Now Companies Suing eBay For Giving Others Better Listings

from the give-it-up dept

Remember all those lawsuits against Google by people who didn’t like how Google listed them (i.e., they felt that Google had them too far down the rankings)? Well, it appears that some similar lawsuits are being filed against eBay. One jewelry sales company, Windsor Auctions, felt that it should have been making more money via eBay and sued the company after realizing that a competitor was using tools eBay provided it to get better listings. Windsor mostly relied on a depression-era law that tried to stop big companies from engaging in predatory sales practices (using its marketing muscle to force suppliers to give it better deals). As Eric Goldman points out in the link above, the law makes almost no sense today (and it’s questionable if it ever did). It certainly doesn’t seem to apply to this case — and the court has agreed, tossing out those charges, though leaving some others dealing with a implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing. It’s difficult to see how eBay can be at fault here for offering up tools that will help sellers, but as we’ve seen with all those Google cases, companies always look for someone to blame when someone beats them in the market — and the company with the big pockets is always an easy target.

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Companies: ebay, windsor auctions

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Comments on “Now Companies Suing eBay For Giving Others Better Listings”

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Steve R. (profile) says:

Hyper Commercialism

Advertising is a valid method of funding our “free” ability to surf the web. Unfortunately, advertising (in many cases) is quite abusive. The ability, for example, to pay a “special” fee to get greater advertising visibility.

It would be interesting to see if the marketer’s could formulate some “rules of conduct” for advertising standards. Unfortunately, that is probably the same as asking a drug addict to go to rehab. Oh well, I guess regulation is the way to go. Let the marketing anti-regulatory whining begin.

jonnyq says:

Re: Hyper Commercialism

Huh? We’re talking about eBay listings – if you’re going to eBay, the listings are the content you’re there to see. Listings are a product paid for by sellers, and are the content sought by consumers on the site.

And it’s being compared here to Google search results. Google search results are a list heuristically generated by Google’s web crawler, and are the content sought by visitors to Google.

Neither of these have to do with “advertising” in the sense you’re using the word.

Anonymous Coward says:

I think many are missing the mark here and if you’ve never sold on ebay you likely won’t understand that implications of thos changes to the “little guy”

Ebay has recently changed a large number of ways they do things (like searches, feedback, and placing ads for similar products) that is not at all beneficial to the sellers who are PAYING to have their listings in the ebay market place. In fact, with respect to feedback they have toppled the scale in the direction of the buyer with the inability of a seller to leave anything other than a positive feedback for a buyer.

With respect to searches, they have started ranking searches along with a seller’s feedback rating… not a bad idea on the surface except: a neutral comment from a buyer counts as a negative and they have begun to place adds for large retailer’s selling similar items in the same search results. Again, not a bad idea for the buyer and ebay…. but ebay’s CUSTOMERS (the one’s giving them money for services) are at a slight disadvantage when they go up against a large retailer with respect to price. Then follow up that generally retailer’s don’t pay for impressions, they pay for clicks or sometimes even sales.

Ebay has quite a few monopolistic business practices and terrible customer service. It’s about time they got bumped down a notch or two.

dennis says:


i am a seller on ebay and recently i found out if you list 2 of the same item, they might never ben both posted. as of right now i have 2 listings where the wording is the same. they have only 11hrs to go and only 1 is posted. if i look it up by subject only the 1 item shows. i called ebay and they said that to be fair to all sellers, multiple items might not show up simultaneously, whats with the fact that i am paying them for listing two items but they are choosing to list 1? this doesnt seem fair

Michel berniquez says:

Ebay close my ebay store (min7man)

on august 4 2008 ebay close my ebay store with over 2400 articles in it . they said that my feedback was no good 97.9% .
I employ 2 employees and work ebay from an office , home and an out of town storage . Can some one help PLEASEEEEEEEEEEE. Thank you
Michel Berniquez
min7man ( A Walk in The past)

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