We reported Shopping.com links appearing in search results promoting sales on eBay’s rival Amazon back at the begining of December. Now eBay are promising more off site links in the form of Google text adverts on search results driving yet more buyers off the eBay site.
Testing will commence on eBay.co.uk and eBay.ie for Google ads, supposedly in searches where few results appear on eBay. It does make sense that if a buyer can’t find what they’re looking for on eBay that they’re directed to another site where they can purchase, but concerns have been voiced where a buyer can legitimately claim to have made a purchase clicking on a link on eBay but are directed to an off eBay site.
eBay have in the past educated buyers that the only safe way to purchase is to keep their transaction “on eBay” and now in a sea change they are to encourage buyers to leave eBay and purchase on alternative sites, and in many cases from eBay’s competitors. Even worse having seen some of the results from shopping.com adverts buyers are directed to minor websites with no large company backing and no recourse for assistance if a transaction goes bad.
eBay should consider very carefully how the legitimacy of a safe marketplace could be undermined by buyers being directed elsewhere. There are enough stories where buyers complain they purchased on eBay but it was a spoof site, or they took the transaction off eBay, now eBay are going to encourage them to do so.
It’s not just limited to searches where there are few relevent eBay results:
We’ll also be testing placements on a limited number of other search results pages.
I know it’s eBay’s site and they can do what they want, but this is bloody cheeky: they’re totally undermining their own customers. X-(
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