Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Jan 13 2013 12:05:32

Should eBay Be More Democratic with Its Listing Promotions?

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay is running another invitation-only free auction listing promotion running today through January 19. "It's free auctions which include free Buy it Now and free 10 day duration," a reader emailed EcommerceBytes. "I received it on all four of my accounts: 2 active selling and 2 inactive accounts. All of them came under the title "New year offer: List free - up to 10 days!""

The details of the promotion can be found on this eBay page.

On the eBay discussion boards, sellers discussed their theories about who was receiving invitations for free listing promotions. "I know someone who got an "invitation", but I did not," wrote on participant. "I will check tomorrow, but this is a deal I would REALLY like to get in on. If it does not work for me tomorrow, I would like to know what the criteria was for the invitation so I can do that in future and get such a good offer."

Ultimately, no one could say for sure why some people receive invitations and others do not. "There is no pattern to the invites," wrote one seller. "I would get them on my least used IDs, then it switched to my most used. Entirely random."

Another said, "We all keep racking our brains to try to figure out eBay's reasoning behind who gets the invitations and who doesn't. There doesn't seem to be any reasoning."

A number of people who posted on the thread had received invitations and said they planned to take advantage of the promotion. But posts aren't always so positive. In December, we wrote about sellers who were upset at never having received an invitation. "Why do I always get excluded from selling specials five years of selling and I never get invited but my husband who does not sell gets invited all the time, not right," wrote a seller.

For many years, eBay kept a tradition of hosting listing promotions after Christmas, but those stopped when John Donahoe replaced Meg Whitman as CEO in 2008, though eBay did run a free-listing promotion in 2011.

December 26, 2002: Free listing day
December 26, 2003: Free listing day
December 27, 2004: 10-cent listing day
December 27, 2005: 10-cent listing day
December 27, 2006: 15-cent listing day
December 27, 2007: 10-cent listing day
December 27 - 29, 2011: Free listing days

What do you think, should eBay be more democratic with its free listing promotions?




Comments (33) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

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by: Terry in Texas This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 13 12:49:06 2013

I'm not sure how Ebay decides who gets the invitations. i got them regularly the end of 2011 and early 2012. took huge advantage of the free auctions by simply rolling over unsold auction items. then when ebay offered the 21 days free in march 2012 i did that again. was a huge huge huge boost to my sales. at the peak of listings at the end of march 2012, i had just about 1,000 items for auction. at 25 cents a piece (or more) to list, it was a HUGE savings.

however, i've received only ONE invitation since march 2012. that was for the free FIXED PRICE listings in november for one month. Abysmal. quickly did up 30 new listings and over the 30 days, sold 3. and on some items, they still had no VIEWS after 2 weeks. that pretty much cemented it for me. not worth my time. holiday sales were the worst ever and this month is slower than the past januarys. giving me more time to get my own web site working but sucks cause i have no income.

if i had received an invitation for free auction listings, i might have considered getting some auctions listed. it's definitely a money saver for auction listings. and with the right listings, could have been a TINY income boost.

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sun Jan 13 12:49:14 2013

I haven't sold on eBay since January 2008. I got an invitation like in the graphic above except mine reads "Sell to Buy What You Want." Could this be another desperation move, targeting "dead" sellers to generate more fees?

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Sun Jan 13 13:22:35 2013

eBay is likely targeting inactive and low activity accounts in an attempt to bolster their numbers.

eBay desperately needs to show steady and consistent increases in revenue to appease their Wall Street masters, raise stock values and increase the wealth of it's executives when they sell off their gifted shares.

They have learned from past experience that giving out free listings to active sellers serves only to reduce the revenue generated by listing fees, hence the exclusion of the majority of active sellers.

They fail to consider that active sellers who boost their listing volume during free listing offers generate more sales which increases GMV and boosts revenue through Final Value fees.

This shows how disconnected and short sighted eBay management is from the everyday realities of selling.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Sun Jan 13 13:24:44 2013

Well ebays 4th quarter report is coming out on Wed 16th and I have noticed they usually run free listing promotions around that time. Of course ebay snubbed me once again with this promotion. Getting really sick of not being included.  

I will probably get the fixed price free promotion offer when they have it and ebay can shove that one. A complete waste of time.

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This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Sun Jan 13 13:36:03 2013

"Sell to Buy What You Want."

Wonder if there is a connection with the survey ebay was taking on being paid with an ebay gift card instead of real money?

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by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 13 14:50:48 2013

11 year trs here and I NEVER get the offers.
Mass Howler- Definately directed at part-timers and dead ids.

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by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 13 16:22:32 2013

They probably have a monkey that spins a wheel to determine who gets these offers. I used to frequently get these offers when I was listing more items than I am now.

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by: AuctionEssistance This user has validated their user name.
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Sun Jan 13 21:03:18 2013

Don't really think handing out free listings would do any good for bringing sellers back in. Most left because of the outrageous fees and restrictions that eBay has been known for. I have been noticing that there are much less sellers on there then before.

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by: nsc This user has validated their user name.
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Sun Jan 13 21:51:04 2013

bitbybit,

Yes, the selective listing promotion + the sell for ebay credit push show that ebay is clearly trying to entice buyers to become hobby sellers.

Of course, this is wildly at odds with their overall policy of the last six years, but desperate people think short-term.

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by: kafkaesque This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 13 23:24:39 2013

I got an "invite."  I haven't sold on Ebay in years.

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by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 13 23:49:20 2013

I rec'd invite, however on my buy only account. If I sell on that account, I believe they (ebay) told me they will hold funds for 90 days? maybe it's 90 years.-New selling accounts. Have another sell acct. 2514 feedback. Never an invite on that acct.  Maybe just on accounts that they can hold the money??  I thought you can list x number of free auction accounts anyway???????

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

Mon Jan 14 00:02:48 2013

These offers are the ONLY time I list anything on eBay. Other than the FVF, I'll not pay to list anything one eBay ever again.

Actually, I'm a little puzzled as to why they send them to me at all. Is it because I take them up on the offer? Is it because I was once a prolific seller who just faded away?

I'm down to 12 sales a month now. Twelve! I used to have twice that many a day during ''slow'' periods.

Does eBay miss me?

I don't miss eBay.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Bijoux Dragon
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Mon Jan 14 00:16:17 2013

Got two last year - jumped on them and listed a couple of dozen each time and a couple of dozen mid November.  Sold 1 item each time and it took time away from Etsy and ruby Lane where I was actually selling and making money.

They could offer to have Donahoe sing buck naked at the next shareholders meeting and I wouldn't waste time again.  Well .... maybe if he danced too!

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by: dkkdolls This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Jan 14 00:29:52 2013

Yes, Ebay should be more Democratic or open it to all.

All last Fall I got no invitations after taking advantage of the Spring Ebay offers, and suddenly in Dec. I started getting invitations right at a crucial time. I mostly rolled extra Buy-It-Now items into auctions (where I have more than one so I don't have to pay to relist) and added some items. I then got a Buy-It-Now up to 30 days invitation and rolled over some of them and added about 30 new items, enough to go over to a Premium Store instead of a Basic Store, as I reached 226 or more listings all the time so that it was worthwhile. Now I got a third free listing on auctions invitation and will roll over 15 or 20 items a day, but make sure the auctions finish well before the postal change as I do not want to get caught up in postal rate changes that I do not understand clearly. I do have Ebay listings that go by weight, size, with enough added for insurance and packing. However, I am really up in the air about Parcel Post and First Class Mail International, First Class Mail Packages and such that will change names. I process through Endicia and Ebay, but do not yet know what is going to happen. It looks like the First Class Mail International increases will be substantial, which will be distressing as I was starting to gain a lot of Canadian customers because of it. I don't do Ebay's free shipping. Donna

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by: Charlie B This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 14 00:40:33 2013

Disruptive innovation... no rhyme or reason why some accounts get the invites -- completely random just to freak people out. JD believes keeping people paranoid and on edge is a motivational tool. He learned this at Bain.  

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by: hdc77494 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 14 01:01:24 2013

It can't be a very exclusive group, I get an invite to post free just about every month and I have never sold anything on eBay. I have, however bought five figures worth of photography hardware.

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by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 14 02:08:15 2013

Do you have to have---or formerly had--a "Store" on ebay to get these?  I have two active accts one which I both buy and sell and one which I mostly sell thru.

Aside from the "Free 50" and the --we believe!--Cassini test ground of "Sporting Goods" or whatever the actual title is --that has been having a "Free" promo for a few months---I have gotten ZERO offers.

I DO know sellers who DO or at least HAVE gotten these offers who then scramble around and work themselves into a frenzy  listing only to have a minimal amount of items SELL--and then they are lucky if the get PAID for them.  

I suspect once again that these are put on to JUST draw the "Float":  interest on the purchase price that ebay grabs the nano second something sells.

I cannot see HOW ebay is making money otherwise at this point.

If you look at anyone who has been on here buying for any length of time and see how MANY of their former SELLERS are "no longer a registered user"---the numbers--and the VOLUME those seller HAD--is SHOCKING.  

I routinely see sellers who had THOUSANDS of sales and had been on for YEARS who have---vanished.  Where did they all GO I wonder.

I really wish I KNEW as I would follow them in a heartbeat.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles
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Mon Jan 14 06:09:49 2013

As I said always here and in different forums. I returned to sell in eBay becuase I'm using the free promos. In all this time just 2 or 3.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Jan 14 07:44:27 2013

Amazon doesn't play these type of games with us which is why we are increasing our listings in a big way there.  AND NO LISTING FEES!

Ebay want to be like Amazon, but only on their terms.  They'll never give up those listing fees. JD's cash cow.

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by: paul This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 14 09:20:12 2013

I have been selling on Ebay now 13 years..We DO NOT GET FREE listing offers. Top Rated Seller... We have Never recieved any FREE listing offers...This is unfair to all us. Getting sick and tired of being left out....

Everyone should be included, not just who Ebay picks out....The little guys that made Ebay what it is today don't count for ____ anymore.....

Just grin and bear it....It's time for donahoe to get out, he has ruined Ebay with all the Greed and changes...

Fees on shipping...Limited shipping on media...No fair feedback system....higher fees...No checks or money orders...The list goes on and on...

Bottom line, Ebay (Donahoe)just don't care about being fair to anyone...

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