Solution to "My listing never showed on eBay"

No primary category set

In the last few months there have been more and more sellers complaining that their listings are not showing up on eBay, even in the dying hours of a full seven day auction. The auctions always appear in their “My eBay” demonstrating that the items were actually on the site. Sellers are complaining that their items are receiving no bids, and can not be found in category search results although searching by the item number would find their auction.

This was raised at the recent eBay Town Hall by sellers Sam and Debbie who called in. At the Town Hall Griff requested affected sellers to email him and he would investigate some specific item numbers. This is a difficult one to track down after the event, you need to search the item while it’s still live in order to diagnose the issue correctly.

There has been much speculation as to the root cause of the issue, including questioning are the new longer item numbers are to blame? eBay blogger firemeg comes close to the solution when mentioning “eBay has been telling sellers for months that listings (especially for high ticket items) will be subject to security checks prior to being indexed (ie. prior to showing in searches)“. The suggestion that security checks are delaying items appearing in search for the full duration of the auction is not the problem, but we are indebted to firemeg for the following YouTube broadcast which reveals the answers.

It turns out that in this case (and we suspect in many others) it’s a very simple explanation, the “high ticket items” comment holds the clue. In categories with high ticket items a high proportion of sellers pay for the Featured Plus listing enhancement. When search and browse results are sorted by “ending soonest” the items at the top of the first page will be Featured Plus listings. This feature costs sellers between £3.95 and £29.95 extra on (US$19.95 on

Featured plus listings always appear at the top of the page they would naturally fall upon in search results with one important exception – in categories where many sellers select the featured plus option, items about to end can flood the category and take up several pages of search results. In fact in some categories the first non-featured plus listings can be many pages back in search results.

In the category in the YouTube broadcast above (Jewelry & Watches > Rings > Diamond Engagement/Anniversary > Diamond Solitaire Rings) Featured Plus listings currently occupy the first eleven pages of search results and the first non featured plus listing is halfway down page twelve, hardly surprising sellers think their item is not indexed by eBay!

There are two solutions. Firstly to pay to have featured plus on your item, and secondly scroll through the pages to the end of the featured plus items to find the listings without that listing enhancement and you’ll find your auction.

If your listing never shows on the first page of search results in the last minutes of your auctions there is nothing amiss. It’s just the way that eBay is designed to work!

Finally eBay provide a little known utility so that you can locate exactly where your item is located on the site 🙂

6 Responses

  1. Great tip on locating what page your item is on for the times you’re convinced it’s not showing on ebay. Even those of us with 6 years plus on ebay and 6000 feedback can learn something new. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. 🙂

  2. More news from auctionbytes on missing listings. Apparently the unfortunate Sam that called in had spelt “Ship” in his auction template as “Shit”, falling foul of eBay’s adult word policy. Bet he’s feeling a little silly this morning! :-p

    We’ve reported this issue before and it goes to emphasise a spell checker is a good idea!

    I guess wonder if this will stop the conspiracy theory that eBay is broken and randomly hiding auctions….

  3. While I don’t object to eBays’ adult word policy, its clandestine implimentation leaves a lot to be desired. A simple warning message to the seller would eliminate a lot of silly bother.

  4. Tis very true the implementation isn’t great, but there’s a help page titled Why doesn’t the item I listed appear in Search? which you’d expect someone with a problem and 5000 items in their warehouse they want to sell on eBay to discover 🙁

    The fact that the list of banned words is unpublished is a little clandestine, but I guess if they’re banned eBay doesn’t want a list for people to titter over (and I guess there’s legal implications if a minor happened to read them!)

  5. By ‘clandestine’ I mean the way in which eBay do not give the seller any indication that their listing has been rendered invisible. If the listing was actually ‘pulled,’ then at least they would recieve an explantory email or possibly notice its absence from ‘my eBay’.

    One would certainly hope that a large seller would have sufficient common sense to make the help pages their first port of call but I feel that searching the site for their own items if they didn’t get any bids (presumably to do a price comparison or whatever) is something which would not occur to most casual users.



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