More UK/US visibility changes

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eBay UK have just made another announcement regarding visibility of UK listings on and US listings on

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:

1.UK items will appear in main US search results
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, the test categories in which US listings will appear are being changed to the following:

Antiques: Ethnographic Antiques
Collectables: Advertising
Computing: PDAs
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” might give hope to categories where 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, 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.

3 Responses

  1. There’s also another aspect of this “testing” that you haven’t highlighted.

    While UK items will be tested onto the US and visible to only 1% of US buyers, the UK into US tests are only for ONE month, whilst the US into UK tests are for two months and visible to all buyers.

    Experience over the last couple of months in the Games category are that US listings more than swamp UK listings – they pretty much make them invisible.

    This does not bother me personally as I buy and sell globally anyway, however, feedback from my UK trade contacts in the Games categories has been that the experiment period had heavily depressed their sales, and I’m left wondering if this was some type of “lesson teaching” from eBay about the effects of seeing all listings globally.

    During the same period, I also noticed some quirky search results from eBay Uk in the games category – do a basic browse click-through into the wargames sub-category of Games provided 12,000 – 15,000 listings as the results. Then, clicking the “Worldwide” check box and “show items” REDUCED the results to around 350 items.

    This happened several times across the last few weeks. No filtering was in place, just the normal click through to category from the UK homepage, then add-in the worldwide option.

    The eBay forums “Pink” Richard Ambrose (he of THAT BBC Working Lunch interview early this month) is responsible for natural search optimisation, and he’s been under severe pressure from sellers, so much so, that he’s taken to suspending forum access for sellers who’s questions are too tough to answer, or strike to close to the truths that eBay don’t want to become massively public knowledge.

    Something smells at eBay Towers right now, and it’s not the Java.


  2. I agree Gaz if this is true, what use it is to test UK listings on US when they are only available to 1% of that market and then reverse the visibility on US to UK for twice the time and open it to 100% marketplace. What use is this to anyone? What results will it prove?

    I guess when everyone complains they can support their decision to finally cut all visibility and force everyone to list on both sites for global visibility.

    Here’s a thought….put everything back to the way that it was with shop visibility and .com visibility AND THEN improve the filtering for the user. Each user can then select what they want to include/exclude so EVERYONE gets what they want. Afterall, arent these supposed changes by eBay for the good of us all.

  3. I totally agree with the above and I am sad that ebay is appearing to actively ban anyone who doesnt agree with them, its not democratic for a start!

    Ebay suspended ME from the message boards as their “customer service” coudlnt answer my qeustions! (nice eh?). Im a respected powerseller with 1,000’s of happy customers, but ebay dont like you to ask questions, in fact they simply dont listen anymore. I wish someone would open a credible alternative



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