Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Jan 31 2018 10:54:39

Is eBay Putting Ads before Listings?

By: Ina Steiner

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Is eBay putting ads before sellers' listings? The question is not just a philosophical one. A seller sent us a screenshot they had taken this week of an item page for their designer handbag. At the top of the listing was a strip of ads for other eBay listings (same product but from rival sellers). The element was titled, "People who viewed this item also viewed."

The reader said they saw the new feature intermittently. "I haven't figured out how to replicate it 100% each time, so perhaps it's dependent on the referral page, or perhaps they're just conducting multivariate testing."

The reader believes it may be the reason why eBay made the controversial decision to move the banner that advertised seller promotions (such as, "buy one get one at 50% off) from the top of the listing to underneath it, an unannounced change eBay made that we described in this recent blog post.

We have not been able to duplicate the experience the seller saw where the "also viewed" items were above the actual listing. eBay often serves up different experiences depending on whether a visitor is coming to a page from an outside link versus searching directly on eBay.com - and it could be a test, as the reader speculated.

"It would be more reassuring if eBay conducted themselves with better communication and transparency on these types of decisions," the reader said. "As it is, it seems they have intentionally opted not to communicate changes in anticipation that dealing with these unpopular changes after the fact is easier for them than being proactive and communicative."

Since last year, eBay has been making changes that impact sellers without giving them any warning in advance, and delaying confirmation after the fact. And while eBay sellers always had a name and face to associate with eBay's Marketplaces business, that hasn't been the case since Hal Lawton's abrupt departure in August.

Let us know if you see ads for other listings at the top of item pages, and keep sending us screenshots of other changes you encounter.




Comments (15) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Jan 31 11:22:17 2018

And eBay sends out surveys to try to find out where their sellers went to.  LOL

Some business partner.

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by: ebayisscrewed This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 31 12:02:51 2018

If you want to replicate it, simply sign out of your account. The idiots at eBay have decided it is better to show what others have also viewed or a banner of sponsored listings instead of a sellers promotions. You used to see - add $5 more dollars to your cart to get Free Shipping (just an example), but now that is slammed to the bottom. In our case eBay started doing this in October. We wrote everywhere about it, including the Facebook eBay for Business. Our sales dropped nearly 30% from October to December. Our multiple item purchases are nearly gone. Our BOGO promotions or Spend $100 to get free shipping were very successful until the placement shift - specifically accounting for the drop in sales. THANKS EBAY FOR ONCE AGAIN SCREWING US.

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This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Wed Jan 31 13:07:08 2018

One answer: YES.

The listings on eBay are used as a vehicle for ''clickbait'' ads. And they certainly are being paid handsomely if the ads are looked at, or they would not be doing this to their sellers.

One thing they do not understand: When disgruntled sellers leave, they take their merchandise with them. And with this, they lose Gross Merchandise Value and opportunities to use listings to promote the goods of other sellers.

All the while, they collect store subscription fees which do not offer the full ''bang for the buck''- listings are hidden on purpose, and all sellers are subject to limits. After all, if everything sells, the shelves will be bare.

But there appears to be a method to the madness. By manipulating their market, this ensures that the GMV stays at a nice level to Wall Street, and the store fees can still be collected every month. After all, if a seller empties their store, they will then downgrade or delete their subscription. So they cannot allow this to happen.

This may be the reason eBay has decided not to feature promotions or watchers, and instead profit from impressions of banner ads. They have figured out the method to still make revenue without their sellers becoming as successful as they should be.

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by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 31 13:40:36 2018

Actually Ebay is smarter than anyone who uses the site. Afterall where else can a company abuse sellers, pamper buyers, hide items, advertise other peoples junk than on Ebay. And after all this is said and done the sellers are STILL CRAZY ENOUGH TO STILL BE PAYING EBAY THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS EVERYDAY TO ADVERTISE THIER JUNK and with no sales. Goes to show you that when a company decides to fleece its customers, no company is better at it than EBAY.

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This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Wed Jan 31 15:13:31 2018

Nobody should pay eBay for anything but completed sales.  Close your store and open multiple accounts if you need more than 50 free listings per month.  As an added bonus, new accounts get a boost in search placement, so just keep cycling through them as they slow down.

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by: Vigilant Eye On eBay This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 31 19:04:40 2018

It appears that eBay values cross-selling other sellers' wares more than any promotions that individual sellers have in place for their listings.

As it is a commonly known fact that what appears in the also viewed box is manipulated (i.e., like so many other things on eBay), the change in the location of the seller's promotion boxes is likely another way to direct buyers to the products and sellers that eBay wants seen.

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by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 31 19:17:18 2018

Google is the big money maker from these ads,

ebay gets peanuts , and loss of sales , driving buyers off site

ebay is a looser company, feeding off scraps , of whatever they can get, just like how they are taking control of payments, today, to take more money from sellers

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This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Wed Jan 31 20:00:29 2018

eBay has a sales driven interface. They are not loyal to you the seller, they are loyal to SALES.

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by: Vernfern This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 31 21:41:20 2018

YES! Went to order a toner cartridge for my label printer, and had to pass through a row of 6 ads for the same and similar (incorrect) toner cartridges offered by different sellers. No, I did not buy the cartridge from eBay at all. In fact I have not ordered the cartridge as with sales in the gutter, why add toner to a printer that isn't printing shipping labels?

Running into the same issue with general search for other items. Very screwed up.

When my store is due for renewal, it is not going to happen. Not only am I sick and tired of being burned by eBay, by Liar Buyers who abuse returns (with eBay taking their side) and the total appreciation that **I** am eBay's customer - it is impossible to even make a living off eBay anymore unless you are a big box store or a China seller. After 20+ years, I am done. eBay will be a hobby outlet only for me.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: SalesBoy

Wed Jan 31 22:00:57 2018

I often sign out of my account and then look at my listings to see what chicanery eBay is up to. I also occasionally use a friend's computer with his different IP address to view the listings. The ads for competing items are everywhere, but hidden from me when I'm logged in..

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This user has validated their user name. by: mcfiver

Thu Feb 1 06:23:17 2018

Yes, the ads are there, have been there for years, clogging up the page, interfering with our listings. They're equally maddening on completed items, filling a full quarter of the top page, with the hope you'll click on them (because the item your looking at is sold), even though that's why I'm looking in the first place.

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by: HardWorkingSeller This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 1 07:54:55 2018

I find that the big promo box being placed above the fold really annoying.  It makes it even less likely that the buyer will read the description as it's now invisible unless they scroll down.

The only work around is to create promotions so that the box then fills with your own items rather than your competitors' products.  This used to work fine with Markdown Manager but the equivalent function of Promotions Manager is still woefully inadequate and has far less than feature parity with Markdown Manager, and that makes it harder to fill that box with relevant items from your inventory.

I don't mind eBay cross-promoting other items when it is done properly (eg. 'Your watched item just sold, but here's some others that might be of interest' etc).  But hijacking my listings and placing links in the listing body to other sellers' inferior propositions is unacceptable, as I'm paying for that space and they've got there as a result of my compelling photography and title.

2018 should be the year that every serious seller opens a webstore so that you can drive your business towards a platform that doesn't interfere with the merchandising process and which allows you to tell your story without undermining your marketing efforts.

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by: bb6 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 1 09:03:25 2018

Yes they are and its already a problem. Instead of buyers having to work to compare items, they just click your listing, look at other items and then send you a best offer saying something like "I like your item but next to the comparisons in your listing of "Like items" yours is on the more expensive side. I will offer your $__ which is the avg of them all"   Even though in some cases my item is newer, in better shape, pictures are better and the items is just worth more.  I never used to get these messages. The buyers are just too lazy to do price comparisons but now ebay has stuffed competitors items in their face even though they were in your listing looking at your awesome item.  Now instead of listing more items I have to figure out strategies to win this battle.

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by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 1 11:36:55 2018

On 12-15-17 I quit selling on fleecebay. I should have done it sooner.

I quit buying on fleecebay many years before that.

If you can, get your own site and leave fleecebay, a lot less stress.

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This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Fri Feb 2 14:31:49 2018

I think I'll have to break down and install some pre-built PHP shopping cart.  I kept saying I'd program my own and then just never had the time to plow all the way through before the processor changed or dropped their API.  God I hate the LAMP stack.  If Windows hosting had any traction, I would've made it through by now.



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