Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue May 1 2012 14:42:35

eBay Officially Sells Ads to Retailers in Sellers' Paid Listings

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff said eBay will begin placing third-party ads from brands in a rectangular box on the right side of the View Item page, starting today. eBay has been running a "house ad" for eBay mobile in the same spot, and EcommerceBytes has reported on the ad formats eBay has been testing since late last year (and on the AuctionBytes Blog).

Hoff did not volunteer information about how much eBay is charging advertisers for the ads (we're awaiting her response to some follow-up questions), but a company that's been advertising on eBay said it charges on a CPM, not CPC basis. The cost varies by category, but on average is $5-$6 CPM for View Item pages.



Above: eBay UK ad advertises Acer tablets for sale on various eBay competitors' sites - including Amazon.

Sellers pay eBay anywhere from 10 cents to $2 per listing whether or not the item sells and are sensitive to anything on the page that would distract shoppers from viewing their items for sale. (eBay gives up to 50 free auction listings to casual sellers and charges different prices to sellers with Store subscriptions, and all sellers pay commission fees on items that sell, see eBay for details on seller fees.)

Hoff said eBay has been testing ways to add more value to buyers on the View Item pages by updating the page layout to more prominently showcase important listing details, and by including information on contextually relevant brands. She said eBay's tests have shown that better formats/layouts and increased brand consideration give customers the information they need to make more informed purchases.

"It's important to note that these ads will be almost exclusively in the realm of brand advertising ­ they will not be from other sellers on eBay with competing listings. They are meant to increase awareness of popular, reputable brands and cement in buyers' minds that eBay is a trusted shopping destination."

eBay has been running ads on eBay UK since last year - and while the ads don't direct shoppers to other eBay sellers' listings, they don't just advertise "brands" - they direct shoppers to other retail websites, including Fab, Hayneedle, Best Buy, Staples, Walmart - and even Amazon:

A listing for a Silver Vase With Pink/Purple Flowers displayed an ad for Fab, a daily deals site where shoppers can find "daily design inspirations and sales at up to 70% off retail."

A listing for Lego Lunch Storage Mini Boxes contained an ad for Acer tablets, allowing shoppers to go to the Acer website or to go directly to retail sites Best Buy, Staples, Amazon or Walmart.

Other companies we've seen advertising on eBay UK listing pages include Epicor, Visa, Vistaprint and Vertical Response.



Above: eBay UK places ad for daily deals site Fab.com on seller's listing page.

Hoff said eBay has taken a "thoughtful, strategic approach to this roll-out to ensure a non-disruptive experience on eBay, and our tests so far have shown positive results for eBay sellers' listings the majority of the time."

I asked Johnna about eBay's rationale in profiting from an ad on a page with user-generated content for which the user has paid eBay, and asked if eBay would be lowering insertion fees or consider sharing the ad revenue with sellers - I'll update this post as we learn more.

Let us know what you think and what kinds of ads appear in your listings - and do you think these ads will make shoppers view eBay as a more trusted shopping destination?

UPDATE 5/2/12: eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff provided an additional statement, see today's Newsflash story.




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Perminate Link for eBay Officially Sells Ads to Retailers in Sellers' Paid Listings   eBay Officially Sells Ads to Retailers in Sellers' Paid Listings

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue May 1 14:57:35 2012

I am betting that if any response by Ms Hoff is received, it will not be good news for sellers.

No way eBay is going to share revenue from the ad placement on sellers paid listings.

No way eBay is going to discount listing fees in consideration of ad placement.

In continuance of their arrogant and dismissive attitude towards their sellers.

They will continue to collect listing fees, then supplement that income by placing paid advertising in the same space sellers have paid to rent.

eBay knows they will have a hard time maintaining GMV growth. eBay knows their continuing pressure on sellers is going to reduce the number of small sellers and that they need to replace the revenue lost as small sellers leave or are forced out of selling on eBay due to policy and system changes.

eBay's double dipping is also necessary to generate increased revenue that will help pay the outrageous salaries for top executives which were approved at the last shareholders meeting.

The losers here are eBay buyers who will be put off by being inundated with advertising and sellers who will suffer lower sell through rates as eBay alienates more buyers.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: TrentDep
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Tue May 1 16:22:49 2012

"It's important to note that these ads will be almost exclusively in the realm of brand advertising ­ they will not be from other sellers on eBay with competing listings"

Indeed - there is no need as competing listings have been displayed on our listings for a while now...

I think Ebay will almost certainly go to free listings ( upgrades  extra of course ) in order to dodge any legal issues with selling the space twice...

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This user has validated their user name. by: TrentDep
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Tue May 1 16:26:05 2012

''It's important to note that these ads will be almost exclusively in the realm of brand advertising ­ they will not be from other sellers on eBay with competing listings''

Indeed - there is no need as competing listings have been displayed on our listings for a while now...

I think Ebay will almost certainly go to free listings ( upgrades  extra of course ) in order to dodge any legal issues with selling the space twice...

And although I hate to say it, I think - for consumers, this will either be neutral or positive...  Those just hunting in general will appreciate the links, those focused on a very specific item will just ignore them.

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

Tue May 1 17:03:26 2012

It makes eBay look cheap and desperate.

It makes everything look CLUTTERED AND DISORGANIZED!! An ironic result when one considers how much eBay *hates* the idea that everyone thinks of eBay as a ''flea market'' and ''garage sale'' site. (If eBay wants to change how it's perceived, this ain't the answer.)

They are confusing. Will a customer click my ''buy-it-now'' button and then punish me later because they didn't receive the item in the AD that they thought they were buying?

They detract from the listings that I work very hard on.

They TAKE POTENTIAL BUYERS AWAY from the listing that I paid for.

I can only hope that many eBay users are using some sort of an ad-blocking add-on for their browser.

I've been able to block nearly ALL of eBay's annoying ads... so it's often a shock when I see actual screen-captures that show ads all over the place.

A minor annoyance of blocking the ads is this: even though the ad has been filtered out, there is often a big ''hole'' or blank spot on the page where the ad would have been displayed.

But this is only a minor annoyance... and infinitely more tolerable than the clutter and wasted bandwidth of eBay ads.

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

Tue May 1 17:34:07 2012

The heat is turned up some more.

Enjoy the hot tub my frogs!

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by: Susan Averello This user has validated their user name.
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Tue May 1 18:39:19 2012


No way eBay is going to share revenue from the ad placement on sellers paid listings.

No way eBay is going to discount listing fees in consideration of ad placement.

In continuance of their arrogant and dismissive attitude towards their sellers.

They will continue to collect listing fees, then supplement that income by placing paid advertising in the same space sellers have paid to rent.
------------------------
You'd be more likely to see them an extra fee to have an "ad-free" listing

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

Tue May 1 18:41:07 2012

"Hoff said eBay has been testing ways to add more value to buyers on the View Item pages..."

Liar, liar panties on fire!

The "added value" goes to ebafia and ONLY to ebafia when these advertisers pay them.

Perhaps a phone call and letter writing campaign to these companies suggesting you won't buy from them as long as they usurp the listing pages you paid for is would be order.

WHY CAN'T/WON'T EBAFIA SPOKESPERSONS TELL THE TRUTH?

It's yet another indication of just how stupid they think sellers are.

Johnna Hoff has no business ethics or conscience, or empathy. Her willingness to so glibly lie about so many topics demonstrates a glaring lack of any sort of moral compass.

Just the sort of clinical sociopath The Ho hires.

And, no, I'm not one bit remorseful for such a harsh assessment of this public relations puppet. Many of us fed up with her constant, unremitting lying and lying press releases to the compliant business media to regurgitate.

Nor am I going to call lying "misrepresenting" or "prevaricating" or any other nicey-nice word for LYING.

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 1 18:54:54 2012

I dont get it ... maybe someone smarter then me can explain it?

If the listing is FREE then, while I dont like it - the cost for the advertising offsets the listing cost.

BUT, when you pay for the listing and the FVF - why should you have to compete with ANYONE?

Its not in the TOS, its not how ''eBay was when you signed up'', its FRAUD!

YOU own that listing space (as if you paid for space in a newspaper), how can eBay even justify doing that?

My listings dont have ads, just an ebay grey box with a logo. If mine DO show an add - I WILL SUE (you can bet on that !)

Oh.... DUH .. why are people still waiting, thinking that an eBay minion will tell the truth about anything?

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This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Tue May 1 19:40:00 2012

Hoff said eBay has been testing ways to add more value to buyers on the View Item pages..."

Um, buyers aren't paying eBay fees, sellers are. I wouldn't mind ads if listings were free, but when I pay for a listing, I damn well expect that listing to advertise *my* goods, not anyone else's. If they want ads to subsidize free listings, fine, but not on real estate that a buyer is already paying for.

Annie also brings up a point about buyer expectations. We've all had our share of common-sense-challenged buyers (aka, dumb as a box of rocks). Wait until the buyers start complaining they didn't get the [*insert widget/deal here*] that was in the ad posted on the seller's listing. Or they're dissatisfied with whatever they signed up for on the ad after buying something and blame the seller via negative feedback or bad DSRs. You know it will happen.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Tue May 1 19:40:57 2012

oops, that should be "If they want ads to subsidize free listings, fine, but not on real estate that a *seller* is already paying for."

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This user has validated their user name. by: Spartacus

Tue May 1 20:06:47 2012

There is already a class action lawsuit being formed around eBay charging fees on shipping costs.

Here comes another one.

Never in my life have I seen such an unethical company. eBay makes Enron and Worldcom look like saints.

Sad part is for the first 10 years I was on eBay, very little changed , sales were spectacular and there was a general sense of community. Now, the changes never stop, low feedback newbie buyers are completely out of control and sales are in the toilet, that's if the buyers even bother to pay.

The kick in the groin to eBay merchants is their stock just hit a high the other day. Ouch !! Are investors really that stupid?

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue May 1 20:51:32 2012

Spartacus asks: "Are investors really that stupid?"

In a word...YES.

Investors only know what they are told in quarterly reports.

eBay's CEO says GMV has increased. Donahoe has not admitted that GMV growth is due largely to the increasing numbers of sellers who are bowing to eBay by offering free shipping and not due to genuine transactional growth.

eBay's CEO reports that revenue is up. Donahoe has not admitted that he is fleecing sellers who do not contribute to falsifying GMV growth by adding a Final Value Fee to shipping costs. Donahoe has not admitted that eBay will not only renting listing space to sellers, but that he will also be collecting secondary fees from advertisements which will be inserted into the listings sellers pay for. Donahoe has not admitted that he has been shifting revenue from PayPal over to eBay by pushing sellers into processing shipping labels on eBay instead of through PayPal.

Stock analysts know only what they are told. When the CEO misleads them with technically accurate but factually inaccurate information they have nothing else to go on and play right into the CEO's deceptions.

The lack of honesty and integrity will continue for as long as CEO's profit from the sale of stock shares which are included as part of their grossly excessive compensation packages.

This CEO knows that his deception will reap huge personal gains as long as he can keep analysts speaking positively about eBay stock and share prices grow as a result.

eBay's business is ecommerce. Gifted shares should be based on genuine transactional volume growth, not the easily manipulated figure eBay calls GMV. If this were to change, eBay's dismissive and callous disregard for sellers would change over night.

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by: JohnGermaine This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 1 22:04:40 2012

Why anyone still lists there is a mystery to me!

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by: Red Ink Diary This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 1 22:15:23 2012

@pace306

Let me break it to you gently - you do not 'own that listing space'. You don't actually 'own' anything, not even the words you have written or the images you have included in your listing.

You have paid an insertion fee to have your listing displayed on the site, period. It makes no difference if it is buried on the 25th page, as long as it is somewhere on the site eBay have fulfilled their contractual obligation to you.

This is spelled out in the User Agreement which you legally accept each time you log in to eBay.

eBay doesn't care if you are happy with their policies or not. You are not a factor in their decisions. They negotiate separate contracts with different terms for the mega sellers. If you don't like it they probably will not even bestir themselves to show you the door.



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by: mazelgirl This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 1 22:45:50 2012

Another nail in the eBay coffin. What is wrong with these people?

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This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles
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Tue May 1 23:01:56 2012

It isn't fair for the sellers that paid an insertion fee.

I use the ''free'' promos. If they want to add the Ad. I don't have problem because in sites like Blujay, Webstore, Wensy, eBid, Bidstart the listing have one Ad or are surrounded by Ads and sellers don't get nothing.  

Now if they add the ''option'' to share the revenues from Ads with sellers that pay insertion fees is another story. If eCrater a ''free'' share revenues of their Ads with sellers a site like eBay doesn't have excuses to do the same.

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by: Henry This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 1 23:12:26 2012

During the test a seller could opt out by turning off the cross promotion option. Does anyone know if this will still be the case.

Very disappointing decision by eBay.

Anyone want to bet that the ads won't be placed on Diamond Sellers listings?

Actually this will hurt sellers who sell new in some categories. Sellers who sell OOAK may not be hurt.

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 1 23:43:53 2012

@ Red

Technically you may be correct, but the spirit of the issue is that the space is being rented/sold/leased for YOUR listing.

If it was inserted in the TOS then I think you would be correct.

As with any listing in any other area - the space you pay for should be and is yours.

Note that there are already line listings on the bottom of most listings (even mine now) and those cant be changed. Those are actually worse as they are ads that directly compete with your listing, as apposed to a generic ad like the one(s) mentioned.

Ive already discussed it with an attorney - its not so cut and dry that eBay can change the listing page by stealth - beyond improving the layout. Adding competition with out at least informing people ahead of time is illegal.

Lets see how this plays out :)

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

Tue May 1 23:58:07 2012

I am thinking of adding a disclaimer to my ads that I am not responsible for any other merchant's merchandise or Ebay advertising, found on my page, but my own. Sorry to say I have no control over Ebay's Advertising Department or what content they post on my item's pages and I do apologize for any any outside ads or photos that might offend you.  

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by: GoingBroke This user has validated their user name.
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Wed May 2 00:04:25 2012

So if eBay can sell the same space to 2 different people at the same time maybe landlords will start renting apartments to 2 people at the same time and airlines may do the same with seats-wonder who will be sitting on your lap the next time you fly? Sellers work hard to make their listing easy to read and clear for buyers. Ads are going to distract buyers from the entire purpose they clicked on the listing. Ads will cause visual confusion and the amount of information on one page will be overwhelming. Since sellers pay for that space you would think that space belongs to the SELLER until the contracted time is up? But if eBay could figure out a way to charge sellers fees on money sellers do not get we should not be surprised at this move--referring to the fee charged to sellers for postage paid DIRECTLY to the POST OFFICE. Charging a fee on money that is NOT income to the seller. AMAZING how these actions can even be legal!!

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