Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Sept 11 2013 23:16:08

eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay updated its User Agreement with a number of changes that are proving worrisome to sellers. The one most sellers are keying in on is eBay's provision that allows it to hide listings in search results for any reason.

"To further create a marketplace where buyers find what they want and drive positive user experience, we updated the provision regarding listing conditions to recognize that the appearance and placement of listings in search and browse results will depend on a variety of factors.  So, in some situations a listing may not appear in some search and browse results regardless of sort order."

Sellers pay eBay fees to have their listings appear on the site, so were not happy at the prospect of potentially paying fees for zero exposure. eBay has muddied the water by granting sellers a certain number of free listings each month in addition to running certain free-listing promotions, many of which apply only to one subset of sellers at a time.

eBay spokesperson Ryan Moore said eBay would not be refunding any listing fees for sellers impacted as a result of the policy.

Some sellers are cynical about whether eBay had already been hiding some listings in search results. Others blame eBay's new Cassini search engine for the company having to create the new policy.

One can only wonder if eBay is poised to push a button and change its search algorithms once the agreement takes effect for all users in October - as the all important holiday shopping season is underway.

eBay also made changes in its User Agreement that some sellers fear will mean its Managed Returns program will soon be mandatory.

And eBay changed its Buyer Protection policy: "if as a seller you choose not to engage with the eBay Buyer Protection process on an item not as described case, we may seek to carry out a reimbursement from you without asking the buyer to return the item to you."

Read the eBay announcement board post and look for Thursday's Newsflash news article for more details, and let us know what you think.




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

This user has validated their user name. by: Puck

Wed Sep 11 23:23:17 2013

eBain has finally made official what most small sellers knew all along.

Cassini = Cantseeme

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Wed Sep 11 23:38:48 2013

If an item is NOT returned and I am forced by ebay to refund, I will consider ebay an accomplice or partner (with the buyer) in crime and seek criminal charges. Sounds over the top but isn't stealing a crime?

JD and ebay are nothing but thugs.

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by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 11 23:39:36 2013

If you are an ebay seller, Google the legal definition of TORTIOUS INTERFERENCE. That's what ebay is doing and IT IS ILLEGAL.  

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Thu Sep 12 00:17:42 2013

How fitting.... eBay uses the 12th anniversary of 9/11 to drop new bombs targeting their own sellers for extinction.


      ''eBay spokesperson Ryan Moore said eBay would not be refunding any listing fees for sellers impacted as a result of the policy.''

In other words, eBay will charge you listing fees time and time again, your listing can (read will) fall out of search entirely, and they are going to keep your money.



      ''Some sellers are cynical about whether eBay had already been hiding some listings in search results.''

In other words, it is now official, eBay is updating the user agreement so that sellers no longer have expectation that their listings will be seen, regardless of the fact that they are paying fees for that very purpose.''

     

       ''Others blame eBay's new Cassini search engine for the company having to create the new policy.''

eBay spent tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars to create Cassini - the worlds only search engine that can not handle wild card requests. Apparently, Cassini is so buggy, that it loses listings, and eBay can not figure out how to fix that. As a result, they are throwing their hands up in the air, and making pay-to-be-invisible a practice sellers must agree to in order to continue selling on eBay.



Under John Donahoe, eBay has leveraged their user agreement time and time again to codify every illicit anti-seller activity the company has engaged in.

The John Donahoe led eBay small seller genocide continues.

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

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

Thu Sep 12 00:18:00 2013

I HATE these people! If ebay ever succeeds in breaking ny business beyond compare I will spend at least 8 hours every day for the rest of my life posting the truth about them all over the internet and contacting stock brokers and business reporters.

And that's a promise. Ebay has NO idea how effective a few dedicated Truth Disseminators can be.

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

Thu Sep 12 00:19:10 2013

I'm not sure how repair became compare in my previous but youg et the general idea.

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

This user has validated their user name. by: Puck

Thu Sep 12 00:42:26 2013

Look on the bright side.
At least they gave us a new logo...

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by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 12 00:58:30 2013

''where buyers find what they want''
Ryan Moore, hey genius, what if a buyer is looking for an item you're not showing in search? Guess what, they'll shop elsewhere.

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

Thu Sep 12 00:59:11 2013

We knew this all along, we all predicted it together, this has been the main topic for months- they are just admitting it now.
See everybody?
Everybodys predictions of the user agreement changing- free insertion and our ads could legally be invisible- they have now admitted it.
Isn't a user agreement not valid if 1 party starts to act in bad faith?
Are we still arguing if ebay is just a venue.
Why are our regulators (FTC.gov) still allowing pp to operate like a bank when they only hold a simple money transmitters license- they cannot hold.
Where are our regulators and is everybody emailing them?
We need to continue this. And Ming, you keep on writing them and I will too. excellent points Annie as always.
All respect,
Mass Howler
Did the time buyers can open a case DE-crease from 45 days to 30?
We are screwed at every turn here I tell you.
New ads are still getting shown everybody- the exposure is still quite good on new auctions.

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

by: JOHNNY MASADA This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 12 01:42:09 2013

''Ryan Moore, hey genius, what if a buyer is looking for an item you're not showing in search?''

''Guess what, they'll shop elsewhere.''

and how does one spell elsewhere these days A_M_A_Z_O_N or perhaps E-T-S-Y

and the growth of those two is entirely thanks to ebay ,
I wonder if they send thank you or get well cards?

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

by: alfabarn This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 12 04:22:27 2013

Well. now we know why Ebay has been offering so many ''free'' listings. Sellers are not ''paying'' for a listing and have no recourse. Check the user agreement, If this, or any action taken by Ebay is legal is irrelevant. If you want to take Ebay to court, or file any complaint you had better be ready to leave Ebay both as buyer and seller.  

there is always a silver lining right? for me the 10 years on Ebay have equaled a customer list that allows 90% of my sales to be done through direct marketing. I think every Ebay seller has to consider alternative marketing. The problem is that most buyers won't consider any other market but Ebay.  

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

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

Thu Sep 12 06:02:58 2013

Well, let's try to look at the bright side...

Um.

Uhh.

Hmmm.

Well, I, uhhh.

Hell, I got nothing.

Oh! Wait! I know! Here's something: ''When I see things like this coming out of eBay, it's further validation that I MADE THE CORRECT DECISION when I chose to close my eBay store and to leave eBay permanently.''

There! :-)

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

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

Thu Sep 12 06:10:27 2013

Also... it occurs to me that the way eBay has worded the new clause is also vague enough and broad enough that it can be used to shield eBay from any number of ACTUAL programming ERRORS and BUGS and SERVER FAILURES.

eBay will never again have to admit to a server going down... eBay will never had to confess to ''running a test'' that failed... rotating blackout will never have to be explained or justified.

Whatever reason your listing fails to show up (if ever, if at all) eBay has got their a55es covered.

You'll get MORE EXPOSURE by printing your listing and stapling the printouts to utility poles throughout your neighborhood... right next to the LOST DOG and ROOMMATE WANTED posters.

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

This user has validated their user name. by: Andy Geldman
Web Site

Thu Sep 12 06:30:13 2013

I think this is OK if listing fees are abolished - or some connection is made between buyers seeing your listing and the listing fee e.g. a cost-per-click mechanism where the cost of listing is accrued up to a maximum of the listing fee when buyers click on it in search results.

Charging a listing fee but then hiding the listing in search results does seem very unfair. If you think of listing on eBay as a type of advertising, that goes against the grain of all other internet ads where charges are made either with the guarantee that the ad will be shown (display ads) or only when the ad is clicked (PPC).

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Thu Sep 12 06:36:37 2013

The sad thing is, if you agree to this "contract" you validate the practice of ripping you off.

Are you going to put all the effort and money into listing items, and then follow all the mandates on how to run your business besides?

Don't worry. It won't happen to you. It's the other guy. There's millions, I mean tens of thousands of sellers on eBay. Bad eBay stuff doesn't happen to you because, You are Special!

Well, busiest part of the season. You can leave if you Want to. But it's nice here in the pot with you other frogs. When the water gets warmer, you actually relax a little.

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Sep 12 07:35:54 2013

Many of us already knew that this was going on solely based on all the 0 views of items that used to get 7-10 views easily, and because sales tanked for many overnight.

It is quite shameful that not only do they admit it, they place the verbiage in a user agreement.  Quite frankly I'm glad they did.  Now if this is ever challenged in a court of law they have owned it.

I'm sorry, but there is clearly something wrong with a company that will take your money to list an item but not show your listing.  It is unethical and it is immoral and quite frankly I don't even know how it is legal.

Mainstream press, where are you?   Keep abusing your user base eBay. Karma will get you in the end.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Sep 12 07:42:41 2013

"if as a seller you choose not to engage with the eBay Buyer Protection process on an item not as described case, we may seek to carry out a reimbursement from you without asking the buyer to return the item to you."

ATTENTION SCAMMERS: WELCOME TO THE GREAT EBAY GIVEAWAY!!!

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

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

Thu Sep 12 09:19:22 2013

I do believe that those folks at ebay have been studying George Orwell's Animal Farm and 1984 too much. They have become the kings of double speak and of promoting inequality among sellers while saying that they are equal. "All animals are created equal but some are more equal than others"! Every time I see posts like this, I like Annie, am so glad I'm out of there. Why would anyone want to stay on ebay trying to sell when not all of your listings that you are paying for may not be shown?

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by: Donkey This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 12 09:26:18 2013

The way sales have been this year, they have been experimenting with this feature for a while. Sales have dropped 50%.

Yahfool tried something like this with free listings and it turned out so bad they shut down their auction site.

Perminate Link for eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement   eBay Drops Bombshells in New User Agreement

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

Thu Sep 12 09:48:49 2013

Exactly, Rexford! eBay is too risky all the way around. A scammer-shoplifter's paradise. Too much risk, too much effort, too much time, too many changes, not enough profit, not enough ROI.

I think I can understand how it is that long-time sellers have found ways to adapt and accommodate the changes, increased fees, risks, annoyances and pitfalls... but I absolutely CANNOT IMAGINE how any beginning seller could find a way to make it on today's eBay.

It was much easier in the past, and when new sellers made typical newbie mistakes along the way, those mistakes didn't put you out of business. Now? One misstep and you're gone! One negative, one low DSR... and you're halfway out the door.

Why bother? So MUCH effort for so LITTLE reward! So much time invested in learning the ropes, without knowing if you'll even have a place to sell next week.

Poof! Gone! --- Then what?!

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