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Wed Jan 6 2016 14:38:09

How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
I had this happen this week and thought it might be worth mentioning. I manually scan through 2 or 3 specific product categories on eBay several times a day almost every day when I'm not busy. I browse through the latest listings to see what's been added in the categories I monitor. 

I would expect to see everything that is added but that's not really true. On several occasions I've later found things while doing random searches for something and came across listings that I never say in my daily browsing of new listings. 

It seems like some auctions don't show up for hours or even days and never show up in the "Newly Listed" sort of items in a category.
 
But it gets much worse... A friend listed a large number of items on eBay last week and asked if I saw a few specific items that he thought I would be interested in. Unfortunately I never saw them in my daily browsing in the category. AND they were still not there if I went back and browsed or searched in the category. 

I only found the items when I went to one of his auctions in another category where I was already bidding and clicked on the link to See Other Items. That was the only way I could find his other auctions! So if I hadn't known this sell and didn't know about the other items I would have never seen them although I browse the category EVER DAY!
 
So I wonder how many other auctions are totally invisible on eBay if this is happening in a pretty small collectible category?
Bob




Comments (45) | Permalink

Readers Comments

How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?   How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?

by: 1beck3 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 6 15:22:47 2016

What does Bob mean by "manually scan"? Thanks!

How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?   How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Jan 6 16:48:21 2016

Unfortunately this is not new.  Sellers use to yell a lot about what we called Rolling Blackouts.  Ebay for years denied the existence of these magical happenings.  But no matter how much they denied it, the truth was that many listings got randomly [or what appeared to be random] hidden on a regular basis.

Now last year or something like that Ebay finally admitted that they hide listings from time to time.  And now it is in the User Agreement too.

How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?   How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Wed Jan 6 17:51:01 2016

@Bob (OP) - As Marie correctly states, eBay includes right in their Terms of Service that they are not obligated to show anyone's listings, whether paid for or free. So it's not the least bit surprising that you are not able to find your friend's listings when performing a search (perhaps the only way to see all of any seller's merchandise is to click on the other items link).

I know for a fact that Rolling Blackouts began (at least as far as my listings) in 2007. Because so many sellers post on this site that their eBay sales continue to spiral downward, that seems like substantial proof that many listings are never seen.

As for how many listings are invisible, probably millions (my uneducated guess based upon the number of sellers on eBay).  

How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?   How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?

by: BobNJ This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 6 19:00:57 2016

Someone asked about what I meant by "manually scan".... what I was trying to get across was that I was just going directly to the given category and browsing through the items without using any search with the sort set to view newly items first. Turns out this DOES NOT guarantee you'll see all items in the category as they get added on eBay.

How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?   How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Jan 6 20:56:33 2016

It's quite criminal and I don't know how they get away with it, whether it is in their user agreement or not.

Taking a customer's money and not providing the service (in this case visibility) is about as low as you can go.

Of course none of us are surprised. And eBay executives still sleep at night. (What does that tell you?)

How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?   How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Wed Jan 6 23:18:57 2016

I have a partial answer to your question.

I list tools in many categories, sometimes in 2.

If the item sits for a few days without much interest I change 1 or both categories.

I do this often and I'm sure I'm not the only seller doing this.

Rolling Black Outs are a myth that have never been proven!

How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?   How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Jan 7 02:49:29 2016

@bobnj

There is no guarantee on Ebay no matter how you try to view listings that you will see all the ones that are currently posted.  Ebay decides what you will and will not see.

How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?   How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?

by: rhawk This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 7 08:35:27 2016

Rolling blackouts do exist. All you need is 3  to 4 friends or relatives in diverse areas of the country to search for your items on a computer thats never searched those items before. The results will shock you, as not all items show up on ebay at the same time.  Should a law firm want to do this, it would be easy to do on a grand scale.  Ebay  is doing it, and it is criminal, no matter what their TOS says.

How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?   How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Jan 7 09:24:09 2016

Will someone please explain to the purveyor of used hacksaws who obviously has poor reading comprehension that it HAS been proven (by many) and point him to the verbiage in the user agreement. If eBay didn't know that they are hiding listings why place it in the user agreement?

Some people only hear what they want to hear and only believe what they want to believe.

How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?   How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Thu Jan 7 10:43:11 2016


At times I have clicked on ''seller's other items'' on one result item and found things that did not come up in the search results, but logically should have.


I'm remembering - maybe incorrectly - from years ago - isn't there some kind of limit on the number of items per screen or search from one seller?  An item limit that would render that seller's other search result items invisible for THAT search unless someone clicks on ''see other items''?  

For example a seller has 15 pair Levis jeans size 30 listed, (all pre-owned so varying wear descriptions and lengths) - isn't there a limit on the number allowed to show in search results? Like maybe only 10 results can appear?

This is different from the rolling blackouts but another kind of search invisibility where you have to take the extra step to ''see other items''.

--Marie or another long-time eBayer would know if I am remembering correctly or have finally lost my mind. Odds are 50-50.

How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?   How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Thu Jan 7 10:44:01 2016

If you're selling a Blue Blouse, Denim Jeans, Red High Heels, Anything Ty, or anything that has over 1000 results in search maybe your item isn't seen by everyone all the time. But when you sell a CP 4x Rivet Gun which less then 100 are listed eBay shows ALL of them ALL the time. No reason to hide items that few are listed. It's the masses that get buried in search. My items aren't for the masses.

How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?   How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Jan 7 11:53:15 2016

Toolguy says "f you're selling a Blue Blouse, Denim Jeans, Red High Heels, Anything Ty, or anything that has over 1000 results in search maybe your item isn't seen by everyone all the time."

Yes, Toolguy, that is the definition of a rolling blackout. Blackout as in one can't be seen.  Not a myth.

How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?   How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Thu Jan 7 12:03:02 2016

Maybe it's time to change what you sell.

I don't have those kind of problems on eBay.

My items are there for everyone to see ALL THE TIME.

No Rolling Blackouts on US made tools, it's the chinese stuff that gets hidden.

How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?   How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Thu Jan 7 12:05:23 2016

We can play the search game if anyone cares to.

I've done this many times over the years.

Try searching for:

Atlantic 90A

How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?   How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Jan 7 13:29:23 2016

@toolguy

We are all abundantly aware of how successful you are.  You have never been shy about voicing that.  Success can be a wonderful thing but for some it makes them myopic.  If it doesn't happen to you, there can be no truth in it.  

While Ebay has NEVER admitted to what many of us call rolling blackouts, they do and have admitted to hiding listings.  And with that announcement came the new improved user agreement that we all had to resign up as agreeing to it before we could continue selling.

Some history that you may find interesting.

http://www.ecommercebytes.com/C/blog/blog.pl?/pl/2
013/9/1378955768.html

http://www.ecommercebytes.com/cab/abn/y13/m10/i15/s01

And
there is plenty more.  

To blame sellers that may sell a blouse or some other item that there may be many other similar items out there is ridiculous.  I personally don't sell fashions, but I certainly don't see their issues as self inflicted as you suggest.

And this really shows how uniformed you are ''...it's the chinese stuff that gets hidden.''  Not only are they allowed to have a large number of duplicate listings, they show up in the searches.

I respect that you feel you have had great success on Ebay and there are many others out there that have as well.  But you show no respect for anyone that does rise to the level you have in your mind.  The venom in which posts are directed at you is rather self inflicted.  You could change that if you wanted to.  I do realize that you may not want to as this is clearly a form of entertainment for you.

How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?   How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Jan 7 14:58:15 2016

Toolguy, maybe it's time for you to let others run their businesses as they see fit without your narrow-minded opinions and misguided perceptions. Your perspective as usual is self-focused.  

And believe it or not, eBay is not the only game in town as we have thankfully realized over the past year.  

How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?   How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?

by: rhawk This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 7 15:28:37 2016

The funny and lost part on toolguy is this:

Imagine how much MORE he COULD sell on ebay if there were not blackouts.

How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?   How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?

by: JQ This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 7 19:02:45 2016

This problem is commonly referred to as ''rolling blackouts.''

At any given time a small seller's inventory will only be made available to about half the people using eBay. It will be blacked out for the other users. The black out areas are determined regionally. For example, at this time my items might be available in New York, but not in California. Every few hours the black outs roll and you gain and lose regions. The only region a seller's items will always be active is their home region (where they are physically located).

Ebay plays with seller's exposure rates based on criteria they do not share. Large Diamond sellers always have their inventory available to all clients. The rolling blackouts are how eBay shifts more traffic to their preferred sellers. It is also how they enforce their selling limits. When a seller nears their selling limit eBay simply decreases their exposure until the next month.

Anyway, these black outs probably are the reason that you cannot find certain items listed for sale at all times. The only way I know around this system is to make certain sellers your ''favorites'' and by doing so you will always be able to click into their inventory.

Hope this helps.

How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?   How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Jan 7 19:52:50 2016

I've heard a lot of that before, but for me.  It has nothing to do with any selling limit that may or may not be on my account.  My sales have been on a decline since 2013.  But the March of 2014 [after the hacking, Cassini site wide & Google issues] it has been nothing but on a downward trend.

So there is more in play here.  

How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?   How Many Listings Are Invisible on eBay?

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 8 01:12:29 2016

There is more going on than just the "Rolling Blackouts".  Searching BY CATEGORY returns the WORST results.  I posted here a few months ago about an item I had listed and how HARD it was to FIND it myself using a Search--and even using the TITLE I could NOT get it to appear on my laptop or my phone.  I finally realized that it was the CATEGORY that was being partially blocked.  However!

Being able to USE the ENTIRE site to search for a key word seems to be almost impossible also.  I DID find more of the same keyword and found that altho my item perfectly fit into the category I had selected MORE were being shown--and sold--using a different one;  altho you STILL could not see ALL of them;  I adjusted this and SOLD THE ITEM that had sat waiting for a few MONTHS.  

Here's the thing tho---hardly ANYONE uses Category as a CHOICE to Search under!  So----restricting this--seems==unproductive.  

I used to do several searches like the OP;  now I do one filtered down to avoid a million Chinese  motorcycle head light bulbs and oil filters and even THEN I know I am NOT seeing ALL of the things I WANT to see--the odd;  the unusual;  the rare--for that ONE bike.  So who benefits????

If I can't see it--I can't BUY it thereby turning me OFF as a buyer.  IF no one ELSE can see it--no one ELSE can buy it--thus alienating BOTH the seller AND the buyers.  

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