Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Feb 14 2012 22:09:56

Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay has been pushing the envelope this year when it comes to advertising on the Item pages for which sellers pay eBay insertion fees. And while many people are willing to view ads in exchange for a free service, it's questionable whether eBay sellers would be in favor of free listings in exchange for ads in their listings for items that compete directly with their own items.

eBay is running at least two unannounced tests of ad placements in paid active listings on its U.S. site, and it has already moved to an ad model in Australia for certain listings.

Last month, we wrote about the display ads that appear in live listings. eBay's Johnna Hoff confirmed eBay had begun testing the ads on eBay UK last year, and sellers began talking about the ads on U.S. listing pages in late December. Currently the ads have been for services that don't directly compete with eBay listings, such as American Express, VistaPrint business cards and eBay's own Daily Deals and Mobile Apps.

This week, we wrote about the competitive listings that began appearing at the top of active listings on eBay.com - these are ads for the same item but for sale by different sellers. eBay's Hoff confirmed the ads, in a section called "More items to consider," were part of an unannounced test the company was conducting. Most worrisome to sellers was their placement, with some sellers saying they were concerned shoppers would not see the detailed descriptions that are now pushed farther down the page.



It's interesting to see what eBay has done in Australia - last month, it told Australian sellers it was providing casual sellers up to 30 free listings a month and said it would run advertisements in those listings to subsidize the free listings. eBay explained:

"To enable eBay to continue to offer free insertion fees on up to 30 listings per month to casual sellers, eBay will begin running advertisements on a certain number of View Item Pages. The advertisements will only run on the listings of those sellers who do not pay an insertion fee on their listings and will be effective as of 23 January 2012."

While eBay.com's Hoff told EcommerceBytes that U.S. sellers could opt out of the competitive-listing campaigns, sellers appear to be stuck with the display ads located underneath the seller information at the top of the listings.

The competing listings are not going over well among sellers who are commenting online. One seller wrote on LinkedIn, "Can you imagine buying a commercial ad in a newspaper or magazine and have the publisher post a competing ad inside of yours? This stinks."

Another noticed that the competing product ads were appearing in the winning bid email notifications. "My feel(ing) is that this will lead to a lot more NPB situations. ie: they win my auction and get their winning bid notice. At the bottom are 4 other items (not my items) and eBay says "Wouldn't you like to add this item to your order?" As a buyer I say, "I just paid $49.99 for this and now I see that there is one for $45.99. I think I'll just forget about the first one and buy the cheaper one." My item is forgotten about and the buyer never pays me."

In 2008, eBay began placing advertising directly on product listing pages in Australia, Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy, and the UK. In August 2009, Australian sellers were outraged when ads for the FoxTel digital television subscription service began appearing on their View Item pages directly below the "Place Bid" button, and eBay Australia backed away from that particular ad placement.

It seems eBay thinks the time is right to try more advertising in the U.S., perhaps because the seller community, which had always made it clear the listing pages belonged to them, is no longer as vocal as it once was.

Do you think this added revenue stream to eBay will make it cheaper for you to list? And will ads for competing products cannibalize your sales?




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Perminate Link for Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings   Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Wed Feb 15 00:06:31 2012

Do I believe eBay will reduce listing fees with this new revenue stream?  

In a word... NO !!!

With this move, eBay is creating affiliate servitude in that sellers will have no choice to exclude competing display advertising from appearing on the space they pay for.

Even if eBay were to do the right thing (and they won't) by reducing listing costs or pay sellers a commission when the small number of buyers click through these obnoxious ads, sellers still end up potentially losing sales and the profits resulting from those lost sales, thus any reduction in listing fees (if offered) will be negated by lower sales and reduced profits.

Buyers will also likely revolt and their displeasure will eventually be felt in the form of reduced traffic across eBay.

Sellers will feel this pain first, then eBay will feel it in the form of reduced GMV.

Is management foolish enough to gamble that additional revenue from display ads will offset sales lost due to buyers who grow weary of the advertising assault they are compelled to view?

I guess the answer to that is a resounding YES!

Apparently management has yet to run out of ways to alienate buyers and sellers as they continue to destructively innovate their way into oblivion.

Perminate Link for Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings   Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen

Wed Feb 15 00:19:02 2012

Well, the cretinous headless turkeys in the eBay executive suite have to try and breathe some life back into the tired old beached whale somehow, seeing as it has been doing a lot of thrashing about but the Marketplace has made no headway since 2008.

If you don’t like the ads I’m sure the Ho can arrange another “reduction” in fees …

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

Perminate Link for Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings   Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings

by: JohnGermaine This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 15 00:20:42 2012

Good Lord!

Perminate Link for Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings   Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings

by: Brainiac jones This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 15 01:17:29 2012

Utter idiocy. Bite the hand that feeds you-- try to obfuscate the promotion of similar items to your own sale by 'add this to your order!' is so thin it's unbelievable.

Perminate Link for Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings   Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings

by: Henry This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 15 01:41:26 2012

This will be a complete disaster.  Sellers pay for this ad space so it is exclusive to their products. Now eBay wants to take a significant amount of that space and show competing ads. That is pure BS.

eBay has had quite a few bad ideas in the last three years but this is by far the worst.

Perminate Link for Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings   Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 15 01:44:17 2012

I had this happen to my ads last week and called up Ebay to complain. The ads were right under my items photo and buried the item's description, etc. I was told I could opt out and I did. If they want to put their ads all the way to the bottom of my ads then so be it. No one hardly ever scrolls down that far anyway. The real problem is that a buyer will blame me because they bought an inferior product off of my page.  

Perminate Link for Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings   Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings

This user has validated their user name. by: Bijoux Dragon
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Wed Feb 15 01:48:40 2012

And I am sure the diamond sellers will be the ones moving in on the smaller sellers and not the other way around.  Will my earrings be in the ad from one of the Chinese mega sellers - I doubt it! Will mega seller ads be in my ad (listings are ads after all) - YES!

My solution is the same it's been for a while - don't list on eBay and then they cannot mess with my business.  SAD!  

Perminate Link for Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings   Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings

by: BetterThingsToDo This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 15 04:33:53 2012

Bring em on. I have the lowest prices in any catagory that I sell in with free shipping.

All those other ads will be higher priced for the same items. For me its a win win situation.

Perminate Link for Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings   Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings

by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Feb 15 04:49:49 2012

Ebay are very clever at finding ways to make money for them.

They gave us 50 free listings to stop us leaving fro the alt sites.

Now they are putting ads on to pay for the free listings.

And people like @Bijoeux Dragon above, who say they have a solution, but then don't follow it, are what allows ebay to get away it all.

Perminate Link for Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings   Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings

by: KEEPING A CLOSE EYE ON THEM ALL! This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Feb 15 06:53:41 2012

Re: BetterThingsToDo  

Yea, that's real smart - Cheer something those idiots are doing that promotes a "race to the bottom' on pricing...

But then again people that think like you are the ones that think the reason to be in business is to get the small 'thrill' of making a sale at no profit...

Don't know about you but I don't spend 18 hours a day working to sell something for .28 cents profit to show for my time... REAL BRIGHT.

Perminate Link for Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings   Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings

by: BetterThingsToDo This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 15 09:08:54 2012

@ keeping a close eye on them all

You assume to much. Just because you might have to raise prices to make a profit doesn't mean some of us just get a better deal when we buy the product.

So bright we are instead of dim.

Perminate Link for Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings   Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings

by: BetterThingsToDo This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 15 09:24:55 2012

Oh and by the way. I'm getting ready to list the over 10,000 items I have. Fleecebay is giving free listing to store owners from the 15th to the 21st. So bring on those ads.

Perminate Link for Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings   Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings

by: Tired of eBay's Bullsh*t This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 15 10:50:28 2012

Face it, eBay just HATES it sellers.

Time and again they try to make as if all sellers items are interchangeable across other sellers, and this ads-in-listings is just one more example.

Once eBay is 99% junk from the same handful of Chinese factories this will be a lot easier (for eBay).

eBay brass in the past has bemoaned that eBay homepage/etc looks like a garage sale. Well, at one time it looked like an interesting garage sale ... now it just looks like a garage sale with cheap chinese junk -- identical to every other garage sale on the block.

A race to the bottom
(and eBay is winning)

What a bunch of MORONS.

- Tired of eBay's Bullsh*t

Perminate Link for Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings   Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings

by: GoingBroke This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Feb 15 11:50:31 2012

I can not believe I'm paying for a listing to advertise other sellers items!! This is crazy-their items show up BEFORE my item info. AMAZING what eBay can think up to HURT their sellers. Guess they have not figured out without sellers they don't have a site. As my sales on other sites increase I look forward to the day I can say "I'm out of here" Usually the longer you are somewhere the more you are valued-NOT ON EBAY-over 13 years and they could care less!!  

Perminate Link for Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings   Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings

by: GoingBroke This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Feb 15 11:51:04 2012

I can not believe I'm paying for a listing to advertise other sellers items!! This is crazy-their items show up BEFORE my item info. AMAZING what eBay can think up to HURT their sellers. Guess they have not figured out without sellers they don't have a site. As my sales on other sites increase I look forward to the day I can say "I'm out of here" Usually the longer you are somewhere the more you are valued-NOT ON EBAY-over 13 years and they could care less!!  

Perminate Link for Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings   Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 15 12:17:16 2012

There is some sort of "comment" link on the "suggstions for other items" or whatever it is called that says:  TELL US IF YOU LIKE OUR SUGESSTIONS or similar.  Several times I have written to say--NO I do NOT like.  OF course I have heard nothing not even robo mail to say "Thanks we got it we are ignoring it now".

But I do wonder where those emails are going.

And what would happen if hundreds or thousands of seller wrote in.

And HOW DO YOU OPT OUT OF THESE ADS????  If I call FeeBay and tell 'em I don't want 'em will they remove them---and will I still get the 50 free or do I have to move into a paid situation?  Because for ME at least as a small seller of used sportswear gear and the odd jewelery or collectible this format is NOT worth selling on if I ALSO have to pay for the listing---out of 53 listings I had up with very good prices I believe I sold 5 and one was an UNPAID ITEM.  IF I had PAID for those ads I would have been OUT probably $100.  And I know many others in the same position.  

The ads OBSCURING my ads---so you can't SEE either mine or the other guys---those REALLY burn me---I do suspect that SNADS will result in a big way and once again sellers will suffer.  

Shame on ebay.

Perminate Link for Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings   Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings

by: bb6 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 15 17:09:01 2012

Where do you go to opt out?

Perminate Link for Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings   Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings

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

Wed Feb 15 17:28:42 2012

bb6 asks: ''Where do you go to opt out?''

Yes, I'd be interested in knowing the answer to this question too. (Anyone? Anyone? :-)

The cynical side of me is inclined to suspect that anyone who does opt-out will be penalized in some manner. More than likely, it will be that those who do opt-out will find their listings appear on page 10 or higher of the search results.

Do these ads ALSO appear when someone views a listing on their smartphone??

If so, this could be an absolute and unmitigated DISASTER!!! Smartphone shoppers don't read... they just see a photo and click the ''buy'' button. With all these extra product images, it's entirely possible (and quite likely) that a smartphone shopper might not realize that the photo they see is an ADVERTISEMENT and they'll click the ''buy'' button... thinking they're buying the item in the ADVERTISEMENT.

Oddly enough, customers who are too lazy to read the product description are the same ones who are NEVER too busy to leave negative feedback and low dsr's. Go figure.

Perminate Link for Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings   Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings

by: ckrken This user has validated their user name.
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Wed Feb 15 17:48:47 2012

What right does Ebay have in ambushing my PAID listings with competitors adverting and listings. I pay Ebay for the service to own a store and I pay for the service to list on ebay. I do not pay ebay to allow my competitors the privilege of advertising their wares on my listings.
Do they think I am nuts!!! The services that I pay Ebay for would be the same in the real world of owning or leasing a bricks & mortar store. Everything in that store is mine and there is no way would I allow a rival the right to advertise in my store. The same would apply to any advertising, marketing and etc.
Ebay should not have a legal right to use my store and listings for its own financial gains - I already pay for those rights and privileges

Perminate Link for Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings   Last Sacred Cow - eBay Monetizes Traffic with Ads in Listings

by: SherlockHolmes This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 15 18:38:21 2012

TO OPT OUT:  log into your eBay; hover over 'ACCOUNT' tab; the drop down menu shows "MARKETING TOOLS". Click on this & then on left side of screen "CROSS PROMOTIONS ~ SETTINGS".

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