eBay.com has announced a new policy on duplicate listings, forbidding sellers from posting facsimile Buy It Now listings for identical items. The new policy comes into force on 26th October (so not the 60 days notice of any change that eBay has previously promised).
; the edited highlights are:
- Sellers may have only one fixed price listing for any particular item. If you have multiples to sell, this must be from a single, multi-item listing.
- Different fixed price listings for similar items “must address a clear buyer benefit or need and must be clearly reflected in the listing title, price, photo or description”; 100 envelopes vs. 1000 envelopes, new iPod versus refurbished iPod.
- For the purposes of this policy, all a seller’s IDs count as one: you cannot list 100 envelopes on memberid001 and 100 envelopes on memberid002 to get around it.
- You can’t specify brands on generic models to get around the policy.
- Simply being in different categories doesn’t constitute difference.
- New BIN listings will no longer get a boost in Best Match.
- “a duplicate listing look-up tool will be available in the next couple of weeks” (couldn’t they launch it at the same time as the policy announcement? surely eBay has a project manager or two around the place!)
though as far as I can see, it’s not being enforced very strongly; I’ve seen quite a few duplicate BINs in my shopping sprees of the last couple of weeks. eBay.com will apparently be looking at title, price, photo and/or description to determine duplicity. Duplicate listings will be automatically ended after 26th October; for the first transgression, eBay will refund listing fees but for duplicate sins, there may be an escalating range of sanctions up to and including account suspension.
What do sellers need to do?
If you’re running duplicate BINs on eBay.com now, then before 26th October, you need to consolidate them into one multiple item listing. Identify your best-performing listing, add all other stock to that and end the rest. Listing fees for these items will not be refunded.
Items where the colour and size differ won’t be considered identical, but for the boost in Best Match, it’s better to list these as one listing with variations, rather than separate listings.