|Fri Feb 10 2012 00:34:10|
eBay Seller Spitting Mad over New Ads in Paid Listings
By: Ina Steiner
Sellers are reporting that eBay is placing other sellers' listings at the top of their View Item pages for their active listings. There are several known cases when competing ads appear in listings - one is for completed listings, which sellers have resigned themselves to; another is when a searcher comes to a listing through a search engine. You can see more information in this blog post.
eBay also has a cross-promotion feature in which it places ads in sellers' listings, and in return, displays their ads in other sellers' listings. Sellers can opt-out of the cross promotion feature if they choose.
But a seller who contacted me today insists that none of those situations apply to the ads she saw in her own listings this week. She spoke to an eBay customer service representative who told her that this is new, and different from the other ads. "The placement ABOVE the listing description has never been done by eBay before," she wrote. "They are testing it."
We found two other threads about this from users who noticed these ads and said they were appearing higher on Item pages - this one started on February 3rd (eBays new listign layout "More items to consider), and this one, also started on February 3rd (It Just Is Not Right! Confused and Wasting My Time).
In January of last year, someone reported something similar, but it seemed likely at the time to have been the eBay cross-promotion feature in action - difficult to tell without a screenshot.
Sellers care deeply about this issue, feeling that they own the Item page real estate since they pay listing fees, as the seller who wrote to me today explained:
"We are paying for an auction listing to promote OUR item, not a bunch of other items from sellers, over which we have no control in the selection, which may be over-priced or irrelevant (although eBay told me they are using the Best Match algorithm).
If the pictures of other items appeared at the bottom of the listing, it would still be fundamentally wrong .. but they appear BEFORE the description of my listing .. which distracts and confuses my customers. It suggests that I am providing these other options for my customer to explore (similar to the photo gallery of my other listings which appears at the bottom of my listing).
It squats on my little pieces of real estate, which I am paying dearly for, and dilutes my brand which I have worked tirelessly to build over more than 10 years."
The seller was familiar with the various scenarios in which eBay placed other listings in sellers' Item pages, and she wrote, "The eBay attendant I spoke with said it is a BETA test that has been applied to only some eBay auction listings. I searched my own listings and listings of other sellers I watch, and the photos appeared in more than half of the auction listings. I viewed the auctions from My eBay page, by seller name, and listing number, and found the pictures appeared no matter how I searched."
To clear up any confusion about what the seller was seeing, I asked eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff if eBay was running tests in which it was including other sellers' listings at the top of a seller's active listings, and I'm awaiting a reply.
If you've noticed a new "More Items to Consider" section in your View Item listing pages that weren't there before, let us know.