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Wed Feb 7 2018 19:25:40

Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenue

By: Reader

Sponsored Link

Dear Ina,
I believe I have uncovered a major Deceptive Practices Fraud being conducted by eBay in the execution of their Promoted Listings Feature. First let me state, I have been an eBay seller since 1999, I have been through all the highs and lows of eBay, although lows is all we seem to be given as of late.  

My sales like many sellers have been getting harder and harder, the more we list the less we sell, and this past Christmas season had no real increase in annual sales. Now in fairness and full disclosure, I did sell a little more in 2017 than 2016, but only because of constant listing and trying to present the best items for sale, if it were even 5 years earlier, I would have 10x my sales with all the work and effort put forth. 

Anyway, that leads me to my find, I have been using Promoted Listings like many sellers in an attempt to jump start sales, however it brings very little results even at 6-10%, but when items do sell, they always seem to have been promoted, what a great thing for eBay!  

Well I think I know why... I was searching one of my items tonight and it was an artwork, for the sake of this writing lets call it "Colorful Gus Fink Outsider Print Artwork."

If I searched just "Gus Fink" I got a few pages of results and my listing appeared only one time as SPONSERED, but if I search my whole title or 80% of it, I get my listing returned 2X, first as a REGULAR LISTING, and 2nd as SPONSORED.  

This proves that eBay is ranking your title differently for Promoted Listings vs. non-promoted. 

If you use a lot of words in your title, eBay is suppressing your listing from showing if the buyer does not search a high percentage of your keywords. However if you pay for promotion, it scores your title differently, requiring a much lower word match to show in results.  

eBay created Best Match in order to facilitate the need for Promoted Listings, and then in turn greatly increased their profits by it.  

I have video screen grabs of these results and would be willing to release them to an Attorney or Council wishing to pursue. It's only a matter of time until a high level eBay Programmer blows the whistle on this company and their deceptive practices, just ask all the men in Hollywood how things can come back and bite you even years later.  

I ask all eBay members seeing these crazy things to start recording search results with time and date and saving these things now, because the day will come when it will help bring down an out of control and corrupt giant!
Tim from PA

Note from the editor: Tim from PA provided additional updates, highlights follow:

The reason why eBay is so protected within their scam, is because most searches would have so many results with just 2 words that you would never check all the pages for results. However my search only returns approx 98 results, so you would assume that if the name is in your title, that your listing would be included in the 98, however you would be wrong.  

The other day when I searched "Gus Fink," eBay returned 98 results and my listing appeared only 1 time as Sponsored. Where was my non-sponsored listing?  

Then when I added more words from my title the results dropped to about 50 results and my listing now appeared twice, first as non sponsored and then as sponsored.  

A couple days later I removed my listing from promoted listings, and the next day I conducted the same search for "Gus Fink," this time eBay returned 99 results and my listing was not included at all in the 99!  

So you see if someone searches for Gus Fink, they will never see my listing if it’s not sponsored, and if I promote it, it will only be seen as sponsored, giving eBay the extra % of the sale.  

You must see the problem with this: they created an unfair search, and now charge you extra to fix it, and in many situations in life this would be criminal.  
Tim from PA

Comments (25) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu   Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu

This user has validated their user name. by: FidoMaster

Wed Feb 7 21:59:49 2018

Tim is on to something.  Sellers will notice that promoted listings don’t promise any certain impressions, the percentage slider just asks the seller what they’re “willing to pay to have their listing promoted”.  

This could mean 1 impression, or thousands, all up to eBay.

Anyone else feeling like a gullible carny mark at this point?

I forsee in the near future eBay will soon have sellers more ferociously competing with each other to update their promoted listings and moving the percentage slider farther to the right with a bigger cut going back to eBay as they laugh all the way to the bank and further clutter-up limited listing screen real-estate ("Surface area" in eBay parlance), including where the promoted items banner used to be at the top of the listing).

Wenig has the audacity to refer to this as a "new business".   Just read his comments in the latest earnings transcript, it’ll make any eBay seller cringe:

WENIG (In response to question about promoted listings)
"...On promoted listings, yeah, first of all, we're delighted. This is probably the fastest growing new business, for lack of a better term, launched in eBay in years.  

"And as I said, 50% sequential revenue growth quarter-on-quarter, that is quite significant. Most of the driver has been surface area. We are increasing the surface area of availability to sellers. We're increasing the surface area of the exposure of promoted listing to buyers.

"So, a lot of it is just we have started to make sure we tested our way in, and now we're on a very steep part of the curve, we're opening the aperture so that more and more sellers can use it and they should and more and more buyers get exposure to those items and they are converting. So, we are very pleased that we are now in that flywheel, and the flywheel seems to be turning very well."

Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu   Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Wed Feb 7 22:37:17 2018

I DON'T do promoted listings.

Cherry Rivet pulls up 724 results, most of mine are on the 1st page. They're the ones with the orange label. . .

None of my listings are missing from this 2 word search!

Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu   Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu

by: geoffreymason This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 7 23:04:50 2018

Quick! Let me out before that flywheel churns me into dust! Hello, Amazon, hello.

Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu   Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu

by: Studiolines This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 7 23:18:47 2018

I think eventually Ebay will be cutting sellers a 25% of the sale disbursement every other week for the sellers cut.

Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu   Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu

This user has validated their user name. by: DeathFromAbove

Thu Feb 8 00:44:36 2018

Is this surprising?   I haven't even looked at this garbage since last November, but I recall the promoted listing system was rigged from the beginning in eBay's favor - not yours. Are the clickthrough reports still broken?  The thing that we would need to tell you what actually sold and why and what (if any) effect "promoting" it had on the sale?  Othwerwise you are just giving eBay an additional cut based on "good feels" versus a quantifiable measurement. Pretty easy to say something works great when there is no actual data to back it up. Ebay wins no matter what though.  Your "partner".

Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu   Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu

by: connie t This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 8 01:51:32 2018

Try doing your search in VPN and Incognito Mode. Totally different search results than just using your browser. Ebay is manufacturing promoted ad fees. They track and know your identity for search using your internet profile. Most buyers do not purchase an item the first time they browse and see it. They come back again and even a few times before they decide. So the first time they click on the item. The next time they do the search it is tracked by ebay software and the search for the item is hidden in listings. Instead you see a plethora of sponsored and promoted items. You see the item you did see previously as a promoted listing and click on the promoted listing because it is front and center and obvious and you complete your purchase. The sale is done and the promoted listing ad fee is applied. Ebay just manufactured a sale and a promoted ad fee. On the other hand if you do not use promoted listings you will have no (zero) sales anymore. At first every fourth sale was promoted listing and additional promoted listing ad fee. Now it is three out of four items that sell are promoted listings. Sellers have been complaining for years here about the ebay search results and the broken search engine they use. It was never broken. It is doing exactly what it is designed to do. Increase the fee structure for ebay. Also you may be interested   -   returns of an item which sold as a promoted listing and ad fee ebay does not return or deduct the promoted listing ad fee. I had two cases like this and called in on them. On one they gave me a credit for the promoted fee , of course a one time good will gesture by ebay on their part. In both cases the CSR told me the promoted ad fee was not returned because ebay defines it as a service rather than as part of the sale and because ebay did provide you with the service it is no longer tied to the sale so in those cases the fee is not refunded. If you sell an item and the buyer has a problem and you do a partial refund to the buyer they also do not reduce the fee for the sale. I had a number of those. The fee is based on the original sale price and not the completed partial refunded amount. I stopped doing any kind of partial refunds because of this. One or two of those and you have no profit left in an item.  

Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu   Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu

by: Cyclewizer This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 8 01:57:43 2018

@Tim from PA.
Please reach out to us, we are in current Class action litigation with eBay/PayPal.. We have been examining this issue and are considering new litigation against eBay.
Please reach out to us at Www.Franklinandfranklinlaw.com or
Franklin-law@outlook.com
Thank you

Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu   Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Feb 8 06:34:47 2018

Rigged card game.....in eBay's favor.  Meanwhile, eBay still take your money.......giving you little or nothing in return.  

Not only do they do a huge disservice to their sellers, they do a huge disservice to their buyers.   This is why so many folks tell me "I just gave up and went to Amazon.  I could not find what I was looking for."  And it is the reason that so many of their customers (sellers) loathe them.

Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu   Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu

by: Bidonmine This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 8 07:50:58 2018

I recently acquired 300 copies of a top-selling book. On Amazon, I listed the book for $14.95 and sold 297 within 2 weeks ($14.95 was on the high end for seller-fulfilled).

On Ebay I listed the book for $9.95 (the high-end of selling price on Ebay) and sold, on Ebay, two books in the same time period. I even tried an auction and the book sold for $3.25. I had me family in Las Vegas (I am in NJ) check for my Ebay listings of the book and could not find it half the time.
On both sites, I offered free shipping of the book. On Ebay I even offered 60-day returns and seller-paid returns.
I have found these types of results on everything I am selling.  

Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu   Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu

by: DingDong This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 8 08:25:24 2018

Thank you for this insight.
There has been a lot of times that I have searched the exact copy of my listing titles to search them while logged in, logged out and on another browser.
I would go through pages and can't find my own listing. I don't do the promotions, but I should at least see my regular listing, but no.
This not only effects the sellers in selling their items, the buyers trying to find what they want, but the stockholders. The sellers could be selling their items with ease if this deception was removed and eBay fingers trying to run my business/returns and such.

Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu   Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 8 09:25:58 2018

Experienced sellers know this, newbie sellers do not - theres NO SUCH thing as "organic search" on eBay.

There hasnt been since Cassini was put in place. As said better by Connie (ty Connie) it works as it should - its a way to make eBay money

As well ...its eBay therefore EVERYTHING they do is corrupt ....DUH

Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu   Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Thu Feb 8 10:49:01 2018

@pace306

I have had NO problem finding what I want to buy on eBay.

Some of my most recent purchases.

"trigger adjuster"

"A2 handle"

"mid length hand guard"

"lower vise block"

Search seemed as organic as it could get!

My next purchase will be a "Bushnell Hirise TRS-25"

Right now I have 30 to choose from. . .

Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu   Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Thu Feb 8 11:03:08 2018

@Cyclewizer

Very unlikely you will be able to start a class action suit against eBay- when you sign up to use the site, you agree not to sue them unless it is done one on one (so they can sick THEIR counsel on a single complainant).

I wish you the best of luck.....

@Bidonmine

By your experience, this illustrates why Amazon revenue increased by 36% last quarter, and eBay slogged along at 7%.

In fact, if the decision to get rid of PayPal was not announced, their stock would be down, not up.

Simply put, one site is in the business of moving merchandise, and the other just wants to use the listings we pay for as a vehicle to feature other goods.

Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu   Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 8 11:13:06 2018

Tool

generally I try to grid myself and not answer your posts - since they are basically "clickbait" towards the rest of us.

If I say black, you automatically say "but for me its white". If I said white, you would automatically say "but for me its black".

Thats why most here dont respond - as I think Marie learned (though I wont speak for her directly) .... its a waste of time to try and reason with you.

You said:

I have had NO problem finding what I want to buy on eBay.

Some of my most recent purchases.

"trigger adjuster"

"A2 handle"

"mid length hand guard"

So for the 999999999999th time. Since you sell "oddball" aka NON mainstream items - eBay has "no choice" but to show your listings - since there arent that many of them being sold.

How many of those things are on eBay vs a toy or a piece of electronics?

SO - your experience when searching your item(s) is different then for others - since your items will almost always come up since there are less of those kinds of listings on eBay.

Ive said this a few times to you - as has others here - Im not sure why you dont seem to understand how "the bigger picture works" on eBay (or anywhere else).

Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu   Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 8 11:17:02 2018

*gird

Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu   Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu

by: Thinwoodandoldtools This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 8 11:35:21 2018

I have been using promoted listings since Oct of 2016. For the trivial amount of money I pay I get my specifically targeted items in front of more eyeballs. I have ran 4 campaigns  and notice an immediate bump in sales when a new one is launched. Only one of my direct competitors does promoted listings. I run periodic checks for my products from an anonymous browser and find my items near the top showing as 'Sponsored' items. Promoted ads work for me.
Am I disgruntled that I have to pay eBay one time to have my blade of grass added to the eBay lawn and then pay again to have my blade of grass grow a little taller in a sunny place? Yes I am but it's just part of marketing your items.

eBay's makes their money by 'Mining the miners'.
 

Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu   Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Thu Feb 8 11:35:31 2018

@pace306

"So for the 999999999999th time. Since you sell "oddball" aka NON mainstream items"

My example above is me being a BUYER not a seller!

PS: I don't sell gun parts! I'm buying them for my own personal use. . .

Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu   Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu

by: a_c_green This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 8 11:39:32 2018

> @Cyclewizer
>
> Very unlikely you will be able to start a class action suit against eBay
> - when you sign up to use the site, you agree not to sue them unless
> it is done one on one (so they can sick THEIR counsel on a
> single complainant).

...and what an odd site that is for a supposed law firm, filled with misspellings, shaky grammar, pages that seem to contain nothing but quotes lifted from other sites (as well as full articles by Ina that appear to have been copied in their entirety from this site). Some of the text and photos suggest that no one has updated it for a few years; e.g. ''Franklin and Franklin, A Professional Corporation filed it's [sic] Articles of Incorporation in the State of California on Thursday, July 21, 1983 and is approximately thirty-two years old.'' Um, really?

Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu   Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Feb 8 13:33:53 2018

@a_c_green - You know what's even stranger? All the photos of eBay's and PayPal's campuses. I've never seen photos of the "defendants" on a lawyer's web site before. And under the About they have "Anthony Albert Ferrigno.... He/she was admitted...." Going by the name, I'm guessing the person's a "he." And they are still claiming that eBay owns PayPal. They certainly wouldn't make me feel comfortable hiring them with all the mistakes on their site.  

Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu   Seller Accuses eBay of Gaming Search for Ad Revenu

by: songe-d-automne This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 8 14:01:54 2018

I also do no promoted listings, and when I searched a doll I am selling, she was on the very top in Best Match.

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