Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed July 1 2015 16:24:30

eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again

By: Ina Steiner

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When you can't pick up an item in your hand when shopping, photos and detailed descriptions are the next best thing. But buyers and sellers are reporting that once again eBay is hiding product descriptions on listing pages.

eBay admitted that the first round of hidden-descriptions that hit the site in early February was a test - as counter-intuitive as that sounds. As we reported on February 11, 2015, users said they were unable to see item descriptions unless they clicked on a separate button. 

Shoppers found it annoying while sellers found it worrisome, fearing buyers would hit the buy button without reading the description at all and could miss vital information. 

We are now receiving email reports that the same thing is happening, and users are discussing it on the eBay boards, such as this thread started June 30, 2015:

I haven't browsed on eBay for many months. A few minutes ago, I decided to search for "stanley plane" and browse through the 5,000 listings that resulted. I clicked on a listing only to discover that I was apparently opted back into the eBay hide-the-description program. Clicking on the button leads to a "full description" popup. I'm not doing that. Sorry. No more browsing on eBay for me. I'm done.

This thread posted today also discussed the issue, and an older thread from the previous test was revived today, with someone writing.

I called eBay customer service regarding this issue and it seems like my account was placed on a "beta test" which would last 3 weeks!!!!. I didn't sign up for this **bleep**! My sales have dropped 40% since yesterday when this took into effect. If you're grouped into this test, please call eBay CS and complain. If they get enough complaints they will drop the test alltogether.

I compared a screenshot sent by a reader in February with one sent today. In today's, there are two differences that I could see:

- eBay includes the field title "Item Description" along with the first line of the description, then the button that says "See full item description." In February/March testing, there was only a "See full item description" box underneath the Item Specifics area.

- The February screenshot includes a link to "Tell us what you think." I don't see that on the screenshot sent today.


The negative consequences of these tests are real. In March, a consignment seller said a client complained because he could not see the full description of his item in the seller's listing due to the test. And another seller said he had received a SNAD claim from a newbie customer who didn't read his product description due to the test, but was unable to get eBay to remove the claim mark against his record.

Despite the continued complaints about the test's impact on sellers, eBay confirmed in March it was still running versions of the test, but complaints seemed to peter out by April.

When you've spent a lot of time honing your description, especially on one of a kind items, it's pretty discouraging to think eBay is hiding it from view.




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again   eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again

by: Donkey This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 1 17:41:29 2015

I am part of this test.
NOOOOOOOO!!!

Perminate Link for eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again   eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Wed Jul 1 18:37:00 2015

Sorry, Poltergeist ----

"They're back!"

I guess the first test was a failure.

Perminate Link for eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again   eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again

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

Wed Jul 1 19:36:33 2015

Ah, more spahgetti being thrown at the wall in the eBay executive suite ...

What can one say, other than ...

eBay Inc.—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid … http://bit.ly/11F2eas  

Perminate Link for eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again   eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Wed Jul 1 19:38:07 2015

As a buyer who has been opted into this test without so much as a notice from eBay, I will not complete any purchase on eBay until such time as this test is ended.

If eBay has decided that this will be a permanent change, then I will close my buying account and will never purchase from eBay again.

As a seller, I am outraged that eBay has chosen to opt people into this latest seller defeating fiasco.

As a seller of computer parts, it is essential that buyers are able to read descriptions in order to assure the item they are looking at is compatible with their system.

The idea that buyers will be forced to click on a tab in order to view the description is ludicrous at best.

Just when you think eBay can do nothing else to discourage buyers, they return to a process that will alienate and deter buyers as sure as if they simply closed down the entire site.

This management team could not be more incompetent, and it appears as though the incoming CEO is as oblivious to the realities of buying and selling as was his predecessor.

Simply put, I have lost all confidence in eBay as it appears that management intentionally sets sellers up to fail time and time again.

Mr Wenig, your message has been heard loud and clear; you do not want or value my business as a buyer or as a seller.  My eBay exit strategy has just been accelerated.

Perminate Link for eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again   eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again

by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 1 19:46:09 2015

What TF are they "testing?" If it's The Hoe's brain, we already know that's defective.

Perminate Link for eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again   eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again

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

Wed Jul 1 20:11:30 2015

Is it still “a test”? I’ve just looked at it on eBay.com.au, and to me it's not too bad; it does remove all the extraneous clutter from the initial page view (for the Ho’s delusions of "mobile" buying?) and if you are interested in proceeding you then click on the "View Details" button and that produces the same old legacy, hideous, cluttered, item page complete with all the usually amateur use of fancy borders, colours and fonts—Yuk!

Plus, the remaining “Browse Related” items become more obvious so eBay can now more easily can guide buyers away from your item to other (preferred?) merchants …

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid … http://bit.ly/11F2eas  

Perminate Link for eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again   eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again

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

Wed Jul 1 20:21:41 2015

eBay itself has projected its forward growth to be 0–5% …

If the bottom is indeed dropping out of eBay's sales it's quite possibly because eBay's "Saved Search" email function is still broken (and has been for several months now). If potential buyers don't get notice of the items that they are interested in how can anyone be expected to buy? Manually search eBay for each item every day? You would have to be joking, of course ...

What a bunch of utterly clueless and incompetent turkeys are running this comedy show ...

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid … http://bit.ly/11F2eas  

Perminate Link for eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again   eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again

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

Wed Jul 1 20:25:14 2015

Apparently doing an asinine, counterproductive thing once wasn't enough for The Wenig Era ebafia.

This is state Attorney General material.

Perminate Link for eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again   eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again

by: What Modern Was This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 1 20:53:29 2015

Ina, I'm honored that you quoted my post to the eBay selling forum in your article.

I can't believe how ridiculous and shortsighted eBay's hide-the-description plan seems to be. I've ceased all buying on the site and as a seller of 17 years, I don't know what to think about my listings and store. I guess I'll keep the store open and the listings running for now ($16 a month) and see if anything sells. My primary focus will be on other venues.

Perminate Link for eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again   eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again

by: encoreresale This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 1 21:13:05 2015

It appears to be cookie-based: clear eBay cookies, and suddenly the full descriptions appear again. Of course, how many buyers are going to figure that out?  

Perminate Link for eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again   eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again

by: Lamprey This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 1 21:30:24 2015

Hey, they have to have some excuse for an increase in sales post-split.  I can see it now - "The tests showed a negative correlation with sales."
DUH

Perminate Link for eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again   eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again

by: dans parts This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 1 21:49:52 2015

Perfect example.  Listing items tonight.  15 minutes after one lists (I swear to G-d, EXACTLY 15 minutes!), question shows up in email.  What engines does this fit?

First line of description (which is all that shows when you click this auction) doesn't mention engines, but 3rd through 12th lines in description are painstaking bulleted list of explicitly detailed models, engines, etc.

Didn't bother to click - just asked question, figuring I DIDN'T BOTHER TO LIST THEM - not that eBay had HIDDEN them.

Another auction shows 4 lines of the description.

Yet another auction shows NO lines of the description.

As usual, poorly thought out, poorly implemented, illogical, serving no purpose other than some hidden eBay goal (to benefit them, no doubt), but destined to destroy sales (and be of NO benefit to us).

Imbeciles.

Perminate Link for eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again   eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Wed Jul 1 23:02:43 2015

So instead of sellers' listings being hidden from search they are halfway hidden. If you ask me, more half a$$. If eBay is planning on a bankruptcy filing after the split, I think creditors should look into eBay's blatant fraudulent actions in diminishing the marketplace.

Perminate Link for eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again   eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again

by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 1 23:19:08 2015

Oh , here they go again.

Have not seen it during my research today , though I believe. Nothing , absolutely nothing , shocking to me.

More of the stuck in a rut , what can we do ?/?/? Testing the patients of sellers again? Ebay , " are you terminal ? "  

Perminate Link for eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again   eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again

by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 1 23:40:56 2015

I often wonder who is copying whom. Is eBay copying Etsy or is Etsy copying eBay?

Perminate Link for eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again   eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again

by: Interesting Antiques This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 1 23:46:36 2015

I suspect its due to google's mobile compliance.  

Perminate Link for eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again   eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again

by: action* This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 1 23:48:59 2015

This is the most retarded thing I've seen in modern times. One has to question after all these months of badgering us to put up higher quality pictures so we can accurately portray our items, we now are going to hide the description of that same item from the buyer....? Then it is our fault/problem when a customer buys something that is not what they thought? Makes perfect sense to me!
Is someone justifying their job or are they really that stupid?! Pay Pal is no better. Just when you get used to how everything works they go and ''fix'' it. Why can't they leave everything alone. Didn't anyone teach these people ''if it ain't broke, don't fix it''!?

Perminate Link for eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again   eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 1 23:49:09 2015

When whitman said a monkey could drive this train Ebay took it literally.  If you want descriptions to show simply bribe Ebsy with bananas :-)

Perminate Link for eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again   eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Wed Jul 1 23:52:29 2015

I'm fairly certain eBay is hiding item descriptions to accommodate mobile users. I have been told over and over again by eBay that the ''majority of buyers purchase with a mobile device.'' I was opted into the first round and responded to the ''tell us what you think'' link each and every time I browsed. I also called on multiple occasions - the standard reply was to refer to the ''convenience of mobile users.'' I LOATHE this feature and am acutely aware of the pitfalls of the newbie trying to navigate eBay.  

Perminate Link for eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again   eBay Is Hiding Descriptions Once Again

by: Bobodaclown This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 1 23:53:56 2015

Hello All,
I was angry this happened to me. I called in. Was told sorry, nothing they could do. We utilize 2 different computers. One was showing the dreaded message the other wasn't. (Also using different browsers.) Phone support said it would only last a couple weeks.
Started thinking about it. Came up with COOKIES!
I deleted all eBay cookies off the machine. Presto! Back to normal. Another item that keyed me in was the address showing up in the address bar. It's not the typical address format.
TRY DELETING ONLY EBAY COOKIES, let me know it worked for you.  

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