Ads On eBay Piss Off Sellers

from the don't-forget-your-primary-business dept

By placing ads on its pages, eBay was able to make approximately $76 million in revenue during the second quarter of this year. However, in doing so, eBay has drawn the ire of it sellers, who complain that the ads distract buyers from placing bids on their listings. eBay claims that their analysis shows that the advertising on the site “does not get in the way of people who intend to buy or sell items on the site.” Considering that eBay’s advertising revenue has doubled in 2007 as compared to 2006, the ads are a good way to monetize traffic that does not end up making a purchase. Furthermore, since the ads are contextual, eBay argues that the product experience is improved since the ads are relevant to the user’s query. eBay’s findings make sense; if a buyer really is interested in placing a bid, it seems quite unlikely that they would be derailed simply by viewing an ad. In any case, sellers are not convinced; they continue to fear that the ads distract potential buyers, despite not having any studies that indicate such a trend. Perhaps this fear is actually symptomatic of the true problem that eBay is facing today: sellers are no longer ecstatic to be on eBay. And, there’s data to back that hypothesis up: the number of items listed in the second quarter of this year was 2 percent lower than the previous year.

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Companies: ebay

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Comments on “Ads On eBay Piss Off Sellers”

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37 Comments
Former Ebay Shopper says:

Irritated with Ebay

I think the sellers would have more success if they were actually competitive with the market. Those who are drawn away from sellers wares has more to do with their questionable pricing and outrageous shipping fees! Why buy a high priced cell phone which you have to wonder if you’ll really get for a “deal” of 20 bucks cheaper than retail and spend 45 dollars for shipping?? Get a grip guys, I’ll buy new with a guarantee of replacement/refund if there is damage or a problem with delivery.

John Fuda (user link) says:

Ad Options?

As a user of Adblock Plus on FireFox and AdMuncher on IE, I did not even know there were ads on eBay until I read this and a few related columns.

I think it would be good for eBay to offer sellers the option to place ads for in their items for sale for a discount, maybe along the lines that AZ mentioned, this way everyone wins. Sellers can get lower fees by allowing ads and eBay reaps the increased revenue fee from the ads – and folks that don’t want the ads pay full seller fees

Paul (profile) says:

Re: Ad Options?

Typical – FF=free blocking, IE=subscription.

Good old FF!

There are ads on eBay? LOL! I have a shop but use FF and never knew. I will have to take a look using IE.

As for Fees – AZ failed to mention the PayPAl fixed fee that is killing me. On low value items it is a BIG chunk of the FV.

eBay used to be good but now it is all about their bottom line and bu**er the sellers.

Peet McKimmie (profile) says:

Re: Re: Ad Options?

Typical – FF=free blocking, IE=subscription.

Actually, it’s how I work too, except it’s “Adblock Plus” in Firefox on Linux and “AdMuncher” on Windows.

“AdMuncher” does cost money, but it’s a one-off fee, and it works as a transparent proxy, blocking ads in all applications and browsers on the system on which it is running. $40 for life (£20) IIRC, and if you’re forced to use Windows I think it’s well worth it. It’s extremely configurable and can do the jobs of the “Adblock Plus” and “Flashblock” extensions, plus smart image filtering.

Nick (user link) says:

Well, sellers getting upset seems reasonable to me. Think about it – contextual ads mean similar products, so if you are trying to sell (for example) an MP3 player, and your info is surrounded by ads for other MP3 players, that’s competing for the sale – your prospective buyer is unlikely to buy both!

On the other hand, just maybe ebay commisioned research which show exactly what they wanted it to show? Surely not!

Tim (user link) says:

Re: Re:

I agree, contextual = distraction, and it’s not surprising people might be prepared to buy something cheaper from a seller that’ll be there next week.

However, minus-points to techdirt for shoddy statistics. A far more useful metric would be the percentage changes in the average number of bids per item (optionally per item successfully sold).

TX CHL Instructor (profile) says:

Nothing wrong with ebay...

There is nothing wrong with ebay that a healthy dose of credible competition wouldn’t cure in a heartbeat. Trouble is, there isn’t any credible competition yet; many have tried, many have gone by the wayside.

The internet presents an interesting phenomenon — every niche has exactly one dominant player, and #2 is way back in the dust.

Texas Concealed Handgun License Courses

Danny says:

Oh poor ebay...

So the sellers a whinning that not as many people may be pulled into their clever scams, knockoff items, miss labeled items, and (OMFG!!) all those !!!!RARE!!!! items that show up on ebay?

Please. These days I only use ebay as a last resort when I’m looking for something. I’d rather pay that extra $20 (and with shipping that can be outrageous are you really saving by buying it from ebay?) for a new product with warranty.

comboman says:

Ads within ads

I expect to see ads on sites that offer free content (like Google or Techdirt). But eBay does not have free content, they are an e-commerce site. The sellers already pay listing and transaction fees. And now, the advertisers pay as well. The next step is probably the charge buyers a subscription fee for the privilege of viewing the site. eBay seems determined to kill the goose that laid the golden eggs by squeezing every last cent out of it.

Enrico Suarve says:

eBay Hypocrisy

I think part of the reason that this is pissing off sellers so much is the utter hypocrisy from eBay

For years they have stamped on sellers for even thinking about including links to other sites in their listings, claiming that it would reduce traffic on eBay and be bad for all. They have removed listings for just refering to tech specs on other sites in the past

My id used to have a _co_uk on the end to encourage people to go straight to this address in future from outside eBay – even though this domain redirected straight to my eBay shop my account was suspended as it encouraged people to look elsewhere (can’t find the mail but it was great reading)

So basically for years they’ve been saying that any reference to sites outside eBay would reduce traffic for all sellers but somehow now they are doing it, all’s good?

I call bullshit

I think eBay have forgotten that their actual customers are the sellers NOT the buyers

Free Online Auctions (user link) says:

Ebay Ads

The ads are annoying to me as well, I started using Online Auction Exchange Free Online Auction Listings They don’t have any ads on any of there pages … very clean site, easy to use, they also offer
No Listing Fees, No Commission or End-of-Auction Fees. List your goods and services for a fraction of what you will pay eBay. Get your own online store for .99 cents a month. Online Auction Exchange.

girl humphrey says:

ads on ebay listings

I haven’t looked on eBay for ages but as a potential buyer I was really put off by the ads on the listings. It looks like the sellers are condoning/supporting the ads. I won’t bid of 2 items at all (regardless how cheap they go) due to Milan Direct ads and I won’t ever list anything if eBay are doing this.

Rahere says:

ads on ebay listings

I totally agree. Once you start to twist the market, you’re acting against the buyers who make you. Why should I pay to download the same guff a thousand times? So watch it ebay or you go the way Amazon has – blacklisted for trying to monetize me, which is a polite term for trying to rip me off with uncompetitive pricing, the next step in creating a false market.

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