Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Mar 29 2012 20:18:51

Buyers Confused over Changes to eBay Item Page

By: Ina Steiner

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Remember when eBay made so many changes affecting sellers businesses beginning in 2008 that it had to pledge it would start limiting major changes to 2 - 3 times a year and promising to give sellers 60 days advance notice?

Well, eBay is on a roll again, this time making frequent changes to the Item page. Buyers and sellers are having to look around for pertinent information that moves from one area of the listing page to another.

The latest move is causing some confusion among buyers. eBay moved the product selling history on the Item listing page and is now displaying the number of items sold directly to the right of the quantity available.

A seller who listed an item with a quantity of 12 and who had sold six sent me an email he received from a buyer: "Do you still have some of these left? I see have six and sold six."

In other words, because the listing said there were six items available and six items sold, the buyer wondered if that meant the seller had sold all of his available items - when in fact, the seller still had six items left for sale.

The seller wrote in his email to me, "What possible reason or good could it do for buyers to publicly show the number sold? And I realize this has been shown for awhile, but why did they move the number sold right next to the number available? This IS confusing and I could see how someone would deduce that there are none available."

eBay has been making changes to the Item page in order to make room for ads, and it can be disconcerting to both buyers and sellers when they discover a field they are used to seeing in one spot is suddenly gone and appears in a new spot on the page.



Above: The two screenshots show eBay Item pages; the first was take on February 17, 2012, the second was taken yesterday, March 28, 2012.

eBay eliminated the section at the top of the Item page called "Other item info" which had included the Item number, location, ships to, payments, and history information. As I previously reported, users began noticing its disappearance when eBay began testing an ad in that very spot where Other Item Info had appeared.

Just the other day I became frustrated when trying to find the Item Number of a listing I was viewing - turns out, eBay moved it underneath the top section, in the seller's description area - for now, at least! And we previously noted sellers' displeasure that the Item Location information was made much less visible and moved underneath the Shipping section (see last week's blog post).

Sellers not only dislike change, they are also unhappy about ads appearing in listing pages for which they pay listing fees. The latest ads are "sponsored links" at the bottom of Item pages that look similar to Google Adword or Yahoo ads. (And yes, the Sponsored Links take shoppers off of the eBay site and onto retailer websites.)

Have your buyers noticed the changes on the Item page, and what do you think of the new placement of various descriptive fields?




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Perminate Link for Buyers Confused over Changes to eBay Item Page   Buyers Confused over Changes to eBay Item Page

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

Thu Mar 29 21:56:09 2012

How many examples of ebay management incompetence are necessary in order to demonstrate to even their crony Wall Street enablers just how inept, inexperienced, and error prone this management team actually is?

What other corporation goes out its away several times a year to confuse it customers (seller) and their customers (buyers) to the point where a potential buyer can't determine if there is anything left to buy or not?

What other corporation can you think of that deliberately creates  policies for the express purpose of encouraging third parties crimes to commit against its own customers?

What other corporation can you think of that can steal your money from anywhere from 7 days to forever?

What other corporation can you think of that defines the words in a performance evaluation of "reasonable," "satisfied," "accurate," and "quickly" as failing and worthy of termination?

What other corporation can you think of that believes the words negative and neutral are synonyms?

Ebay does these truly idiotic things because its middle management team IS a group of poorly trained, even more poorly supervised, and inexperienced idiots who lack insight, common sense, and who operate by the seat of their short pants utterly free of even a sliver of comprehension of how retail sales or the ebafia platform actually works.

These guys really need to go back and finish high school.

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by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 29 22:52:07 2012

i think someone needs to ask ebay exactly what their definition of "major change" is because while to sellers any change is major, it seems that to ebay every change is minor.

i really dislike the new set up.  not som much because of the possibility of ads (i have yet to see one in that empty space)  but because it lessens the "presence" of the individual seller on the page.

Perminate Link for Buyers Confused over Changes to eBay Item Page   Buyers Confused over Changes to eBay Item Page

by: blaumann This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 29 23:04:44 2012

Ebay has set itself on a long term path of destruction.  

Perminate Link for Buyers Confused over Changes to eBay Item Page   Buyers Confused over Changes to eBay Item Page

by: alaska This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 29 23:35:23 2012

Most of us will be able to use adblock to block the new ads, so bring them on. eBay tried to get me to take a survey on a new home page. The questions were so very stupid I quit the survey half way through. I never ever visit the home page anyway.  

Perminate Link for Buyers Confused over Changes to eBay Item Page   Buyers Confused over Changes to eBay Item Page

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Thu Mar 29 23:43:14 2012

All eBay management cares about is impressing Wall Street so analysts will speak well of the stock and hope that reflects in higher share prices so that they can sell off their gifted shares and the proceeds to their inflated million dollar salary packages.

eBay monetizses listing pages in layers. Layer one, listing fees. Layer two assuming a sale occurs Final Value Fees on the item price. Layer three Final Value Fees on shipping costs unless shipping was included in the selling price in which case, layer two applies. Layer four, PayPal fees on the gross amount of the transaction. Add to that layer five, paid advertisements which are necessary to conceal the fact that layers one through four are stagnant.


Paid ads are going to drive away buyers. Management does not care.

Paid ads that drive away buyers will reduce gross sales. Management does not care.

Buyers confused? eBay Management does not care.

Sellers perturbed? eBay management cares even less.

Ads that drive away buyers and drive sales down will also drive sellers out of eBay's marketplace and onto other venues or even their own web sites.  Management does not care.

Increased numbers of disenfranchised sellers who pull out of eBay will siphon increasing numbers of buyers away from eBay. Management does not care.

Management remains oblivious to the fact that post 2008 changes are not working or that new changes are driving both buyers and sellers away in increasing numbers. All management cares about is assuring their multi million dollar compensation packages continue regardless of the cost. If and when the company implodes they will simply move on, bleed another corporation dry and never consider that they created the circumstances that brought about the decline.


John Donahoe is not a day in and day out seller on eBay, thus he is oblivious to the negative impact his changes have had on sellers. Virtually all management that pre dated Donahoe has been driven to seek other opportunities and replaced with even lesser experienced individuals who will say yes to anything as long as they receive million dollar compensation packages from their new boss.

eBay is in a vortex that is out of control. Led by million dollar men yes-men management who are too inexperienced to realize the damage their decisions are having.

In the meantime, the simpler solution - creating an environment that drives sales up -  instead of away from eBay escapes those in a position to make the decisions.

Perminate Link for Buyers Confused over Changes to eBay Item Page   Buyers Confused over Changes to eBay Item Page

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 29 23:53:18 2012

Ebay still has a HOME PAGE?  Who knew.

The blank space is kinda disconcerting since it LOOKS like there SHOULD be ---something---there.  And you kinda have to wonder WHAT is missing.  And if it is important to what you are shopping for.  

And I have been meaning to go and revise all of my listings to SAY that my items are located in and being shipped FROM the USA.

But to ME as a buyer this is annoying---to try and FIND this info wastes my TIME and thus makes the "buying experience" WORSE  and makes me think that here is a company that DOES NOT CARE about what the people actually VIEWING the site are LOOKING for.  AND the new "you can't have any print on your pics" rule will make this even worse as people cannot find this info quickly and easily.  Regardless of WHERE the item is located is kinda immaterial but if you are looking for something to get to you QUICKLY you might base a decision on the location closest to you.  

And of course there are people who refuse to purchase ANYTHING from "Out of the country" and have money----in their eyes---go to some political format they do not subscribe to.

Seems a bit motivated hy the "Sweetheart" deals ebay has "cut" with China don't it.

I can see that very soon ebay will FORBID anyone from MENTIONING where they live.  This newest "move" and the teensy font is just the first step.  

Perminate Link for Buyers Confused over Changes to eBay Item Page   Buyers Confused over Changes to eBay Item Page

This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles

Thu Mar 29 23:58:41 2012

Yeah! More crazy updates to the site with a notice.

@alaska, I second you. Thanks to God for the Ad Block.  

Perminate Link for Buyers Confused over Changes to eBay Item Page   Buyers Confused over Changes to eBay Item Page

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

Thu Mar 29 23:59:09 2012

I had one buyer ask me to confirm my location as she couldn't find it. I also did not bid on an item because I thought the buyer was hiding their location and three I went to Macy's off a piece of clothing I was looking at on Ebay. Didn't think of looking at Macy's until I saw the ad.  

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by: Eagle This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 30 01:52:46 2012

I saw one of the ''new'' listings today and about passed on it and was going to see if other sellers had the same item? It was a 6 available and 6 sold, but decided to see if the purchase would go through, which it did. I can see where buyers would pass up the seller in this case! Heck, I almost passed on it!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Fri Mar 30 02:14:48 2012

Something else important to note about this.  When they started it a couple weeks ago, it messed up the sales history on some of my listings.  It's all over the board.  Some I've had sales on in the past no longer show that.  Some show less than what I've actually showed.  Quantities for sale are correct, it's the sales history that is not accurate in many cases.

Perminate Link for Buyers Confused over Changes to eBay Item Page   Buyers Confused over Changes to eBay Item Page

by: tiaandteddy This user has validated their user name.
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Fri Mar 30 02:32:34 2012

Well said by all. Just today it has changed again. The store icon is not anywhere on the page but for where I added it in my description. And I dare you to find "see other items" on item page. So frustrating. I remain an enthusiastic seller however my buying is limited to purchasing packing supplies from the same suppliers. The site is so darn cluttered; I don't want to hunt for what I want. Naturally, I don't want my customers to have difficulty finding my other items, store categories, the "watch item" button or ask seller a question link. I don't know how all of us that have lasted a decade plus have put up with such vulnerabilities & lack of professioalism. Don't get me started about the upcoming top-rated standards--obviously many of us meet them so eBay raises the bar higher & higher...best to all.

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by: NullApps This user has validated their user name.
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Fri Mar 30 03:13:22 2012

I can understand how that might be confusing but all you need to do to figure it out is click on it and see that six were sold and then actually try to buy the item.  eBay wouldn't let you go through checkout and pay for the item if it was sold out.  It isn't that difficult to use a bit of logic.

That seller doesn't seem to understand this but that quantity sold number is actually very useful.  Humans have this psychological quirk where if you are around other people who take no action then you'll defer the responsibility to someone else.  Once one person finally takes action the others will fall in line behind them.  By showing that number a potential buyer sees that other buyers have already bought from the listing.

Perminate Link for Buyers Confused over Changes to eBay Item Page   Buyers Confused over Changes to eBay Item Page

by: Will This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 30 05:14:45 2012

I've noticed with the new layout, the focus is less on the seller, now. The main focus is the item's picture and price, above the fold.

Apparently, eBay no longer wants a ''Meet the Seller'' kind of appearance; decreasing the relationship between buyer and seller.

eBay has taken another step to give that appearance that it is they, not individuals, who are selling the items.

And it doesn't surprise me in the least.

Perminate Link for Buyers Confused over Changes to eBay Item Page   Buyers Confused over Changes to eBay Item Page

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

Fri Mar 30 11:38:16 2012

Will observes: ''Apparently, eBay no longer wants a ''Meet the Seller'' kind of appearance; decreasing the relationship between buyer and seller.''

Good catch! I also think this is important, Will.

Perhaps I'm over-analyzing things, but it seems to me that when buyers are aware that they are dealing with a small seller (or a home-based hobby seller) there's a good chance that they will be a little more accommodating and reasonable when the transaction does not unfold with they type of speed and absolute mechanical precision one might expect from, say, Amazon.

In addition, the buyer is probably more likely to realize that negative feedback (or low DSR's) is something that will have more serious and long-term affects on the human being on the other side of the transaction. (This is in contrast to the way that negative feedback and low DSR's have a minimal impact on eBay's preferred ''Diamond'' sellers, whose volume easily dilutes the effects of negs-and-lows.)

I think it's also safe to assume that if a buyer understands that an honest human being is on the other side, the buyer may be a little more likely to try and resolve an issue with direct contact.

On the other hand, if a buyer is led to believe that ''nobody'' is on the other side of the transaction (other than an order-processing computer and automated packing assembly line) then the buyer may also believe that it would be futile to try and ''work-things-out''... and so, the buyer will instead respond with a prompt negative feedback, low DSR's, and opening a case.

Ultimately, as eBay continues forward with sanitizing and homogenizing the site, we small sellers will begin to lose our identity and personality (as independent sellers) and will instead become a part of the ''eBay machine'' monolith.

Ugh.

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by: joyful17 This user has validated their user name.
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Fri Mar 30 11:51:16 2012

OK another insane problem...simply put in 'silver charms'...ZERO amount shown ( and you know, and I know that is IMPOSSIBLE)...so I go to goggle...put in silver charms and GUESS WHAT? eBay pops up..hit the site and jeeze...there are over a 1000 silver charms on eBay!!
But no longer can you simply find an item..you have be a detective and source out the stuff in round-about ways!
And this is progress??? I think NOT!

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by: joyful17 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 30 11:53:29 2012

By the way..I also agree..that not being able to see where the seller is from instantly..has made me pass on bidding...what was THAT change all about anyway??

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by: eBay Ron This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 30 12:01:03 2012

Ming
 Since you have finished high school and know how to run a multi billion dollar business better than any other CEO out there, why are you always commenting on here and not out there doing it?  Inquiring minds would love to know!

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This user has validated their user name. by: TrentDep

Fri Mar 30 12:23:02 2012

@ NullApp

"eBay wouldn't let you go through checkout and pay for the item if it was sold out.  It isn't that difficult to use a bit of logic."

No - of course they wouldn't - nor would they allow sellers to purchase/print shipping labels even though they knew there was a decent chance that they were void...  

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This user has validated their user name. by: TrentDep

Fri Mar 30 12:39:48 2012

@ebay Ron

It doesn't take a professional baseball player to know that a batter is in a slump, nor does it take a million dollar exec to know when one is performing poorly...

If your user name derives from the fact that you are employed by, or own a piece of eBay - fine - you are in great shape...

If it derives from the fact that you are an eBay seller - huh?... Is it even possible that anyone other than a *really* large seller has benefited from any post '08 updates?...

Hard to know without crunching the numbers, but I can't imagine even large sellers benefiting in the long term from eBay's platform...  Sure, it puts you in front of a lot of buyers - although web optimization w/out Ebay is achievable if you are a large seller - there is - after all, a reason why eBay is playing catch up in that regard...

More exposure- perhaps, but only while being grouped w/ your competitors ( it's not as if potential customers' choices are going to be limited to just your products...

I "get" Amazon if your product falls into their genres - I do not "get" Ebay - the long term effects of being associated w/ them seems to far outweigh the immediate benefits - unless, you are just there to plunder in the short term and move on - as it would seem most of eBay's execs are...

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by: genejhsn This user has validated their user name.
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Fri Mar 30 12:46:13 2012

I used to see this kind of stuff all the time using the intranet at now defunct Adelphia Communications: web pages designed and implemented by programming dweebs who haven't a clue as to what the people that have to use their obtuse crap actually need. This is because they never talk to them. Napoleon is alleged to have said ''Never attribute to malice that which can be properly ascribed to incompetence.'' Regardless of the reason for it, people who have to use their crappy web designs are screwed.

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