Sellers have been buzzing about eBay's new cost-per-click ads where sellers can vie for top placement in search results. In explaining its Promoted Listings Advanced ads, eBay said
, "It works by allowing you to target the keywords that matter to you, and you then bid for the number one slot in eBay search results."
A seller who goes by the handle glasser wrote in a thread on the eBay discussion boards
, "We should not be competing against each other on based on who pays for promotions or clicks. It should be based on how well we write titles and descriptions, price, customer service, etc. eBay was conceived as a level playing field. We shouldn't have to pay for a service - better search results - that we can get through competition."
When someone said eBay was only making available the number one slot to CPC advertisers, another replied
, "So only the "winner" gets to pay for the clicks. That certainly is an odd model."
But since the top spot will feature the listing from the seller willing to pay the most for that spot, it means sellers get to buy their way to the top even if they don't have the most relevant listing. (Otherwise why would they pay to appear at the top?)
As ad revenue grows, it can become addictive to ecommerce platforms. CNBC noted
last week that Amazon is adding more sponsored product ads to the top of search results - from a normal two to three to up to six ad listings in search results.
"In 2018, Amazon leapfrogged Microsoft to become the third-largest ad platform in the U.S., trailing only Google and Facebook," according to CNBC. eBay, which has promised growth through ad revenue, is clearly watching, and it's not a stretch to think eBay would also add more CPC ads to the top of search results, potentially pushing down more relevant listings.
eBay seller glasser said sellers marketing against each other on the same platform seemed like a fool's errand and said they would look into Facebook or Google before paying eBay's CPC model.
"Will eBay's pay per click come with targeting? or is just based on the most basic of keyword searches? If I sold auto parts, I would want to be sure that my listing was seen by someone who owned the type of car I had parts for. Not someone who did a more generic search."
The issue isn't new (see this 2019 post
about buyer concerns) - but eBay's new cost-per-click Promoted Listings Advanced ads are raising the issue anew.