Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Nov 9 2014 21:40:59

Has eBay Overstepped Its Bounds with Ads on Shipping Labels?

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay lets sellers purchase postage online through its eBay Labels program, but some sellers began seeing ads on the bottom of the shipping labels they printed to apply to their packages.

"It's very irritating, advertising for something that DOESN'T INVOLVE OR INCLUDE MY LISTINGS AT ALL...and it all adds up in wasted ink as well," wrote one seller.

The ad included a URL and a QR code advertising eBay's Daily Deals - a section of the website that excludes most sellers' listings. The ad reads: "Happening now on eBay deals. Always free shipping & up to 70% off top brands. Visit www.ebay.com/dailydeals or scan the QR code to learn more."

An eBay moderator responded to questions, telling users it was a test that impacted a select number of sellers, and eBay's Social Marketing Manager "Audrey T." told sellers on a social networking site, "Only 15% of sellers have it on their labels (sorry you are one of them) and we will likely run the test for a few weeks/months to determine its success. So the good news is that it is not permanent."



The manager also said she argued with a coworker about the ads, telling him the seller should be in control of how their package looks/what messages are included, while the coworker argued that eBay "owns" that space and had the right advertise there.

Another seller wrote on the eBay discussion thread, "Please tell me why am I having to pay for eBay's daily deal advertisement. Please lead me to the part of the user agreement I signed that stated I would have to supply the ink so that others sellers can advertise free shipping on the paper I bought and the ink I bought. I AM NOT HERE TO ADVERTISE FOR OTHER SELLERS, TAKE IT OFF NOW."

Another seller pointed out, why advertise "free shipping" to buyers who just had to pay for shipping on the package they're receiving?

Other sellers said they were using a scissors to cut off the ad, using their software program to crop it out, or using a Sharpie market to black it out.

So who do you think owns the shipping label, and should eBay reimburse sellers for using their shipping label as an ad platform the way Google pays website publishers for Google AdWords ads?




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Readers Comments

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This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Sun Nov 9 21:59:35 2014

Hmmm... My ink, my paper - bought and paid for by me.

USPS Priority Bags & Boxes - Their ink, their paper - given FREE to end user.
IMO in that case advertising on the box doesn't really matter since the box is free.

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This user has validated their user name. by: eBankrupted

Sun Nov 9 22:29:33 2014

Create your own QR code to your own website, or Amazon store, then crop it into the label, or print to a sticker that covers ebay's QR code.

https://www.the-qrcode-generator.com/

Ebay loses, you get more traffic on your website.

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

Sun Nov 9 23:16:27 2014

Strike back. Cut the ads off. I'm not advertising for ebafia and their endless greed.

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This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Sun Nov 9 23:17:12 2014

If eBay provides sellers FREE reams of paper and/or adhesive labels, I will have no problem with the added advertising. If not, BUG OFF eBay! Since eBay has not been a venue for a very long time, eBay owes sellers commissions as independent contractors or salaries as employees. Sellers must be either of these since ebay thinks this type of invasive soliciting would be allowed without some sort of compensation.  

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by: jonesridge This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 9 23:49:29 2014

Cut it off!
Ebay is screwing me enough, I'm not carrying their water for them.

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by: Paul W This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 10 00:00:38 2014

I always cut off the top and bottom eBay and PayPal parts of the labels.

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by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Nov 10 00:02:54 2014

Those that run ebay are insane! They don't own those shipping labels any more than any other 'venue' that we can use for postage. And yes there is a cost of paper and ink to them putting Their crap on the labels. Any seller that ebay thinks they can pull this nonsense on should immediately go use a different postage program.

Ebay will continue to pull these stunts as long as ebay sellers put up with them and don't rebel.  

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 10 00:04:36 2014

SNADbay DOESNT own that space - you do . Its a product of USPS that YOU bought with YOUR moeny.

SNADbay seems to not understand the difference between YOUR money and THEIRS. They take so much so often that they think they have license.

Ive gone a few rounds with "Audrey" on Linkedin. Nice women but a paid shill (puppet) for SNADbay. She'd support them though no matter what they do/did.

The best revenge beyond cutting off the adverts is to use STAMPS.com or Indicia to buy your postage (or any other 3rd party of your choosing).

SNADbay only understands things when they impact the bottom line - so thats where they should be hit ... repeatedly.

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by: Baby Gurl This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 10 00:13:18 2014

I have always cut the top and bottom portions off so not a big deal, but it is a little pushy

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by: Jeffery This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 10 00:21:08 2014

Make sure this ebay "test" does not produce profits for ebay... cut off the ad.

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by: WhoKnewIt This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 10 00:31:39 2014

Get your postage directly from the USPS site or cut it off.....pretty simple actually.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Roxi

Mon Nov 10 00:34:51 2014

I always cut off the top and bottom eBay and PayPal parts of the labels anyway. I figure they atract less attention as a purchase.

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by: Cloud This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 10 01:49:53 2014

Makes me glad I only use eBay's labels as a last resort.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Shop and Ship

Mon Nov 10 02:00:26 2014

This is really a funny topic considering that so many eBay Sellers don't print the postage cost, the transaction number, or their return address on their USPS labels, and don't include a packing slip or share tracking numbers with Buyers either. Now I see that it's a major plan for saving ink? The response from eBay Sellers in the eBay Forums suggests that no one other than the mail carrier has ever read the eBay or PayPal ads on the label.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Shop and Ship

Mon Nov 10 02:05:14 2014

Actually it's rather hilarious to think that eBay Buyers who generally don't bother to read the Item Condition and Description details, and perhaps not even the full Title, or bother to look at most of the listing images, is now going to start reading the fine print on a mailing label and respond to it? ha ha ha! It really is the Season to be Jolly! ;-)  

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by: lostandfoundantiques This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Nov 10 02:07:56 2014

One of our main expenses for shipping is ink and bubblewrap.  I cut my sheets of paper in half so only the label side prints and I don't waste the other side of the sheet of paper with information I have available on My eBay.  So now eBay decides to waste my ink with ads they choose.  Of course my scissors work just fine and I have cut everyone them off and add them to the pile of papers to shred for packing material.

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by: Ebay's Slow Death This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 10 02:40:07 2014

I couldn't help laughing when I read this. Here Ebay charges Sellers 10% commission on our postage, and now they want to run ads on our address labels! Kind of like getting stabbed in the back twice by that evil company!

What next! It seems the people who work for Ebay are obsessed with how to wring more money out of every transaction.

Ads on OUR address labels that we pay for, unbelievable!

I will just cut them off.

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by: Tim This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 10 02:50:18 2014

Why is this even an issue? A seller that gives eBay more access to YOUR business than absolutely needed is asking for this kind of trouble. Get your own postage program, or go through the USPS web site. Some of them are free - all are better than eBay/PayPal postage.

If you use eBay for one thing more than you need to - then YOU are to blame. eBay knows the sheep will put up with anything - and this is further proof.

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by: charcorvet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 10 06:02:40 2014

I am under the impression we can save these as PDFs and then crop them to not even use the ink or paper.

I agree that it's funny to hear the extremes some sellers will go to in "saving" paper. Hope that works for you when the IRS asks you to prove your postage costs. BUT meanwhile, crop the labels, or cover the ad part with "gaf" tape, that blue painter tape or masking tape.

Or print thru Paypal, stamps or Endicia.

Stamps I believe has a way for US to customize and advertise on the label.

And actually Tim, the discount thru ebay is VERY VERY nice so there is a reason to use their shipping labels service - and now I Know why they extended the discounts to everyone thru the holidays. Evil Geniuses in deed.

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by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Nov 10 06:55:42 2014

@Moonwishes, don't worry. there is a very real small seller rebellion of current and former ebay sellers taking place on social media (and beyond)...

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