Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Fri Oct 8 2021 19:38:02

Should eBay Share Buyers' Offers with Other Sellers?

By: Ina Steiner

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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.

"Offer Recommendations for Unsuccessful Buyers" describes the patent as follows (excerpt):

"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?

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Readers Comments

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by: bunnypics This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 11 00:17:43 2021

I am so happy to be done with eBay!  The changes that are happening are a sellers nightmare. Managed payments started it for me, then the ending of adult sales.  What I am reading now is getting out of hand, happy to be a non eBay seller!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Oct 11 02:14:23 2021

@toolguy

Why are you surprised?  They did exactly what they told you they would do.  You have weeks to take care of providing the information, you simply chose not to.  Ebay just did what they told you they would do.  

I understand that on 2 out of the 3 accounts you are signed up for MP and you just choose not to do the 3rd.  Absolutely your right.  Your first post should have said that as it read quite differently when you omitted this info.

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 11 05:43:01 2021

Stockholder's money spent for silly stuff.  If the offer is refused by one seller, then the go to the next seller.  The widget probably has several sellers and just go through them all on your own.  We don't need no robot to do it for us.

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by: Bparty This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 11 09:56:32 2021

HappyOne, my feelings exactly.
I do not want to get offers from other sellers filling up my email. I choose who I buy from for various reasons.  I actually never send best offers but if I did, I would not want to be bombarded with foolishness or ebay taking my personal offer to one person and spreading it all over.  A lot of those declines are due to "terms" that are ridiculous...guarantee delivery by..., free shipping...I will take 2 for the price of 1.  blah blah blah.  Are those "terms" being included to other sellers?  
I would be afraid to take one of these offers as well because you are depending heavily on what ebay's catalog says and that seems to be rife with trouble from my experiences with customer dissatisfaction.
Sometimes, I just wait to accept an offer and if they are in a hurry, they will buy without a best offer, then I will go and decline it.
Also, on ebay, I want my buyers to read their email I sent them as it may be important. Sending them more mail from different sellers about other or similar things could create issues with people ignoring ebay seller emails or confusing an item they may have purchased from me with something else or repurchasing from another seller.
I am not onboard with this as either seller nor buyer.

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by: myfriendhenry This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 11 10:14:10 2021

I still haven't figured out why people are so angry about managed payments.  Every company that I have ever worked for "managed" my payments.  Is it a "tax thing" and real or is it physiological?  Just don't get it.   In the end, you get what you get, it's all the same.

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by: Duper2019 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 11 10:18:56 2021

This is really interesting. They removed buyers email addresses because they didn't want buyers to be bothered by sellers trying to offer other items to them, but yet they want to do the very same thing.  

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by: I Must be Crazy This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 11 11:44:54 2021

Now we can see what anonymizing of buyers and inability to contact sellers has become; a patent, to perform the vary same thing that was possible years ago. In reality, this is not a new idea. Not strategic, fresh or anything else. More like, well duh, why did you stop this in the first place?

I would have no interest personally. I don't see the point.

I have said it before, eBay can do whatever they want. None of it will change the trajectory they have been heading for the last several years - downward. The company has all of the markings of a failing institution, poor management, low expectations, diminished growth, and now a declining user base.

Not only are there other platforms, but there are other more efficient ways for people to make a living. I am in California, where entry level work is garnering $20/hour. I know plenty of young people netting $25 an hour delivering food. Not ONE has any interest in selling on eBay. Nor should they. That is eBay's greatest threat as for as I can see, the loss of sellers.

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by: lancecorp This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 11 12:37:18 2021

If they already have a patent - 10 to 1 we'll see in within the yr. As stated Ebay's search algoritm is horrible. When it tells me to research prices on one of my items - it shows me completely different items than the one I'm selling abd will do the same to buyers.

Tool - you know the rules and I don't see why you held out on the 3rd acct when you signed up for MP with the other 2. Sorry but no sympathies for you.

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by: Paul W This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 11 12:59:37 2021

Sounds like more spam in the inbox.  No thanks.

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by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 11 14:08:04 2021

Truthfully if Ebays search engine worked as it should, before all of the seller punishment conditions were added when a seller would not honor another one of Ebays ridiculous demands, the buyer would have already seen all of the items available so no need for this.  But Ebay has broken the search engine so badly that it is now no longer cost effective to fix it, so this is just another cheap work around in their minds, plus another unnecessary patent to try and make Ebay more valuable than it is.

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon Oct 11 14:18:48 2021

@myfriendhenry

There's a HUGE difference in getting your money in 5 seconds compared to 5 days!

Mangled Payments is my worst nightmare for eBay selling.

I wish Paypal would buy eBay!

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Oct 12 11:59:19 2021

Silver Ice King writes: "[T]he buyer would have already seen all of the items available so no need for this."

Which brings up an interesting search "anomaly" I've encountered recently. Twice I've searched for an item and was shown two or three listings for what I was looking for. After I purchased one, I went back to look for an item that was similarly named, and both times I was then presented with about two dozen listings for the first item I just purchased. Is this a new eBay scam, where they hope you will then cancel the first order and purchase from someone else? Or buy two and return the one that's more expensive?  

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by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 14 08:34:28 2021

“ Is this a new eBay scam, where they hope you will then cancel the first order and purchase from someone else? Or buy two and return the one that's more expensive? “

Ever since eBay first plastered their “Buyer Protection” shield on every page presented to a buyer so to actually encourage returns, they also presented the buyer with a ‘look what you missed’ array of alternatives on the payment page.  

This had the affect of measurably increasing ‘apparent sales volume’, because the first ‘sale’, although not completed, was still recorded as one so eBay could increase their boasts to the street.  Nobody really knows (except eBay of course) how many sales that were not sales became a part of their GMV numbers.  Imagine that.

Moreover, because eBay earns commissions and fees only, they didn’t have to record ‘return refunds’ in those sales volume numbers.  They did of course, have to show related ‘deductions’ in revenue for tax purposes (refunded fees, etc.), but those actual numbers were only ‘bottom line’ reported.  GMV (and ‘data’ when researching ‘realized’ item price points) continued to be inflated.  

Compounding this, and increasing to the present and beyond, is the effect ‘no question/free’ returns has had to artificially bolster those same ‘numbers’.  Buy 5 to check fit and return the other 4.  Buy one to ‘rent’ for a month, then return as (whatever the buyer ‘claims’) unquestioned.  All get counted as ‘sales’.

As long as a venue can get away with not having to account for these ‘phantom sales’, and as long as it costs THEM nothing to do so, they will continue to appear 2-5x more ‘robust’ to the street than fact would reveal.

So, disregarding fact to enhance ‘appearance’ - THAT is nothing ‘new’ for eBay.

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by: LDWCallsOut This user has validated their user name.

Sat Oct 16 08:50:59 2021

When I sold on eBay, I had all items listed to invite offers.  I accepted most offers that were reasonable, so the buyer did get the item they wanted.  The offers I rejected were from bottom feeders looking to pay 25% (or less) of the listed priced PLUS free (for them) shipping.  I doubt there are a lot of sellers on eBay, even now, who want to sell an item they listed at $40 for $5 including shipping.  Dumb idea.

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