Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Aug 6 2013 06:31:35

eBay Annoys Shoppers with 'Switch to Mobile' Message

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay is driving some mobile shoppers crazy with its "switch to mobile" message. Those who use mobile devices to access the site say they are being bombarded with the message and complain there is no way to turn it off.

In a discussion thread titled, "Continually asking to switch to mobile site," a user writes, "Nonstop asking me to switch to mobile site every time I go to a new page. In a big grey box at the bottom of my screen. I am on a tablet and have said no over and over and over and it continually keeps asking if I want to switch. Very annoying. NO, I dont want to switch, please make this stop!"

The first reply to the thread states, "Anybody figure out how to diable this nag? I would gladly go to mobile site, except IT SUCKS!!!!"

The threads on eBay's discussion board began in mid-July and continue through late last week. A reader who sells on eBay told EcommerceBytes he stopped listing because of the issue; normally he paid several hundred dollars in fees to eBay every month, he said.

Finally on Monday, we got word that eBay had "received the message." The seller who had written to us reported that the annoying pop-up has now been replaced by an inconspicuous clickable "switch to mobile site" link at the bottom of the page. "This may have only affected Tablet users, I do everything with an iPad, when using the main eBay site," he wrote.

It's interesting that people would rather use eBay's classic site on their tablets than use the mobile version - though obviously eBay would rather people use the mobile app. The difference is usually one of control - when optimizing sites for mobile, site owners make decisions about what to show and how to show it, and that can be frustrating to users.

I do sometimes find myself wishing sites I visit via desktops/laptops had some of the same features as mobile, however - double-clicking the top of the browser to navigate back to the top of the page, or being able to click an icon to bring back content in a more readable format with larger fonts. On the other hand, some designers have dis-improved desktop usability in their mobile-optimization efforts.

As a seller, it's good to know how your listings appear to mobile shoppers (and where they place in search results), but that can depend on which device and operating system they're using (and app vs. non-app).

If you've accessed eBay's website via mobile, tell us what you think, and have you done anything to make your own shops mobile-worthy?




Comments (12) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Annoys Shoppers with 'Switch to Mobile' Message   eBay Annoys Shoppers with 'Switch to Mobile' Message

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Tue Aug 6 07:23:43 2013

These days, if I change my ''item description'' at all, I double check what it looks like in eBay mobile.

While I have made purchases from mobile and re-listed some items, I have not originated a listing from mobile. While the mobile device camera is good, I prefer using my own camera for photos.

Doubt  it would be that hard to list from mobile, except for the item description. I don't have a keyboard for mobile & even with audio I have to go back & make corrections often enough that I don't want to mess with it.

The thing I like the best about eBay's mobile is the photos & how they have them set up to easily shuffle through them & zoom with a tap. Good item photos on the app appear to look better than when seen on my laptop. This is probably where photo size is making a difference.  


I haven't seen this message, but maybe I don't get it because I use mobile?

Perminate Link for eBay Annoys Shoppers with 'Switch to Mobile' Message   eBay Annoys Shoppers with 'Switch to Mobile' Message

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue Aug 6 11:10:18 2013

Perhaps the act of clicking the nag screen is what is counts in order to inflate their mobile growth claims. It would not be surprising to learn that eBay counts every nag screen click as a new mobile user in order to have something positive to say about growth.

Too bad nobody takes the time to delve deeper into eBay's blatant exaggerations by asking the simple question of CEO John Donahoe.... " Mr Donahoe, it would seem that the rate of eBay's mobile growth does not translate into sales. Triple digit growth in mobile is all well and good, but how do you explain the failure of eBay's GMV to follow the growth curve you claim exists with regard to mobile?"  

Perminate Link for eBay Annoys Shoppers with 'Switch to Mobile' Message   eBay Annoys Shoppers with 'Switch to Mobile' Message

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

Tue Aug 6 11:25:32 2013

Why is anyone surprised at this sort of programming ineptitude? It is simply eBay's unprofessionalism on display as usual ... and, anyway, eBay knows what you want: that you indeed "want to switch to mobile" ...

“It has yet to be proven that intelligence has any survival value.”—Arthur C. Clarke ...
Certainly, there is no contradiction of this premise at eBay … http://bit.ly/YvxFEg

Perminate Link for eBay Annoys Shoppers with 'Switch to Mobile' Message   eBay Annoys Shoppers with 'Switch to Mobile' Message

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

Tue Aug 6 15:42:17 2013

I've seen the switch to mobile message on my iPad, but certainly not on every page.

Sounds like another Three Stooges coding "glitch" to inflate numbers.

The PC ebay version actually works better for my purposes inmost cases that ebay mobile.

Perminate Link for eBay Annoys Shoppers with 'Switch to Mobile' Message   eBay Annoys Shoppers with 'Switch to Mobile' Message

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Tue Aug 6 20:00:50 2013

Sounds like a little insider high jinx  :o)

Perminate Link for eBay Annoys Shoppers with 'Switch to Mobile' Message   eBay Annoys Shoppers with 'Switch to Mobile' Message

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Aug 7 08:08:20 2013

These days I am very wary about clicking on any link on eBay.  You may be one click away from signing up for or agreeing to something that you don't want, such as the Global Shipping program.

If you can't entice sellers with your so called "innovations", then trick them in to signing up for them.

Perminate Link for eBay Annoys Shoppers with 'Switch to Mobile' Message   eBay Annoys Shoppers with 'Switch to Mobile' Message

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 7 11:54:08 2013

I set up a listing I was running on my LAPTOP  my husbands SAMSUNG SMART PHONE and my KINDLE FIRE and a different lower value tablet.  The listing was COMPLETELY different on EACH device.  

My husband HAS the ebay mobile and we NEVER use it after seeing the difference (this is what caused us to do this experiment).  I think once one of my kids used a mobile app to TRY and do something that dismaly FAILED so--never again.  

I think that this is just one more big lie to try and drum up more fake numbers of "Shoppers"  when the actual SALES numbers show that NO ONE is buying---mobile or not.

Surprised that if you try to OPT OUT of the Mobile App it doesn't take you to the END MY EBAY ACCOUNT page.  

Perminate Link for eBay Annoys Shoppers with 'Switch to Mobile' Message   eBay Annoys Shoppers with 'Switch to Mobile' Message

by: auctionguy This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 7 12:35:22 2013

My phone isn't smart enough to do mobile, but if the many user claims are true, then that is yet another example of the ebay programmers doing minimal testing of their software to make it user friendly, just like the desktop pages that have so many flaws that they never seem to recognize or correct, such as:

- When listing an item, if you preview your item, the preview always opens so small that you have to resize it to see the full width of the listing

- When relisting an item, the new popup window only allows you to change the price, but has an option to edit your listing. If you click on edit, it does not bring you to the edit screen, but takes you to the preview screen, and you have to click on ''edit your listing'' again to get to the edit screen. This should be a simple matter of programming to bring you to the edit screen, not the review your listing screen.

- When listing an item, sometimes clicking on various options, such as changing from fixed price to auction format or changing from flat rate shipping to calculated shipping, do nothing.

There are probably many more that I can't think of right now. These indicate to me that the programmers are out-of-touch with real world users of the code that they write, just as the head honchos are out-of-touch with the users of ebay.

Sometimes I wonder if these are examples of programmer ineptitude, or if they are intentionally done to annoy the sellers. Knowing the way ebay treats the sellers in such a condescending manner all the time, I wouldn't doubt that they do this intentionally.

Perminate Link for eBay Annoys Shoppers with 'Switch to Mobile' Message   eBay Annoys Shoppers with 'Switch to Mobile' Message

This user has validated their user name. by: monkey

Wed Aug 7 14:23:13 2013

I definitely believe that mobile has a big future.

Personally, I don't list or shop on a phone or tablet -- but I'm aware of the millions who do and will.

So with mobile in mind, this is what I have changed in my listings:

1. Of course I want to take even better, bigger photos.

2. I strive to front-load my titles with the strongest words first.

3. I concentrate on "Item Condition." I essentially try to use this field to entice the shopper and pitch my item in 2 or 3 short sentences.

4. I utilize the "Item Specifics" area ... re-entering strong specific descriptive words in a couple of custom Item Specifics fields.

5. Finally, I try to tighten up my description -- my goal is to pack as much info as possible into good, short copy. Nowadays, I fear that shoppers will just ignore a long description, especially on a mobile device.

Perminate Link for eBay Annoys Shoppers with 'Switch to Mobile' Message   eBay Annoys Shoppers with 'Switch to Mobile' Message

This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Wed Aug 7 15:18:10 2013

I don't think it's necessarily the programmers at fault. Knowing eBay management, they've probably adopted one of the newer "fad" development practices, like extreme programming, that force you to do many code releases very quickly. This can work, in some situations, but a lot of these practices don't allow for comprehensive testing and you can end up with so much focus on one "tree" that you don't notice when the rest of the forest is on fire.

I have yet to work in any company that implements one of these software development practices completely or even correctly. In a lot of cases, important things like testing are neglected due to management-imposed deadlines. I'm willing to bet that eBay management listens to their developers as well as they listen to their sellers. Dilbert's pointy-haired boss really isn't that far off of reality in many places.

Perminate Link for eBay Annoys Shoppers with 'Switch to Mobile' Message   eBay Annoys Shoppers with 'Switch to Mobile' Message

by: Disgruntled_Seller This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 8 06:07:30 2013

I get it on just about every page. Same thing on this number of watchers BS that pops up over the listing. Whoever designs this crap needs to be sent out the door, if I annoyed my customers on my website as much as these morons at eBay do theirs my numbers would go way down on my website.

Perminate Link for eBay Annoys Shoppers with 'Switch to Mobile' Message   eBay Annoys Shoppers with 'Switch to Mobile' Message

by: auctionguy This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 8 13:48:00 2013

Yep. Do more with less. Fewer programmers. Don't bother checking how well the software works. As long as it works. Sort of. Poorly. Bugs. Difficult to use. But they saved money on the labor. Cheap is more important than good.



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