If a rival eBay seller rejects a buyer's offer on an item similar to yours, should you be able to swoop in and try to sell them yours?
A recent eBay patent filing describes a system whereby the marketplace could take information about a buyer's offer that was turned down by one seller and send information about it to other sellers who had similar items for sale. The idea is that those sellers could then send an offer to the original buyer, knowing what the buyer was willing to pay.
"An offer recommendation system determines that an offer submitted for a listing posted to an online marketplace was unsuccessful. The offer recommendation system identifies a similar listing posted to the online marketplace and transmits a notification message to the seller that posted the similar listing. The notification message identifies the amount of the unsuccessful offer."
Farther down, eBay explains:
"For example, a seller may provide the unsuccessful buyer with an offer to purchase an alternate item that the unsuccessful buyer may simply accept to complete the purchase. Further, the seller may offer the alternate item to the unsuccessful buyer for the same amount offered by the unsuccessful buyer for the primary item.
"Providing the unsuccessful buyer with an offer to purchase an alternate item for the same amount the unsuccessful user offered for the primary increases that likelihood that the offer will be accepted by the unsuccessful user."
An image included with the patent shows a flow chart with the following steps:
- Determine that an offer submitted for a primary item was unsuccessful.
- Identify alternate items based on the primary item.
- Transmit notification messages to sellers of the alternate items identifying the amount offered for the primary item.
As a seller, how would you feel about eBay providing information about offers you've rejected from buyers with other sellers?
And on the flip side, would you appreciate being able to make offers to buyers whose offers to another seller was rejected, so you could swoop in and try to make the deal, knowing what the buyer was willing to pay?
And, as a buyer, how would you feel about receiving unsolicited offers for items at the price you had been willing to pay from another seller?