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Sun Oct 31 2021 09:23:35

A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead

By: Don Heiden

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Are you haunted by slow sales on eBay? It may be that your listings are ghosted in search. In an aptly timed post this Halloween, Don Heiden, aka The Auction Professor, has a trick to bring your sales back from the dead. 

Be sure to read his post all the way to the end, as there are some very important caveats, and you may want to do some testing of your own before you go full throttle. Let us know if find Don's trick is a treat.
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I look forward to the holiday season all year long, and always hope the last three months of the year will be flush with sales. For many businesses, fourth quarter can be the majority of their entire yearly revenue, which means it can be a make it or break it time of the year for many companies. 

That is why every year it pains me to think about what eBay will do to resellers this year with their annual Fall Seller Update. I am not aware of another company (anywhere) that makes such drastic changes which routinely hurts the reseller community in fourth quarter. Most companies that I am familiar with, regardless of the type of business, would never think about doing even small changes during the busiest time of the year, yet alone drastic ones like eBay. But, once again, we are faced with another dilemma caused by eBay's poorly timed update.

This year's Fall Update hit most collectible and vintage sellers in the early morning of the 12th of October. It was easily and clearly noticed by resellers, many of whom reached out to me all stating the same thing. It first started with the loss of the ability to list new items in the effected categories, and then sellers' views, watchers, and sales all jumped off the cliff. 

Many resellers saw their views and watchers drop from thousands-a-day, down to only a few hundred. Without having watchers, a seller would obviously not be able to send out offers to them, which (for many) can be a large amount of their revenue.

Sales also stopped coming in, which is even more concerning. This should be the busiest time of the year on eBay, especially when other sites resellers are using are doing very well. 

eBay further complicated it by advising sellers not to start changing anything until after the 19th of October, a full week after they pushed the update out. This left many resellers in limbo; many not knowing what to do about the sudden lose of revenue that we all rely on to pay our bills. 

On the morning of the 20th, I dived into filling in and fixes the issues the update caused. Items were moved to wrong categories, condition descriptions were missing, shipping options had changed, as well as hundreds of required item specifics were now needed to be filled in. 

Not knowing why my views, watchers, and sales were drastically affected, I filled in or fixed anything I could think of, in the hopes of reversing the losses. To no avail, nothing worked; my numbers kept going down, making it the worst October I can remember. So much for all of the extra work my staff and I have put in, trying to have the best holiday season yet.

Luckily, on the 27th a fix was found that actually revived my store, as well as others back from the dead. Views, watchers, and sales all started rolling back in, almost immediately. A fellow seller, and Patreon of mine, Aaron (Paper Addict) was very instrumental in running tests on thousands of listings to see what would work. Several other resellers also confirmed our results further.

In the end, a simple trick many resellers had used in the past worked like a charm to rejuvenate most effected resellers' views, watchers, and sales.  It appears that after eBay's update, most of the older listings that had been up a length of time in the categories (and were affected by the updated) had been ghosted (hidden) by eBay's new search results. 

The only way to stop eBay from hiding your listings (that they deem unworthy of showing) is to end them, and then use the "Sell Similar" option to relist them. This actually creates a whole new listing with a completely different item number. In eBay's eyes, the item has never before been on the platform. It also shows up as new to the platform from the buyer's point of view. 

Since finding out this works, I have relisted over 6,000 active listings, which has returned my store to pre-update activity. For those who are having sales issues, and want to try this out yourselves, I have a video up right now on my YouTube Channel (We Did This On eBay And Our Sales Went Way Up), which shows step by step the entire process.


This is actually a very simply process that can be done in bulk-lots of 200 listings at a time from your eBay Hub. There are a few things, though, that you must consider prior to attempting this yourself. 

Firstly, by using "Sell Similar" you are creating an entirely new listing, which means it will count towards your store's listings limits. If you do not have any free listings left with your month's allotment, you could be charged for the new listings you create when using "Sell Similar." So, please make sure that you can afford to use these options before doing so. 

Secondly if your listings have watchers prior to using "Sell Similar" those watchers will be gone once you create the new listings with this option.  

Thirdly, if your listings are a quantity listing of more than one unit there is a chance that the quantity could revert back to your original amount. So, if you sold several units, that information may not be reflected in the new listings, which you may need to manually change. That, though, did not happen to any of my quantity listings after using this option.

I can't promise it will help everyone, but (from all of those who did try this option) the vast majority saw similar results. 

About the Columnist
Don Heiden is a 30-year veteran of online reselling going back to the days of Yahoo Auctions. He runs The Auction Professor YouTube channel posting videos and content about various reselling platforms and topics, and he is a member of the eBay, Amazon, Hip, and other affiliate programs where he may earn a commission when linking to products on those sites. He can also be found on most social networks under the same name, including Instagram. He is also a published professional artist which includes works produced for The Walt Disney Company. He holds an Associate Degree in Database Design, Construction, and Network Administration. He also holds a Bachelor Degree and Master Degree of Research & Communications from The University of Toledo.



Comments (20) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead   A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead

by: Bob V2 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 31 13:50:33 2021

I sell collectibles almost exlusively and have about 2000 listings at any given time.  I use SixBit to end and relist all of my listings as new every 30 days and my sales have still dropped to almost nothing since October 12.  This is certainly not the solution in my case.

Perminate Link for A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead   A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead

by: HappyOne This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 31 14:11:54 2021

I did list 200 items using “sell similar”. I received a few unexpected sales of very old listings. One thing I would add to the Professor’s suggestion is to delete all of the items you have changed to “sell similar” or you might find yourself listing something you already sold - as the old listings would still be available for a mistaken relist.

Perminate Link for A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead   A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 31 14:20:26 2021

Not to disparage this ‘fix’ at all, headslappingly logical in Jeopardy-esque retrospect, and due kudo’s for not only sharing, but thoroughly vetting and then instructing it - it still remains that not only was income ‘lost’, but further costs must likely be borne to effect the correction just to a status quo.

And these losses/costs, beyond those inexplicably created by the poorest timed possible (again!) deck chair rearrangement, are eBay’s responsibility.  Never gonna happen of course.  Too bad nobody who might raise a hue and cry that might result n enough ‘bad press’ to compel some recompense will likely ring that bell.

At very least though, eBay owes refund for any ‘re-list as if new’ fees that might ensue just to begin to restore what they ineptly and without due cause removed - in clear breach of contract given their reason for doing it. In a perfect (legal) world, all the labor costs to ‘clean-up’ eBay’s latest toxic spillage would be on the table too.

Unfortunately, loss of watchers is likely unrecoverable in any regard.  Fortunately, most of those were probably not likely to actually buy, rather, doing ‘research’.  Maybe not though, some markets may differ that way.  

Other things to check are…how often in the past few months have folks ‘discovered’ eBay was setting certain ‘options’ related to shipping types, destinations served…an array of toggles which may have not previously been ‘defaulted’ for eBay benefit at seller expense.  So, all those things.

A ray of light to pierce this latest darkness, perhaps.  Careful it doesn’t burn, regardless.

Perminate Link for A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead   A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead

by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 31 15:58:39 2021

These changes are nothing more than Ebay once again trying to squeeze every cent they can from the Sellers by forcing them to end and relist all of their items in hopes that some have to pay additional listing fees.  What they continue to fail to realize is that every time they make these stupid changes that they lose more sellers who are just tired of having to spend the best quarter of the year, correcting all of the issues that Ebay has caused trying to increase their revenue without having anything sell on their broke down platform.  The more changes like this Ebay makes, the more Sellers and Buyers are going to move to other platforms and they are going to watch their sales continue to plummet causing Ebay to make even more ways to gain revenue without a sale ever happening.

Unfortunately Ebay is painting themselves into a corner because at some point more and more Sellers will leave their site for anything else their is and Ebay will have run out of ways to increase their revenues without any generating any sales and what remaining Sellers they have will also lose interest in Ebay as a platform.  I don't know what they are teaching now in college but they are definitely not teaching the students how to organically grow any type of a business.  Its now only about how much can we con these people out of before we move to another company.

Perminate Link for A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead   A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead

by: Frank Abagnale This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 31 16:46:00 2021

With all do respect to the Auction Professor, but these "tricks" to improve things might not work for certain sellers (as Bob V2 mentioned) or it just might be a coincidence that sales picked up. And if we all used the constant and abundant tricks and tips from these content creators for getting more sales on ebay, then there really shouldn't be sales issues at all. I'm sure he knows all the other things to do to get more sales but he's constantly saying that his ebay sales are declining while his sales on other platforms are increasing. He said he might leave ebay on one of his rants a few weeks ago. He may have said that in the heat of moment, but his content creation on You Tube is based around ebay. I don't see any videos on tips on selling on the Hip platform or using Shopify. Maybe he does have that info on his paid platform, but ebay is a great topic to have a You Tube channel.

And the Auction Profession needs ebay because it's an important part of his sales strategy. I sell some of the same type of items that he sells and his prices are higher than mine. I know that some sellers list their items higher than they normally would, then wait for a watcher and then send an offer to the watcher. I watched 10 items from his ebay store and within 24 hours I received 10 offers with various discount amounts including some over 30% off. My guess is that the longer the item has been on ebay, the higher the discount. I know more and more ebay sellers are doing strategy this but this conditions the ebay buyer to always watch an item before making the purchase. This tactic hurts the seller who list their items as a buy now price strategy. The Auction Professor shared a screen shot of his seller hub and of his 28,000 listings, there were none that qualified to send an offer to a buyer. My guess is that he gets at least 1000 watchers per week and he sends offers daily.

But I do watch his videos where he rants about ebay. I pass on the tips and tricks and look out for these rare items that sell well videos. I'm sure he provides great information to many people. Besides selling his collectible items, part of his business is content creation and that's a smart way to diversify your business and a great way to turn a negative (selling on ebay) into a positive.  Whenever ebay messes up, another video can create hundreds of dollars of revenue. My guess is that for every 1000 views, his channel makes about $12 to $15. But this is what business is all about and I look forward to some future content.

Perminate Link for A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead   A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead

by: NullApps This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 31 19:25:28 2021

It has been several years since I've posted here but I'll just point out that our app Quantity Manager has a feature to automatically sell-similar listings at their renewal date and has been doing this since shortly after we launched in 2008. We were one of the top apps in the eBay App Store for over 10 years before eBay just shut it down last year with less than 30 days notice deleting all traces.

We've seen this strategy described here on forums and Reddit ever since the category change.  I've even spoken on the phone with one customer in the past week while he was doing it.  Does it work?  Maybe.  This sort of thing is difficult to measure given all the variables involved.  And as you can see in the first post it didn't help them.  We've seen others swear by it saying it saved their eBay business.

I do know there was one customer we had a few years ago that eBay did completely wipe his listings off the site and this was exactly how he fixed it.  If you went to his store you saw nothing for sale.  If you searched for his items they were nowhere to be seen.  Yet their listings were in our system and he showed me them in MyEbay as active.  You could go directly to them if you knew the item number but couldn't find them in search.  The root cause was different but this solution was the only fix available to him.  We wrote a one time script to end and sell-similar everything for him and his store was back in business about an hour later.  No seller should ever have to go through that but eBay basically forced him to.  I can verify in this case it worked but I'm not so sure this is what is happening with this cateory update.

My advice is if you are going to try this make sure to do it on a few listings first.  Wait and see if it helps them before going all in.  And make sure you understand what is lost in the process and that this is an acceptable loss.  The watchers, sales history, best match metrics, and Google search placement are all wiped and can't be recovered.

Perminate Link for A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead   A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead

by: Dale This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 31 19:35:30 2021

Been using this tactic for several years. Refresh the old stuff... as the post says watch the multiple quantities.

Perminate Link for A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead   A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead

This user has validated their user name. by: Lightning

Mon Nov 1 00:49:13 2021

If you have been on eBay for a while, this is Relisting 101.  Next we'll be told that offering free shipping could increase your sales, or as eBay likes to advise ''list seasonal items at the time of year they have the best chance of selling''. Duh.

Perminate Link for A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead   A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Nov 1 01:50:37 2021

I'm with Lightning, this is a known or should have been known way to refresh listings that get old and stale.  It is a method many sellers have used for years.

Another one that causes less work is to use the bulk editor, revise something in the listings, like handling time, return policy, Shipping service, etc.  Something that you can revise for all the listings you have selected and post the changes.  

It takes about 24-48 hours for Ebay to reindex those listings which refreshes them too in the searches.  If you changed something you that you only wanted temporary so that you could use this function, you can change them back anytime you want.

You can do about 500 listings at a time in less that 5 minutes of your time.

Perminate Link for A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead   A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Mon Nov 1 08:42:16 2021

Subscribers of ecommercebytes learned this trick from @Marie years ago. Thanks for the refresher!

Perminate Link for A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead   A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead

by: Goldylox This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 1 10:08:52 2021

I have been relisting using sell similar for years now and have found it to be very helpful. Also of great value has been to changing the main photo when possible when relisting. This makes the listing look different from the last, and often brings more watchers and sales.

Perminate Link for A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead   A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead

by: I Must be Crazy This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 1 11:02:09 2021

This strategy of sell similar has been around for years. I do think there are some merits to it. I think sellers with thousands of listings have avoided because it can be time consuming. And there is a huge risk of missing something and have 2 listings (despite eBay's ban on duplicate listings, ahem).

What Don does do well is explain the bulk process, which is the way to go under these circumstances. For sellers that could not realistically use this strategy, it makes it possible.

I think it is a shame that we need to go through all of these work around strategies because eBay can't offer a fair site without programming screw ups and other challenges to straight out selling.

Perminate Link for A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead   A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead

by: BargainzBabylon This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 1 12:38:39 2021

This is an old trick that can come in useful, and thank you for your work.  But, Prof - you desperately need a proofreader - your post is so riddled with errors that it's distracting.  It's 'affect' not 'effect', Patreon is an app - I think you want "patron".  Loss not lose in context. "Ghosted" is leaving/disappearing, not hidden, etc. etc.  

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by: universoulistic This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 1 13:29:50 2021

Well..contrary to the swath of comments disputing Don’s “fix”, I can say that this absolutely worked for me. My store is not as big as many sellers on this site and I only sell in a few categories. But without a doubt, this completely flipped the switch on traffic to my “store”. Since ending and selling similar on all my listings, views, click throughs, sales, watchers, messages…it was literally like flipping a switch. Within 15-20 minutes I had two sales and was able to send offers to 10-12 watchers. Over the past 24 hours I’ve sold more items than any 4-5 day period of the past three weeks or so.

Thanks Don! As always I appreciate the time and intention you put into all of this. Cheers!

Perminate Link for A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead   A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead

by: Alexdgr8 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 1 17:50:48 2021

I'm a long time, small time seller - I had no sales for 8 days and noticed that the only listings I could send offers on were all recent listings. It made me wonder what happened to all the older listings.
Don's video was the answer after I started the ''sell similar'' fix. The next day was a nice sale, and new items were showing up on my send offer list. It's been getting better steadily since.
I watch all The Auction Professor's videos as I always learn something new or see something I forgot!
Thank you Don!

Perminate Link for A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead   A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead

by: Nothingnewecrater This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 1 17:58:38 2021

Yea. Get off eBay and sell on another site

Perminate Link for A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead   A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead

by: lessthanthreerecords This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 1 18:18:04 2021

I thought I would give this a try, but luckily, I decided not to do it with all my listings at once, but rather to only end listings a little early just before they were about to relist.  I only did it with about 25 listings or so, so maybe it's not enough to notice anything significant, but the traffic on those new listings doesn't seem much better than it was.  However, what I did notice (and would advise other sellers to check for), is added and revised item specifics.  I've noticed the same problem sometimes when I revise a listing.  I am blacklisted from eBay's catalog due to the types of items I sell being falsely represented by eBay more often than not.  So, the listings are technically not attaching to a catalog item, but I think they still somehow pull some item specifics from catalog pages.  So, I had to go through the newly re-added listings and change back some item specifics.  Unfortunately, I don't think I will continue with this "sell similar" advice, as it is too much work to revise that many item specifics one-by-one.  If eBay decides to hide them from search, I guess I'll sell them on another site.

Perminate Link for A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead   A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead

by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 2 15:38:22 2021

I end listings and use ''sell similar'' on a few items nearly every day. I usually do this just before the 30 days is up, but have also used it sooner than that if a listing isn't getting the views I think it should be getting. I like that it makes the listings ''look new'' again! Definitely remember to delete the ''old'' listings after you have the items listed again.

@BargainzBabylon - Thank you for saying what I was thinking! It's almost painful to read an article that's as full of typos & grammatical errors as this one is. If the ''Professor'' is making decent money on eBay (and I hope he is with 28,000 listings!), maybe he could hire an editor on Fiverrr?  

Perminate Link for A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead   A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead

by: lancecorp This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 2 17:58:51 2021

I've listened to Don for years and though I don't always agree with him - the information he gives is very helpful. Yes many of us know to revise our listings or end and sell similar but not everyone knows this. I'm sure during the past 18 months - many unemployed have joined the online selling community and this helped them.

There are many Ebay youtubers out there who make much more money off youtube than they do selling because they are selling courses and spreadsheets and tip sheets. I'll take Don's advise over theirs any day. He actually doesn't get enough credit for all he does.  

Perminate Link for A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead   A Trick to Bring Your eBay Sales Back from the Dead

by: onlinereseller This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 19 13:44:54 2021

Unfortunately now that the "Professor" has spread this little secret around all over the internet, ebay will crack down on "Sell Similar" and shut it down somehow.



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