eBay.com introduces Duplicate Listings Policy

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Rubber Ducks with SunglasseseBay.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.

Creative Commons License photo credit: DavidDennisPhotos.com

5 Responses

  1. There are numerous DVD sellers on ebay who sell on multiple accounts to avoid duplicate listing. Zavvi and The Hut outlets are just one example. There are other small business sellers selling DVDs on 3 or 4 ID’s. ebay don’t pay any attention to this.

    Why bring in new rules if they don’t enfore them?

  2. Thankfully I sell as auction with buy it now — *BUT* this change just makes things more generic…

    IE — I might be selling five atari systems. Yes they are all atari 2600s but each one is definitely cosmetically different.

    Are they trying to turn everyone into the megaseller types who just use a generic picture of an atari 2600 and you get whatever is there without knowing what it looks like specifically?

    This can be the same thing even with a game cart — One atari cart might have significant actiplaque on it and be of marginal quality conditionwise while a different one might be pristine. Same game — 50% difference in price say.

  3. I’m all for removing duplicate listings but there are some problems I have with this.

    a duplicate listing look-up tool will be available

    Duplicate listings will be automatically ended after 26th October

    for duplicate sins, there may be an escalating range of sanctions up to and including account suspension.

    And that is just wrong. Why on earth did eBay make a rule and create an automated system that punishes sellers who violate it when they could just use the same system to FILTER out those listings at listing time? Just display an error saying “Duplicate listing, Learn More” and be done with it.

    I understand there would still be a need to enforce people trying to get around such a filter if it existed.

    New BIN listings will no longer get a boost in Best Match.

    That basically ends any chances of successfully entering any competitive niche. If you aren’t on the first page 90% of buyers (that’s a real number) will never know your listing ever existed. You don’t even get a chance to explain why they should buy from you instead. This also means that it is never advantageous to end a listing and start fresh (I was considering writing an app that did that sort of analysis).

  4. The other problem is their shipping tools are not robust enough.

    If they are going to have this, it should allow you to enter multiple shipping locations and choose the closest when people look up the order. If you have 2 warehouses for an item (say one on the west coast and one on the east coast) you can no longer have one listing for each.

    Their shipping tool isnt great anyway because it doesnt add the 19 cents for delivery confirmation if someone chooses parcel post nor does it do electronic rates for priority mails. One wonders is this is a subtle push towards ups where they do allow you to have it calculate the discounts?

  5. Hi is the listing tool available now on Ebay uk?
    As i noticed that when i relist some how i relist items twice (i know i am lazy and if in a rush hit the bulk relist button)

    The tool would help me if will give a warning before i list it.

    New BIN listings will no longer get a boost in Best Match.

    That must be in action at the moment on ebay uk or my business is in serious trouble as sales are so low.

    Though in beauty all websites are constantly offering sales extra items for the same price and 20% discount codes as i sign up to see what is happening with the competion.

    Has anyone else noticed their sales drop on BIN which the only way i sell (several suppliers will only let me sell on ebay that way)
    Sorry for long q’s



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