Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Fri June 10 2022 08:13:53

eBay Encourages Sellers to Advertise Their Auction Listings

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay is running a promotion in Australia: "Promote your auction listings for only $0.99 between 9 June to 8 July 2022."

Upon first reading, we thought eBay was encouraging sellers to launch 99-cent auctions, but that's not the case. eBay is encouraging sellers to use its Promoted Listings feature for auction listings, no matter the starting price, and they can pay 99 cents for the ads. (The promotion kicked off this week and runs through July 8th.)

The idea that sellers on eBay would have to pay extra to get visibility for their auction listings says a lot about how much eBay has changed from its earlier history. 

For those who weren't selling in the 2000's, you could actually list certain types of items in an auction format with a starting price of 99 cents. eBay would give visibility to auctions on its search results page (especially before Best Match changed the default sort order), and bidders would sometimes drive prices into the stratosphere. The biggest risk at the time wasn't buyer interest - it was the risk of technical snafus halting last-minute "snipe" bidding.

Does anyone utilize the 99-cent auction strategy these days? We did a search for "ebay 99-cent auction" on YouTube - and there are numerous sellers sharing their stories over the years and up to the present time.

Back to the current promotion - you can read more about it on the eBay Australia website. Have you tried eBay's new Promoted Listings Express to advertise your auction listings?

Update 6/10/2022: A seller happens to be talking about eBay 99-cent auctions on the eBay discussion boards today. In its listing back-end, eBay recommended the seller list an auction with a starting price of 99 cents. (The seller included a screenshot.)

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Readers Comments

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by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 10 08:52:31 2022

Assuming my listing is "visible", and buyers sort by price, WHY do I need to pay ebay to promote it?

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by: indomama This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 10 08:53:12 2022

Long time seller & former eBay cheerleader since 2000. Just another way for ebay to milk sellers of their hard earned cash. Since eBay rolled out promoted listing advance & the stupid nonsensical item specifics last year my sales have plummeted. Used to gross between $15,000 to  $20,000 a month easily on eBay. Now I am lucky to make $2000. Top rated seller, 100% feedback, sell in a unique product niche (product that we manufacture & import ourselves) with usually over 1000 listings. Etsy is now our main driver of sales with our website also doing pretty well. Have tried tweaking promoted listings advance, only increases what I owe eBay with not a single sale generated for the cost & time involved. I may also mention that the listing quality report" is a useless joke that will keep you busy running in circles trying to please the eBay algorithm gods.....Good going EBay, instead of helping sellers you only hinder us to cater to your stockholders. Someday they too will wake up and realize what a joke a once great marketplace has become. You are nothing without your loyal sellers. Someday someone over there may wake up to this fact. Let's hope the ship hasn't already sunk.

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by: GetAGrip This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 10 11:02:06 2022

HA HA HA HA HA  Fleecebay is almost as funny as  sock puppet joe.

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

Fri Jun 10 11:42:25 2022

Back in the early days, the 99 cent auction was an effective strategy for me. I haven't sold anything at auction in over ten years. I cannot imagine listing anything for 99 cents hoping the price would go anywhere near fair value. Ebay does not have the traffic to support such a strategy. If that were not enough, the technology and search order design also makes such a strategy untenable.

The only items that should be listed at auction for 99 cents are those items worth the starting price of 99 cents.

That being the case, advertising auctions seems to be throwing good money after bad. It is obvious that eBay management has long ago run out of ideas. They are continuing to work out methods of extracting more fee revenue from the existing, albeit declining, user base.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Lightning

Fri Jun 10 15:39:31 2022

''The idea that sellers on eBay would have to pay extra to get visibility for their auction listings says a lot about how much eBay has changed from its earlier history.''

It has barely changed - people apparently don't have long memories.

The only thing new about this is the presentation, now calling it Promoted Listings.  Even from the beginning, you paid more for better visibility.  

You could get Featured Listings, pinned to the top of the category, by adding $15, Super-Featured listings add $99! for main page visibility, add $5 for Highlighted Listing, add $3 for Bold Listing, add $2 for Subtitle, etc.

It's the same pig with a new shade of lipstick.

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by: postbuster This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 10 16:52:24 2022

This is a must see.
Shows just a few of whom we are making rich and how much they appreciate it.
No one will step in to stop them, Government (Right or Left) will do nothing because they aren't interested in losing 'their own' taxpayer money.

https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/light-elon-musk-discussing-fir
ing-014602144.html

   
Be sure to hold your ankles firmly, this type of very tiny and weak people are trying to make up for some very basic level shortcomings in life.
Executives steering the future of OUR world.
Where would the economy be if businesses didn't pay their salaries?
Better yet, if these people didn't exist?

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by: terry55 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 10 18:02:39 2022

I only auction one of kind, off color or hard to find items, they promote them self's and if I need to pay to promote it then its not worth an auction. With the dying sales I'm not even talking a chance with auctions now.

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by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 10 20:17:28 2022

“ The only thing new about this is the presentation…”

Might seem so.  But for those who’s fading memories are still not completely eroded, when one paid for those listing “features” (etc.), - regardless of any position taken as to their effectiveness or value - one could actually SEE what it bought.  And if you were mid page two ‘naked’, you’d still be mid page two ‘bold face’, highlighted, etc.  There was no ‘promise’ made of being ‘promoted’ as a result.  That’s why they called them ‘features’.

Not choosing one didn’t disadvantage you.  Because those ‘features’ didn’t influence the search results.  

And now?  Who knows.  But here’s a question:  If everyone pays to be ‘promoted’, where will you be then?  

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sat Jun 11 02:19:11 2022

I sold an item today, eBay says ship by June 13th (Monday)

My wife sold an item today and eBay says she has to ship by June 11th (Saturday)

When did this start?

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sat Jun 11 06:39:02 2022

Watching my sales plummet due to eBay's PREDATORY Ads scheme.  I'm good with that.   Over the years I have become much less dependent on eBay. There are plenty of places to sell these days including my own website.  I would burn my entire inventory before I would spend a dime on eBay promoted listing ads.

When you pay for a store your items should be seen.  Between eBay's algorithms and their ads scheme a seller has no hope of being seen unless they pay eBay's ransom.

Greed and incompetent programmers can really kill a site.  eBay has never been more of a rigged card game than it is today.   And the irony?  eBay wants sellers to buy ads but eBay doesn't want to spend a dime in advertising to promote eBay.

That funnel (corporate marketing speak) that they keep talking about is how they are funneling millions into the C-suite's pockets on the backs of sellers.

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sat Jun 11 09:19:26 2022

After all these years I'm going to say it: EBAY HIDES LISTINGS!

Things I want are there and they're not showing me them!

Things I collect and really want and they're not showing them to me,

The more eBay does this the less I want to do business with them both as a buyer and as a seller!

FUE

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by: Alfacar This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jun 11 19:23:08 2022

I saw they use my listing image to lure buyers to different store. I searched my item (that is promoted) and it came up in search (images). When you tap image to take you to the store, it opened different seller store!. Dishonesty deceit. Wondering why your promo are not wirking? However the one seller (big one) keeps showing on all my listings and their sales didn’t drop for even one day. Good luck everyone - we will need it.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Lightning

Sun Jun 12 04:21:01 2022

''when one paid for those listing “features” (etc.),  - one could actually SEE what it bought''

Completely agree.  No transparency now, except for the listings themselves - invisible.

But my comment was regarding the fact that you were _always_ ''encouraged'' to pay extra for visibility on eBay, which was not the inference in the article.  Was stated to be more like you have to pay now, didn't before, my how eBay has changed.  I'm sure they are desperate, but pay for play is not the harbinger.  Been there since the beginning.

As to whether you actually get any play for your pay, that is indeed ambiguous at best.  I never found it to be beneficial, but some sellers with high margin mass market products probably can't go without it.  From different seats in the stadium, you get different perspectives.

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by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jun 12 11:17:58 2022

Speaking from memory..

Except for those lacking the tenure, those who ‘auctioned’ here are reminded of when using a $.99 strategy was sound, not only for reasons stated, but in the age of listing fees it was cheap.  

Until eBay arrogantly, greedily, ineptly declared that their customers didn’t know what they wanted, and shuddup already.  They “let go” of that past, and dumped auctions into a cesspool of “firm price” and “pay for promotion” mass production, compulsory acceptance for “loss”, systemic appeasement for buyer fraud and abuse, and marketplace manipulation.

Their policies strangled auctions.  Their search manipulations and robotically assessed policy enforcements coupled with their myopic vision of a mobile consumer addled demographic fixated on a firm price business model that has volume to absorb dictated “loss”, or pay to ameliorate it, disadvantaged and decimated the auction marketplace and alienated and discouraged serious auction buyers, rendering $.99 auctions as a serious financial risk.

And all this only STARTED over a decade ago.  Before all the other logs they’ve tossed in the frog pot since.  So now they want sellers to pay to promote them.  At $.99.

Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it.  Wise words for the world today too.

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

Mon Jun 13 01:23:08 2022

I have started many auctions at 99¢ that got many bids.  But those were (and will be) items that actually are scarce and collectible, such as railroad dining car china.  But I'll not pay an extra 99¢ to promote them.  Wouldn't make any difference.

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 13 02:25:32 2022

I see my listings floating across internet sites, but it's from Poshmark and not Ebay.  I have done searches for my listings and they always appear on Posh and Merc, but never Ebay.  I rarely list on Ebay anymore not like I used to.  It's the last "ditch" site for me, meaning if an item is having a hard time selling Ebay gets the listing.  But between consignment, Posh, Merc and AMZ, Ebay is the last site on my mind.

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by: Bruce Hershenson This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 13 06:44:22 2022

You wrote "Does anyone utilize the 99-cent auction strategy these days?".

I know you meant "Does anyone utilize the 99-cent auction strategy these days ON EBAY?", but to answer what you DID write, I use a "$1 start, no reserve" auction format on my own site, http://www.eMoviePoster.com, and have for the past 1.6 MILLION auctions and we are positively thriving (all-time record sales the past years, 107 million to date), proving the $1 no reserve auctions COULD still work wonderfully on eBay, if the people who ran the site had ANY clue what they were doing.

I just wish I were a much younger person, because if I were, I would change my site from just movie and poster memorabilia to ALL kinds of memorabilia, because every day people call and email asking if there is another site like mine, that still has honest $1 no reserve auctions.

And I feel SO incredibly sorry for those who have somehow managed to stick with eBay all these years. What a train wreck that company is. :(

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by: 1st Armored Div. 1971-1973 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 13 08:36:56 2022

I run tests ever so often on a few listings to see how they show up on ebay search. Since my items are relatively one-of-kind they should show up near the top of a search and they do.

I spot check on Google every so often and they do show up on page one.

Which leads me to the conclusion that inflation is killing sales since it is taking the discretionary income my buyers depend on to buy my items.

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by: Modlcitizn This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 13 09:56:22 2022

I used to successfully use the 99 cent back in the day.  I hadn't sold in 12+ years so I tried it again when I came back this past August.  Not so successful this time!

Note that eBay used to get a quarter for a 7 day listing.  It was a good investment because your 99 cent items got multiple bids and my  median sale was $10.  Life was good!

Today they are begging for auction listings... They'll give you free listings that renew every week for a total of 9 weeks of exposure... and guess what?  More than not they expire after 9 weeks without a bid.   Those that did sell, sold for (drum roll!) 99 cents!  Or a little more, nothing like the late 1990s!

I believe there are several factors.  First, eBay has many more customers than back then.  BUT,  many times more listings.  I remember sitting down on a Sunday morning and being able to browse through my favorite collectibles categories.  Today those categories are broken down into many categories, none of which you could remotely get through!   Just tons of stuff,  thus your items get buried!  And there may be multiples of your item.

I used an example that I had two postcards from a New Orleans restaurant. I did a search and found 470 listings for postcards from that restaurant.  They went from 99 cents all the way up to $20.  So why list?   I did so, four cards for $1.99 fixed price and they sat there since August.   Somehow they sold last week!   But 10 months?

And does eBay hide your listings?  Absolutely!  Go into your category and start looking at page one of "Best Match".  Count how many pages deep you go before you find one of your listings.  I found I had to go 10-20 pages in!  And does the casual browser go that far?  That's why my listings aren't getting views.

So who is at the top?  Sponsored Listings, Promoted Listings, some New Listings, but for the most part the big sellers who dominate this category have all the top places in search!  Why do these sellers get better treatment?  Is it the number of listings they have? Is it that they have better than 1000 followers? Or have they paid for better placement? But these folks can start a penny auction, 50 or 99 cents and be successful like the old days, while the rest of us bang our heads on the wall!

Another thing I noticed. eBay will give short lists of results.  As I'm listing new items and checking my own listings so I don't duplicate,  eBay is hiding half the qualified listings!   I went in and searched  "myusername  fdc 1977 Washington"  and I get 5-6 results.  Now I know I have a dozen variations  of this item for sale!  Another search with a small change will find some of those items.  But never the full list!



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by: spooky This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 13 12:18:59 2022

over 24 years selling on eBay. First 22 years almost always auction style with just a few Buy It Now once in awhile. Now I am 99% Buy It Now and when I do use auction I start at price I can live with if it sells opening bid

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