Auctionthanx? No thanks!

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There are many, many third-party add ons to eBay. With most of them, even if they’re no use to you right now, you can see that they might be useful to someone, sometime. But occasionally, there’s a service that’s so annoying, you really wonder why anyone would create it. Auctionthanx is one such service.

The premise is fairly simple: Auctionthanx pick up all your bidders’ email addresses from your eBay account, and send them an email thanking them for their bid, reminding them of other items you have for sale and asking them to opt-in to your mailing list. It does nothing, in fact, that I can’t do myself by adding you to my favourite sellers and opting in to your eBay email marketing – except that taking all of that off eBay allows sellers to promote off-eBay sales to their eBay customers.

It makes theoretical sense as part of an eBay seller’s marketing strategy. But as a buyer, I found it infuriating. It crossed a line in what I’ve agreed to in being an eBay buyer: I accept that I’ve signed up to receive email from eBay (even that crap that SMP automatically generates) and Paypal, but I haven’t agreed to receive any email from a third party on your behalf. I agreed to receive email about one transaction, but the decision as to whether to turn that relationship into something more permanent ought to be mine. If you want to continue contact after our eBay transaction is over, you need to sell me that idea in a much more positive way than “thanking” me. I don’t particularly like automatic discount services like My Store Credit, but at least there was *something* in that for me. This is nothing but legalised spam, and I hate it. The transaction about which I received it was a BIN, but it seems that Auctionthanx even emails your non-winning bidders. This is just too much.

One small tweak could, perhaps, rescue this from being a complete pain in the arse, and that is the ability to opt-out ones eBay IDs from the “service”. I’ve examined Auctionthanx’s website extensively and I see no such option. I truly hope they introduce it soon.

11 Responses

  1. Things like this make me wish eBay would switch off email support entirely and make all buyers and sellers communicate through “My Messages”.

    If a buyer wants a “bid confirmation” email or a “Winning buyer” email they can set their Buying Notification Preferences to receive them on eBay. If they don’t want them they can set their eBay preferences NOT to receive those types of email. With this service buyers will either be bombarded with two emails per action, or they’ll receive one when they specifically opted not to!

    Sounds a fantastic way to alienate your buyers and receive poor feedback for sending emails that can only be regarded as spam.

  2. Any seller daft enough to use such a service would do well to read their user agreement. Handing out other peoples email addresses to a thrid party is a sure fire way of losing your eBay account.

  3. I don’t think that’s strictly accurate, Richard – for a start, they are using the eBay API to pick up the email addresses.

  4. Richard I don’t know that they’re breaking the rules, but they’re bending the user agreement to the absolute limit. The section refering to SPAM states

    We do not tolerate spam (unsolicited commercial communications). Please set your eBay notification preferences so we communicate to you as you prefer. You may not add other eBay users, even a user who has purchased an item from you, to your mailing list (e-mail or physical mail) without their consent.

    Basically it’s saying if you don’t want “Bid confirmation” and Winning buyer” emails you can opt out not to receive them. Now having opted out why the heck should someone override that setting?

    In addition what about the buyer that likes your stock and bids on say ten items? That’s ten more spam emails in your inbox.

    Also it states you may not add users to your mailing list without their consent. I would argue that you’re creating two mailing lists with this service – a “buyer who bids or bins” mail list and a “winning bidder” mail list. Seeing as I haven’t subscribed to either why should I receive non-eBay generated communications (which already cross promote according to the sellers preferences!)?

    The service is unwelcome, intrusive, and will upset many more people that it will please. Upset buyers aren’t happy buyers 🙁

  5. Hello,

    A couple of clarifications first if I may:

    “I haven’t agreed to receive any email from a third party on your behalf”

    The Thank You email sent is from the eBay seller registered, using their email address, the email is not ‘from’ the service, only ‘sent by’ the service.

    “the ability to opt-out ones eBay IDs from the service”

    In theory it is possible, and no big issue to introduce, but reaching those buyers who may wish to opt out would be the problem?

    The concept behind the service is twofold.

    The initial personalised email thanks the buyer for their bid, therefore establishing early contact – saying this seller cares about me, it also reminds bidders about combined postage (where applicable) gives a link to ‘View my other eBay items’, possibly encouraging them to make another purchase from the seller. The early contact also may convert bidders to buyers, and could make new buyers into regular buyers.

    Secondly, it gives the buyer an option to join the sellers mailing list to receive advance information on any promotions that seller wants to offer. (yes they also have an opt out function from the mailing list)

    One further point I would like to make is that subsequent emails from future bids are not sent, bidders will only ever receive one Thank You email per bidding user ID per seller, they will NOT get one each time they bid with the same seller.

    Note: A ‘similar’ service is already provided by a major US ‘third party service provider’ and has been available for quite a while now, and I understand is used extensively by many US sellers with great results, also with no adverse reaction from buyers that I am aware of ?


  6. Eddie, frankly, I don’t care whose address is in the “from” field of the email. Your “sent by” and “from” distinction is nit-picking, and not the sort of dichotomy any recipient of spam is likely to appreciate.

    Furthermore, the email generated has a signature stating that “This email was sent to you automatically using a FREE service from :”, and also advertising other sites you operate (specifically, Auctiontrax). However you try to weasel out of it, this is a service that you operate, this is email that buyers would not be receiving if *you* were not generating it. I’ve turned off bid-confirmation emails from eBay, why should I then be forced to accept them from you?

    It’s obvious what the concept behind your service is: I’ve said as much in my post. What I am saying is that as a buyer, I find it unnecessary and intrusive. It will not turn me into a regular buyer, it will not make me sign up for a mailing list, the only thing it *will* do is piss me off. And as for “turning a bidder into a buyer” – well, I’ve placed a bid, I’m hoping I’m going to win, so you don’t need to “turn me” into anything!

    Opt-out would be easy to implement: at the bottom of your automatically-generated emails, have a link to say that if you do not want your eBay ID and/or email address to receive further communication from Auctionthanx, click here. At least then buyers could only ever receive one email from you.

    Your statement that buyers only receive one email per seller is incorrect: I purchased (by BIN, not auction, and it was two weeks ago) two items from the seller in question, and have received two emails, both relating to the same transaction. I suggest you test the service a little further.

    And finally, your statement about “a similar service in the US” not generating adverse reactions. How do you know? I can tell you for a fact that *your* service in the UK has generated an adverse reaction – *I* am a buyer from one of your customers and *I* am pissed off with the email that you sent me.

  7. Hi Sue,

    I ‘think’ why you had two emails was because in ‘beta’ we exceeded our API call limit, changed the logic and reloaded, hence the initial duplication, hence no need to include an additional opt out for the service completely, you should only ever get one Thank You email per user ID.

    How do I know about ‘no adverse reactions’ well from a top sellers group in the USA. It was from there the ‘inspiration rose’ to basically replicate what another service does.

  8. One email is still too many. I don’t want any. (I’m starting to repeat myself here, aren’t I?) I don’t see why you can’t give eBay buyers the option to never receive an email from any of your customers.

    And do you honestly think a “top sellers’ group” is the place to go for honest feedback about this kind of service? Perhaps you should talk to a group of buyers instead.

  9. “I don’t see why you can’t give eBay buyers the option to never receive an email from any of your customers”

    As I mentioned earlier, we could, via a link from the site, but how do I reach those buyers ?

    From what you are saying ‘one email is too many’ again, that is all they will get from the same seller, and the chances of the same buyer buying from another seller that is also an auctionthanx user (therefore getting a second email) are remote to say the least.

    Anyway, point taken and will look at providing recipients of a Thank You email an option to block further communications originating from the service, regardless of the seller.

  10. One thing i will add. If I ever get an email from such as service i will report it as spam to the service providers/host. I’m getting sick to death of spam of which this is just another one. Something like 80%+ of all email i’m now getting is junk and I’m getting fed up with it.

    If I want to be on a sellers email list eBay have such a service to sign up to for shop owners. I should not have to opt out of something i’ve never agreed to in the first place, it’s spam and will be treated as such.

    In the time it’s taken me to type this I’ve had three more spam emails and someone on the phone trying to sell me finance. I have better things to do than fight spammers, junk phone calls and junk post that comes through my letterbox each day. It’s time to fight back against this sea of crap!

  11. One thing *I* will add – the best advice I ever received, as an eBay seller, was “think like a buyer”. Nuff said.



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