Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon June 24 2013 21:07:02

How Should eBay and Bonanza Improve Seller Photos?

By: Ina Steiner

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A picture is worth a thousand words - unless it's a really bad product photo in a marketplace listing!

eBay and its smaller rival Bonanza are both trying to get sellers to improve the quality of their photos, but they are taking very different approaches to the problem. eBay is taking a "get your photos into compliance or else" approach, while Bonanza is taking a community approach, but both approaches are rubbing some sellers the wrong way.

eBay rolled out photo requirements last year, and it will begin enforcing them next month. Sellers are concerned, and we've devoted a lot of coverage to this issue as the deadline fast approaches. Here's one of the most recent articles that outlines an eBay glitch that added to sellers' frustration in getting (and keeping) photos in compliance.

Today, Bonanza told users about projects it's working on, including:

- Allow community to mark bad pictures as irrelevant and earn tokens for doing so;

- Allow community to suggest item description edits and earn tokens for doing so.

In the comments section of the announcement, some Bonanza sellers took offense at the idea that other users would criticize their photos (and/or listings). Bonanza's Mark Dorsey explained, "The idea is for the community to be able to make suggestions to sellers on images that may need help and also descriptions that may need help. Whether a seller accepts those suggestions or not is entirely up to that seller. More details coming as the feature is developed."

He then gave an example: "A bad picture could be a listing for a Chanel Purse that has your stout Uncle Bobby holding the handbag with his shirt off. It could also be a blurry image, etc. Having a programming team with a video game background will make it nearly impossible to game the system. Same for descriptions. More details to come."

When a user warned that the new policy could cause hard feelings and resentment within the Bonanza community, Dorsey thanked the user and wrote, "I think it would be best to allow the features to be built and deployed first before assuming they are going to be negative. Lets revisit this once they are."

Most sellers strive to have good photos, but what is a marketplace to do about improving seller photos? Would you pick eBay's hardline approach, Bonanza's peer review approach, or some other approach? Or should marketplaces stay out of the picture (pun intended) altogether?




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Readers Comments

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Mon Jun 24 21:58:31 2013

Over reaching policies is the biggest way venues become disconnected from their sellers. Sellers begin to feel like indentured servants when venues lose their way.

I have a widget I want to sell. I take some pictures, build a description and create a listing. If my widget does not sell, and my pictures are the reason, I learn something because that widget does not sell - not because I am cited with a violation or criticized by a possible competitor seeking some kind of edge or reward.

eBay's approach is to hammer their sellers with requirements, deadlines, obligatory glitches, and finally, violations which negatively impact a sellers future with the site.

Bonanza's community approach seems like anything but and appears to be the beginning of a program which will divide the community.

If the Bonanza community is going to vote down bad images, or conversely, vote up good pictures, what prevents competitors from voting down the items which are the same or similar to what they sell with the goal of seeing that seller inconvenienced? This kind of gamesmanship does not in any way contribute to improving a market place. Instead, gamesmanship has the opposite effect and destroys the sense of community by pitting people against each other.

Until now, Bonanza has had a very friendly community feel to it. Using buyers and other sellers as part of some kind of policy lever completely undermines that sense of community and devalues the credibility of the marketplace.

Bonanza is an extremely marginal site as far as sales go for us. If they proceed with this divisive communal picture and description rating system, we will pull our listings and wash our hands of the site with no significant loss or regret.  

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by: AngelaTC This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 24 23:28:57 2013

I don't think that the people running the sites need to do anything about photographs. The market will take care of the problem by rewarding sellers with good pictures.

The constant intervention is maddening.  These folks - Bonanza in particular - should set up a site, let people sell on it, and go golfing or something!  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Tue Jun 25 00:03:43 2013

Bonanza has always been all about "community." This is ripe for abuse and playing favorites, especially for those of us who are too busy to spend all day playing games in forums.

And this statement: "Having a programming team with a video game background will make it nearly impossible to game the system"...  
Makes no sense. Video games and their strategies are a different thing entirely and really have no relevance, unless they're actually envisioning all of this as a giant game to begin with. That might explain a few things :-)  

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by: BonzSeller This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 25 00:12:31 2013

Oh gees, another ridiculous thing to deal with on that site. Bonanza is already nothing more than a referral site for EBay and Amazon.

Setting sellers up as cops for photos is NOT a good idea but then considering where that suggestion is coming from, it's no wonder. Management at Bonanza just keeps getting dumber and dumber with every "great" idea they come up with.

This will no doubt ruin what little IS left of the community, if you can even CALL what I jokingly refer to as a community

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This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Tue Jun 25 00:12:44 2013

Can you see that white basket against a white background? Apparently this is going to be ebays next requirement.

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by: Monetcourt This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 25 00:13:57 2013

Bonanza keeps making changes and upgrades that are of no real value to the sellers.

There is much that is important that is broken that they should be addressing instead of all the fluff that is always such a big FAIL.

The feeds to Google shopping is messed up. Items that go there show up in the estimated cost with shipping way higher than the other sites.

In google organic, the Bonanza items are showing up as ''items like'' instead of the correct item.

Mark at Bonanza keeps saying that they have no control over this. Yet, Bonanza items are the only one this is happening with.  It has to be something in the code.

Further, the Amazon results showing up in Bonanza's on site search engine, are just back breaking to the sellers.  They are sending potential buyers to another selling venue.

I believe that they are doing this because as an Amazon Affiliate, they will make a higher referral commission from them instead of their own sellers.

There is much else that should be addressed. I'm just to fed up to list everything and have just deleted all my items and requested to have my booth canceled.  I need to direct my focus to the venues that are working correctly and that bring the sales in.

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by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 25 00:37:48 2013

The micro-managing morons strike again.

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by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 25 03:12:41 2013

Bonanza and ebay managers are overpaid and don't have real jobs.  They likely are uneducated and hate books, but they happen to know a little bit about photography.   So they try to do something about photography but has ALL disconnected to good business practice.

Morons trying to boss around sellers because they can.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Tue Jun 25 04:05:41 2013

Berrry interestink, Bonanza. You vill report your neighbors for photography crimes against the state.

Sig heil, Bonanza uber alles!

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by: marcello This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 25 04:13:11 2013

The Bonanza idea is just plain dreadful. Once again they come up with another boneheaded idea. They are too busy copying what ebay and etsy do instead of coming up with useful tools and solutions their buyers and sellers need, so frustrating. They have completely screwed up the categories, there still is no traffic or name recognition and Bonanza is focusing on photo games!!! The forums are anther thing they just ruined. They love to tinker, tinker, tinker and accomplish nothing.

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by: Watching the Wheels This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 25 04:33:20 2013

It would be nice if Bonanza did something REAL to bring traffic to the site.

They showed a bit of potential, their first year. Alas, their traffic rank is in freefall.

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by: Watching the Wheels This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 25 04:34:53 2013

Bonanza also needs to lose "their attitude" within the marketing efforts. BIG potential put off when the ?wry? sense of humor is placed in the forefront.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Nolle

Tue Jun 25 06:47:30 2013

How Should eBay and Bonanza Improve Seller Photos?

they shouldn't.  that's not their job.  they should spend their time doing things to increase traffic and improve the site.  

we don't pay them to critique our listings.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Jun 25 07:52:08 2013

Bonanza is not worth the effort.  Going months without a sale there. Why bother.  Bonanza is turning into eBay's mini me.

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by: bunnspec This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 25 08:43:45 2013

I gave up on Bonanza in 2011 after seeing nitpickers trained on ebay migrating to the site to try and scam items for free-just once it happened and that was it. If I could close my account there I would, but they will just have to settle for benign neglect...

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by: vendorren This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 25 09:05:12 2013

My eBay store closes July 1. I told them the photo requirement was the tip of the iceberg. Before I created a listing I went to great lengths to enhance my photos which made them stand out. Each was sized at 480 X 480. I can always sell auction style for the few items I have. I also lit into ebay for treating sellers as second class citizens.  

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by: EKE This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 25 09:17:09 2013

Ming the Merciless said it best.  Normally there would be a flood, a veritable outpouring of Bonanza cheerleaders commenting in this forum. Where are they this morning? Oh, that's right. They have no forums to alert each other any more. They have been sent to their "rooms" with no t.v. or computer as punishment for ... what?

Perhaps Bonanza should tie staff salary to the ratio of seller success. All venues would learn to operate more efficiently if their fat cats had to actually show that they were doing their jobs.

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by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 25 09:18:20 2013

@vendorren.
   Correct.  ebay could fix any pixel to 500 pixel, 600pixel, 800 pixel and 1000 pixel without seller lifting a finger with ebay program.   It could sweep your list and scale them up.  
   But they us like cheaper than dirt on this matter.  
   ebay photo pixel fixing game is a smoke screen.      

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue Jun 25 09:57:04 2013

Management at both Bonanza and eBay need to lock one thing...

They are running a retail site - NOT CURATING A MUSEUM!!

Focus on driving traffic to sellers listings and making the transaction simple and painless for all parties concerned.

Resist the urge to constantly come up with new ways alienate, antagonize, harass, enslave and abuse the sellers who bring the inventory to your otherwise empty marketplaces.

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

Tue Jun 25 10:20:44 2013

The Bonanza assurance that their video game programmers will somehow keep people from ''gaming'' the system may portray a more fundamental flaw underlying the ''cleanup'' initiative.

Game programmers are very skilled people whose programs are designed for entertainment value - as opposed to advancing any business purpose. Bill Harding, himself, was an accomplished game programmer, so there may be a bias toward doing ''neat things,'' as opposed to doing ''useful things.'' So, the question is, how will peer review (or even centralized review) of images and text serve to produce more sales? More succinctly, of ALL the enhancements which might improve site functionality and encourage more sales, where does review of text and images rank? For example, would it probably be more fruitful to make a shipping calculator that returns correct costs as opposed to   a system of criticizing listings? And would the time and energy expended by programmers be more productive if applied to known problems as opposed to dealing with issues the new review system is likely to create?

My questions, of course, presume the answers and do echo the concerns of users who are manifestly unhappy with the image and text review, which is, at its core, a game -users are rewarded with tokens for ''playing along'' with it.

Only time will tell, but my instincts say Bonanza's peer review will probably cause more issues than it resolves. As for the iron fist approach of eBay, users at least know that review and action will arise from just one source.

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