EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2720 - January 18, 2012     1 of 3

eBay Tests Ads in Sellers Listings on US Site

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eBay is testing ad placements on the Search Results page and View Item page in the U.S., according to eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff. At least one of the ad formats eBay is testing appears near the top right of the listing page underneath the seller information.

It's an interesting move on eBay's part, as it has previously had to back down from running ads on View Item pages due to outcries from sellers who pay eBay fees for the listing pages.

"Through the extensive inventory provided by our sellers, buyers have tremendous opportunity to find exactly what they are looking for," Hoff said. "In those rare instances where the item is not available on eBay, we want to offer these buyers other avenues to find the item they desire. By offering other means for buyers to navigate and find exactly what they are looking for, eBay will become a top destination for buyers. This will help drive traffic to eBay and give sellers more visibility."

Hoff said eBay began testing the ads on eBay UK last year, and sellers began talking about the ads on U.S. listing pages in late December. The ads displayed on eBay UK include ads for Google AdWords, ChannelAdvisor and Sifteo, and ads for eBay Daily Deals and eBay Mobile are appearing in the same spot on eBay.com listings in the U.S.

One UK seller wrote, "I feel very unhappy that Ebay have chosen to place adverts for advertisers such as Netflix on my insertion thus drawing attention away from the item I am selling. I don't feel I should pay to have Netflix advertise in "my space". Does anyone know how I make a formal complaint to Ebay about this please?"

Ads also appear on the search results pages of eBay UK, and an ad for an eBay seller's store called Marie Curie Cancer Care Shop was also spotted on UK search results pages.

Ads were also spotted in eBay.com search results, including an ad for Checkpoint ZoneAlarm.

Over the years, eBay has walked a fine line when it comes to advertising on the site. Back in 2000, then-CEO Meg Whitman was forced to cancel several large contracts with corporate advertisers after sellers were outraged to see ads on the site, and Whitman was quoted saying, "We cannot compete with our customers."

eBay does place ads for competing listings directly inside sellers' listings, but sellers can opt out of the cross-merchandising feature if they choose.

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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 ina@ecommercebytes.com.


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