Other sellers’ items will be added to your auctions too

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In March, eBay announced that they’d be adding cross-promotional advertising to fixed price listings on eBay UK. Today, they’ve announced that as of 17th May, on UK auction listings.

I think that the seller arguments about this have been pretty well rehearsed. If you want to opt out, you can (at the moment):

  • Log in to your eBay account.
  • Under “Account,” select “Marketing Tools”
  • Under “Item Promotion,” click “Promote Similar Items”

What I want to talk about here is how this works for buyers. In short: it sucks.

We all know that buyers ought to read everything before they click anything. We all know that they don’t – that *we* don’t. There are conventions on the internet, just like there are for every other media channel – and one of those conventions is that the “you might also like” section has items that you can add in to your order without really thinking about it. I’ve been buying on eBay for over a decade now: I write about eBay, I comment on eBay, I’ve written blog posts about how ridiculous this very change is… and yet in the last month, even I have been caught out twice buying items from the cross-promo section assuming that they’re from the same seller… only to find out later that they’re not, and I’m stuck paying two lots of carriage where I was only expecting to pay one. If I’ve done it, then what hope for the newbie buyer?

A chum who sells in the Crafts category told me of a new buyer she dealt with recently, who requested a combined invoice for “the nine items I’ve just bought from you”. Except she hadn’t: she’d bought nine items from nine sellers, and instead of the fiver or so she was expecting to pay in postage, ended up with nine invoices with postage totalling close to fifty quid. As sellers, we can condemn this buyer for “not reading things properly” — or we can acknowledge that she was working by conventions that benefit us all by making internet shopping feel comfortable, and we can condemn eBay themselves for making what should be an easy experience into a difficult and confusing one.

When this change was first brought in, I was ambivalent. I thought the advantages for sellers from the greater publicity might just outweigh the disadvantages of having other sellers’ items on my listings. I was wrong. Think like a buyer. This is confusing, stupid, and you should opt out.

6 Responses

  1. I opted in. I understand what you mean about how buyers see this.

    As a result of the new set up I receive requests through the message system from buyers who are requesting a combined quote for items that I am not selling through eBay but others are.

    The upside of these emails is that this enables me to cross sell “off eBay” if I happen to be selling these items “off eBay”.

    This may not be the result eBay were hoping for with this cross promo thing. I would suggest that eBay have shot themselves in the foot with this idea!

  2. the item listing page should be as clear and as uncluttered as possible with what it is, how much it is ,and how you pay stuffed up your bugle
    the rest is just confusion

  3. Just like going to Tescos, buying your stuff and being told at the till:

    ‘That item is actually from Sainsbury’s, as you have picked it up you will have to go pay Sainsbury’s’

    Very confusing, very stupid, not at all buyer friendly.

    And it is most likely to impact buyers/sellers where multiple purchases are the norm.


  4. As a seller/business person for the last 30 years pouring money into marketing/advertising with little or no effective measurement of direct benefit has always been a pain. Here eBay has an opportunity to say “before you opt out just look at the extra clicks your listings have had because of cross promotion”. But of course they won’t do that.



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