Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Apr 30 2012 10:15:03

eBay Diamond Sellers Get Authorized Reseller Designation

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay gives its "diamond sellers" special perks and visibility, and the latest example comes in the form of a new "Authorized Reseller" badge that displays in product pages in search results as well as in the view item page in certain categories.

The new badge shows a large check-box next to the words "Manufacturer's Authorized Seller, and underneath are the words, "Authorized reseller."



Above: Authorized Reseller badge appears on View Item page (the badge is blown up so you can more clearly see it).

Last Tuesday, I had blogged about the new ways eBay was displaying pricing, including "compare at" prices and "see price at checkout," and spokesperson Johnna Hoff told me it was part of testing being done "with a small number of sellers in select categories." Giving retailers the ability to block prices from being seen in View Item pages lets them comply with MAP pricing.

A reader posting in the comments of that blog post said he had learned of the "Authorized reseller" designation that was coming to eBay, and I asked Ms. Hoff about it on Thursday - I'm awaiting a response, but clearly it's being rolled out now, possibly another test.

The reader, who goes by the handle pace306, said eBay would be restructuring most categories into authorized and non-authorized dealers. He said the MAP pricing and authorized reseller designation were part of an effort to appease manufacturers who are being courted by eBay, and said too many manufacturers have complained that "eBay has become a ''non approved alternate distribution channel'' and this will weed out the undesirables (read people like me)."

The Authorized Reseller badge is showing up on certain consumer electronics products for retailers such TigerDirect and ToysRUs, who are "diamond sellers" on eBay and already get special perks. For example, eBay displays some Diamond seller logos directly on search results pages (do a search for the seller ReedsJewelers, for example).

The Authorized Reseller badge shows up on eBay catalog "product" pages - eBay has rolled out catalog in only some categories, such as consumer electronics, similar to how Amazon displays results: "When you browse or search for one of hundreds of top electronics items, you'll now see all the listings available for your desired item, on one handy page."

Displaying the Authorized Reseller badge gives sellers an enormous advantage. While we're waiting to hear back from eBay more details about MAP pricing and the Authorized Reseller designation, let us know if you've been invited into any of these programs and, if so, let us know if you're a Diamond seller or not.

And let us know what you think and how these changes will impact your sales on eBay.



Above: The Authorized Reseller badge shows up in catalog search results, giving authorized resellers greater visibility.

PS: Want to see for yourself? Here's a ToysRUs Item page, and here's a search results "Product page."




Comments (20) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

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This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles

Mon Apr 30 10:27:19 2012

I was looking, but I don't see the ''Manufacturer thing'' in the search. For the jewelry I saw the logos.  

Perminate Link for eBay Diamond Sellers Get Authorized Reseller Designation   eBay Diamond Sellers Get Authorized Reseller Designation

by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 30 10:52:42 2012

Ebay is trying hard to turn eBay into another Amazon, where you buy new items at list price.  

Authorized Resellers selling new items at the same price they sell for everywhere?  I just think eBay buyers are used to paying much less.  

Not that they might not get some sales, they probably will. But the eBay advantage is being able to find things that you *can't* just walk into Target and buy, and often at *much less*.

If eBay gets rid of the sellers who sell unusual, hard-to-find items being sold used at 90 or 95% off I can't see why *anyone* would need to buy anything on eBay.  Only a fool would buy mail order if the price wasn't right. That's just stupid.

But the biggest problem with eBay is that prices if anything are way too low!

In the categories we sell in prices are hitting bottom, so low we can't really afford to sell them anymore because buyers expect the same support, free shipping and easy returns they are getting when they pay retail.  

But when you buy something for 90% off, isn't that usually enough?  Well, not in the opinion of eBay Inc.

And one more thing. We sold a few big heavy items that were $3900 new for $199, and the shipping was up to $100 because of the size and weight.  The ebay rep says ''The buyer rated you down and you lost TRS because the shipping was 47% of the item price!''  

But the item weighs 65#.  I asked the guy ''So you think I should have sold the item for $2,000?  No argument there''.

But there are no sales at that level, only cheap as hell.

Ebay is going to be a ghost town, where you get list price items from authorized resellers at the same price you can get them anywhere.  No advantage.  Might as well just go to Sears.




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This user has validated their user name. by: TrentDep

Mon Apr 30 11:45:59 2012

It's pretty clear where Ebay is going ( Amazonland ) ...

This - as well as ~ More To Come ~ moves are going to make it harder and harder for anyone but the ~ Chosen ~ to sell on Ebay.

This designation is likely to have a major impact on a wide range of categories - electronics being the most obvious...  Let's face it - many consumers are going to spend the extra $5.00 or $10.00 to buy from an ~ Authorized Reseller ~ thinking it would be a plus in case there are any problems with the product...

Of course the first thing you see when you open an Xbox is a bright orange card instructing you to NOT contact the retailer if there are problems, but to call a toll free number...

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This user has validated their user name. by: TrentDep

Mon Apr 30 11:48:49 2012

I have a prediction that could probably be posted on any number of threads, but since we're all here at the moment, I'll post it accordingly...

The new shipping requirements in order to retain or qualify for Top Rated Seller status will migrate beyond that, and become the requirements to retain status as a seller in general...

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 30 11:56:04 2012

Im the person mentioned in this article and I thank Ina for writting and asking about it.

The badge does TERRIBLE things to people who eBay hates - thats anyone whos NOT (in Noah Hershman's own words) people eBay cares about (the other %99 of us).

Its not a program you can be invited into. Its simply a way to weed out the undesirables.

If you were looking to buy product X, would you buy it from anyone other then an ''authorized dealer''? What does that do to sales of sellers who for what ever reason are NOT ''authorized sellers''?

Is this tag (and Id bet all the money I have that it IS) part of Cassini/Best Match? Do ''unauthorized'' sellers go to the bottom of the page or worse?

Can ''authorized sellers'' or manufactorers (aka stores from manufactoreres who dump products on eBay) get to tell eBay who can and who can not sell on eBay? And if they can, under what circumstances?

This is was cooked up before Noah took charge, but he was instrumental in pushing it through.

Manufactorers used to illegally use VERO to remove sellers whom they didnt like. Exhibit A - Skullcandy.  Skullcandy fancies themselves as an exclusive manufactorer of ''licensed quality audio products'' aka stuff made in China - and DOESNT want competition on eBay from ANYONE. Most ''authorized dealers'' are NOT allowed even sell on eBay - even at MAP/UPP.

Skullcandy used to simply have VERO shut down sellers using any of the random MCO violations it wanted to - and eBay said YES SIR.

In return Skullcandy (when a sufficiant number of sellers were removed) opened a HUGE retail store on eBay. Skullcandy items are deal of the day almost every day (they are up there now as well) and the FVF's are STAGGERING.

While this mollified Skullcandy for awhile, it didnt totally stop new sellers from showing up.

Skullcandy then went and added a tag line to thier own website (which was removed because it is illegal) that said ''any item(s) purchased here are NOT allowed to be resold on eBay or Amazon)! Outright FRAUD - hence its removal.

So, Skullcandy took another route - they egged on Noah to help create the ''authorized'' tag - as mentioned above. ''That tag will rid eBay for good of all the NON authorized sellers'' ... and that is what it WILL do.

Lest you think I only ''pick'' on Skullcandy, they are by far ''not the leader of the authorized gang''. This move has been asked for and WILL be implimented system wide by almost every manufactorer - especially in Electronics and Fashion.

Kenwood, Sony, Mitsubishi, Logitech, Nikon, Pentx, Monstercable, Soul By Loudacris, Citizen, Casio, Movado, Pioneer, Clarion, Seiko and others in electronics have pushed for it. I cant tell you specific names of the Fashion manufactorers - but I think its safe to say that all the ''usual suspects'' from Mac to Levis and Michael Kors are in on the act.

Todays eBay isnt what it was, and all the griping will NOT help. It will never go back to what it was. Manufactorers do NOT want you using thier coupons and discount deals to buy up items from retailers and dump those items on eBay. They feel that it is THIER own territory and everyone else has no rights to do so.

eBay of course is %100 complicent in the matter as all THEY care about is the HUGE FVF's.

If my business dissapeared tomorrow off eBay and went to Amazon or anywhere else - Noah wouldnt care, JD wouldnt care, Joanna wouldnt care and neither would Griff. People like me are not who eBay wants on thier site - and dirty tricks like this is how it will be done.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Mon Apr 30 12:01:19 2012

As a buyer, I am badge agnostic. I look for the item I want at the best price. If there are multiple choices for items at the same low price, then I look for the seller with the best feedback, and am not persuaded by any badge.

As the classic line from Blazing Saddles goes...  "Badges???? We don't need no steenkin badges"

My buying habits will not be dictated by a venue such as eBay.  If eBay starts squeezing out more small sellers with excellent feedback in order to favor Authorized Resellers, then my purchasing on eBay will be greatly diminished. I will not be told by a venue who I can purchase from based on demands made on a venue by manufacturers looking to control market pricing.

When the day comes that eBay attempts to limit the sale of certain items to Authorized Resellers, I will make my purchase elsewhere and eBay will lose my business.

If eBay bows to manufacturers, then I will simply take my business elsewhere and eBay will lose the sale.

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by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 30 13:03:08 2012

Steevo is right - Ebay strings along small sellers because without them Ebay is simply a distant cheesy imitation of Amazon...and why buy from Ebay when Amazon is right there.  Try as they might, Ebay has NOT been able to make the transition from flea market site to amazon lite!  This is why they allow 50 free listings and keep coming out with "specials" too keep the small sellers listing!  Right now, if the small sellers left, Ebay would cave in spite of their crunching numbers and smoke and mirrors to try to make their quarterly reports look good!

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by: DrStrangegoods This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 30 13:57:12 2012

As a small seller of vintage items I'm waiting for my official ebay ''This is Trash'' badge to appear on my listings.  

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

Mon Apr 30 15:06:58 2012

Ebafia is dangerously close if not already over the line in an illegal conspiracy to fix prices.

 

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 30 16:10:49 2012

Ric ... ummm Id say collusion ..

Collusion is an agreement between two or more persons, sometimes illegal and therefore secretive, to limit open competition by deceiving, misleading, or defrauding others of their legal rights, or to obtain an objective forbidden by law typically by defrauding or gaining an unfair advantage.

Locking out samll dealers by not allowing them access to the special tags, not allowing them to have deal of the day, using VERO to squash competition .... all these are illegal actions ...

Any lawyers in the house?

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

Mon Apr 30 16:36:43 2012

Re: ''Stinking Badges''

The movie that first comes to my mind when I hear that quote is ''Treasure of the Sierra Madre''.. but I guess that's a symptom of old-age. :-)

I do also love Blazing Saddles.

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

Mon Apr 30 16:40:41 2012

-- ''As a small seller of vintage items I'm waiting for my official ebay ''This is Trash'' badge to appear on my listings.''

They came VERY CLOSE to doing that not long ago! I can't recall the wording, but eBay was running another one of their tests that included a very OMINOUS SOUNDING WARNING that appeared on the listing in bright red text.

Something in red about ''NOT ELIGIBLE FOR EBAY PROTECTION'' or ''CANNOT USE PAYPAL PROTECTION ON THIS ITEM''...

Something like that... but memory fails me.

Oh, hell... they may even ACTUALLY be doing it right now as I type. It's just that I never shop or browse eBay anymore, so I'd be sure to overlook anything like that if it was a currently active warning.

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

Mon Apr 30 16:46:34 2012

Patricia writes: ''Right now, if the small sellers left, Ebay would cave in spite of their crunching numbers and smoke and mirrors to try to make their quarterly reports look good!''

Absolutely my dear! Small sellers are just a means to an end. A temporary life-support system while they try to become Amazon.

It's NEVER going to happen. NEVER! eBay will struggle along, limping, hobbling and making everyone suffer in the meantime.

Even as they do their damnedest to get rid of the small sellers, the yard-sale sellers, the flea-market sellers, the hobby sellers... eBay will NEVER get rid of their ''flea market'' and collectible reputation.

Think about it... even the NAME ''eBay'' was derived from the ''bays'' (aka: booths/tables) that people rent at local FLEA MARKETS!!

THE ''FLEA MARKET'' ASSOCIATION IS PART OF THEIR NAME!!

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 30 19:24:06 2012

eBay is ONLY interested in large dealers. PERIOD. If you ask the CS reps, all they do is read the company propaganda. You can read this blog and hear the lies the eBay reps tell you - its all smoke & mirrors.

I was told about this ''authorized dealers'' stuff back in the summer of 2011 - and everyone ignored me.

I repeat ad nausem the TWICE article that PLAINLY states who eBay wants as sellers - no one listens.

Noah Hershman made it as clear as day. eBay is out to protect and care ONLY for the big players - manufactorers and the PRO Group of electronic sellers.

eBay wants to do more - but 1) must do it slowly as to not alarm the public and shareholders and 2) to not get a bad public wrap.

eBay gives out 5000000000000 free auction listings simply because they get fvf's on those sales that complete and the server space costs them nothing, It also reinforces the public image that they still love auctions. THEY DONT.

Auctions are the devil's tool. Too much work for too little profit. Plus, it's alot of those auctions that make VERO actually do work (chasing down moms and pops with pictures/text that someone somewhere doesnt like).

eBay doesnt want to be (in thier words, from thier visiting reps) ''that s_itty little auction company'' anymore. They want to be Amazon x100.

What's left is FBE (fullfillment by eBay)(you dont really think those wharehouses they bought are just to store JDs auto collection, do you?), the forced ''authorization'' tag thats happening here, more partnering with local stores (hello Dunn (Best Buy) - you left before you could impliment this with Noah) and a few other choice delights.

eBay wanted (hi SONY - we see you and acknowledge that you and yor goon squad Net Enforcers are demanding this) to block items and categories (ala Amazon) but what little of eBays old culture warriors said NO - thats not how eBay works. But, dont ya know it .... it will also happen. Not now but farther down the road. How? ''research into our handling of customers have shown an X# fold of complaints in brands XXX, XXX and XXX and in the following categories xxx, xxx, xxx''. Since customer service is our highest priority, we will now start restricting listings in certain categories ONLY TO APPROVED SELLERS. Guess who gets to approve the sellers? Manufactorers!

For mom and pop sellers - its a non issue if they  ''dont sell that extra dvd player they got as a gift'' but for small to mid sized sellers .. it will be the kiss of death - so it has to be grandfathered in .... ala the ''authorized tag''.

And if you are waiting for Joanna to come back and give you an honest answer ..... dont hold your breath!

Perminate Link for eBay Diamond Sellers Get Authorized Reseller Designation   eBay Diamond Sellers Get Authorized Reseller Designation

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

Mon Apr 30 21:17:57 2012

TREASURE OF SIERRA MADRE - SI!

We don't need no stinkin' badges.

Very interesting, though, on what eBay has wrought with their latest 3-day sell-a-thon with fixed pricing.

I said what-the-For Unknown Carnal Knowlege- and listed at fixed prices my stuff. I've dealt exclusively with auctions before.

Wadda you know - the auction rejects are moving out. Maybe there is another venue - people who want to buy but don't want to screw around with an auction.

Sheesh.

As for diamond sellers - screw them. There is, and will always be non-corporate individuals who are more nimble than the diamonds.

If it is eBay's desire to pursue them - so be it. There will always be a marketplace for the individual. It is eBay's misfortune to denigrate those people who have built up eBay. Karma does exist.

Remember May 1st - the workers paradise.....

Peace, love and .... Comrade Lenin????

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

Mon Apr 30 23:33:11 2012

The words honesty and integrity should never be mentioned in the same universe with any ebay executive.

They are pathologically incapable of telling the truth.

This is the only reason their stock is now more than $40 a share.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Tue May 1 19:12:57 2012

Have eBay and these manufacturers not heard of the First Sale Doctrine? It's illegal to prevent someone from selling what they've legally purchased. Period.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Spartacus

Tue May 1 20:35:48 2012

As Ric said,  ''Badges???? We don't need no steenkin badges''

When offered the choice of buying from a TRS Diamond seller with 99.5 feedback rating and thousands of negatives and neutrals (ie: moviemarz, redtagmarket)~ I always scroll down to the independent seller trying to compete and I'll pay the extra buck or two for an item from a smaller seller.

That's the beauty of eBay. An educated consumer can find a great deal and a great seller if you know how to weed through the garbage.

Personally, I deal in vintage music related collectibles so there is no such thing as an authorized manufacturer reseller in my categories.

Unfortunately, Amazon, Etsy, Bonanza, etc have no place for my listings so I'm stuck with eBay...but.. I've been leading my repeat buyers to my own website once I use eBay to establish a bond of trust with them. Now my sales are 70-30 in favor of my site. Thanks eBay !!

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 1 23:48:23 2012

@ Tula

They arent going to force you out ... they are going to put your listings on page 3 of the search or worse ... right under another one thats similar in price but has the authorized tag.

Once a customer sees the other listing has the tag and yours does not - you wont make a sale. You will be forced out ''on your own''.

eBay can and will ''Amazon'' certain items and categories - Amazon does it now, as does Rakuten, Buy.com, Sears etc. On those sites entire brands and categories are blocked ... and the manufactorers who forced them to block ''you'' will be smiling all the way to the bank!

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by: Harry.Fodder This user has validated their user name.

Sat May 12 09:13:23 2012

Can this SOPA, PICA and now the latest hogwash out of Washington kill the ave joe seller by making it illegal to sell second hand or ''non-authorized'' re-sellers items? Meaning is a picture of a product that you are reselling considered patent infringement?  



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