eBay serves offsite links in preference to listed items!

No primary category set

eBay has started to serve adverts for off site websites in preference to items listed on the site. I can understand that it’s preferable to offer alternatives if a null search result is returned for a buyers search. However I have discovered that eBay are promoting off eBay sites instead of more in-depth searches of listings on eBay.

Tonight I searched for “660CDT psu” and was presented with no “on eBay” results but a selection of off eBay websites from which I could carry on my search.

Search with null result

Not wanting to purchase off eBay I simply ticked the box to “Search title and description” and instantly was presented with six items in core listings and a further five items in shops listings.
Seach title and description

My question is why are eBay so keen to serve off site links when they could present more in-depth search results on their own site? Surely they are doing both buyers and sellers a disservice by sending them to off eBay websites in such a cavalier manner? Why don’t eBay auto-select “Search title and description” if it throws up search results, instead of opting to send buyers away from eBay?

11 Responses

  1. I hate this new idea. One, it is not what ebay is supposed to be about, Google ads are bad enough.

    But also it is hilarious how un-relevant it can be.
    I was checking out the prices of little resin collectables. One is called Wee Willie Winkie.
    So the search is for Peter Fagan cat Wee Willie Winkie..

    what do I get?


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  2. It’s particularly annoying because they do expand the search terms in some other contexts: when you have a search string that eBay’s system thinks is misspelled, it *does* search on that for you. For example, I was just looking for a copy of ‘Heathen Gods in Old English Literature’ by Richard North: I searched for “north heathen gods”, Search asked me if I meant “north heather gods”, and gave me some results based on that.

    Anyway, if anyone has a copy of the book to sell for less than the £33 both Amazon and Abe want to charge me, please do let me know!

  3. Welcome to eBay 2.0 – Whatever IT is you can search for IT on eBay – You just can’t buy it here.

    Sponsored Search must be more profitable to then Shops.

  4. Another nail in the eBay coffin.

    In 10 years time eBay will be on one of those crappy Top 100 shows on ITV that go on for hours. It will be on the Top 100 – ‘how to shoot yourself in the foot’ companies.

    When will they learn, monopolies all come tumbling down in the end…listen to what the people want and deliver it. This way the company continues to grow because of continued support of the people. Come on Google, offer us an alternative, your the only one large enough; serious eBay businesses will migrate on their millions…

    COME ON YOU REDS !!!!!!

  5. Google aren’t interested in auctions – they’re interested in being paid for advertising in the form of adwords. That’s what Google Checkout is all about – advertising revenue, they couldn’t care less about payment processing which is why they don’t handle transactions directly, they just act as an e-wallet. PayPal differs in that they’re an e-money provider (and soon to be a bank). eBay is an auction venue/market place. Google is a search and advertising behemoth

  6. What would be cool is if all these eBayers clamouring for a Google auction site were to go over to the Blogger support boards, and see what people who deal with one Google product all the time feel about Google. Because what they say is EXACTLY the same as what eBayers say about eBay: oh, they don’t care about us, they’re not interested in our problems, blah blah blah. And guess what? They *don’t*. They’re in it for the money, not the lurve. Imagine that :O

  7. As a UK seller I have been enraged that US buyers no longer see my UK listings on a default search. When I list on the USA site in dollars I get UK buyers so effectively eBay have lost all my US buyers and bidders.
    Now I discover that people searching are directed off site so I assume I will lose even more traffic and customers.
    This might be OK if eBay was once again a FREE site (as it was way-back-when) but my commission doubled in the last round of increases.
    And now my sales are half of what they were
    See you at the Job Centre

  8. I agree with you Mr Ticombe, wholeheartedly.

    I don’t necessarily agree with Mr Dawsons comments in so much that Google are not interested in an auction platform. I would state that Google with its power for advertising revenue’s etc would relish such a platform given time.

    Sue, you’re obviously a fan of eBay, but not all of us trade at your level, some of us trade at a considerably larger level. Without being disrespectful a company like yours on eBay isn’t doing much in comparison to the ‘few’ of us here that are paying out 10,000’s thousands a year for the same service platform from eBay whilst they go about reducing the amount of customers for us. From closer analysis at your shop (eBay), which although attracts 600+ feedbacks per month is selling lots of items at what appears at first glance to be a loss (can you make money listing and selling products on eBay that sell for less than 5p).

    When you are employing several people to manufacture and sell your products in a market place that promises so much and then seemingly sets about raising barriers to trade you too will complain.

    If you truly believe that eBay is not at fault with its constant injections of hinderance to us serious sellers then your level of business on here has not yet reached the point at which you can criticise those of us that have and are being severely affected.

  9. Thank you for your comments, Euro2007. I’d be more inclined to respect them if they weren’t anonymous. However, I must take issue with your insistance that until I am at a level where eBay’s changes can screw my business, I may not criticise eBay’s changes. Perhaps I am deliberately keeping my eBay business at a level where eBay’s changes DON’T screw it? Perhaps I’m using eBay as a customer acquisition tool? If your business is as big and important as you say, I am astonished that you would rely so heavily on eBay!

    I have said this before, and I will say it again whether you like it or not: the only thing that eBay guarantee is that they will try to make money for their shareholders. eBay WILL change things and some of those things WILL mean that some existing sellers are forced off eBay. Frankly, if you don’t have an exit strategy, you’re trading on borrowed time.

    But anyway, please DO keep telling people that it’s not possible to make a living selling 5p items. The more people who believe it, the better 😀

  10. Addressing your two main points…

    Google is unlikely ever to enter the auction marketplace. Firstly it’s highly unlikely there will EVER be another eBay in the form it is in today, in my opinion it’s more likely Google would buy eBay than it is that they’d set up a competitor. Over the last decade that eBay have been operating the Internet has changed enormously and it just wouldn’t work – eBay was first and copying a successful model doesn’t mean you’ll share the same success. Google reports some 98% of their $11 billion income is generated by Adwords – not a percentage I’d expect to see from a company interested in diversification!

    As for the changes on eBay, one of the delights of trading on eBay is that it’s a level playing field for all. However the playing field tilts towards companies that are more agile and can move faster. I know plenty of small companies who have been impacted enormously by recent changes such as .com visibility. I also know a fair few large companies who again have been affected. In both cases those that survive on eBay will be those that can adapt and work within the new regieme. Those that can’t will falter.

    Any company that trades on eBay should, when they grow to a certain size, be looking at multi-channel stategies. It’s inconceivable that a company employing several staff be reliant on eBay for the majority of their income even if that’s how they started out. One problem with your account (eg a VERO issue – justified or otherwise) and your entire company is in jeopardy. eBay should become a smaller proportion of a companies overall income and profitability over time, and the companies use of eBay should change from a single sales channel, to one of multiple channels, to customer acquisition and finally to using eBay for disposal of end of line / damaged goods / returned stock etc. By this stage the company should be running their own website profitably… which brings me full circle back to Google – that’s where Google Adwords comes in, for a company large enough with a big enough budget to effectively make use of them. If you are (as you say) spending 10,000s a year with eBay you should be diverting a large proportion of that spend to adwords and similar forms of marketing.

  11. Interesting comments by Sue and by Chris

    Had forgotten that old adage about “all our eggs in one basket” and your comments have alerted us and woken us up. eBay was once an easy way to sell stock and make good profits – it is not now but businesses must adapt or die so appreciate the good sense written here.




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