eBay Australia have announced today that they will continue with their controversial third party adverts on view item pages. Earlier this week, ads beneath the bid box were removed after complaints by eBay members to the advertiser, digital television network Foxtel.
eBay have now said that the trial of these ads will continue, though they will be positioned lower on the page and “will be clearly marked as a sponsored link”. Sellers in the Sports, Movies and Electronics categories can expect to see “sponsored links” appearing on their listings.
eBay Australia add “similar advertisements are already running in a number of markets, including Austria, Switzerland, France, Italy, and the UK.” Well, that’s alright then. Let me tell you, if I need to: the Austrians, the Swiss, the French, the Italians and the British don’t like the ads either.
Foxtel’s online marketing manager left a comment on TameBay, expanding on the company’s position. He said:
being a reputable company we didn’t think they would place them in a way that would annoy their members. As soon as the complaint came in we looked at the placement in question and agreed it was intrusive to the sellers (who like us are online marketers)
Foxtel get it. Don’t annoy your users.
eBay, however, don’t get it. eBay see the ads as purely a revenue spinner, a source of extra cash. They need to look beyond this week’s balance sheet. The message of these ads, on the very page where sellers are trying to sell, is that eBay do not care about your sales. Even though you’ve paid eBay for that page, they still believe they have the right to siphon off your traffic for the sake of a few pence per click. And they do: it’s their site. But how much longer are sellers going to put up with a company that demonstrates its contempt for its paying customers quite so blatantly?
Sellers are already suffering from change fatigue after a year of constant policy, fee and listing strategy change on eBay. Telling us that our sales matter less than flogging their own advertising is really not what eBay should be doing right now.