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eBay Backs Down on Links Policy

July 11th, 2008 by Skip McGrath

eBay announced it will not start enforcing the new policy that prevents eBay sellers from putting links to outside website on eBay pages.

A posting on the eBay forum today announced that eBay is backing down on their draconian links policy. The forum post stated:

"We will not enforce the links policy in July as we originally announced on May 19, 2008. We will introduce a revised policy by mid-August, 2008 that will allow links to your ProStore and to non-transactional sites from your About Me page. To give sellers time to adjust, enforcement of the policy will begin four weeks after the revised policy is introduced."

We will obviously have to wait until mid-August to see exactly what the policy will entail. This is the third policy change by eBay in as many days.  eBay has stated that several policies then announced over the past few months will be reversed or revised. These include no longer counting neutrals as negatives in feedback calculations and they announced a that a system will be coming in the fall that could allow eBay sellers to have negative feedback removed if they work things out will buyers.

I think it is interesting that eBay is announcing so many changes just before they are about to release their quarterly results. I speak to several researchers and fund managers on a regular basis and they are all nervous about the upcoming earnings release.  On one hand listings on eBay seem to be up, but there is also evidence of cost-cutting going on at eBay. This is usually a sign that earnings are under pressure.

This will be the first earnings report since most of the changes went into effect. If earnings are off we may not know the real reason. With high gas prices cutting into disposable income I am not sure if we will really know if any falloff in eBay profits is due to the new policies or the economy. Of course eBay could surprise us with good earnings, but that doesn’t seem to be what Wall Street is betting on.

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