|Wed May 9 2012 10:23:42|
Seller Shows Strange Traffic Pattern on eBay
By: Ina Steiner
eBay sellers have talked for years about rolling blackouts, "tap-on-tap-off" visibility, "rolling-region" visibility and other strange phenomenon that they say lead to odd sales patterns (see this AuctionBytes blog post from 4 years ago).
Last week, Anne Warrington of Wigs US sent us a graph showing traffic to her eBay store for the past 180 days that shows one of those odd traffic patterns.
Anne said Wigs US is one of the largest U.S.-based wig sellers on eBay, and the company also sells on Amazon and on its own website. She said this traffic pattern only occurs on eBay, and not on any of the other channels on which it sells.
Over the past 18 months, she has spoken to customer service reps who agreed the traffic pattern was very strange. But, she said, "Apparently every single person we spoke with over this time period has failed to properly register this issue so according to the latest CSR Matt in Technical Issues - the issue has never been raised higher up." And two days after speaking to Matt, she's heard nothing further from him.
"We aren't surprised, but starting to feel despondent... there's definitely an issue, acknowledged by everyone at eBay who sees this graph... but NO ONE seems to be able to get anyone to actually DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT."
She sent an email to eBay Vice President of Experience, Search, and Platforms Hugh Williams, but has not heard back from him either. In her letter to Williams, she explained that about every 2 months, traffic for Wigs US falls off a cliff. "Wigs are not seasonal in this way, so this is not because our customers are not looking for wigs. In fact, just before this graph takes up in October, our traffic hit ZERO on October 24th. October 24th should be our busiest day of the year. Wigs are huge sellers for Halloween and October 24th is one week before Halloween."
She also said that despite being one of the largest U.S.-based wigs sellers on eBay and being a Top Rated Seller, "if you type in wigs - you have to go 7 pages deep to find our first listing. We have nearly 1200 listings regularly."
If you have an eBay Store subscription, take a look at your analytics and see if you show any strange traffic patterns - send screenshots to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Update 5/9/12: Anne received the following email from Matt yesterday:
I apologize that it has taken me so long to respond. The correspondence between me and the developers as taken longer than expected and is still ongoing. The general consensus has been that this is a common trend during evaluations on most accounts. While visitors have decreased impressions have not. They also pointed out that there has been no change in items sold in the months where the visitor count is low and months where the visitor count is high. I was only able to get trends for the last 2 years but the year to year sales trends were consistent with the above information.
I understand that this is not a good resolution and that is why the correspondence is still ongoing. Many of the specifics regarding how our algorithms work are not disclosed as a way to prevent manipulation. Because of this getting clear information regarding why items may be dropping or rising in the search rankings is not always possible. I am currently awaiting another response and will follow up as soon as more information is available.