Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Fri Feb 10 2012 00:34:10

eBay Seller Spitting Mad over New Ads in Paid Listings

By: Ina Steiner

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Sellers are reporting that eBay is placing other sellers' listings at the top of their View Item pages for their active listings. There are several known cases when competing ads appear in listings - one is for completed listings, which sellers have resigned themselves to; another is when a searcher comes to a listing through a search engine. You can see more information in this blog post.

eBay also has a cross-promotion feature in which it places ads in sellers' listings, and in return, displays their ads in other sellers' listings. Sellers can opt-out of the cross promotion feature if they choose.

But a seller who contacted me today insists that none of those situations apply to the ads she saw in her own listings this week. She spoke to an eBay customer service representative who told her that this is new, and different from the other ads. "The placement ABOVE the listing description has never been done by eBay before," she wrote. "They are testing it."



We found two other threads about this from users who noticed these ads and said they were appearing higher on Item pages - this one started on February 3rd (eBays new listign layout "More items to consider), and this one, also started on February 3rd (It Just Is Not Right! Confused and Wasting My Time).

In January of last year, someone reported something similar, but it seemed likely at the time to have been the eBay cross-promotion feature in action - difficult to tell without a screenshot.

Sellers care deeply about this issue, feeling that they own the Item page real estate since they pay listing fees, as the seller who wrote to me today explained:

"We are paying for an auction listing to promote OUR item, not a bunch of other items from sellers, over which we have no control in the selection, which may be over-priced or irrelevant (although eBay told me they are using the Best Match algorithm).

If the pictures of other items appeared at the bottom of the listing, it would still be fundamentally wrong .. but they appear BEFORE the description of my listing .. which distracts and confuses my customers. It suggests that I am providing these other options for my customer to explore (similar to the photo gallery of my other listings which appears at the bottom of my listing).

It squats on my little pieces of real estate, which I am paying dearly for, and dilutes my brand which I have worked tirelessly to build over more than 10 years."


The seller was familiar with the various scenarios in which eBay placed other listings in sellers' Item pages, and she wrote, "The eBay attendant I spoke with said it is a BETA test that has been applied to only some eBay auction listings. I searched my own listings and listings of other sellers I watch, and the photos appeared in more than half of the auction listings. I viewed the auctions from My eBay page, by seller name, and listing number, and found the pictures appeared no matter how I searched."

To clear up any confusion about what the seller was seeing, I asked eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff if eBay was running tests in which it was including other sellers' listings at the top of a seller's active listings, and I'm awaiting a reply.

If you've noticed a new "More Items to Consider" section in your View Item listing pages that weren't there before, let us know.




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Perminate Link for eBay Seller Spitting Mad over New Ads in Paid Listings   eBay Seller Spitting Mad over New Ads in Paid Listings

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
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Fri Feb 10 01:48:24 2012

It’s obvious that eBay is now staffed—from head to toe—by either imbeciles or shysters. Little that they have ever done has been done in a workman-like manner. Still, given that the eBay marketplace has been stagnant since 2008, they have to try to improve the marketplace performance some how, and squeezing a few extra pennies out of the sheep that are still trying to make a living grazing on the eBay slopes is the only way that they can do it. That whatever they so desperately now try is utterly unscrupulous, should surely be no surprise.

No doubt the "More items to consider" section will feature items from eBay’s diamond sellers.

Obviously, the eBay turkeys are getting desperate: the “brand” merchants won’t hang around long unless their eBay sales are more cost effective than their own web sites.

Is it just my imagination or is that sweet smell of death getting stronger …

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Fri Feb 10 03:08:29 2012

It will be funnier when the nasty pictures and adult toys show up on innocent sellers pages.

I'm sure your customers won't get turned off by the satanic Heavy Metal CDs that pop up in your listing.

eBay puts cookies in your computer, and what YOU see on ''your page'' is not always what Joan Q. Public sees. The company that brought you TurboLister and Best Match is looking out for you.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Fri Feb 10 08:15:28 2012

I completely agree, this is very intrusive and maddening. ~ Perhaps this is one of the reasons that eBay is having so many free listing promotions.

By not charging up-front for the listing space, eBay has set themselves up to be in a position of strength when countering any arguments that the sellers ''own'' the real-estate of the listings because they have paid for the listing.

eBay's aggressiveness in this matter is a strong indicator that they are feeling the pinch of declining sales and traffic... and yet again... in order to fill that void, eBay TAKES AWAY from the sellers.

You know... considering the fact that eBay has such contempt and disrespect for small sellers, they certainly do RELY ON US for a lot, don't they?

What's wrong with this picture?

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by: wallflower This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 10 08:30:44 2012

This would also be bad for ebay mobile  - I  would imagine that they would not show up on mobile listing views. Just what sellers need - another distraction for buyers READING the description, which seems hard enough as it is...

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by: Scotty This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 10 10:03:27 2012

So under this logic....when can we expect to see adverts for Etsy, Bonanza, Ruby Lane, etc. at the top of the Ebay home page?  It's only logical (in ebay-land....)

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Spitting Mad over New Ads in Paid Listings   eBay Seller Spitting Mad over New Ads in Paid Listings

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Fri Feb 10 10:52:30 2012

Hey eBay, since you are determined to impose your will on sellers regardless of how those sellers object....how about a couple of compromises?

First, advertisements appear only on pages placed as free listings, and not on paid listing pages.

Second, sellers paying for store subscriptions are exempt from having ads inserted into their listings.

Third, advertisements should be placed at the bottom of the listing page.

What...you say??  Nobody looks at the bottom of the page....

Well, that's not what you said when you moved the Ask Seller Question link down there, so go ahead and place the ads below the Ask Seller Link.

Prove to sellers how visible that space is by placing your ads at the bottom of the page.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Spitting Mad over New Ads in Paid Listings   eBay Seller Spitting Mad over New Ads in Paid Listings

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 10 11:45:23 2012

What no one realizes is that even though you pay for the listing .. in eBayland - NOTHING is yours!

The buyer isnt yours - they are eBays
Your money isnt yours - until they approve
The item you sell isnt under your control - eBay will tell you you how long a customer can use it before they return it

NOTHING is yours. Its all eBays.

eBays one and only goal is to best Amazon - and JD's new promotion with the PRO group is just a small part of it. Their association will help ''gently remove'' those stubborn smaller sellers who sell the same goods (in this case electronics). VERO will do the rest for them.

As for fashion? The article here earlier during the week metioned eBay and thier issue with fakes .... I call %100 BS. eBay knows quite well whats going on and turns a blind eye - all in the name of FVFs.

They turn a blnd eye all day long - even when items are reported. They have sufficiant staff and funds to spend time going through categories. (If they have enough funds to get random people to call and offer improvements on listings aka seller developement - they have it for this too)(I got 3 calls from them yesterday!)

I think EVERYONE agrees - if you pay for the listing, the ONLY other pics of other items should be YOUR items, not anyone elses.

Of course eBay will point to some verbage that they placed in some update that was slipstreamed into their TOS, giving them the right to screw you YET AGAIN. But thats how it is on eBay.

(and dont compare it to Amazon - on Amazon you DONT pay for listings!)(Silly Donahue - ecommerce isnt for you - you are too dumb to know how it works!)

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Spitting Mad over New Ads in Paid Listings   eBay Seller Spitting Mad over New Ads in Paid Listings

by: BetterThingsToDo This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 10 11:52:48 2012

In Ebay world those that are in control get up in the morning thinking " What can we do to upset the noise today. The more we upset the noise the more that will leave for somewhere else."

The big sellers are to busy selling than to worry about any ad on their pages. They probably could care less. And they are the ones that are really paying the bills for Ebay.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Spitting Mad over New Ads in Paid Listings   eBay Seller Spitting Mad over New Ads in Paid Listings

by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
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Fri Feb 10 13:37:58 2012

Ebay does everything it can to make money.

It is a corporation now.
Not a small company with a new idea helping people buy and sell stuff all over the world.

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by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 10 14:57:39 2012

I just went to see one of my listings and, yes, it did have a strip of other paintings before the viewer gbt to see MY painting!!!  As usual, Ebay tripped all over itself to make business at our expense.  I wouldn't have minded half as much if this band were below my listing....but above it???  Come on now... Ebay management is a bunch of fools!

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Spitting Mad over New Ads in Paid Listings   eBay Seller Spitting Mad over New Ads in Paid Listings

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
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Fri Feb 10 16:20:45 2012

@Ric,

Are you inferring that the diamonds have these ads appearing on their pages too; if so, that clearly indicates how desperate, and stupid, eBay has become.

@BetterThingsToDo,

Those executives supposedly in control get up every morning wondering if Donahoe is going to fire them today; that’s why they are constantly coming up with such imbecilic ideas to try to squeeze a few more pennies out of the Marketplace, or give greater advantage to their “brand” merchants which, at ~10% STR, if they are paying for listings, can’t be really impressed.

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

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This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Fri Feb 10 17:36:50 2012

Just a question.

Does anyone pay attention to the ads on the various pages? I'd like to know if any research has been done.

Personally, I tend to ignore flashy things (like the annoying business card ad on eBay) & stuff that is not what I'm looking for - like a description, image, price etc on an eBay item.

Perhaps this is eBay grasping at straws & trying to do the Google thing in an environment where it is a non-issue. Then again, if you are selling a widget and and ad appears for a competitors widget - I'd be steaming too.

Any comments?

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Fri Feb 10 17:38:32 2012

@Phillip... Could not say about ads appearing on Diamond Seller Listings as I go out of my way to avoid Diamond Sellers.

I would rather pay slightly more to support small sellers like myself than to buy from a Diamond Seller. The only time I purchase from a Diamond is on the rare occasion the item I need/want is not available from any other seller.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Spitting Mad over New Ads in Paid Listings   eBay Seller Spitting Mad over New Ads in Paid Listings

by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 10 18:50:55 2012

Online sales increased 26% in the fourth quarter last year overall ebay did not cut it. JD had fvf on shipping and the increased ad revenue and gsi commerce and paypal, doesnt look to me like he's a super star. He is increasing the listing counts for the ad revenue. All those free listing days, you know the days when your sales drop like a rock, are simply to get more clicks. The click scam that has been going on all over the net is in full bloom on ebay. JD is running out of bullets and more and more sellers are leaving it will not be long before we see a change, shareholders know they are missing profits from the final value fees lost by the fleeing sellers. This guy is truly a dishonest and low life criminal, he is not at all interested in the noise. The only thing this guy is going to undertand is embarassment the small start ups are getiing bigger and more payment processing options are coming, good bye weasel you are done.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Spitting Mad over New Ads in Paid Listings   eBay Seller Spitting Mad over New Ads in Paid Listings

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 10 19:18:49 2012

@ebay refugee camp....shareholders are not making a profit - since Donahoe took over their stock has gone up and down over a 1 to 2 point span....like a dead fish being dragged in and out by the tide.  What money is there to make on it?  pennies?  They pay NO dividend!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Fri Feb 10 22:06:07 2012

Two quick points.

Putting competitors' ads on free auction listings is ebafia's way of "monetizing" free listings. I knew there had to some reason they were giving away listings.

The poison, however, will cotninue to spread as these corporate parasites are addicted to money.

Secondly, there's a way to make plenty on ebay as long as you buy and sell in volume like the big Wall Street funds do.

If, for example, you have 10,000 shares of ebay stock (no person in their right mind should own any stock except if you're employed by ebay) bought at 29.50, purchased from an online discount brokerage, and sold a week later 31.25, you made $17,500 in a week.

You wait for the stock to come back down which it inevitably does historically, buy and repeat the process.

The same principle is at work whether you buy 100 or 1,000 shares of ebay stock. Pay minimum broker fees and capital gain taxes.

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by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
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Sat Feb 11 14:45:39 2012

One quick point

I think the mainy reason ebay offer the 50 free listings is to head off the alt sites which were rising steadily.

Now with 50 free listings most of the alt sellers have gone back to ebay as they can list for free and they don't mind paying a fee if it sells.

That is what has stopped the rise of sites like ebid.bet, ecrater and bonanza.

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by: iramency This user has validated their user name.
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Sun Feb 12 20:01:00 2012

I don't know, maybe it's just me but I just skip over the Ebay articles now. I wouldn't sell anything on there anymore if you paid me. I probably was the 500th customer when the site first came out. I used to buy, sell and love the place. It has really gone to heck in a handbag. Etsy is influxed with tons of vintage shops which is a bunch of vintage Ebayers moving over.  You would think Ebay would worry about losing market share and watch the so called shady things they are doing but they haven't learned yet.  Tsk, tsk, tsk.  

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by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Feb 13 00:14:38 2012

Yes and if you add the millions of collectible listings on Delcampe and bidstart you wonder what is left on ebay.
But they keep building up the number of listings, so they must be happy.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Spitting Mad over New Ads in Paid Listings   eBay Seller Spitting Mad over New Ads in Paid Listings

by: timelesstreasure This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 13 17:11:33 2012

They are in my listings too.  I noticed them last night.  After selling on eBay since 1997, I'm ready to throw in the towel.  This is simply TOO MUCH.  Whether ''Beta'' or not, I think eBay has a responsibility to forewarn sellers when they're going to pull a stunt like this; and regardless of whether it is legal or not, it is unethical and unprofessional.  Real shyster-ism!

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