|Mon July 30 2012 23:06:06|
eBay May Charge Premium Fee for Improved Search Exposure
By: Ina Steiner
eBay sellers are concerned they may end up having to pay more in fees to get better exposure in Best Match search results after some received an "eBay Experience Enhancement" survey last week. The topic is a sensitive one, since sellers already pay fees to eBay to get exposure in search results, and many have been reporting drastic problems with Best Match since the spring.
The eBay survey asked respondents, "How important is it to you to improve your ranking in search results?" It then asked sellers, "How would you feel if you could bid on your Final Value Fees which would improve your ranking in search results?"
Sellers who discussed the survey on the eBay discussion boards were stumped as to what bidding on FVFs meant.
"So, are they offering better search placement in return for HIGHER fees?" one seller asked. "That would be my take on it! Gee, let's all pay MORE than the current 10% rake-off on every item we sell and it MIGHT result in better placement on a tiny fraction of searches...Yeah...that's Sure Fire profit maker!"
Another seller wrote, "Seems to me that if eBay is offering to manipulate their "Best" Match search results to aid their bottom line - instead of provide a service to the BUYERS needs as it has been FALSELY advertised to do for about 4 YEARS now - then at least this would be an up-front admission of that manipulation motivation for a change."
One seller said it sounded as if eBay was considering a pay-per-click model like Google AdWords. "This would give some control back to the seller if it were implemented correctly. But if eBay continued to let the diamond sellers bigfoot everybody else for free, it would be no different from the current situation."
"So they befoul the so-called "Best Match," then create a way you can pay to overcome the resulting poor placement," wrote another seller." "There's a legal term for this, and it isn't pretty."
On another discussion board, a seller reported taking an eBay survey on Friday that asked, "How would you feel if you had an option to pay an approximate 25% fee premium to guarantee a "top 5 listing" in search results?"
One seller compared that option to a paid option eBay used to offer called Featured Listings. "Why does paying for better search placement seem so wrong? It actually makes sense to me," wrote a seller. "It's like the Featured Listings we used to have."
But a buyer on the thread said they were glad when eBay got rid of the paid Feature Listings from the top of search results. "If they do disrupt my search hopefully they will have a different color like the feature had and I can simply bypass them by paging to the regular color listings. Or at least give us some type of desgnation (sic) that this is a paid listing, so I can find true start of my search."
Unlike with Google.com's search engine, eBay sellers pay insertion fees and expect their listings to appear in search results. But, like Google, eBay keeps the algorithm of its default sort order, called Best Match, a secret and makes changes to it without notifying buyers and sellers.
A seller discussing the survey wrote, "What is wrong with providing a simple search results page (or pages) without the Best Match feature? Problems started popping up when Best Match was introduced. Just get rid of the thing, and we would all be happily selling!"
One seller comment on the survey itself, writing, "If eBay had created a cell tasked with "Seller Demoralization via the 1,000 Cuts Method," they couldn't be doing it better than with these absurd and alarming surveys."
See Tuesday's EcommerceBytes Newsflash for more information about the seller survey.