Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Dec 8 2014 13:43:45

Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales

By: Ina Steiner

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Despite eBay's denial of hidden seller limits last year, many sellers reported evidence of such a practice. Last week, an eBay employee revealed (seemingly inadvertently) that secret limits do indeed exist, resulting in throttled sales no matter how much a seller tries to grow.

We had raised the issue with eBay last December after a longtime Platinum-level seller had tried unsuccessfully to increase his business on eBay. He had hired more employees, increased inventory and listings, but couldn't grow beyond his current sales. He then stumbled upon the fact that eBay had placed limits on his account without his knowing.

I had reached out to eBay at the time and asked, "Why does eBay show seller limits to only some sellers? For those who want to learn what their seller limits are if they are not visible in My eBay, how do they request them to be shown? And how do they request higher limits?"

Spokesperson Ryan Moore had told EcommerceBytes last December, "If a seller has a limit, he/she will find it in My eBay. Some of the criteria that goes into how a limit is set: Selling performance of sellers; Tenure/ length of selling history; Desired listing volume. A seller can request higher limits by 1) Navigating to the Increase Selling Limits option in My eBay and/or contacting CS directly."

But last week, an eBay employee named Jarvis with the User ID jaknox@ebay.com listed nine practices in which eBay limits sellers accounts, including "silent limits" that are hidden from sellers.

There are several types of limits that sellers may experience when selling, he wrote:

- Site Wide Limits (SWL, referred to as "selling limits")
- Silent limits (limits placed on an account that can't be seen by the seller)
- URC limits (User Risk Code, limits reduced or placed on an account due to concerns)
- Category limits
- BTAC limits (Building Trust by Reducing Counterfeits, for branded items)
- Hot item limits
- Multi-Account limits
- Velocity limits
- feedback limits

The post went viral, with sellers emailing EcommerceBytes, many expressing outrage at the secrecy of eBay's practices.

One seller believes the reason for the limits is because there are too few buyers, no advertising, and far too many sellers.

And, she said, "What good is complying w/ a KNOWN Policy and rating levels, when there is ANOTHER, "hidden" parameter that you may/may not be failing in? And what of a Seller who invests in, say, $10,000 in inventory, begins to list those items, only to be told, "You are limited to listing X items". What is THAT Seller to do when planning a business strategy?"

Another Platinum-level seller who raised the issue of eBay throttling last year wrote to me again after reading Jarvis's thread on the eBay boards. He believes the limits are in place on smaller seller accounts so eBay can meet their promises to large box sellers of guaranteed sell through rates.

"Cassini is not the groundbreaking each engine we were all led to believe it would be," he wrote. "It is simply a control mechanism for eBay. Sellers have been spent way too much time trying to figure it out - which again is what eBay wants you to be focusing on - when really it makes no difference what you do. eBay is in control."  

Another seller noted the seller limits policy cited by the eBay employee last week are different from eBay's policy published on its website.

I asked eBay last night for an update, stay tuned to Newsflash for more on this breaking story.

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Perminate Link for Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales   Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales

by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jan 3 13:16:04 2015

I have been trying something I n noticed a few days ago. Just to check my movements on the web , & how they affect things on ebay.

First , I went on the web & searched kelleys tires , looked on site , clicked & wrote down item specs. & such. I then returned to ebay , & guess whats in the side boxes , tires. Truck tires to be exact. Now I know they are using tracking cookies. I went checked out several other sites . So , I then pushed Ctrl , shift , delete. Clears my browser history . Went back on ebay , had the same tires as before. Then I ran an unrelated search , items then came up.

These tracking cookies adversely affect search , threw your sub thinking net. Meaning , they play off your secondary sub- thinking search. Uselessly plugging search items.
Just proof positive humans are being eliminated by robots , such as robey , at ebay. Logic , algorithm , computer. Who needs reps?

Perminate Link for Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales   Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales

by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jan 3 13:28:43 2015

Just to connect dots , the things they see you doing , making purchases on other sites , ect... affect you being seen as well , on their site. Another part of throttling. I spent the past 4 months manipulating my account to see the affects. Throttling was evident, after such. Banned from discussion boards , making purchases on amazon , this blog really shut me down , "the cookies" could be seen , & just a few I mentioned , affected sales & views dramatically.

Perminate Link for Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales   Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales

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

Fri May 15 17:38:02 2015

Ebay is supporting domestic terrorism by allowing foreign sellers to continue to thrive with counterfeit items. Please write your local Congressional representative if you have been a victim of Ebays predatory seller standards. ''First they came for my neighbors and I said not a word, then they came for my brother and I said not a word, then they came for my parents, still I said not a word, then they came for me and no one was left to say a word!''

Perminate Link for Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales   Leaked: eBay Hidden Limits Throttle Seller Sales

by: studio65 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Dec 3 08:43:02 2015

I would concur with the limiting of sales to any eBay seller. One way to program this is to limit visibility to any listing by blocks for e.g. Block A sellers' listing can only appear 1/4 of the 24 hour period say 0000hrs to 0600 hrs..... This way each group of sellers can reach only 25% of the market. This could also mean there can be more income for eBay in selling their ''stores'' to many small scale sellers.

By the way, does any one or insider know the limit per seller allowed for BTAC limits (Building Trust by Reducing Counterfeits, for branded items). Kindly share

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