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eBay Drops Another Bombshell on Sellers

May 20th, 2008 by Skip McGrath

Startling sellers, eBay announced several policy changes today that are a mixture of bad news/good news.

New Links Policy

Starting in July eBay will no longer allow any links to non-eBay pages on any eBay page including your listings, blogs, forums, reviews & Guides, about me pages or any others with the exception of links to pages with photos embedded videos (such as you-tube).

Mystery Auctions
In the "let’s suck some of the fun out of eBay" category, eBay cancelled Mystery auctions "due to the high rates of claims and bad buying experiences."

Choice and multiple Items Listings

eBay announced removal of the choice policy and the multiple items listing policy. Previously if you offered the same item for sale in a different color or size, you had to put up a listing for each item. Now you can just put up one listing and tell the buyers they have a choice of color or size. This policy starts today.

Starting in June, eBay will lift the restriction that limits sellers to 15 listings for an identical item.  This one seems a little strange to me because it could overwhelm the search function to just show one listing, however, eBay claims in another part of the announcement to be addressing this issue.

 

New "Simplified" Search & Browse Policy

Starting in early June a new Search & Browse Manipulation Policy will take the place of the Keyword Spamming, Misleading Title, Mis-categorization, and Brand Name Misuse policies.

The new Search Manipulation Policy replaces the guidelines for sellers that prohibit methods of diverting members to their listings. This includes any addition to a listing not related to the item being sold or other activity that makes it difficult for buyers to find the items they’re looking for. This is too detailed to explain here but safe to say this is going to entail more work and effort from sellers. If you sell any type of branded product you should read the eBay FAQs. http://pages.ebay.com/sell/May2008Update/FAQ/

Monitor your seller standing and increase visibility in Search

eBay will release an expanded version of the Seller Dashboard later this week that will display more information about where you stand with your DSRs and seller performance rating.

In today’s announcement, eBay also reiterated that  violations of eBay policies are subject to serious consequences, including restrictions, forfeiture of insertion fees, seller demotion in search results, and suspension.

More changes to Best Match

The Best Match search feature has been struggling since it was rolled out. The Best Match default in Search considers a number of factors including Time Ending Soonest, item relevance, other item attributes, and seller performance along with other factors that eBay will not release to prevent sellers from manipulating their position in the results.

According to John McDonald, Sr. Director of Trust & Safety, the new adjustments will result in a larger number of sellers with below average performance scores being lowered in Best Match search results. If either of the following conditions apply to you, the visibility of your listings may be reduced:

  • Your 30-day shipping cost DSR is 4.5 and below
  • Your buyer satisfaction rate (shown on the dashboard) appears as "needs improvement," "poor" or "unacceptable."

eBay suggested the following tips if you find yourself not coming up in search due to seller performance. They are quite extensive. You can read the seller performance tips HERE.

There is some good news for eBay sellers with high DSR scores. eBay announcement included this statement:

"Starting this week, sellers with 4.7 and above on all 4 DSRs over the last 30 days may start to see an additional boost in their search standing in Best Match. It’s important for good sellers to be rewarded for providing excellent buying experiences. We’re going to test this in a few categories to start, and will expand to the others shortly afterwards.

To make sure you stay in top standing, get familiar with eBay’s User Agreement, monitor your Seller Dashboard (once it becomes available) on a regular basis to be aware of potential issues and changes in your status, and resolve any issues in a timely fashion. Sellers who delight their buyers will win on eBay, and we thank the vast majority of sellers who abide by our policies and strive to deliver the best buying experience possible."

You can read the full announcement at: http://www2.ebay.com/aw/core/200805.shtml#2008-05-19130839

The eBay FAQs are here: http://pages.ebay.com/sell/May2008Update/FAQ/

I think all sellers should take the time to read both the full announcement, the FAQs and the tips page as this is a really detailed announcement with lots of traps for sellers who don’t follow the new policy.

 

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