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Sat Oct 5 2019 00:01:29

Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off

By: Reader

Sponsored Link

Dear Ina,
I've always been one of those folks who were on the fence regarding the "can't see me" (Cassini) search on eBay. I am now convinced eBay either hides sellers on a rotating basis or hides individual listings.

I've had a listing that started June 3rd for a very obscure medical supply. Reasonably priced including free shipping. I sold my first lot on June 28th. Then nothing...until last weekend.

Suddenly, on September 9th, I sold four lots to one buyer and then again on September 10th I sold another lot. This listing had 171 views from 6/3/19 to 9/10/19.

I believe one of the following two scenarios were in play: 

1) my listings as a SELLER were hidden or 

2) my listing for this particular ITEM was hidden. 

My price, including free shipping, would still be the best value on eBay today. What I don't understand, is why this is happening at a company who is trying to squeeze every single penny out of every single seller. Why not show all listings to buyers and let them make their best choice? I am not TRS, but do have 100% positive reviews since 1998.
B

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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off   Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off

by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Sat Oct 5 02:39:13 2019

Ebay has openly admitted they do not have enough room to show all the listings 24/7/365 and under Wenig made the decision to not invest any more money for whatever they needed to show all items all the time.  Instead he created Promoted Listings where Sellers  pay more to Ebay if you sell the item but that created even more items to be seen as Ebay then showed the listing twice, once as a Promoted listing and then the regular listing.  Supposedly this has been corrected and only 1 of the items will be shown and as we all pretty much figured it will probably always be the  Promoted Listing since Ebay makes more money on that.  Basically this has become nothing more than EXTORTION because if you do not use Promoted Listings your items per the UA may or may not be shown to potential buyers which is nothing more than theft of a Sellers Listing Fees, despite their recently added clause to the UA stating that your item may or may not be shown.  I guarantee you that Ebay would be demanding their money back if they paid for advertising in a slot on television and then told the fine print does not guarantee their commercial will be shown when it should be or at all.

I have continually stated that Ebay needed to do something to get back to showing all items 24/7/365 but Wenig had zero interest in this, not realizing that would start bringing more Sales instead of chasing the buyers off by only showing them items where Ebay makes the most money. I would bet my last dollar that the Chinese sellers are never shut off or not shown as Wenig constantly stated that the Chinese were Ebays future and he did all he could to make that prediction come true.

Hopefully the next CEO will realize that the more that Sellers show the more likely Ebay is to make more money because Sellers will always migrate to sites where they can  make the most sales.  Under Wenig this was not the case and more and more sellers have left the platform or started also selling on other sites (myself included),  which I feel directly led to the useless CEO (Wenig) leaving Ebay.  He can call it a resignation all he wants but it is very obvious that it was that or be fired.

Ebay needs to get rid of all the Chinese junk that they unload on other countries regardless if they are safe or made of dangerous materials.  They are just like Ebay, more money at any and all costs.  Whether it is true or not (came from either a response to one of Inas articles or was a link to the statement)  one Seller who lives in China part of the year basically state that the Chinese Sellers were not charged FVF so if that is true, how is Ebay making any money off of them?

Ebay needs to at a minimum look at all of their duplicate listings, just like they do with US Sellers, delete their listings where they are using Keyword spamming with titles that have nothing to do with what they are selling, Just because Ebay lost the battle with Alibaba to allow the Chinese to sell to their own countrymen does not mean they need to then be allowed to violate each and every rule / policy that we have to follow.  If their contract does not allow Ebay to do anything to them (which I don't doubt at all) as I know when they boot a Chinese Seller they do not have the ability to stop them permanently like they do to US sellers because China would not allow them to store and block ISP addresses like they do everywhere else.  So if a Chinese seller is restricted from Ebay they are usually up and running with a new name within 24 hours and that name also has a lot feedback already set up for them.  If they are going to be selling on the main platform then they should have to abide by the same rules the rest of us do, period but Wenig did not want to do anything to restrict Chinese sales and we see where this has gotten him.

Perminate Link for Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off   Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off

by: Frank Abagnale This user has validated their user name.

Sat Oct 5 03:16:13 2019

Ebay sellers think that having the lowest price is to their advantage. From Ebay's point of view, it's better to show items that will generate the most overall commission.  

Perminate Link for Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off   Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Sat Oct 5 04:36:18 2019

except for chinese..theyll show 40 pages of stuff thats 85 cents free shipping for some reason

Perminate Link for Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off   Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off

by: Carl This user has validated their user name.

Sat Oct 5 08:18:50 2019

@Silver Ice King: I think eBay were FORCED to admit that as too many people were noticing the trend and writing about it on the community boards.
---
I have been convinced this has been happening on eBay for quite a while now. I have definitely noticed it over the past 12 months, probably a good few months before that as well. I do not think they hide sellers, but just many of their listings.
I live in England so am on the UK site.
It seems like they flick a switch and I have maybe a sale or two a day; then maybe a week or so later, flick it again and I am back up to 12 - 15 a day.
The evidence is too strong for them or anyone else to say it doesn't happen, because of of 2 things will happen when you suddenly get a burst of sales...

1) You will suddenly (within a few hours) get 4 or 5 sales from one geograhpic area (within 3 or 4 miles of each other). (Geographic server manipulation)

2) You will not sell a particular item that previously sells well for a few weeks then all of a sudden, you get 3 or 4 sales on that item within an hour. This happened last week on an item. Sold well, nothing for a week or two then 3 sales on that item within 7 MINUTES of each other. This happens regular. (Item visibility manipulation)

The one thing I have never been able to work out is if this happens regardless of anything a seller can do, or if it is related to things like the amounts of return cases a person has open or sudden one star ratings on their feedback...etc.

Perminate Link for Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off   Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off

by: DingDong This user has validated their user name.

Sat Oct 5 08:27:22 2019

I, too, have noticed this for over a year of the spotting sales.

Just recently, there had been no sales for 3 weeks and the following week 7 sales. I am grateful for these sales. The money helps with my home heating.
BUT, I do believe that eBay throttles or hides sellers listings due to the fact they don't have the computer space to keep our items in view 24/7/365 days.
We are missing sales and eBay is missing their commissions.

Perminate Link for Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off   Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off

by: Flying Childers This user has validated their user name.

Sat Oct 5 09:14:23 2019

Silver Ice King - great comment, you really nailed it.  The same exact thing has been happening on Etsy forever and I think you are correct that they don't have enough capacity or something to show all the listings all of the time.  

I do not pretend to be any kind of a tech person but I am an avid reader on the topic.  But I firmly believe that both Etsy and Ebay could if they wanted to, figure out some way to accomplish this.  I sell mostly on Etsy and the tech people spend ALL their time trying to figure out ways to rip off the sellers.  NONE OF THEM ARE E-COMMERCE PEOPLE AND THAT GOES FOR ALL THE PEOPLE LIKE JOSH WHO RUN THE PLACE.

Every day we are bombarded with notices and updates and upgrades and "helpful" BS that's supposed to help the sellers yet all they do is make it even more impossible for buyers to find us.

Furthermore- just as the OP says, THEY CONTROL THE SITE COMPLETELY.  THEY decide if your items will be seen.  They also RIP US OFF FOR ADVERTISING aka EXTORTION.

Example:  when Etsy made their push for free shipping and new expensive "advertising" I went along and signed up.  For one week I got record breaking sales in both my shops.  It cost me a lot more but I didn't care because I got a great return on my investment.  

One week was all I got.  Once they had suckered me in, they turned off the faucet and I'm back to a few sales a week.  Luckily I checked on my "advertising" bill and saw that it was literally 10 times what I'd been paying so I turned it off.  
The people who run Etsy and Ebay are a bunch of white collar thugs, criminals, thieves and gangsters.  Somehow they get away with this crap because they are paying off the crooked politicians.  

Perminate Link for Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off   Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off

by: FLEbaySeller This user has validated their user name.

Sat Oct 5 09:41:00 2019

It boggles my mind! Why wouldn't they invest in the resources to keep the company going? We used to pay $5000 - $7000 per month in fees. Now we have twice as many listings and don't sell enough to pay 1/5 of what we used to pay. They have lost about $60K a year on just me. Same with other sellers I know. We have items customers want. They look for us and when Ebay shows our items, sales shoot through the roof. Then they turn the faucet off and we are lucky if we sell $100 a day.

My point is, between our store and 2 other sellers I know, Ebay is collecting about $150K less per year than they used to. Think of how many sellers are paying 1/5 or less of what they used to because Ebay doesn’t have the resources to show their listings. They are basically throwing away hundreds of millions of dollars for lack of resources. Are they making that much more from the Chinese?

Is it not worth investing in their resources to recoup that money? I am sure they have had a plan in the works since Dishonest Donohoe was in charge, but I can’t understand throwing away a working business model.

It certainly explains the constant glitches. They have invested in a software upgrades that weren’t needed. The upgrades are being run on a system that doesn’t have enough resources as it is. When my little computer fills up or runs too many programs, it has constant issues. I don’t go out and buy more complicated software to eat up more resources. Instead I upgrade whatever needs upgrading to keep it running well.

It makes so much sense now.  The constant glitches, the lack of sales, the constant rise in fees….. are they setting Ebay up for a buyout? Or are the Chinese paying them THAT much money?

Perminate Link for Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off   Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off

by: Carl This user has validated their user name.

Sat Oct 5 09:46:44 2019

...and I forgot to add; every month I still get these emails from eBay titled "Top Tips For Selling Your Items On eBay"

...oh really? I have one "top tip" for you eBay. STOP hiding listings.

Perminate Link for Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off   Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off

by: AngrySeller This user has validated their user name.

Sat Oct 5 10:37:01 2019

It is NOT because they don't have the server space. That is a ridiculous idea. Yes, I know cloud storage isn't cheap, but the listing fees would more than cover it. No, it is because they do not have enough buyers. If they allow regular free market forces to prevail then what will happen is:

1. Most of the sales will go to established sellers because they tend to be the most professional and theu have earned people's trust.

2. Because of this e-Bay won't be able to attract enough new sellers who believe that they can suuceed to fuel revenue growth.

Think about it: e-Bay makes far more from fixed store fees and ad fees on your listings than anything else. The buyer base can only spend so much in any given month, and e-Bay cannot control that. So how much they make from final value fees is pretty much a fixed number that doesn't change much. That is why they don't care how much YOU as the individual seller makes, because mathematically it truly doesn't matter.

But as the buyer base reaches maturity and the growth stagnates, the only way e-bay can keep growing is to increase its seller base and the only way it can do that is through algorithmic manipulation - giving you just enough sales so that you either don't or can't quit, but not so much that you thrive. They can't allow that, because if you thrive you might leave and take your customers with you.  

Perminate Link for Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off   Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Sat Oct 5 13:20:29 2019

Good observation, AngrySeller, but if you saw the sort of code H1Bs produce you wouldn't be quite as quick to dismiss technical problems.

Also, the idea of paying thousands a month in fees just blows my mind.  I don't think they've ever let me sell enough to pay one thousand over an entire year.

Perminate Link for Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off   Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off

by: AngrySeller This user has validated their user name.

Sat Oct 5 14:54:30 2019

Oh I'm not dismissing the technical problems RKToys. No, I think those are the icing on the cake. Most companies that take any pride at all in what they do want to deliver value, even if they charge through the nose for it. But e-Bay doesn't care at all about any of its stakeholders - not its true customers, not its buyers, despite all the posturing to the contrary and not even its shareholders. So it does everything in its power to extract as much as possible and this includes hiring cheap programmers and CSR's.  

Perminate Link for Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off   Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off

by: Geetar This user has validated their user name.

Sat Oct 5 15:30:08 2019

@ANGRYSELLER is right. They hide to maximize profit's.

I believe thought that originally they did it to stop sellers from getting too big, and leaving. But it ended up killing ebay's growth. I think it started back in 2007, you would only see a few sellers dominating the top search results, everywhere.  They were getting all the sales. And I know of a few that left, started their own web sites, and were successful.

Around the same Amazon really started gaining traction. Around the same time they really started to punish sellers. So they put it all together, said it's the customers fault, and started limiting visibility.

But it further slowed sales. They became their own adversary.

They do it to me both hide individual listings, and on the whole.

I recently had a psycho leave a neg. This caused my sales to drop about 15%. I had 6 listings that I sold, just about broke even on, selling just to get buyer exposure. These were high velocity selling, and ebay put their "best price guarantee" on them. Now, a little math told me that if I just raise the prices on those (count on them not selling now), if my sales (at 15% lower) stayed the same, my profit would be the same as if they never lowered my sales. I'm not doing it to hurt ebay, just keep my numbers where I want them. But ebay looses here because they love putting that "lowest price guaranteed" stamp on the listing. This is how they shoot themselves in the foot.

Now I list the items 2 other places, slightly higher, still sell the same amount......

Thats part of the equation ebay doesnt understand, they are no longer the only one around, and they are also not the biggest around. And the method they use to hide/ punish is a bit outdated, and actually harms them.

Couple this with constant glitches....they loose buyers.
Thank god I'm not ebay, or an ebay employee, I just sell, and can move elsewhere, to other selling sites.

Perminate Link for Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off   Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sat Oct 5 19:49:13 2019

@B (the OP) - What you're describing is the so-called "rolling blackouts." I started to experience them in 2007, though at the time I don't believe there was a label attached to what was happening to sellers. My sales tanked, and when I did get sales, they would all be from one area (for instance, all from Texas, then nothing, then two weeks later, all from New Jersey). I went from selling approximately 95% of the items I had up for auction, to approximately 5%.  

Perminate Link for Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off   Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Oct 5 20:42:21 2019

OP .... with all due respect "where have you been until now"?

Silvers post is/was an excellent analysis of the issues - its prime reading material.

Id just like to add:

1) the problems stem from the fact that eBay is no longer run by people who understand ecommerce - or any kind for that matter. They are all financial people who know only one thing - "my salary/bonus is dependent on the (fake) numbers I report, therefore I will DO ANYTHING (even if it makes no sense) to make sure that the bonus's keep rolling in. If smaller sellers get hurt - too bad ... "you agreed to it in the TOS"

2) eBay has too many sellers and not enough buyers. eBay touts 24/7 about how easy it is to sell on eBay - and it shouldnt be. Most of us here are established sellers with long histories. eBay being greedy, invites the wrong people on to the platform and issues ensue. When you dont have enough buyers, the monies have to come from sellers (theres no one else) and you do ANYTHING to make sure that happens (see #1).

3) When you have too many sellers and not enough buyers - who gets seen? On Amazon its about seller stats and price, on eBay the way to get seen is hidden - so you cant tell if its price, your seller reputation, how long youve sold on eBay or anything else. eBay NEVER releases the "secret sauce".

So who gets to be on page 1? who gets top of the "fold"? Good questions. There are approx 500 or so sellers that eBay "supports". They have (hidden so no one will ever find them) contracts. Those contracts are (because eBay is the San Jose mafia) "pay for play". The promise eBay certain monies ... in selling fees, listing fees, Platinum stores, etc in return for ALWAYS being shown. eBay reps visit them, they meet, and a deal is hammered out. I was there for one - so I know they exist. Its the same thing as when eBay erases negatives for some companies - its part of the agreement. eBay makes sure that their reputation doesnt get tarnished.

eBays NEXT plan was described by Silver, promoted listings - which promptly blew up in their faces when they realized A) people were getting a free ride aka 2 listings B) too many people were doing the trick that was shown on Youtube aka promote your listing by %1.

So now eBay was back to square 1. Too many listings to show 24/7 - even if you were an old seller with a great price and a perfect record, you still got PAGE 2.

NONE of this helped eBay grow (as much as needed), buying back your own stock (even at the lower prices) isnt/wasnt enough to save DWs butt - cause all he knows about selling is what his 10yr old daughter tells him, when she buys an iPhone cable off Amazon.

Now Jordan Sweetbutt is "back", hes the white knight that will smooth it all over ... yeh right.

That your listings dont get shown 24/7/365 based on your seller rep/price is CLEARLY stated in the TOS, the UA and in eBays 10 statement. In the 10K, eBay states that they know it will anger sellers and that they are prepared to take the heat/loss - but that its worth it in the long run.

Well eBay ... is it?

Perminate Link for Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off   Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off

by: Geetar This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 6 10:03:44 2019

The thing of it is. You are only going to get so much business. I have lowered my prices on some items that it was near break even. Beating other sellers prices hands down. Did my items sell...NO. They just sat there just like before.

Why? You ask. Because the other sellers didnt have anything else worth while that they were selling. I did. To look at it another way, if I have 6 items, 4 of witch no body else has, those 4 will sell, the other 2 items will not sell no matter how low I price them. Why because there are other sellers that sell those 2 items, but do not really have anything else sell-able

The only way to grow your sales on ebay is to substantially grow your inventory. But remember this, the greater you grow your inventory, the less your overall (all items together) sell through rate will be. In other words, your average inventory turnover time goes down.

100 items for sale....25 are stagnant
200 items for sale....70 are stagnant
300 for sale.........100 stagnant

and on and on.

It's just up to you if you dont mind holding excess inventory, and the money to pay for it.

And of course ebay loves this, because they feel they have you locked in, you have inventory with money invested, and you cant leave.

They (ebay) are foolish in the grand scheme of things, and how they lost market share in the ecommerce biz. But at the same time they are very crafty as far as manipulating everything to their favor.

Perminate Link for Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off   Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sun Oct 6 11:14:31 2019

If the item you are trying to sell on eBay says

"Made in China"

You're doomed for failure because you can't compete with them, they can buy it cheaper and ship it cheaper then you can. They can also sell with less profit then you can. . .

Perminate Link for Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off   Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Sun Oct 6 16:53:00 2019

You fell for the lie, toolguy.
Chinese sellers don't get less profit.  Their costs are just abnormally low due to subsidies.  Stop the taxpayer funded handouts and suddenly the playing field is far more level.

Perminate Link for Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off   Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off

by: Geetar This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 6 17:06:21 2019

I cannot believe that the epacket deal stays in place until next June. Then it slowly over time goes up in cost to where it is 70% of what we pay. That is the biggest BS deal I ever heard of. Someone is getting their palm greased. So much for Trumps tough talk.

So far we got nothing. Just have to pay higher tariffs. Where as the Chinese just ship their epackets here almost free of charge, and no tariffs are paid on those items. How exactly does this help us sellers?

Perminate Link for Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off   Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 6 19:08:41 2019

"You're doomed for failure because you can't compete with them, they can buy it cheaper and ship it cheaper then you can. They can also sell with less profit then you can. . . "

They also make FAKES ("inspired creations" (like that Pan Am bag)) sponsored by eBay .... maybe eBay needs more lawyers?

Perminate Link for Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off   Seller Says eBay Sales Turn On and Off

by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 6 19:47:56 2019

@Geetar

Sorry to have to ask this but I have not seen anything about the Epacket staying the same until June and then increase slowly being put into place.  Could you please provide with a link to read this so I can then contact my Congressperson immediately about how we are still being screwed over in favor of the Chinese?

I am tired of supporting the low prices for cheap junk that is not even safe in many cases to our country from China.  Their economy is thriving just as well as ares is other than the it is a Communist country where the Government decides the quality of life for their population.  Chinese Sellers need to pay at least equal costs for shipping their products to our country as we do when we have to try and return the broken junk.

No, I am not one of those people who buy Chinese junk at all, but am completely tired of US Sellers supporting the Chinese sellers shipping costs so they can undercut our prices on everything.

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