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Wed Sept 5 2012 20:05:26

eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started

By: Brian Cohen

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One feature I would like to see added to eBay listings is the ability to add messages (or for that matter a message boards) to individual auctions. While there is a "Ask a Question" feature which allows a seller to post questions and feedback from potential buyers, this is anemic conversation at best.

eBay listings should allow sellers to be moderators of forums created for their auction listings. For expired listing that meet certain criteria such as a listing bookmarked by 12 or more eBay users, Sellers should have the option of archiving/locking an eBay auction and keeping the message board live or even handing over "ownership" (moderator status, really) of the message board to the buyer! There should also be functionality to like/dislike or thumbs up/down individual messages.

Perhaps eBay and Twitter could team up to embed a Twitter widget/feed in eBay listings and use eBay listing IDs as a hashtag?

A conversation is a great way to show there is interest in your product(s), and interest only drums up sales.

I would like to see the type of situation where a potential buyer enters the eBay site to see what are the hot topics of conversation, join the conversation, and decide to place a bid or hit me up with a Buy It Now.

(Amazon's) Woot Community is the closest example that I can think of that uses some of thee above ideas.

While eBay has incorporated social (Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest) in its listings, the social experience for the most part occurs *outside* the eBay platform. I would like to see tighter integration of social incorporated/embedded into eBay itself.

How do you want your buyers to socialize on eBay? Discuss below!

About the Author
Brian Cohen has been an active member of the eBay community since May 1998. He currently trades under the member name Bidofthis.com. His first AuctionBytes article was published in May 2002. Brian can be contacted through his website at BidofThis.com where he always has a "little Bid of This and little Bid of That."




Comments (15) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started   eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Sep 5 23:39:29 2012

Why?  You must get a whole lot of emails from your buyers on a regular basis to justify or need something like this.  What is it that you sell?  Why doesn't your description answer most questions.  Of course buyers from time to time will have a question, but I've never in my 10+ years had so many questions on a listing that it would warrant something like this.

So please enlighten me.  What types of listings would benefit from this?

eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started   eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started

by: blaumann This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 5 23:43:20 2012

This is exactly the opposite of ebay's direction. Plus some of us don't "get" twitter and want nothing to do with it

eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started   eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 6 00:14:53 2012

Ebay must be recoiling in shock and horror and planning on how to terminate this guys account as I type.

This is EXACTLY the one thing ebay fears the MOST---active communications between ebay USERS.  

They have recently launched missile attacks against the Seller Boards for posters daring to---post ON THE TOPIC.  On an EBAY based topic.  Not--Is my puppy cute?  But---What to do if some one steals your images.  OR--What to do about a UID.  

They have even taken down a comment on someone attending the funeral of a 21 year old kid KIA and the extraordinary outpouring of the community at his service and burial.  From a regular poster on one of the longer running seller forums.  Pinked.  Seriously---who was this disturbing?  

So---I can hear the execs little pencil necks whiplashing now.  

eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started   eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started

by: uncle rico This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 6 00:32:13 2012

I'd have no desire to use this type of feature, personally.

eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started   eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Sep 6 00:54:47 2012

Why would a seller want to get involved in an endeavor like that? And aren't most sellers trying to list, sell and ship items? When would they have the time to manage a message board as well? And since most buyers are complete strangers (and lots of them are nuts!), why would you want to socialize with them? Not to mention that eBay doesn't want a seller to communicate with anyone for fear they'd sell something off eBay and eBay would lose their outrageous fees. I say thumbs down on Brian's idea.

eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started   eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started

by: jilly This user has validated their user name.
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Thu Sep 6 03:37:23 2012

ha sparrow...thanks for the laugh... And I am not into twitter and facebook either. Boring. I sure hope it's a big passing fad...

eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started   eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started

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

Thu Sep 6 04:39:43 2012

It is ironic that eBa'al won't communicate with people when LISTERS have a problem, or else eBa'al does listen and then lies to people and now...

Listers are to engage their customers and be social.

Too bad energy can not be spent encouraging eBa'al to communicate with their customers, the Listers.

Listers get screwed over and over and are expected to be ''social'' to the buyers.  It's like wapping a dog over the head with a rolled newspaper and then telling Spot to go give little Suzie a kiss.  

eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started   eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Thu Sep 6 07:47:33 2012

Not interested.

I'm either on eBay to sell or buy. I welcome questions on my items. I hope sellers answer my questions when I'm buying.

Chatrooms.....Geez!  

eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started   eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Thu Sep 6 08:00:05 2012

With an "ask the seller" feature, it's the seller fielding all the questions. With the Woot forum-style feature, shoppers answer each others' questions.

Such a feature might work better on niche sites?

eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started   eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started

by: mylifeisgood This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 6 08:01:32 2012

Not interested either. I have more important things to do.

If buyers or sellers need the touchy feely experience I suggest that they buy at a B&M store. That way they can get real cozy and lovey.

eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started   eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Thu Sep 6 10:54:41 2012

No way eBay wants buyers and sellers communicating...take a look at all the effort they have put into interfering with buyer & seller communication with the intent to eliminate it completely.


1) Buried the ASQ link on the bottom of the page.

2) On new search page formats, the link to community is either missing or moved to the bottom of the page to discourage use of discussion boards.

3) Heavy handed censorship of eBay discussion boards, resulting in removal of eBay critical posts, off topic posts etc...

3) In the shipping flow, eBay limits messaging to buyers making the space useless making it impossible to send a proper shipping acknowledgement to buyers that thanks them for their purchase.

4) Sellers are prohibited from receiving automatic 5 stars if there is post transaction communication of any kind for any reason. This includes sending post transaction shipping updates or even a thank you note sent as a common courtesy.

5) eBay encourages an anti seller mindset in buyers, taking the opportunity at every possible point to remind buyers that they can open a claim against their seller without first requiring communication takes place.

6) Allows the anti seller sentiment to carry over into a DSR ratings process that can negatively impact a sellers ability to do business up to and including the suspension of any given sellers account.

If eBay were a brick and mortar store, sales clerks would be concealed from view so as to be unavailable to answer questions prior to purchase and cashiers would be prohibited from thanking customers for their purchase during checkout. Customer service personnel would be replaced with an automated return process box to eliminate any possible human interaction. All forms of employee to customer communication would be prohibited.

That is what happens when management ranks are filled with book smart individuals who do not sell under the rules they have created.

The concept of creating a communication platform within an item listing is not going to happen.

eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started   eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started

by: NXeBaybiz This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 6 13:39:26 2012

@ Ina:

Due respect, niche or not, considering the trouble likely to be experienced with ONE potential buyer not fully 'understanding' listing content and detail (due to lack of 'whatever'), WHY in the world would I want to encourage potentially MULTIPLE misunderstanding and uncertainty, by having all sorts of factors that NONE of the 'opinioners' know for certain being decided and discussed in context to my listing?

They want to chat about widgets among themselves, they have lots of other venues available for that.

eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started   eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started

This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Thu Sep 6 16:04:46 2012

Ina has a point. This sort of thing would be of use to fairly specific niche areas - craft products, for example. Someone buying yarn might enjoy discuss a knitting project with other yarn-buyer or knitting enthusiasts. Or someone buying components for a hobby, like rebuilding old cars, might enjoy discussing things with others.

I personally wouldn't have the time to manage something like that, but I can see where small, casual sellers, perhaps people "destashing" their craft products or build components, might welcome such an avenue of discussion.  

eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started   eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started

by: stargazer This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 7 00:07:08 2012

You may want to try ''eLiveHelp'' that is under the eBay applications tab if you want to converse back and forth with your potential customers.  I saw it recently in an eBay store page and didn't realize eBay allowed live chatting. AND I was quite surprised when I found it was an approved app.  Personally, I don't want to ''Live Chat'' with my customers. I try to include everything they need to know right up front.    

eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started   eBay Let's Get the Conversation Started

This user has validated their user name. by: TrentDep

Fri Sep 7 09:29:40 2012

Is it just me, or is it odd that this user ID is a web address?



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