|Sat Oct 20 2012 17:21:02|
How Big a Problem Are eBay Duplicate Listings?
By: Ina Steiner
If reports from readers are any indication, sellers are perpetually frustrated by eBay's duplicate listings policy and the way it's enforced (this was confirmed in a quick poll taken last year).
A while ago, I received an email from a seller who wrote, "Needing spare batteries for some DeWalt screwguns that we favor for dismantling computers, I searched eBay. I was dismayed to find 743 listings of mostly duplicate items from the same group of sellers. It seems that eBay's efforts at removal of duplicate items are not effective."
He went on to say, "In my humble opinion, they ought to have some sort of penalty in place as a deterrent."
eBay put the policy in place so that shoppers wouldn't get inundated by hundreds of listings of the item from the same seller, making it difficult to wade through search results.
eBay has also instituted a similar policy for auctions. This reader explained why she doesn't think it make sense to have a no-dupes policy for auction listings.
eBay recently added a new metric to sellers' dashboards in Selling Manager/Pro called "Duplicate listings not visible to buyers" - the help page explains, "Duplicate auction-style listings that are not eligible to appear on the site will not appear anywhere on eBay, including search results and eBay Stores."
eBay instituted the fixed-price listings dupes policy in 2010. After several people pointed out over the past several months that one of eBay's biggest sellers was allowed to sell the same duplicate items using four selling IDs, and wanted to know if they could do this as well, I asked eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff if sellers were allowed to open multiple selling accounts and sell duplicate items that way.
Hoff said, "No, sellers are not allowed to list duplicates through the use of multiple accounts. As stated in our Duplicate Listings Policy: "These restrictions on duplicate listings include listing an identical item in different categories or listing an identical item using different user IDs." Sellers can find the policy at http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/listing-multi.html."
When I asked why eBay allowed this high-volume seller to sell under multiple IDs, she did not respond. So I reached out to the seller directly.
He responded, writing, "Yes, we are currently working on getting rid of duplicate listings. I believe it will go hand in hand with what was announced yesterday - a better and cleaner buying experience." (He was referring to "the New eBay.")
What do you think of eBay's dupe listing policies and enforcement? What would you do if you were eBay?