moron?

Use eBay Auctions with Care when Duplicating Fixed-Price Listings   Use eBay Auctions with Care when Duplicating Fixed-Price Listings

by: Jack O. Faltrades

Thu Apr 21 18:35:42 2011

John writes: ''So in other words the OP who posted saying it was against policy to post an auction that is the same as a fixed price is an absolute moron?''

Asinine comments like this fail to take into account the fact that eBay reps and eBay ''bots'' are not always in sync with eBay's constantly changing, poorly worded, vague policies, and inconsistent enforcement.

Instead of hurling insults and heaping scorn on someone (easy to do when someone is posting anonymously from the safety of their mother's basement) the more mature analysis would be to assume that the OP simply misunderstood or came to the wrong conclusion based on an array of conflicting information.

Or, more likely, the OP actually received WRONG information. I think you're well aware of eBay's shortcomings (whether intentional or not) and how their faults always, and inevitably, benefit eBay... and how they always and inevitably cause harm to small sellers.

I'm still trying to figure out what purpose it serves ''John'' to insult and antagonize the OP with personal attacks and name calling.

Grow the fock up!

Use eBay Auctions with Care when Duplicating Fixed-Price Listings   Use eBay Auctions with Care when Duplicating Fixed-Price Listings

by: pete

Thu Apr 21 22:55:52 2011

eBay has become a convoluted mess of conflicting policy rules and regulations.

How any of these so called Diamond sellers make money on eBay I will never know; the amount of staff time needed with the ever changing idiotic rules is mind numbing.

Only Wall St stock pumpers are happy as they have too much invested in the train wreck.

eBay the ONLY on-line sales venue where a seller with 100% positive BUYER feedback can be suspended for poor performance??????
EBAY YOU ARE A JOKE ....and the cheerleaders are welcome to it.

Use eBay Auctions with Care when Duplicating Fixed-Price Listings   Use eBay Auctions with Care when Duplicating Fixed-Price Listings

by: Good Grief

Sat Apr 23 11:25:12 2011

It appears the original OP has several posting names - jack o, the op, and a few others.

You are as clear as a bright blue sky my dear. Perhaps You should be the one to grow up, and stop spreading panic and rumors just to get noticed All the time. LOOK AT ME I KNOW ALL - gets quite old.



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