|Wed Dec 18 2013 21:46:22|
eBay Ads Send Shoppers Away from Product Listings
By: Ina Steiner
I've written a lot about the evolution of eBay's advertising policy and its brazen encroachment on sellers' turf. Today, for the third consecutive day, I saw display ads on eBay product listing pages that led straight to competing retailers' websites offering items that directly compete with the eBay sellers' products.
December 16: a product listing for Burberry cologne on eBay contained an ad for Target directly underneath the "Seller Information" box on the top right side of the page.
December 17: a product listing for a Hermes handbag on eBay contained an ad for Coldwater Creek ("40% off full priced items with Free Shipping - guaranteed Christmas Delivery - Shop Now").
December 18: a product listing for a bar stool on eBay contained an ad for West Elm (a retail chain owned by Williams-Sonoma).
I also noticed a larger tower display ad for West Elm on the search results pages.
In May 2012, eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff had told me that the ads that had begun appearing on Item pages would be almost exclusively in the realm of brand advertising "meant to increase awareness of popular, reputable brands and cement in buyers' minds that eBay is a trusted shopping destination." She said the purpose of the ads was not to compete with sellers, but rather, to bring additional value to the View Item page.
But in January, I noticed an ad for Staples in the same spot on the product listing page. Since then, I've seen plenty of ads in that placement for things like hotels and candy and loan services. But the ads I noticed over the past three days have competed directly with the seller and encourage shoppers to leave eBay and do their shopping elsewhere.
What do you think - have you noticed any competitive ads on product listing pages? Is this old hat or something new? And again, I ask, why is eBay sending shoppers to other retail sites from its own shopping pages?