Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Aug 22 2021 10:05:35

eBay and Amazon Raise Seller Fees through Advertising

By: Ina Steiner

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The following news headline caught my eye this weekend: "For Amazon and eBay, Advertising Is Another Way to Raise Fees on Sellers."

The author left out Etsy, which is being more brazen about it, since it doesn't give many sellers a choice about paying ad fees. We suspect eBay may join it in charging sellers mandatory advertising fees, given the launch of eBay Offsite Ads.

The column appeared Saturday in the Motley Fool, whose focus is on investors. So obviously its readers aren't so concerned about how sellers pay marketplaces, as long as the companies grow revenue.

But the author had a warning - "Shopify may become more attractive" to sellers given rising fees on online marketplaces. 

The competitive advantage of sites like eBay and Etsy is the low barrier of entry, while platforms like Shopify requires more commitment and investment on the part of sellers - and they don't necessarily bring traffic to an individual seller's listings the way online marketplaces do, leaving it up to the seller to drive sales.

Small sellers who don't have the skills or desire to set up shop on ecommerce platforms like Shopify or BigCommerce do have some options, however - Mercari, Poshmark, Facebook Marketplace, and niche sites.

While it's not an apples-to-apples comparison, marketplaces may want to look at Google Shopping. It went from free listings to pay-to-play, and now it's back to free, giving merchants the choice of whether to advertise or not.

The lesson Google may have learned: shoppers care about relevancy. It's something eBay learned in 2010, but in its hunger for fees as growth slowed, may have forgotten.

In 2010, eBay eliminated its Featured First advertising program that had allowed Top Rated sellers to pay for top placement in search results. The reason eBay provided at the time: "so that the listings most relevant to a buyer's search from sellers who provide great value and service are surfaced consistently at the top of search results-the underlying goal of Best Match."

In other words, shoppers weren't always finding what they were looking for because ads crowded out the relevant listings.

A few months later, eBay also discontinued its AdCommerce pay-per-click advertising program.

The bottom line as far as sellers are concerned: online marketplaces should provide exposure to listings of sellers who pay listing and commission fees; paying advertising fees should be optional; and ads should not negatively impact relevancy of search results.

So how much of a burden is advertising costs on eBay, Amazon, and Etsy? If you don't pay up, is there a loss in exposure of your listings that leads to fewer sales? And what are the alternatives?

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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon Raise Seller Fees through Advertising   eBay and Amazon Raise Seller Fees through Advertising

by: Nothingnewecrater This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 26 13:33:31 2021

I want to remove my few items off eBay before the pay for clicks starts. Anyone know the date of that starting?

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon Raise Seller Fees through Advertising   eBay and Amazon Raise Seller Fees through Advertising

by: Nothingnewecrater This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 26 15:27:45 2021

I just went through the biggest run around with customer support on eBay, trying to find out the start date of the clicks for ads program. She didn't even know about it according to her? I was going to leave my 14 items up until it started. But after the robot/human said she didn't know about it? And kept diverting to everything under the sun dodging my question. I just went ahead and deleted my items off eBay. After 23 years on eBay they finally found my last nail in the coffin. Thank goodness for ecrater.

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon Raise Seller Fees through Advertising   eBay and Amazon Raise Seller Fees through Advertising

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

Fri Aug 27 00:18:35 2021

@Nothingnewecrater

From what I have read Ebay does not have a start date for this program as they are still working on it (translation - we are still working to add the glitches and lack of transparency so nobody can see our employees clicking on these ads).  You can be sure when they finally do roll it out they will make a huge announcement and open Walkers West for all employees to have 1 free drink and maybe 1 free wing, but a huge free party for the executives who came up with another way to dig deeper into sellers pockets without ever having to worry about a sale being made!!!

There is nothing that has been said about Sellers being required to participate in this program so if you were making sales on those 14 items, I would put them back up until such time as you are required to participate in Pay per Click program since those 14 items do not cost you anything unless you make a sale.

Just a thought is all since at least at first the Pay per Click will be voluntary until Ebay realizes it does not bring in the delusional revenue that they will project it to for Wall Street.  Ebay had to have some type of spin to put on this quarters results because they were not up to expectations and they were worried that the stock price would take another hit, especially since it is finally in uncharted waters (still not at $100 per share despite all of the buybacks that ebay has done in an effort to bolster the stock price any way they can.

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon Raise Seller Fees through Advertising   eBay and Amazon Raise Seller Fees through Advertising

by: toastedmutt This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 27 11:28:43 2021

Pay Per Click on eBay returning?  I can see a whole bunch of disgruntled sellers spending lots of time clicking on those PPC listings racking up fees for those sellers yet not buying a thing.

Kind of a way to fill their time while waiting and hoping for a sale or two of their own.  Bored sellers with nothing to ship might turn PPC into a game to see how many sellers they can get to vacate the program.

Desperate sellers who already utilize Promoted Listings, Multiple Purchase Discounts, Volume discounts and the new Discount Coupon will have to pay more in fees for PPC just to be seen.  Sounds like more of eBay's bottomless greed.

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon Raise Seller Fees through Advertising   eBay and Amazon Raise Seller Fees through Advertising

by: quirkyantiques This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 27 13:26:28 2021

@The End I started my own wix website 3 months ago and despite being google indexed I have gotten precisely zero sales. So theres THAT......

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon Raise Seller Fees through Advertising   eBay and Amazon Raise Seller Fees through Advertising

by: postbuster This user has validated their user name.

Sat Aug 28 10:14:46 2021

@quirkyantiques

Three months is not a lot of time to determine the success rate of your store.
It took me close to six months in a niche category for the Big Sites just to get a sale. (They harassed and then throttled me)
Plus the economy is more shaky than before, so maybe allow more time to get noticed.

Have you used your old accounts (etsy,ebay, amazon?) to inform possible customers that you have moved?
That's what I would do.

I really wish you luck on becoming independent from the corporate monsters.

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon Raise Seller Fees through Advertising   eBay and Amazon Raise Seller Fees through Advertising

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Sat Aug 28 17:56:09 2021

@Tinysaur That was also my conclusion regarding Shopify.  The platform just isn't very good and has not improved.  I found the freeware storefronts offered by my website hosting comparable.  Honestly if I had time I might finish writing my own software but I found live sales to be far less hassle.

Perminate Link for eBay and Amazon Raise Seller Fees through Advertising   eBay and Amazon Raise Seller Fees through Advertising

by: AB This user has validated their user name.

Fri Sep 17 00:43:13 2021

I've said it to the Promoted Listings team at various eBay events before and I'll say it again.  Raising your product's price will decrease it's demand.  eBay is a volume business, not a high margin business.  eBay's platform is the product, and they're going to kill sales in hopes of increasing margin.

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