Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Aug 27 2012 15:49:12

eBay Displays Competing Products In Middle of Seller Listings

By: Ina Steiner

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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?




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Perminate Link for eBay Displays Competing Products In Middle of Seller Listings   eBay Displays Competing Products In Middle of Seller Listings

by: mylifeisgood This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 27 16:03:58 2012

This is another reason we refuse to buy off Ebay...When I have to scroll 3/4 down to read what I'm trying to buy from a seller and have to weed through all this nonsense I just give up.

Reminds me of our local newspaper that is 99% advertising..And they wonder why no one reads the newspaper anymore.

Well I'm off to a website recommend by my daughter..

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 27 16:39:25 2012

Noah/JD - the dynamic dunderheads are once again poorly aping Amazon. Amzon has this too - but its lower down and after the picture and pricing - NOT in the middle.

What this is/how it works is easy - take any Amazon feature, turn it upside down, then inside out - and monetize it to eBays advantage and BOOM there it is.

Its the same thing as the new internatioanl shipping issue - eBay feels theres still more $ to take from sellers - why should its partner USPS get all the money?

Of course with the 9 fees they have - no ones goin to use it unless forced - as it will turn a 1 pound priority mail packae to the EU into $100 - with the spoils going to eBay and thier new prostitute Pittney Bowes.

ANYTHING to screw sellers. Its not like the ads on the bottom or the right arent enough - right eBay?

What BS will Johanna tell us THIS TIME?

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by: ibs This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 27 17:15:56 2012

I first noticed this new feature last night on one of my newly posted listings. I immediately sent a feedback to Ebay:
If an interested buyer clicks on one of the ''SUGGESTIONS'' I have lost a potential sale. Buyers CLICKED ON MY LISTING to see MY item for sale...HOW DOES THIS ENHANCE THE BUYING EXPERIENCE? All is does is create links to take the buyers AWAY from my item and forget where they were in the first place. You are creating an  ''attention deficit disorder'' shopping experience. PLEASE REMOVE THESE ITEMS from my listing ASAP!!!

within 10 minutes the other ads were gone. I would like to think they actually ''listened''.  

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by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 27 17:30:49 2012

Isn't everyone using Firefox and Adblock Plus yet?  Gad. How can you stand it?

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by: Ron This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 27 19:24:37 2012

and they wonder why they're bleeding sellers....

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Mon Aug 27 19:32:11 2012

Sellers, if you see this ad on your listings call eBay and speak your mind - make your objections clear. If you have more than 1 listing impacted by this ad placement, call them once for each effected listing.

While eBay generally does not listen to sellers, there are times they do.

Keep in mind that seller objections to the average price displays on their listings resulted in their removal.

Buyers, when you see these ads, call eBay and complain as well. If there is a tell us what you think link on the page, click it and tell eBay you are less likely to buy ANYTHING when you are forced to view ads for items you have no interest in.

The theory is that when buyers and sellers combine and end up monopolizing CS reps time complaining about the same issue, the combined voices are heard. The more complaints they get, the more likely they will listen.

Perminate Link for eBay Displays Competing Products In Middle of Seller Listings   eBay Displays Competing Products In Middle of Seller Listings

by: spirit-of-shiloh This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 28 03:28:16 2012

I am a TRS and have some of those intrusive adds on my pages:( Also tonight eBay foisted the Garden on me. I hate the Garden. Donahoe needs to go.

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by: spirit-of-shiloh This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 28 03:42:39 2012

I see it on some sellers listings...I looked on mine but didn't see any? I had another seller check my listings and he saw severl of mine with the adds...so sneaky eBay made it so I couldn't see it,yet some sellers CAN see the adds on their listings? I am getting so fed up with all the changes. Tonight I was thrown into the Garden,I opt out then it comes back? eBay maybe will last another year or so then I believe they will be doomed for good.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Aug 28 07:33:46 2012

Do eBay execs gather in a room every day to see how they can come up with new ideas that will further anger and alienate sellers?  Or is more from the angle "How can we bleed them dry"?  And loyalty to eBay sellers (their customers)?   The word loyalty does not exist among eBay management.

And this my friends is why we don't purchase anything on eBay.  In the old days we purchased between $500 and $1000 worth of supplies per month on eBay.

eBay is not and never will be Amazon.  No matter how hard they try.  Amazon management doesn't appear to have the "issues" that eBay management have.

Perminate Link for eBay Displays Competing Products In Middle of Seller Listings   eBay Displays Competing Products In Middle of Seller Listings

This user has validated their user name. by: Nan
Web Site

Tue Aug 28 08:58:25 2012

Man, they're going to clutter that thing up so bad it's going to look like the GoDaddy website.

Why don't they just place an ad directly under the Bid / Buy Now buttons that say "Wait! Look at these alternatives first!"  It looks like there's about 250 pixels available for rent in the Bill Me Later box.

 

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

Tue Aug 28 11:59:18 2012

Things must be worse than eBay is letting-on. It reeks of desperation!

Frankly, the whole thing just looks unprofessional. It makes the listings look cluttered and harder to read. It creates a confusing atmosphere that's not very inviting, and buyers are probably LESS likely to spend much time looking at the listings.

It's a classic case of ''Information Overload''... at some point, the listings become absolutely overwhelming. Too many ads, too many photos, too many links, too many icons, too many buttons... the poor buyers' brains just shut down and they just stop reading!

And if anyone had any doubts remaining, this CLEARLY DEMONSTRATES exactly what LITTLE REGARD and what LITTLE RESPECT eBay has for sellers of all sizes.

It's disgusting.

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Aug 28 12:13:15 2012

I agree with Annie; this is a change based on desperation. With all the new "features" and announced policy changes (like charging seven fees to ship a package outside the U.S.), something big is going on behind the scenes. eBay is clearly in trouble or there wouldn't be all these new attempts to generate fees.  

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by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 28 14:37:52 2012

More desperate measures.....why doesn't Ebay try something truly different....like fairness to the sellers and actually helping them to sell their items by spending some of their offshore billions on advertising its sellers instead of its diamond stores????  Yeah...its new and novel!

Perminate Link for eBay Displays Competing Products In Middle of Seller Listings   eBay Displays Competing Products In Middle of Seller Listings

by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Aug 28 15:14:47 2012

Yes to me it is unethical to place ads on an auction site.
They should concentrate on their core business which should be to help sellers sell.
They do seem to be getting desperate, but then again they still pay their CEO heaps.
And they still buy lots of other companies.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Tue Aug 28 17:59:41 2012

Surely, this is simply one more demonstration that eBafia is becoming ever more desperate. Disregarding the positioning, surely the accepting of ads that take buyers off the site has to be “cutting off your nose to spite your face”. Unbelievable …

Regardless, the design of virtually every aspect of eBay’s web site has always looked like it has been built by programmers utterly devoid of any sense of design.

And why else would a major publicly listed corporation carry on actively aiding and abetting such an obvious and massive shill bidding wire fraudster as Corri McFadden’s eDropOff, and risk the possibility of being prosecuted for the most obvious aiding and abetting of such fraud? Then, why has eBay always tacitly approved of shill bidding fraud by supplying fraudsters the tools and then effectively looking the other way?

Well, the answer is in the higher FVFs which eBay received from shilled auctions (and cancelled auctions, soon), whether or not the high bidder is a genuine buyer or a shill; and now that eDropOff has been exposed as an outrageous shill bidding fraudster (and eBay continues to do nothing about it), eDropOff now has an even greater number of faux sales. eDropOff’s auctions may have anywhere from 5 to 25 bidders bidding, the great majority of which, at any time, will be shills supplied by a commercial provider of shill bidding which, again, eBay refuses to do anything about …

Let’s not kid ourselves, we are here dealing with probably the most unscrupulous commercial operation (outside of the Mafia of old) known to mankind: eBay is undoubtedly the greatest calculated and knowing facilitator of fraud on consumers, the world is ever likely to know …

Why does anyone continue to be surprised by anything that this utterly corrupt eBafia does?

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Aug 28 19:54:06 2012

Philip - The "also viewed" ads do not take buyers off-site; they are items from top-rated sellers on eBay. I checked the "Love Never Dies Skeleton" shown in the screen shot and there are no "also viewed" items on the page for that listing (though it did come up first under Best Match). So I wonder if the Top Rated Sellers are "immune" to these "also viewed" items.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Tue Aug 28 22:41:47 2012

@iheartjacksparrow

That may be so but the ad to the right under "Seller information" does link to an outside site, and I have seen one ad which was for a product similar to the product advertised in the listing ...

Regardless why would eBay ever allow ads that take buyers away from teir site ... insanity ...

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by: blaumann This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 28 23:32:30 2012

Ebay says it does no want the look of a flea market. Then they do stuff like this and make the site look far worse than any flea market.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Bijoux Dragon
Web Site

Tue Aug 28 23:32:52 2012

I've seen this on about 50% of the listings I have tried to check out as a buyer.  Never did find the info on the actual item for sale (i.e. sale potential lost for the original item which I had spotted via Google)

Even worse, the items shown were of no interest to me.  Bracelet falsely attributed to D&E, mass produced drek from China and a not so real Jensen.  Please eBay - quit showing me junk I have no interest in and let me shop with the sellers I choose.  In another words eBay, keep your grubby mitts out of my shopping!

Perminate Link for eBay Displays Competing Products In Middle of Seller Listings   eBay Displays Competing Products In Middle of Seller Listings

by: jgchess This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 29 00:00:47 2012

They have lost many power sellers in the past and this will only make them lose more of them. Most of what Ebay tries to do is for the customer and not the sellers as they have certainly proved in the past with their practices.
By pushing away the power sellers as well as the smaller one that fine it hard to compete the customer is going to have less choices in the end. Therefore they are going to lose customers as well as the sellers. The only thing that keeps ebay alive at this time was their purchase of paypal. I guess they think they get most of their money from paypal and they don't have to keep ebay a pleasant experience for the seller as well as the customer.  

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