Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Nov 15 2016 15:53:28

eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

You may have noticed eBay's new TV commercial featuring a "Barbie Doll & Dancin Fun Horse" toy. That was no coincidence - eBay is actively working to promote Mattel, the maker of Barbie dolls.

eBay sent an email to its users this week exclusively devoted to Mattel's store on eBay. The subject line of eBay's email was "An entire toy store, right at your fingertips." The email offered recipients a special deal: Buy One Mattel Toy, Get One 50% Off!

And featured prominently in the email to eBay shoppers was a "Barbie Doll & Dancin Fun Horse," like the one featured in the eBay commercial.

One EcommerceBytes reader had already pointed out that eBay's new TV commercial didn't make complete sense to them. Calling it a missed opportunity, they wrote, "eBay has (Hatchimal toys) trending as one of their most popular toys this season yet has this little girl gasping in awe over a ... Barbie doll." (Hatchimals are made by another company, Spin Master.)

According to Mattel's feedback profile on eBay, it launched on the marketplace in September - and it has accumulated 109 positive feedback ratings and perfect DSR scores across the board.

Thinking of the sellers who might be worried that the relationship between eBay and Mattel could hurt their own standings in search results, we did a search on eBay for "Barbie doll." We found that 49 of the first 50 listings shown in search results were from sellers other than Mattel. But the one item from Mattel popped out at us thanks to the company's logo being prominently featured in the results page. It also featured the BOGO offer right on the search results page: "Limited time only, buy 1, get 1 50% off!!"

The Mattel listing ranked third, right above two sponsored listings where sellers had paid to get higher exposure in search.

The Mattel eBay Store also speaks to brands' approach to direct selling, no longer as fearful of competing with their own customers (retailers).

What might escape the recipients of the email that eBay sent on behalf of Mattel: "Sponsored by Mattel." 

Any guesses as to how much eBay charges for exclusive advertising emails? Or for product placement in eBay's TV ads?




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas   eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 15 16:50:50 2016

I would guess just like the diamonds Mattel will get a real sweet heart deal that no one but Ebay knows.

Ebay has no morals and will do anything to get money. So on the count of three all can start whining about the mattel deal.

Ebays play ground. Sellers are smaller than a grain of sand.

Perminate Link for eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas   eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Nov 15 18:25:14 2016

Personally I don't mind so much that mega sellers get special fee rates from Ebay.  I understand that and I personally think it is a good business practice for Ebay.  Some tend to forget they are a for profit company.

But what annoys the hell out of me is the non financial benefits the mega sellers get.  They clearly do not have to follow the selling rules of Ebay.  That is what gets me worked up and that is something Ebay should offer to no one.  All Sellers, no matter what size, should be held to the same standards for listings.

Perminate Link for eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas   eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Nov 15 19:42:46 2016

Oh and when you are held to the same selling standards you should be held to the same criteria for search returns.

Perminate Link for eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas   eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Nov 15 20:42:06 2016

Marie writes: "All Sellers, no matter what size, should be held to the same standards..."

And I'm guessing Mattel will get their negative feedback scrubbed like the other mega-sellers do.

Perminate Link for eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas   eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Tue Nov 15 20:45:49 2016

Not all mega sellers get that perk.  I've certainly see some that don't.  But you are right as clearly some get that as a bonus.

Perminate Link for eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas   eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Nov 15 21:43:57 2016

Word will spread fast that Mattel is selling on eBay and offering BIG discounts and FREE shipping!

I'm surprised it took them this long to jump on board. . .

Perminate Link for eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas   eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Nov 15 22:50:45 2016

None of this is new in any way shape or form.

One might have thought that eBay would have learned its lesson from the LAST 50 times it tried this game - but in eBayland the emperor ALWAYS has no clothes.

WHat suprises me is not the preferential treatment etc, but the NEW depth of cooperation between the 2 companies.

eBays utter hatred (read contempt) for small sellers is well known. eBay has said - and its been quoted widely - what eBays management has said - "noise" being the most innocuous.

eBay brass has also said that smaller sellers are unreliable sources of income, small sellers constantly complain about all the eBay imposed rules, and eBay has shown their contempt as well, by creating programs and methods which basically IGNORE smaller sellers (like the returns programs which basically call seller liars, cheaters and scum).

Only time will tell if THIS iteration (large seller love 2.0) will produce any fruit - my guess with eBays "stellar %3.0 growth", they will do everything they can to make it a success.

.... that large sellers get special perks is not new, eBay has NEVER been a level playing field (one for all and all for me - thats eBays motto!)

Perminate Link for eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas   eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas

by: Trying-My-Best This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 16 00:04:13 2016


This is interesting as I posted the comment of eBay's Christmas ad ... wondering what the heck ...a Barbie doll when Hatchimals is trending as the hottest, impossible Christmas toy (except on eBay) on the planet.  

So it's eBay collaborating with a manufacturer now.   I hope they aren't congratulating themselves too fast as I can't remember the last time I saw a little girl play with ...a Barbie doll. It's not on anyone's Christmas holiday wish list...hasn't been ... for years.  

Here's a Hatchimals by Spin Master update.  It is completely sold out at Target, Toys R Us and Walmart.  Spin Master is scrambling to restock before Christmas and has noted on their website a new shipment from China is pending sometime in November and reassures buyers there will be plenty Hatchimals delivered ... early 2017 so buyers have no reason to be price gouged on sites like eBay (which is the only site to buy one).  

Today,  retail stores still have no restocking date  from Spin Master and even if they do get a shipment - they will be rationing with limits and will sell out fast.  And, now get this ... eBay made an ''executive decision'' to restrict sellers Hatchimals listings for their buyers.  

I tried to list some today - and was blocked with an eBay notice:


'' thank you for listing Hatchimals!  This item has limitations on the quantity that may be listed each week.  You've reached this limit & not able to list at this time.  You will be able to list another Hatchimals 7 days after your LAST Hatchimals listing.''

On the community boards a seller spoke to Customer Support and wrote ''they said all TRS have a limit of 3 Hatchsmils per 7 days and all other Sellere have a limit of 2.  This limit WILL NOT be lifted until Hatchimals are taken off the ''hot item list''.  This likely won't be until after Christmas.

Thanks Mr. Wenig for telling all of us you will be supporting  small sellers.  Currently there are 5000 active Hatchamil listings with more available to list to a desperate eager  buyer base who are willing to pay double to triple retail price ($120 to $199.99 on auction with $15 shipping).   Guess Spin Master, Target, Toys R Us  are annoyed and pressured Wenig as 19,000 have already sold, well above retail.  Note - all eBay sellers did purchase them from these retail stores and they made their 100%+ margins on them already.  

Sad to see Wenig in bed with Mattel ...and now siding with Spin Master and big box stores.  What's gonna be next ...Legos or perhaps Disney?  

Alienating your smaller base like this  is not wise move ...there are parallels lessons to pay attention to from from Hillary Clinton's fall from grace with middle Americans.

Lately surprised to see Bonanza (3.5% fvf) surfacing on google searches with Hatchamils listings ...trust me, buyers will find it there on Google search, it's that's hot.

Perminate Link for eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas   eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas

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

Wed Nov 16 01:54:25 2016

Birds of a feather:

"...The losses (Mattel) led to shareholder lawsuits and an SEC (Security and Exchange Commission) inquiry that revealed accounting irregularities. In 1975, the Handlers were forced out of the company they had founded, although they denied any knowledge of wrongdoing. Difficulties came to another peak in 1978, when Handler was indicted for fraud and false reporting to the SEC. Still maintaining her innocence, she pled no contest, and was fined and sentenced to community service."

Personally I'd like to see The Ho and The Devil do some community service or worse.

Perminate Link for eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas   eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Nov 16 06:50:46 2016

Marie says "I understand that and I personally think it is a good business practice for Ebay.  Some tend to forget they are a for profit company."

Yes, throwing all other sellers under the bus and down to the bottom of search results for their own personal profit, it really speaks to their business acumen and ethics.

Sorry Marie, on this one, I disagree with you, and disagree with you and I disagree with you in a big way. And as for us "forgetting" that they are a for profit company--are you kidding me?  They remind us of this every day with their "take buyers off site" advertising, special perks and placement for the mega sellers. Not to mention their business practices overall.  Making money at all cost isn't always the right thing to do.

These sellers with the special white gloves treatment remind me of America's entitled richest 1% (you know, the Weinig's and Burkes of the world). The rules don't apply to them.

Of course as it relates to Mattel and Barbie, this might be a big deal if it were still the 1960s decade. Dolls that were made in the image of a German sex doll with freakishly unobtainable proportions aren't so hot any more.

Perminate Link for eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas   eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Wed Nov 16 08:20:07 2016

So, had I ordered a few cases of Hatchimals as a legitimate retailer, eBay would've limited me to give thousands of scalpers a fair chance to gouge?  Why am I not surprised.

Perminate Link for eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas   eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas

by: epuise This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 16 09:24:42 2016

No way I'm listing a Hatchimal.. {or any other "hot" toy}. This is a BAD economy. The "parent" will OVERPAY, then, use the 180 day MBG to RETURN either a BROKEN one or one they get ON SALE -after- Christmas...

Perminate Link for eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas   eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Wed Nov 16 10:05:39 2016

Actually, if I were eBay, I would've imposed a minimum instead of a maximum.  That would've shut out the clowns without hindering small retailers.  And reduced the hysteria in stores so maybe a few kids could get this toy for Christmas.

Perminate Link for eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas   eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas

by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 16 10:13:13 2016

So much for that theory of Ebay profiting this Christmas off Amazon's brand restrictions!
Do they even know what they are doing over there?  

Perminate Link for eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas   eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas

by: Joey4711 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Nov 16 20:27:33 2016

I think Ebay is limiting Hatchanimals due to fraud, like they did with the PS3 years ago.  They always limit their liability and put it on us in my view.

Perminate Link for eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas   eBay Cozies Up to Mattel ahead of Christmas

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

Thu Nov 17 01:36:18 2016

Fo the of you unfamiliar with the infamous Ruth Handler stock fraud case, she invented the Barbie Doll.



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