eBay UK have just made another announcement regarding visibility of UK listings on eBay.com and US listings on eBay.co.uk.
A further test is to be run over the next month, with a very small percentage of US searches including UK listings in various options:
2. UK items will appear in main US search results, as long as the item is located in the UK, the seller is registered in the UK, and postage costs to the US have been specified
3. UK items will appear in the ‘international expansion’ box in US search results
4. UK items will appear in the ‘international expansion’ box in US search results, with the same conditions as the second variation
With regard to American listings’ visibility on .co.uk, the test categories in which US listings will appear are being changed to the following:
Consumer Electronics: Gadgets
Health & Beauty: Bath & Body
Health & Beauty: Make-Up/Cosmetics
Health & Beauty: Skin/Face Care
Home & Garden: Pet Supplies
Musical Instruments: Guitars
Photography: Film Cameras
Sporting Goods: Golf
While this is unlikely to pacify the UK sellers who feel that eBay have ruined their businesses by making these changes, it does at least demonstrate that nothing is set in stone: on both questions, eBay expect to make a final decision by the end of August.
Second-guessing eBay is always a risky game to play, but looking at options 3 and 4, which pretty much mirror the “search internationally” options available now, I’d expect that full .com visibility by default is not going to be restored across the board. The intention to “evaluate which UK categories are most suitable for visibility on eBay.com” might give hope to categories where .co.uk is strong and .com is weak – British collectibles I would imagine – but probably shouldn’t be taken as a change of heart for the majority of UK sellers.
Or if you want a total shot in the dark, but based on everything else that eBay are pushing right now, I can see a scenario where auction-style listings *only* have international visibility: that would be one way for Bill and co. to push sellers back towards the auctions we’re all resisting right now.
Some of the changes do seem reasonable: for example, that only listings showing the relevent postal costs should be able to show up on other sites. (Frankly, I think all eBay listings should be forced to show postage costs up front anyway.) The specific criterion for US listings showing on .co.uk, that they are “listed by sellers with 100 Feedback at 98% or greater positive” comes very close to saying “Powersellers only”: though it’s no doubt going to be pitched as a buyer-security measure, I think eBay’s famous level playing field just got even more sloped.