|Wed Aug 8 2012 23:33:56|
eBay Runs Competing Ads on Seller Listing Pages
By: Ina Steiner
eBay is running ads for branded clothing retailers directly on its own sellers' clothing listing pages. A seller pointed out that her listing for a beret in the "Hats" subcategory under "Women's Accessories" in the "Clothing, Shoes & Accessories" category on eBay was showing an ad for a more expensive line of clothing from a major brand. "I first sighted the Patagonia ad on my site about 2 months ago so it runs steady, and I keep steaming."
On the page where the seller paid to advertise her beret, eBay is displaying ads for clothing retailer Patagonia. It is also rotating ads for eBay "Fashion Outlets," which are stores set up on eBay by branded retailers including Century 21 Department Store and the Guess Outlet.
Clicking on the same seller's listing for a pocketbook showed that eBay was rotating ads for services such as Southwest, eBay Mobile, Wells Fargo, and other services that do not directly compete with the seller's item.
EcommerceBytes has been following developments as eBay places ads on listing pages in stages (which it had vowed many years ago never to do). In February, eBay began testing competing ads in live listings for items from other eBay sellers.
In this article from May, an eBay spokespersons said of ads for non-eBay listings, "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."
But the seller of the beret called the ads on her beret listing "bait and switch," writing, "eBay launches ads and uses my inexpensive beret as the launching pad to promote another company. I find this offensive and confusing. Who does eBay want as sellers? Me or the advertiser on my buy-it-now page?"
If you've noticed ads on your listing pages, let us know what they are and what you think of them!