eBay Restricts Digital Downloads to Classified-Ad Format
By Ina Steiner
eBay is rolling out a new policy that requires all goods that can be digitally downloaded or transferred electronically to be listed using the Classified Ads format, effective March 31, 2008. Using the Classified Ads format, sellers receive a 30-day ad at a fixed price.
eBay said it is instituting the new policy to preserve the integrity of the Feedback system. "Digital goods are often reproduced at little to no cost to the seller. On eBay, this creates the potential for Feedback Manipulation (both real and perceived)."
Classified Ad listings are a lead generation tool and do not result in transactions that go through eBay, so buyers and sellers do not exchange feedback.
eBay said sellers who wish to continue to offer digital goods can do so by selecting the Everything Else>Information Products category in the Sell Your Item form and choosing the Classified Ads format (not auction-style or fixed price).
One seller contacted AuctionBytes afternoon to say her ebook listings were removed on Monday because they violated feedback manipulation policy - 3 hours before the new policy was announced - and one week before the policy goes into effect. When she called her PowerSeller rep, he was also unaware of the new policy.
The seller wrote to AuctionBytes, "The policy has not been announced and the eBay customer service representatives have received no notification about the "new" policy. It is an unannounced policy that sellers will learn about "sometime in the near future". So, my ebooks were removed and I was issued a violation warning (which I was told that the warning will be removed from my record) for a policy that has not yet been announced. The "rules" at eBay are changing so fast that even eBay's "customer service" (if there is such a thing) isn't even aware of the new rules."
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About the author:
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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