Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed May 9 2012 10:23:42

Seller Shows Strange Traffic Pattern on eBay

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay sellers have talked for years about rolling blackouts, "tap-on-tap-off" visibility, "rolling-region" visibility and other strange phenomenon that they say lead to odd sales patterns (see this AuctionBytes blog post from 4 years ago).

Last week, Anne Warrington of Wigs US sent us a graph showing traffic to her eBay store for the past 180 days that shows one of those odd traffic patterns.


 
Anne said Wigs US is one of the largest U.S.-based wig sellers on eBay, and the company also sells on Amazon and on its own website. She said this traffic pattern only occurs on eBay, and not on any of the other channels on which it sells.

Over the past 18 months, she has spoken to customer service reps who agreed the traffic pattern was very strange. But, she said, "Apparently every single person we spoke with over this time period has failed to properly register this issue so according to the latest CSR Matt in Technical Issues - the issue has never been raised higher up." And two days after speaking to Matt, she's heard nothing further from him.

"We aren't surprised, but starting to feel despondent... there's definitely an issue, acknowledged by everyone at eBay who sees this graph... but NO ONE seems to be able to get anyone to actually DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT."

She sent an email to eBay Vice President of Experience, Search, and Platforms Hugh Williams, but has not heard back from him either. In her letter to Williams, she explained that about every 2 months, traffic for Wigs US falls off a cliff. "Wigs are not seasonal in this way, so this is not because our customers are not looking for wigs. In fact, just before this graph takes up in October, our traffic hit ZERO on October 24th. October 24th should be our busiest day of the year. Wigs are huge sellers for Halloween and October 24th is one week before Halloween."

She also said that despite being one of the largest U.S.-based wigs sellers on eBay and being a Top Rated Seller, "if you type in wigs - you have to go 7 pages deep to find our first listing. We have nearly 1200 listings regularly."

If you have an eBay Store subscription, take a look at your analytics and see if you show any strange traffic patterns - send screenshots to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

Update 5/9/12: Anne received the following email from Matt yesterday:

I apologize that it has taken me so long to respond. The correspondence between me and the developers as taken longer than expected and is still ongoing. The general consensus has been that this is a common trend during evaluations on most accounts. While visitors have decreased impressions have not. They also pointed out that there has been no change in items sold in the months where the visitor count is low and months where the visitor count is high. I was only able to get trends for the last 2 years but the year to year sales trends were consistent with the above information.

I understand that this is not a good resolution and that is why the correspondence is still ongoing. Many of the specifics regarding how our algorithms work are not disclosed as a way to prevent manipulation. Because of this getting clear information regarding why items may be dropping or rising in the search rankings is not always possible. I am currently awaiting another response and will follow up as soon as more information is available.
Thanks,
eBay

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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Seller Shows Strange Traffic Pattern on eBay   Seller Shows Strange Traffic Pattern on eBay

by: Amazon Watcher This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 14 04:21:56 2012

Lawrence A Dickerson -
If one cannot back the claims up with the type of evidence that would  acceptable in a court of lawsuit is then everything is  nothing but a bunch of unfounded statement,rumors,assumptions and allegations.

Example here Lawrence A Dickerson  empirical evidence -

http://www.amazon.com/forum/science/ref=cm_cd_pg_oldest?_enco
ding=UTF8&cdForum=FxZ58KVEERYS5E&cdPage=1&cdSort=newest&cdThread=Tx30Y7UO7A8GHIP

His
empirical evidence; no planes struck the Twin Towers or Pentagon.

His empirical evidence his conclusion about 9/11 -
''What is disrespectful is that our own government in collaboration with Israel murdered those people in order to justify a war with Iraq and also to test nuclear weapons which were used in that destruction.''

What Lawrence A Dickerson thinks is empirical evidence for all his causes is no where near reality.

Ignore him, except to point out what he does best; lie.

Perminate Link for Seller Shows Strange Traffic Pattern on eBay   Seller Shows Strange Traffic Pattern on eBay

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 14 12:52:21 2012

Ummmm---yeah I will have to check with my sister who SAW those planes hit---and was close enough that maybe we should have her scanned for radiation poisoning.  Oh---and what became of those dead people anyways?  Spirited off planet?  Some one has been watching too much late night TV.  Or too much Coast To Coast.

As to EBAY---I have sold many items with the regional or out of country phenom happening to NOT question this.  Why do I get many sales to AUSTRALIA of used goods when I get NO OTHER SALES for several days?  Same with USA regions.

And the feedback NOT showing up is amazingly BEYOND the stats of probability.  For ten items sold---NO FB at ALL?   On TWO sites?  And interestingly enough mostly this is the ONLY REPEAT NON USED CLOTHING ITEM I SELL.  

Sooo---how to 'splain this?  In a fairly obscure one of a kind category too.  Where you would THINK people who found what they were presumably LOOKING for would be THRILLED to be able to say THANKS.  But=-==nope.

And I look at one fairly obscure search which rarely has more than 2000 items listed most of which I pass right on by as I don't need light bulbs (which seem to fit ALL of the motorcycles AND cars I own---how weird is THAT!)  so call it 1500 items.  And looking for rare or OOAK items within that search very often.  I will find items from one day to the next displayed using the SAME broad search terms as ever and find NEW things listed that are---NOT NEWLY LISTED---where were they the day BEFORE?  The start/end dates show that I SHOULD have seen them!  But---no.  

And where oh where do the SAVED SEARCHES go to anyways?  Why do I have the SAME issue there with several saved searches for fairly obscure stuff?

So---try and tell ME there is no Google connextion too---why is it that when I search for some item ONLY on ebay I suddenly have some sort of "similar" items adverted when I go to my GMAIL or a different off-ebay search?  Not selling our info huh Google.  Really?  

Perminate Link for Seller Shows Strange Traffic Pattern on eBay   Seller Shows Strange Traffic Pattern on eBay

by: JohnJohnson This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 12 11:59:12 2012

Spartacus: cutting umbillical cord that's feeding any and all of those monsters such as eBay, Monsanto, Microsoft, etc. other large corporations, including the largest corporation in the world - the U.S. Government, is a great idea and we just have to make sure that we keep on spending with the smallest of the businesses that employ between none to ~10 people. The rest can go to hell and therefore I believe this is what exactly is happening, most consumers are cutting umbillical cords by cutting their spending and also cutting down on their taxes as well.

Perminate Link for Seller Shows Strange Traffic Pattern on eBay   Seller Shows Strange Traffic Pattern on eBay

by: JohnJohnson This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 12 12:35:06 2012

Spartacus: cutting umbillical cord that's feeding any and all of those monsters such as eBay, Monsanto, Microsoft, etc. other large corporations, including the largest corporation in the world - the U.S. Government, is a great idea and we just have to make sure that we keep on spending with the smallest of the businesses that employ between none to ~10 people. The rest can go to hell and therefore I believe this is what exactly is happening, most consumers are cutting umbillical cords by cutting their spending and also cutting down on their taxes as well.

Perminate Link for Seller Shows Strange Traffic Pattern on eBay   Seller Shows Strange Traffic Pattern on eBay

by: former ebayer This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 16 11:10:38 2013

There is a great new article on e commerce bytes and the throttling of sales. This graph all makes sense now. The seller has an average selling dollar amount per month. Once she reaches that her ites are no longer seen in the search results. I found one big seller with 137,000 listings and only 1000 feedback results. I am reasonably this seller has a website as well but I would be bailing out as quick as I could. Even with a listing program that is a lot of work.    

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