Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Feb 11 2015 22:33:14

eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions

By: Ina Steiner

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When visitors click through to an eBay listing, they can see photos and structured data at the top, followed by the seller's description. eBay turned on a switch on Wednesday evening in which some visitors can no longer see the description unless they click a separate button.

According to one user, clicking the button brought up a popup box containing the description. The user then had to close the box before they could see other parts of the listing page.

A seller wrote on the eBay discussion boards that she was "heartbroken" at the way the listing page now looks for her. "I spend so much time writing descriptions and taking great pictures. Loading them to the web, writing the HTML. I'm kind of heartbroken that the listing page looks so bad now."

She continued, "I just listed 2 antiques for more than a hundred each - who the heck is going to continue buying that kind of piece when the listing page is so ugly and difficult to read?"

Another eBay user was not so polite, tweeting, "eBay now wants to hide item descriptions behind a mouse click. What the actual fuck?"

They continued to vent on Twitter, "Whoever proposed that idea, and those who saw its implemention on the site for testing, have clearly never used the site before," and added, "eBay is frustrating."

However, not all users are seeing the new feature, which appears to be a test eBay is running. We asked eBay spokesperson Ryan Moore tonight if that was the case.

See Thursday's EcommerceBytes Newflash for more details, and let us know what you think.

Comments (172) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions   eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions

by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 12 14:05:38 2015

Just what we long-suffering sellers needed: another excuse for bogus SNAD disputes!  WTF, indeed!

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions   eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions

by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 12 14:13:42 2015

In evaluating this particular F/U, consider: at an average of $100 each time eBay & PreyPal rip off a seller, they have to victimize 230,000 - that's right - TWO HUNDRED THIRTY THOUSAND! sellers just to pay JD's "retention bonus - do the math!  That means the crooked BoD needs to generate SNADS, "managed returns" and other frauds like the well-known "Box of Rocks" - and do it fast!

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions   eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 12 15:29:19 2015

...spiders, bots, and nitwits in product development

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions   eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions

by: Press3 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 12 15:53:42 2015

My suspicion is that eBay Top Customers are immune to this bs  roll-out.    If you read the posts, here and on eBay, the change does not appear to be dependent on what browser you use (IE, Firefox, Chrome).       And if the ''roll-out'' were on particular listings, why can some people see the listings the old way and some see the same listings formatted with the ''See Full Description'' button.   This then suggest that the roll-out has more to do with controlling ones  account, and I further speculate  that the difference in participation has to do with your customer status (i.e. whether you are in Top Customer Care, or not).   It makes me wondering if eBay is trying to create a two tier membership structure.   Sort of like full uninterrupted access versus access with commercials.     The fact that the listing are not effected, but who is viewing them is, should be a great concern to everyone, participant, or not, because it comes down to what eBay wants you to see.    Every member of eBay should be up in arms over this.   When I called to complain I was told that eBay's Development Team was responsible for roll-outs and who gets selected for them.   I was also told that it is on a 21 day cycle.    This is bologna!   When is someone going to start a ''for real'' competitive site?

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions   eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions

by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 12 16:06:09 2015

Note to "Press3" - I, too, am shocked that no one's stepped into the obvious market vacuum created by JD's "Disruptive Disruption!"  Basically all you need is a sort of souped up Craig's List where sellers pay a nominal subscription fee to list and don't face interference from either the site owners or flakey "flaggers."  You could still have bidding, buying, and a seller/buyer ratings system but you don't force a seller to take an abusive payments processor that facilitates rip-offs.  Your message to would-be buyers is simple and clear:  this is a paid ADVERTISING VENUE…deal with advertisers at your own risk, just like any conventional classified advertising medium, or, dare I say it, a "flea market!"  Believe me, I'd gladly pay a reasonable listing fee and maybe even a 2004 level FVF for national or global exposure of my items, free of interference from either the Tin Foil Hat Brigade [ie. Craig's List self-appointed flaggers] or any "buyer protection" racket run by the site.  

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions   eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Feb 12 17:45:20 2015

@ajeweler - I went to have a look at Speeditrade, but I am very suspicious of a site that wants me to register just so I can see what their seller fees are. Everything I clicked on, with the exception of their very limited FAQ, requires me to register before I can find out anything. I don't think I'll be using that site.

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions   eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Thu Feb 12 17:53:09 2015

Look, we all get that eBay needs to test new features, even ridiculous ones like these, but their testing process needs significant improvement.

Presently, eBay rolls out these changes unannounced to an unknown number of users.  Those users have no idea what they are experiencing is a test, primarily because eBay does not see fit to tell anyone it is a test.

If eBay wants to really test a feature, they should not limit the test to an unknown number of users but roll it out to everyone using these steps:

Step 1: Label and  identify the test feature as a test to prevent user animosity over sudden changes which eBay is making without any announcement what so ever.

Step 2: Instead of relying on users to click on the "Tell Us What You Think" link (eBay's known vertical file link), provide an OPT OUT link that will  place a cookie on the users device which eliminates them from the test.

Step 3: As part of the OPT OUT feature, ask the user why they are choosing to opt out of the test.  The response should not be preformed, but should allow buyers/sellers to enter open ended remarks.  Also, there should be no character limits which prevent users from fully explaining themselves.

Even if buyers/sellers OPT OUT of the test without passing along comments, the fact that they have opted out would be counted as an expression of dislike for the feature.

Now, with the feature rolled out site wide, they will get a faster and better sampling of sellers opinions instead of the cherry picked results they get when they only test a feature to a select few users.

eBay's corporate culture of treating sellers as "noise" has resulted in site wide failure. eBay really needs to listed to the "noise" before the noise becomes deathly silence.

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions   eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions

by: dr shock This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 12 18:10:49 2015

Wow this is horrible. I host my own photos so only 1 photo shows up on the page.
I've already had three questions today which were answered in the item description. The buyers probably didn't know they had to click on the tab.
eBay is going to be swamped with Item Not As Described complaints over this. And sellers are the ones who will have to pay.

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions   eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions

by: Harriet This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 12 18:54:47 2015

Not being able to get item specifics is disastrous for both buyer and seller. More so for the seller, since eBay punishes sellers for not having a truthful description. So, eBay, now you are hiding descriptions that sellers have worked hard to write truthfully, and then you will give them defects at the end because the buyer couldn't access the descriptions. Honestly, can it get more bizarre? One ridiculous thing after another and then punishment for sellers due to eBay's weird decisions. Certainly doesn't make me want to put up too many listings. Why do I want to put myself in harm's way? List and buy on eCrater where things are sane.

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions   eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions

by: Hannaford Crump This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 12 19:15:08 2015

From the eBay selling forum:

spinmeister jeff (eBay Employee) wrote:

x_x_xxxx wrote:
   Jeff, in a nutshell: what is the problem that this test revision is attempting to solve?
------------------------------------------------------------
-----------

We
want to improve and simplify the overall buying experience. This test replicates on the main site how buyers are currently viewing descriptions on mobile apps today. The goal is to have a consistent experience across all devices and screens.

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions   eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions

by: Hannaford Crump This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 12 19:29:25 2015

Translation: They think they'll make more money if it's as inconvenient to buy from a desktop computer with a huge screen as it is from a phone with a tiny screen. And they're willing to risk millions in sales for thousands of sellers for a few weeks to see if they were right.

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions   eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions

by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 12 20:42:04 2015

Tell us what you think? I did , I told ebay , until this is gone , I will not buy or ever sell on their site again.
2 hrs later , I get a return request. My very first , 2 hrs. after I give it to em hard in my comments.

Deadbay is desperate & kissing my - - - !

I no longer have patience for these insane retards. Drop dead deadbay.  

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions   eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions

This user has validated their user name. by: shabbychick

Thu Feb 12 22:21:23 2015

Press3:
Yes, from what one of the posters has said...that she got the box while her friend could see the entire description for the same listing, it does appear that its ''people'' they are testing, rather than the format itself... ie peoples behavior when they don't immediately see a detailed description.

Maybe they are trying to see how many times folks will buy without  even clicking the description.

Maybe Ebay wants to see what items get bought without concern for description, (so they can sell these items themselves ala ''fullfillment by Ebay'').

Or maybe they want to see if when there is no noisy description muddying up the page if they can get people over to their ''suggested'' diversionary listings with more efficiency.

Or maybe they want to see what percentage of mobile customers purchase more or less frequently when they aren't burdened with having to read a description.

Or maybe as another poster suggested, they JUST WANT MORE CLICKS to show the advertisers and shareholders.

At any rate it appears as if they are using some unfortunate members as Lab Rats.


I really have not seen the new page format as I am apparently not one of the lucky Lab Rats so I don't even know if the descriptions for my listings are being shown.

Anonymous Annies theory sounds possible too, and Ebay had better be careful about arousing any more ire from the Google search engines!

But most of all I loved the comment about them saving server space so they could sell their servers on Bonanza!

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions   eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Thu Feb 12 23:10:30 2015

"We want to improve and simplify the overall buying experience. This test replicates on the main site how buyers are currently viewing descriptions on mobile apps today. The goal is to have a consistent experience across all devices and screens."

So, once again, eBay chooses to convenience the minority of users while inconveniencing the majority of users.

Mobile users should be allowed to view item descriptions without having to click on a tab.

By the time the SNAD claims reach critical mass as a result of this change being pushed on every user it will be too late for many sellers who will find their eBay business decimated by defects.

The justification that this feature is intended to provide a universal user experience is yet another case of eBay deciding that what is best for a small number of users needs to be forced upon the entire community base.

eBay finds itself in the mess it is in precisely because this mentality prevails across all levels of executives and management at eBay.

If eBay really expects to reinvent itself, this is one of the corporate cultures that needs to be abandoned.

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions   eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions

by: AuctionMonkey This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 12 23:13:23 2015

Goodbye any last chance of ever making money on eBay. :(  

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions   eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions

by: Ogri This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 13 00:12:48 2015

Another example of ebay amateur nonsense, clumsily implementing an ‘improvement’ without any professionalism or skill.

The professional way could be to allow sellers to enter two descriptions; one 'normal', and a mobile friendly version.

But dont forget the 'improvement' leaves a big blank space on your screen to cram more advertising into, more clutter, more distraction.

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions   eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions

by: Dhp3 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 13 01:23:17 2015

Hiding the description this way is very confusing. If I were not an experienced ebayer, I could have easily overlooked this critical information. New buyers won't see ALL the listing and won't know it is missing. Buyers want shopping to be simple and this is an impediment! I have no idea why or how anyone could believe this to be an improvement of the ebay experience. What possible reason is there to make the description INVISIBLE?

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions   eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions

by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 13 06:39:59 2015

LUCKY ME ! I'm one of the Unwilling TESTERS.  I know everybody and I do mean EVERYBODY will tell me I'm silly to click on the WHAT DO YOU THINK about this change button and TELL them what I think, but I feel differently.  I think it the only INTELLIGENT ACTION to Voice just how STUPID this change is.  I have clicked on ONE of my own and SEVERAL of Other Seller's listings and posted SIMILAR messages. Below is a Cut/Paste of that most recent "reply".  ... Moronic would be a COMPLIMENT.  Even a MORON would know that this was an AWFUL idea.  Even WORSE it is another... YES ANOTHER... mindless attempt to "FIX" a problem that never existed.    Who is more at fault.... the jokester who dropped this in the eBay suggestion Box as a prank,   the committee that considered it to have been a SERIOUS suggestion and rolled ahead with the test... or the BOZO middle manager who Greenlighted this abomination?   OK, sure ALL of the above would be ONE answer, but I think it is the MIDDLE MANAGER who failed to realize he/she was being PRANKED into angering TENS OF THOUSANDS of otherwise HAPPY sellers... and buyers.

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions   eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions

by: HoneVille This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 13 06:43:21 2015

I have to wonder... do they have this type of conversation:  "Let's have a "description" button and a "full description" button because I don't think that buyers who see a "description" button would assume, or even want, a "full description".  Then when they click on the "full description" let's not show them anything under the "description" button but instead show them just the sellers description.  Oh... and let's not show them all of the sellers store categories if the seller has that clicked in their stores as an option so that buyers won't know where else to shop for the other items that interests them."...  Or do they just not think at all?

Perminate Link for eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions   eBay Forces Shoppers to Click to View Item Descriptions

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Feb 13 06:50:12 2015

Dhp3 says "What possible reason is there to make the description INVISIBLE?"

He**, they've made our listings invisible in search for the most part so why not make the descriptions invisible too.  We all know that idiots are running the asylum.

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