Off site ads on your eBay listings

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eBay have been increasing the number of off site ads, which is no real surprise as their 2008 Q3 investor earnings call revealed revenues from text and graphical adverts on eBay are up 127% from the same period last year.

There are ads everywhere on eBay now, from the eBay home page to search results pages, My eBay and on eBay tools such as Selling Manager Pro.

Click to embiggen
Click to embiggen
The latest ads are now appearing as cross promotions on your ended eBay listings. Where previously eBay promoted items from the seller and cross promotions with other sellers, they’re now displaying off site ads just beneath sellers other items.
If you’ve ever received an email from a buyer saying “Sorry I’ve purchased it cheaper elsewhere so I don’t want yours now”, then you’ll know how frustrating an unpaid item is. From now on it’s just as likely to be because eBay sent them to a cheap off site ad, as it is that they’ve purchased at a lower cost from another eBay seller.
The ads displayed on the eBay home page or in My eBay are generic ads, which though annoying, don’t attempt to directly compete with sellers. The ads in search results and on sold listings are targeted to specifically compete with the products that you as a seller are offering.
A year ago eBay stated “With a high degree of confidence we can say that sponsored links are not harming our sellers business as a whole“. How many more ads can eBay place on the site, in ever more prominent positions, until that’s not the case and sellers businesses do start to suffer?

33 Responses

  1. Call me a cynic, but who do you think they’ll be trying to sell this space to next? Yes eBay sellers.

    Chris, just to correct you on one point. eBay has never had outside adverts on any Selling Manager Pro pages, only on My eBay pages. You might see a small graphic link to some new ebay feature or promotion but that’s it.

  2. I’m done with ebay until Donahoe is gone. I’m tired of exterior ads stealing my busines and tired of ebay burying my listings. There’s a petition started to fire him and I’ve already signed it. I hope you will too. It can be found by putting these words in your search “Ebay Stockholders and Sellers Calling For Immediate Termination of John Donohoe CEO”

  3. At least on the example given the eBay items are shown to be cheaper but obviously this won’t be the case on many listings.

    #2 Best wishes for your off ebay selling but I seriously doubt any petition will make the slightest difference to JD’s position.

    The traffic ebay provides especially to redirect buyers to my website for future sales is still worth every penny.

    I’m not going very far 😉

  4. Ah great!

    Maybe outside Ad revenue will be SO high soon, that they will drop the core business altogether and turn in a Google (no offence Google – I LOVE YOU)

    Or make that a mini Google as they will NEVER be as big or good as Google

  5. I suspect the whole point of these ads and all the eBay policies over the past year isn’t so much to bring in the big box stores as it is to just turn eBay into the world’s biggest search portal for online purchases. They go from hosting products from sellers to hosting banner ads. Cheap with very little overhead. Instead of competing with Amazon they are really competing with Yahoo and Google.

    Here is a serious question though… do those off eBay ads include S&H in the displayed price? Considering that eBay has basically forced us to put it all in the price it would only seem right to publish the total price. Otherwise those off eBay merchants would have a clear advantage.

  6. #6 thats exactly what they dont do. Its digusting to see my ended ebay adverts advertising other websites that can charge postage when i am forced to give it at a maximum or free for ebays FVF.

    It is my sale area and should display my listings that are either relisted or other ebay if their is no relist from mine.

    Or perhaps i should just pay ebay to advertise my competitions websites and be done with it.

    On a side issue Ive just noticed recently that the free postage’s are now in orange saying free P&P.

    Is that the carrot for giving ebay 10% of your postage costs in FVF

  7. #6
    ” Otherwise those off eBay merchants would have a clear advantage “.

    Come, come now, what do you want a clean playing field………………..With ebay it’s never going to be, Whats good for the goose…etc, etc.

    # 7
    Same goes here.
    One point that maybe worth thinking about, is if all BIN listings are 30 day good till sold, then in theory a listing will not end till the seller decides not to stock it anymore, at which time ‘hopefully’ the product won’t be sellable so no one will be selling similar items anyway.

  8. “Otherwise those off eBay merchants would have a clear advantage.”

    Only if your potential buyer is a complete moron

    any fool can add the price and the P&P together

  9. @ # 10

    Only if your potential buyer is a complete moron
    any fool can add the price and the P&P together

    Unfortunately I know from first hand experience that they will go with the lower “price”. The buyer isn’t going to click on all eight of those listings to compare them.

  10. One of my last sales I noticed that eBay had place 4 of my competitors with the almost the very same item on my sale for my customer to see and that is simply not fair. I had a store front retail operation. This is liken to someone coming into my store and holding up a placard that reads….hey all of you why don’t you walk next door to my store where I will give you a bigger discount then this store is giving you! What do you think will happen?

    Unfair policy, unfair trade practice. Does any Lawyer care to take the fight and examine this practice?

  11. #10 I can live with eBay advertising other eBay sellers listings on mine – because the reverse is equally true… my listings will in return appear on other sellers listings.

    That’s not true with off site ads where the traffic goes and doesn’t have a return path.

  12. With your image above Chris at least your products are shown, sometimes the results only have sponsored and no ebay items at all.
    they must still be playing with it, but why is it always the best three months of the year.

    ebay surely would be wise to put there efforts into there core business of commission based sales rather than off site links, it really is very short sighted.

  13. John Donahoe and his team are hysterical in the way the quote statistics which have no basis in reality.

    EBay wants the additional revenue they will earn by the sponsored links program, so they simply declare that “With a high degree of confidence we can say that sponsored links are not harming our sellers business as a whole“, since such a statement is supposed to allay the fears of sellers.

    Is it any coincidence that this program is a year old, and completed transactions have been shrinking over the last 12 months?

    The sponsored links appear at the bottom of search pages, and are inserted well be fore the links to additional pages in a buyers search. This placement leade buyers, especially new inexperienced buyers to believe that when they hit that sponsored link button they have run out of results, thus sellers move on without completing their search or making a purchase.

    eBay is so hungry for revenue that they ignore the fact that new buyers are shoved off eBay with the placement and location of these sponsored links.

    The ads may not compete with items within a category, but they do encourage buyers to take a look elsewhere. It would be like Target stores placing signs up that told customers that there are lots of things for sale at WalMart down the highway, then wondering why their sales volume declines.

    eBay used to prohibit outside links until they decided they could be the one to receive revenue for them, so now, sellers are prohibited from posting any outside links and their listings, but eBay is free to do so.

    EBay is losing their unique identity, no make that sellingf their unique identity as a retail web site.

  14. #13 Chris – how does eBay seller listings work? Yet to see my listings on competitors pages, how does the system work to ensure fairness or equity between sellers!
    #15 ricroe – agree entirely, the barmy bainite and his followers lost the plot some time ago – offsite sponsored links are a ludicrous innovation and will damage many an eBay sellers business despite the usual meaningless blandishments from the massed ranks of pinks!
    and finally….does this mean I can get a sponsored link to my website and amazon listings as well? LOL

  15. #16 You’re unlikely ever to see your listings on a competitors listing.

    Basically it’s a numbers thing – If you have for example 100 listings each with 4 competitor cross promotions that’s 400 views (if they’re only viewed once). You’re now due 400 views on competitors listings. Now count up how many competitors listings there are in the categories you list in – there’s probably 10s of 1000s if not 100s of 1000s of listings. Out of all those 10s of 1000s of competitor listings you’re due to be cross promoted on just 400. It’s like finding a needle in a haystack.

    Of course if you *do* see one that’s bad news, it’s one less view that potential buyers may see 😯

  16. Does anyone know the exact date when ebay instigated the ‘Employ Morons Only’ policy.

  17. I still feel that e-bay should be regulated by a third part non-profit organisation.

    Even better , I would wish for some kind of ombudsmen to safe guard sellers rights!

  18. for crying out loud folk need to get their minds round the fact
    that ebay is a profit making business,
    their responsible to their share holders ,and employees to make a profit ,
    they are not a charity , they are not an elected body

    ebay is not here to hold our hand ,.or be responsible to us ,other than the service they sell us,
    they offer a service at a cost, buy it ,use it, profit from it if you can, but its not ebays problem if you dont,

    if you dont like it, dont buy it

  19. Indeed.

    “This above all else, to thine own self be true” was excellent advice from Shakespeare but there is such a thing as enlightened self-interest and eBay do seem hell bent on alienating the very customers who provide eBay with the profits they are in business to make.

    There is another issue: eBay may not be a charity but it holds itself out as a “community”. That has been a profitable strategy for it in the past, but it should not be a surprise if the members of that community expect to be treated like stakeholders rather than cash cows.

  20. There is another issue: eBay may not be a charity but it holds itself out as a “community”.


    not to be religious, or helpful ,or charitable, I buy and sell for a living
    I am not qualified in Mental health care 😆
    though some say I am in need of it after 10 years on ebay

  21. The fundamental problem with Donahoe’s approach is his belief that making Ebay ‘safer’ will result in more sales. All he’s actually achieved is to reroute existing sales to a smaller circle of sellers. He’s done this by throwing the baby out with the bath water, as the significant loss of small shops in UK illustrates. It’s no longer profitable or feasible to trade in a marginal niche, however good your feedback is, because of shop, insertion and FVF fee hikes, combined with search changes.

    The diversity of the Ebay UK market place is declining. This will result in several unpleasant outcomes: the total number of sales will decline faster than the economy alone would predict as buyers migrate to other sites in pursuit of the niche sellers, fees in the middle band of shops must rise to cover lost revenue take from the small sellers, and the diamond sellers will gain greater leverage the fewer overall sellers there are. One wonders why they’re paying 7% FVF when the conversion rate is dropping so fast and they can compete better on price from direct web sales via Google.

    More sales? I don’t think so. Once the last of the SIFs expires around Christmas time, I think Ebay UK will find retaining small and middle shops a considerable challenge.

  22. most sellers suffer delusions of granduer, because thet pay ebay a fee
    they think like a buyer would, rather than a seller should,
    they need to get their head round the reality of the situation,
    ebay dont care too much about sellers,
    are not that important to them ,they have millions of them , like first world war generals had troops to use, not lives to lose,
    they probably end more auctions, and suspend more sellers, in any single day, than most imagine,

  23. I had some listings pulled on eBid last week Norf…I thought they only wanted the £50 sign on and that would be that, but the sods pulled them for having my web address in the title…”FFS” I said to them, “no bugger is ever gonna see it, whats the blinking problem?” 😆


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