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Sat Mar 28 2020 11:45:38

Is eBay Managed Payments Impacting Search Visibility?

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
I hope you are well in these troubled times.  

You would think with everything going on in the world one could get away from the nuisance of eBay and their constant barrage of changes and search manipulation. Alas, no. I seem to have more time on my hands to look into the systematic overnight drop in sales that I experienced on October 15, 2019 and then again March 1, 2020.   

In October I was convinced, as so many others, that the eBay Item Specifics and category debacle was the reason for the sales drop. While I agree that it played a part, something much bigger is at play. After all, if not, why didn't our sales rebound when specifics and categories were fixed?

So what is at play you ask?

Managed Payments. eBay began in October making Managed Payment a major player in best match. Why wouldn't they? There is no question eBay makes more money when a transaction is completed with Managed Payments.

Don't forget, October 1st was the beginning of the outrageous 25 cent per item fee instead of the 30 cent transaction fee from Pay Pal. October also saw a major inclusion of sellers into Managed Payments.

Likewise, March 1st saw another major inclusion of users into Managed Payments. All of those mandatory opt-ins got a boost in best match.

Some would say, "Hey, eBay is going to do what is best for them." Sure I get it. However, is this action legal? Our accounts are not eligible for Managed Payments at this time as we donate to eBay Giving Works. That's right, accounts that support EBAY GIVING WORKS, are being hidden in Best Match due to the new weight the Managed Payment search variable carries.

The question remains, how is it legal for eBay to knowingly suppress Pay Pal processed listings when not all sellers are able to enroll in their payment system?

Don't believe me. Search for yourself. I just went through best match on one of our longtime best sellers. We are a top rated seller with free returns. All item specifics maintained. All best practices followed and over 4000 listings at any time. I did not see one of our items, not even a sponsored listing, in the first 600 listings. Up until October 15th we would see at least 12 on the first page with 192 results. After October 15th, we started seeing about half that number and likewise our sales dropped by 50% within 30 days and never recovered. Nothing else changed on our account, nothing. 

March 1st we saw an immediate drop in sales again. Based on what we see right now, we will be another 50% down. Please know I understand that we are all seeing some drops due to Coronavirus. However, Coronavirus is NOT the reason for this drop. It is straight up search manipulation by eBay to show Managed Payment listings.

We consistently ran 20K a month is sales for years. At the end of November 2019, after the October 15th change, we were down to 10K a month. At the end of this month we will be at 5K.   

eBay is the master of sleight of hand. They love to suggest A is happening or a cause for sales drops when really it is B. We were all convinced it was the catalog issue in the 4th quarter, but was it? 

Curious what your other readers think? Especially Managed Payment members. Have those opted in seen an increase in sales?

As always thanks for the work you do Ina.   
RJ



Comments (38) | Permalink

Readers Comments

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This user has validated their user name. by: NoMoreEbay

Sat Mar 28 13:11:48 2020

Ebay's Artificial Stupidity has been manipulating the site for over a decade. About 3 years ago an ebay employee posted on the boards that ebay was in fact manipulating search results and hiding listings. ebay's own UA states they manipulate search results.

Ebay is a grossly mismanaged company that defies logic and common sense. Therefore any discussion about their latest changes and harmful actions are moot.

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by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Sat Mar 28 15:08:18 2020

Never assume that there is visibility in anything Greedbay does. Greedbay is the master of deception.

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by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Sat Mar 28 15:26:24 2020

Imagine renting a table at a flea market and you're forced to randomly cover up for 30 minutes 4 times a day...

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by: plcombs This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Sat Mar 28 15:32:41 2020

eBays "Cassini" program from what I've been told can be altered/adjusted very easily by design and was created in part to enable eBay to use it as a herding tool to either include or through attrition eliminate certain type of sellers from visibility and eventually from the site.

I have no doubt Cassini is being used in conjunction with Managed Payments to find or create winners and losers

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

Sat Mar 28 15:53:57 2020

When Devin Wenig publicly states that ebay plans to charge more from sellers, you can be assured that managed payments manipulation is just one of the multiple tools they will use. And it's only going to get worse.  

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by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Sat Mar 28 16:25:45 2020

The beatings will continue until morale improves.

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Mar 28 20:19:22 2020

How many times/how long must we say that the eBay mafia rigs the game?

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by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 29 08:20:59 2020

Who gets to be eye level center of the grocery store aisle? Why, do you suppose?

You know of course. Same reason it can be hard to find the ‘off brand’, the specialty packed. They’re way on the bottom, near the end. They’d get featured too though, if they could afford it, or chose to.

“That’s just the way it is.
Ahh, but don’t you believe them....”
(Bruce Hornsby)

Point is though, and right, can’t be made enough, that charging ANYthing for the space, then not providing it at all, or obscuring it with a ‘store sponsored’ daily special roll-cart display not only un-levels the field, it consigns those undeserving and unprotected from the practice to trenches in that field, dug for that precise purpose.

And that, in the vernacular, is not kosher. It’s been rotting meat for a while, in fact.

The OP’s experience is only the latest in-dismissible, more than anecdotal, data backed winnowing blow - and on more than just an ‘individualized’ scale - that can be attributed to one self serving eBay machination or another.

Be it harvested through forced disadvantaging by machinated, ineptly managed, falsely applied metric, or lack of ‘participation’ in their coffer enriching ‘opt-in’ of the quarter, eBay has - ‘partner’ by partner - certainly achieved at least one goal also not relegated to a lower shelf on their aspiration display, at the expense of, and while laying waste to, the very constituency that conveyed to them the ‘power’ they proclaim to the street.

Astonishing anywhere else. Just another day on the Bay.

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by: Scotty This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 29 11:21:02 2020

Weaponized ''search''...yes, they are doing this to you (and many, many others).
I can only hope the Covid crap wil be the end of them....yes, I will be done as well, but I am wiling to sacrifice to toast them.  None of them will ever care like sellers or buyers....they are merely employees....who will then have to find another job.  They will never understand the linkage between many sellers livelihoods and their antics....the ones controlling the levers, however, they certainly understand and are like the Spanish Inquisition in their methods and application of same.  Disgusting.

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 29 19:06:13 2020

Is eBay Managed Payments Impacting Search Visibility?

Well is it?

No real way to tell except for anecdotal evidence, because "OUR PARTNERS" refuse to tell you (the customer) the "secret sauce".

eBay (pretending to be a REAL ecommerce company) went to court to secure a patent for Cassini (aka the magic listings dartboard) and got it classified as a TRADE SECRET.

That means that because its software and your logging on to eBay is just a license (of some variety), therefore if they tell you how it all works .... someone (martians, plutonians, Romulans, the Tal Shiar (hat tip to Star Trek Picard), even the BORG) will know their "secret to success" (quarter after quarter of losses (-%8))(that they admit to - we all know its more then that) and it will put them out of business (since they all worked SO hard to be in the position they are in)(sleeping is tough)(so is going to Walkers West to get sloshed at lunch)(Hey Griff - tell me the one about the Legend Of Seller Protection again!).

So they tell you nothing except vague statements about "if you listen to ALL their stupidities - they MAY not hide you!". Good thing we are at least something to them - imagine if we were "the REAL enemy!"

Snapped (of course) is %100.

Not to over explain him or put words in his mouth - but its the same (to me) as renting space in a mall.

They dont tell you what your policies should be, they are not allowed to hide you (unless you dont pay the rent), they dont tell you anything about pictures, they dont approve your descriptions, they dont tell you how you can get paid - they arent involved at all.

eBay DID say they were "just a venue" - and I PROMISE YOU every dollar on the planet - that if eBays landlords did to them what they do to US ... they de back out of those leases so fast - it would make time go backwards.

Whats good for the goose ISNT good for the gander in eBay land ..... oh and have a few gazillion free listings on top of it - maybe you will actually sell something and have the money to pay your "store" (what a joke) subscription.

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by: Gemz This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 30 00:40:50 2020

We just sponsor everything we sell and get placed in front on every listing we have. Sure it costs 5 to 15% more in fees but if you can absorb that (which is better than not being seen at all in any regard) then managed payments isn't going to make a difference. We don't have it and we come up 1 to 2 on every search all the time. While I don't like this method they use and it costs more, I think of it as the cost of advertising since we advertise nowhere else. We have more sales on Amazon than on eBay by far and that will never change due to the people running eBay being the reason for their own downfall.  

Perminate Link for Is eBay Managed Payments Impacting Search Visibili   Is eBay Managed Payments Impacting Search Visibili

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon Mar 30 01:44:15 2020

I have yet to see a seller that accepts Managed Payments.

Because when I do I will move on to the next seller.

So sellers who still use Paypal are still in search or I wouldn't find them.

Maybe eBay knows I'm a buyer using Paypal and only shows me sellers that accept Paypal.

If you as a buyer use a credit card even once I might venture to say eBay might show you only sellers that take Managed Payments. . .Just a thought.

Perminate Link for Is eBay Managed Payments Impacting Search Visibili   Is eBay Managed Payments Impacting Search Visibili

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Mar 30 03:01:21 2020

RJ

What is your proof that it is because of MP?  Did you look at all 600 listings to see who was in MP and who wasn't?  Are you aware that it is still just a fraction of the 7 million US sellers in MP?

While I believe you believe what you are describing.  I'm not sure it is factual.

With that said, I firmly believe that Cassini is a terrible search engine.  All kinds of issues to be sure.  I just don't think this in one of them.

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by: ebayisscrewed This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 30 12:01:48 2020

There is no doubt that managed payments is now a part in the best match algorithm.    Marie, Search is a function of Cassini, Cassini is not simply search.  

Anyone that understands how Cassini works and has evolved would agree with the OP on this one.   I will go one step forward and say Ebay would be stupid not to promote something that provides financial gain to them.

Marie, what information do you have to suggest it is not factual?   The OP is correct, there was a major surge of forced opt-ins during these two periods.   The number of members in managed payments is not a small fraction any longer.   The site is 8 months away from full inclusion.  Are you seriously suggesting that a publicly traded company would not do something that increases revenue for themselves?

I know I am personally seeing a much bigger sample of managed payment folks when I purchase.  The 4 items I purchased over the past week were all managed payment transaction.  It is very easy to figure out.   If the payment allows for anything other than Pay Pal, it is a MP listing.  

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by: ebayisscrewed This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 30 12:08:15 2020

@toolguy

Managed payments still allows you to pay via Pay Pal.   You just are not paying the sellers Pay Pal account.  You are paying Ebay's Pay Pal account.     Because Pay Pal is your preferred method of payment, your checkout page most likely just has Pay Pal set as a default.  However, look for the little link underneath that states "Show Payment Options."   If you see a link that says "Show Payment Options" it is a managed payment listing.    You would be surprised Tool.  Keep your eyes open, you will see them.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Mar 30 12:32:36 2020

@ebayisscrewed

I didn't say that.  But thank you for the clarification.  Yes Cassini is the search engine [which is what I said] that Ebay uses.  That engine is suppose to be driven by whatever the user puts in as the keyword or words they want to search for.

"Marie, what information do you have to suggest it is not factual?"  Actual facts not what some suspect or believe.  

Ebay is still under contract with PP therefore subject to the provisions of that contract.  

"Are you seriously suggesting that a publicly traded company would not do something that increases revenue for themselves?"  Nope, didn't say that nor did I imply that.  I simply didn't address it at all.

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by: ebayisscrewed This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 30 13:34:50 2020

@Marie

Cassini is not the search engine.   The search engine is a function of Cassini.  Cassini is much bigger than just the search function.  

The OP believes, you do not . . . what makes your opinion right and the OP's wrong?   From where I sit, the OP seems to have made a logical conclusion based on their experience and data available to them.   What facts do you have to support otherwise?   No offense, but they seem have provided a solid argument.   Can you do the same?

Yes, Ebay is still under contract with Pay Pal.   Ebay has been accepting Pay Pal under managed payments for quite sometime now.   This fulfills a major component of the contract.    

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Mar 30 13:56:48 2020

@ebayisscrewed

The Cassini search engine is eBay's internal search engine which helps customers find the most relevant items on the marketplace in order to increase their chance of completing a transaction. An algorithm determines how items are ranked on the marketplace and can have a significant impact on an eBay seller.

https://algopix.com/dictionary/cassini-search-engine>
https://powersellingmom.com/complete-guide-cassini-ebay-search-engine/

I
NEVER said I was right.  I simply said we don't have facts on what the OP has brought forward as their observation.  Maybe they are correct, maybe they aren't.  IDK, but we don't have facts, we have opinions, beliefs and observations at this point.  You are welcome, as is everyone else to believe whatever it is they want to.  I take NO issue with that.

Because Ebay is now accepting PP payments from buyers in MP doesn't have anything to do with the contract between Ebay and PP which started years before MP did.

https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1065088/0001193125
15257121/d93601dex101.htm

Per
the contract between Ebay and PP, Ebay is NOT ALLOWED to be Merchant of Record on more than 10% of the GMV.  

If there is a secondary contract that has changed that or amended it, I'm not aware of it.  It certainly could exists, I just have no knowledge of it.

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Mon Mar 30 14:27:29 2020

Marie writes: ",,, search engine which helps customers find the most relevant items on the marketplace...."

I have to take exception to that statement, and I'm sure all of the people who comment here regularly can as well. Everyone, and I mean everyone, has stories of searching for an item, only to be returned everything but what they are looking for.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Mon Mar 30 14:33:14 2020

Oh Jack.  That is a quote from a site on the internet, not a quote of something I said.  I did provide a link to the site if you are interested in my above post.

I know it is important to try and disagree with me at every opportunity.  But I have clearly said that IMHO Cassini is a real problem and does not work properly.  You can verify that for yourself by just revisiting my post above.

Yep, I agree, everyone has stories about the problematic search function on Ebay.  I've shared some over the years.  And I've shared my opinion of it on this blog, you just choose to overlook that in your zeal to disagree with me.

Here is a quote from my first post on the blog.  "I firmly believe that Cassini is a terrible search engine.  All kinds of issues to be sure."  And that is my opinion of the search on Ebay.

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