Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon June 24 2013 21:07:02

How Should eBay and Bonanza Improve Seller Photos?

By: Ina Steiner

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A picture is worth a thousand words - unless it's a really bad product photo in a marketplace listing!

eBay and its smaller rival Bonanza are both trying to get sellers to improve the quality of their photos, but they are taking very different approaches to the problem. eBay is taking a "get your photos into compliance or else" approach, while Bonanza is taking a community approach, but both approaches are rubbing some sellers the wrong way.

eBay rolled out photo requirements last year, and it will begin enforcing them next month. Sellers are concerned, and we've devoted a lot of coverage to this issue as the deadline fast approaches. Here's one of the most recent articles that outlines an eBay glitch that added to sellers' frustration in getting (and keeping) photos in compliance.

Today, Bonanza told users about projects it's working on, including:

- Allow community to mark bad pictures as irrelevant and earn tokens for doing so;

- Allow community to suggest item description edits and earn tokens for doing so.

In the comments section of the announcement, some Bonanza sellers took offense at the idea that other users would criticize their photos (and/or listings). Bonanza's Mark Dorsey explained, "The idea is for the community to be able to make suggestions to sellers on images that may need help and also descriptions that may need help. Whether a seller accepts those suggestions or not is entirely up to that seller. More details coming as the feature is developed."

He then gave an example: "A bad picture could be a listing for a Chanel Purse that has your stout Uncle Bobby holding the handbag with his shirt off. It could also be a blurry image, etc. Having a programming team with a video game background will make it nearly impossible to game the system. Same for descriptions. More details to come."

When a user warned that the new policy could cause hard feelings and resentment within the Bonanza community, Dorsey thanked the user and wrote, "I think it would be best to allow the features to be built and deployed first before assuming they are going to be negative. Lets revisit this once they are."

Most sellers strive to have good photos, but what is a marketplace to do about improving seller photos? Would you pick eBay's hardline approach, Bonanza's peer review approach, or some other approach? Or should marketplaces stay out of the picture (pun intended) altogether?

Comments (34) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for How Should eBay and Bonanza Improve Seller Photos?   How Should eBay and Bonanza Improve Seller Photos?

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 25 10:33:23 2013

Bonanza should stay out of the photo claims. If you have lousy photos,, your sales will tell you. Instead they should put the revenue towards ADVERTISING. Like ebay, they want to grab as much as they can without spending a dime. All this before the site closes. Most people I talk to never heard of bonanza ( the tv show?)
Ebay wants sellers ($10) but they put in this crap with the pictures. Doesn't make sense.

Perminate Link for How Should eBay and Bonanza Improve Seller Photos?   How Should eBay and Bonanza Improve Seller Photos?

by: fglenn114 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 25 10:37:36 2013

The picture requirement by ebay is just silly. Surely, they have better things to do.  As for Bonanza, I think it is horrible to consider users getting points to judge others photos.  Do something to make the site grow and gain more users.  The concept is good, build on that.

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This user has validated their user name. by: monkey

Tue Jun 25 12:05:26 2013

Hold on now ... I favor photo requirements.

Bonanza, or eBay, or Amazon should have some standards for photos.

Otherwise the site will be deluged with lousy photos. Frustrated shoppers will flee to another venue.

Perminate Link for How Should eBay and Bonanza Improve Seller Photos?   How Should eBay and Bonanza Improve Seller Photos?

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 25 14:27:22 2013

@MONKEY--'

Please for the love of G_d TELL us where this Mythical SITE that we are ALL going to FLEE to IS!!!!!

Cause I will move ALL of my great ebay photos and items right on over there TODAY!!!!!!!

And so I suspect will MOST of the other regulars here--and they will tell their FRIENDS--who don't NEED to be BRIBED to sell somewhere!!!

Where oh where can that little site be?  Oh where oh where has it gone?????

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by: jleach53 This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Jun 25 14:36:43 2013

@Monetcourt
What site do you recommend to sell on? And I think photos are the last thing Bonanza needs to be concerned with, but concentrate on keeping sellers there.

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

Tue Jun 25 15:05:24 2013

What happens when the snitches look at all the pictures?

More page hits to the site?

Who would benefit from that?

Why would Bonanza want this, all of a sudden?  

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by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 25 15:29:29 2013

Bonanza would let non-buyer to rate seller photo?  I see.  Let's go there and rate the bad photos good and the good photos bad.  No purchase necessary.

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by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 25 15:30:41 2013

This is EXACTLY like EBAY DSR except 5x PURE STUPIDITY.

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by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 25 15:32:29 2013

I would buy from my competition and rate his picture bad.  If he is not a MEGA sellers, I only need to rate it bad once and he is out of business.  

So this is EXACTLY like DSR which favor MEGA sellers.

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by: Monetcourt This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 25 15:48:11 2013

@jleach53

I'm already selling at eBay, Etsy AND Amazon.  Next I'm going to take a look at doing my own website.

I spent over a year on Bonanza and hardly had any sales, yet I have hundreds of sales on the sites I mentioned above.

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by: jleach53 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 25 16:59:47 2013

@Monetcourt
Is it hard selling on Amazon? Thanks

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by: TheCuriousPhoenix This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Jun 25 18:07:00 2013

Yet another reason to be ohhhhh so glad that my business is no longer associated with Bonanza. Tokens for attacking other sellers' photos? Not surprising, considering the source. I have my own .com store now and am happy as can be with no final value fee.  

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by: mimi51 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 25 18:46:40 2013

I stayed on Bonanza for 4 (long)years in hopes that I could leave e-Bay for good.  Hated the games and the tokens (like getting stars by your name at school).  You can rate other sellers stuff now even before this new ''game'' but not negatively.  Wish someone would come along, listen to sellers and create a site to just let us sell.  I don't need anyone looking over my shoulder all the time.  I'm a grown-up and have been selling a long time!

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by: rebecca7 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 26 15:51:25 2013

Buyers could be given some kind of "suggestion box" in each listing, where anonymous (and PRIVATE) comments could be left for the seller.

As a buyer, I find blurry, tiny photos frustrating.  If I could easily send a seller a quick anonymous note about it, I sometimes would ... as CONSTRUCTIVE criticism, not to be mean or insulting.

Bonanza could also hire a highschool kid to surf listings, looking for bad photos, and have the kid send each seller a tailored note (just one per seller) suggesting possible ways to improve their photos to increase their sales.  

The note could include a prominent link to a free tutorial and resource page to HELP the seller improve.  (Ideas about inexpensive types of cameras/phones, camera settings, backgrounds, colors, types of light bulbs, and even light tents - with good sources of least-cost equipment.)

I think some sellers are honestly clueless about the importance and characteristics of good photos.  They don't seem to know any better, or understand how badly their poor photos hurt them financially.

If relative sales statistics could be provided, showing how profitable good photos are, most sellers would APPRECIATE the advice as a valuable business tip.

It could be seen as a positive SERVICE that Bonanza provides to sellers.

If a seller ignores the note advice, and has lots of lousy photos clogging the marketplace, Bonanza may even want to call them to offer suggestions, in a friendly way.  If the advice is still ignored by mid-size or large seller, Bonanza should be allowed to lower their listing rank slightly, to keep lousy photos from being too dominant on the site.

But when sellers are small and have few listings, and they don’t improve their photos after being advised, Bonanza should just ignore them.  Buyers will too and they’ll never be very successful.

I also think there’s an upside that these companies haven’t recognized.  A few bad photos help to keep Bonanza “real.”  Amateur photos show that Bonanza is a place where EVERY person has a chance to sell, learn and improve, which makes the site more approachable for first time sellers.   (Many will see a bad listing and say to themselves, “It can’t be too hard to sell here … I could sure do better than this guy!”)

For buyers, it keeps Bonanza as an interesting, fun place to buy unique old items directly from regular people who charge very little because they have little time or money invested.

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