|Mon Aug 27 2012 15:49:12|
eBay Displays Competing Products In Middle of Seller Listings
By: Ina Steiner
eBay is running a test of a recommendation module called "People who viewed this also viewed" that displays competitors' products near the top of sellers' listings. This feature is not to be confused with the similar "See what other people are watching" module, which appears at the bottom of the Item page underneath the description.
The "People who viewed this also viewed" feature is visible only to some users on eBay and appears before the description section on the listing page - directly above the Description and the Shipping and Payments tabs.
A question mark next to the feature explains: "These alternative suggestions have been selected for you by eBay's recommendation engine. These items are from multiple eBay Top Rated sellers."
Only a small number of sellers have spotted the new recommendation feature over the past few days. One of the few sellers who seemed to be able to view the feature on the eBay boards was displeased, writing:
"If I go to the trouble to develope a ad for a item of mine, hoping I'm going to make a sale (sic). Ebay is going to profit from that sale. Who with any loyalty, common sense and just doing the right thing attitude would put a ebay ad directly under my pictures and in the middle of my ad, showing 4 pictures of some other seller reminding them they have more options from which to buy. Sweet Jesus, you just don't do that. Put it below my ad or leave the damn thing out period. Am I the only one? Ladies and gentlemen, this is a slap in the face."
Another user responded to the post, "And eBay went to the trouble to create a website for items they hope to get a commission (FVF) from. If the first seller a buyer views.. didn't create an effective listing... eBay is hoping that viewer will look at comparable items here, instead of leaving and purchasing on another website. As said above, you can opt out of cross promotions. For those who don't.. well your item will also show up on Other competitors listings."
However, the new feature only pulls from listings from Top Rated Sellers.
eBay sellers can choose to opt-out of the "See what other people are watching" module - it isn't clear if they will be able to opt out of the new "People who viewed this also viewed" module. Some responding to the poster did not appear to grasp this was a new feature - wrote one, "This is old hat...been going on for several years now. Like others posted, just opt out of cross promotion."
Said one seller who noticed the ads appearing on her listings, "I double checked my store and I have NO selected for cross promotions. Still these ads are popping into my listings, what the heck? is eBay not giving us a chance to opt out now?"
Many sites have recommendation and personalization features, something at which Amazon.com has excelled.
Last year, eBay acquired Hunch, and said at the time it expected to use Hunch's expertise in machine learning, data mining and predictive modeling to expand and grow merchandising and relevance capabilities to further improve the shopping and selling experience for eBay customers.
Let us know if you've spotted this brand new feature. Does it makes sense to pull from TRS sellers only? What do you think of the new feature, and its placement on the listing page?