Third party ads on eBay UK item pages

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eBay are now putting adverts for third parties on “view item” pages:

Sky item page ad

Adverts for Sky TV seem to have appeared on all listings on eBay UK in the Consumer Electronics category. I haven’t yet been able to find any others, though it’s a pretty safe bet that they’ll be on their way; a rash of Googlers finding their way to TameBay from searches like “adverts on eBay” this weekend suggests that there are a few people spotting ads in new places.

One could of course take the sanguine approach: Sky TV aren’t competing with the battery charger or headphones you’re selling, so they shouldn’t distract your buyers. Indeed, if a buyer’s looking at battery chargers, they’re not looking for Sky TV so they’re never going to click the ad. Sky and eBay are wasting their time, right?

I’d love to be so calm about it, but I’m not. That £20 cashback offer is going to distract some buyers, for a start: the advertising isn’t necessarily well-targetted, but the offer is. And we’ve seen before how it goes with advertising on eBay: it starts with the likes of Sky and insurance firms, big companies who aren’t necessarily competing with eBay sellers, but it ends up with direct competition. I know I’m not the only person who’s seen my suppliers crop up in those search results’ ads. So how about if you could advertise your website on the eBay listings of all your competitors? How about if your competitors could advertise on yours?

It was just about plausible for eBay to claim that third party ads at the bottom of no-result searches were useful for buyers: if there’s nothing for them on eBay, giving them something else to look at isn’t unreasonable. But getting buyers through the process of “finding”, onto a page for something they might buy, only to send them off to buy Sky TV or home insurance, or a cheaper off-site version of what they were just looking at – I’m really not buying this as a process that’s good for anyone, including eBay.

Let’s not forget that eBay buyers are very, very loyal to the site. They come to eBay because they want to shop on eBay: they like getting feedback or they’ve bought into the security aspects or they like having many sellers’ goods aggregated in one place. Whatever the reason is, they’ve chosen to come to eBay rather than look at a search engine or a comparison shopping engine. As third-party ads proliferate on every page of the site, eBay undermine that. Buyers come to trust shopping on eBay, but when they can no longer tell the difference between an onsite and an offsite link, what happens to that trust? eBay becomes nothing more than an ugly cross between and Google, with nothing unique to offer. Is that a place any of us want to sell? More importantly, is it a place any of us will be bothered to try and buy?

What do you think? How will you feel when adverts crop up on your own listings? Leave us a comment.

26 Responses

  1. Anything that takes potential buyers away from an item page to something other than another item page is a retrograde step for eBay users.

    EBay will, of course, be looking at the balance between their advertising click revenue and the FVF. They will be measuring income by category and it will be a broad brush approach. I’d like to think that they place these promotions selectively but I’ve always been an optimist.


  2. If ebay are to put third party advertising on an indivigals listing, then surely they should pay the seller for the privilage of ”click revenue’.
    After all if the listing was not there then they could not highjack the fact that a buyer has clicked on that link, because he/she wants to look at what that seller is selling.

    We as sellers should be given the opportunity to agree/disagree with allowing OUR paid for listing space to be used by a third party, paticularly if we don’t have any control who they are.
    We are afterall responsible for the listing content & description.What would happen if a person clicked on the 3rd party link & something went wrong, who’s responible
    I mean, I would object most strongly to having an advert for a bank or political party on my listings.
    WE need to be given the choice (our choice), just like when you tick or don’t tick the box on many online application forms, WE must have a choice to agree or don’t agree.

  3. Personally I tend to tune out this kind of advertising, the net is choc-full of this stuff and I make a point of never clicking or reading. To me, it’s not there.
    Whether my customers do the same I have no idea and that’s the important part.

    Like Sue, I have spotted supplier’s adverts popping up in the paid for links on the bottom of ebay pages.

    Maybe those who abhor this superflous advertising will migrate to private shopping venues?

  4. So first they have the cheek to charge a lot more for listings, and then they want to put other people’s adverts on them? I would expect to get my listing for free it it was to be used for advertising someone else’s goods! But I don’t suppose that will happen.
    Another nail in the coffin.

  5. Having just watched the Olympics london 2012 concert on BBC1, the thing that smacks you in the vision stakes, is the VISA logo on the head of the stage.
    It appears that corporate Uk is all about sub 2nd advertising. It’s designed to implant it in the brain somewhere, & suddenly when it’s triggered (ie; when you see a similar logo, somewhere else) you remember where you 1st saw it.
    Freaky. we are all being taken over…………………………..

  6. Who cares at this stage!

    A few years ago I would of been concerned.

    Ebay is now just a dumping ground, I’ve even had a guy from the ebays board room admit this to me, over lunch recently.

    If ebay is still you main source of income then you need help!

  7. When I use to hire a stall table at Camden Market I would not have been too pleased if someone came along and put their wares on my table!

    If I have a B&M shop, I wouldn’t expect another shop to come and put their flyers all up in my windows.

    If I buy and pay for a page on ebay to sell my wares, who are ebay to then go and allow someone else to also list their item on the page that I have paid for?

    Either don’t do it, ebay, or give me free listing and free FVF to accommodate your new, obviously more important cuckoo customer.

  8. This is another ridiculous ebay idea/policy.

    Years ago I had asked my account manager at ebay if I could sell advertising space on my listings and ebay replied – definitely not as it would violate the user agreement.

    Ebay continues their downward spiral and taking all of us with them.
    How can this be good for any economy in the world is beyond me.

    The amount of sellers that I have been in touch with ( over 2500 ) in the last 3 months are ALL losing money and/or their selling accounts.

    Good going eBay.
    Hurt the ones that built you up.

  9. #10 ‘The amount of sellers that I have been in touch with ( over 2500 ) in the last 3 months are ALL losing money and/or their selling accounts.’

    Hate to go against the trend then but i’m making more money than ever and have no intention of closing my account.

  10. I find this kind of un-linked advertising far less intrusive than the keyword sensitve sponsored adds, although why they feel they need to plonk it in the middle of a page is anyones guess, it just look lost there, whats wrong with a nice banner at the top ebay?

  11. “nice banner at the top” = easy to ignore, Richard. There have been numerous studies showing that most people can ignore banners at the top very easily – hence intrusive advertising in the middle of the page is the way forward if you want clicks. (I should stick an affiliate link to somewhere in this comment, really ]:) )

  12. presumably only the big guys will have their ads placed in prominent positions? Like Amazon, for instance. Or Google Checkout.

  13. cant quite put my finger on why I dont like it ,
    its uncomfortable,
    just a little sleezy, and lacking integrity

  14. Just when I thought it was safe to come out of the water ! I take a few weeks off, just starting to get some listings ready for my mid September start up and all hell break loose.

    I can quite truthfully say that buying anything on eBay has become an absolute marathon nightmare. I want to search for an item, find it, look at it and buy it or not. I don’t want eBay to give me a list of suggestions, I want to be able to see a simple listing without adverts for something else, surely that is not too difficult.

    And as for checking out completed listings well they have just become a total mess.

    How anyone actually successfully buys anything on eBay is now beyond me.

    Gosh that’s a bit of a whinge for a Bank Holiday Monday, I think I might hibernate.


  15. #11 Hate to go against the trend then but i’m making more money than ever and have no intention of closing my account.

    Make the money while you can as I am sure ebay will create a policy that makes it difficult for you as well.
    You might also want to start selling elsewhere while your sales on ebay are great.
    I had all my eggs in one basket ( ebay ) and now I am looking at bankruptcy.

    I am not sure if you are a UK Seller – but US and Canadian Sellers are having tremendous hardships with the and changes.

    Best advice I can give to anyone selling on ebay is to keep yourself aware of any future changes and do not always rely on ebay to tell you about them.

    Network websites like this as well as etc and try to stay ahead of ebay.

    I had an account manager at ebay and even they never told me of things that I found out from 3rd party websites.

    Best of luck and I am glad to hear you are making money on ebay!

  16. Oi!! Biddy, if you call me Curly again you won’t have to worry about blocking me, I’ll take my stuff and leave ,,,,,forever lol

    (don’t all cheer at once will you)


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