eBay UK showing duplicate BINs in search results

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We’ve been asked recently by a number of people whether eBay UK have abandoned their duplicate listings policy, which says that a seller may have no more than 15 identical listings live at any one time, and that only one of these can be fixed price. The policy stated that additional listings beyond these limits would be hidden in search results – essentially, that sellers would be allowed to pay for items which would not show up in search.

eBay told us this morning that yes, they have stopped hiding duplicate listings, because they believe these no longer offer sellers any advantage: in fact, they are likely to make a seller’s listings perform worse under Best Match:

Since the full roll out of the latest version of Best Match we believe that duplicate listings no longer give a seller an advantage as we now rate on recent sales divided by search impressions. If a seller makes duplicate listings it will spread their sales per impression score across many items and as a result that listing will drop down in search.

If you’ve been listing duplicates and find your items slipping in search result position, this may well be the reason. However counter-intuitive it feels to list fewer items, listing extra BINs will hurt you under Best Match. And of course, it leaves you vulnerable to reporting by competitors.

A couple of other points while we’re on this topic: last week, we were contacted by a seller who had been told by his account manager that eBay had “for legal reasons”, discontinued the automatic removal of duplicate listings. We were pretty surprised by this, as we’d never heard either from eBay or from sellers that this was being done. eBay have said that duplicate listings aren’t and never have been automatically removed: the only time they are removed is when they’re reported, and this is done manually.

It’s worth also saying that eBay point out a large number of reports on duplicates relate to auction listings, not to BINs. Sellers may run up to 15 identical auctions, so don’t waste your time reporting them unless there really are more than that number.

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