Auctionbytes has some interesting comments from an eBay rep on how the new eBay.com duplicate auctions policy is being enforced.
Earlier this month, eBay.com made an addition to its to disallow duplicate auctions with low sell-through rates. Here’s the new bit:
If you have too many duplicate auction-style listings that don’t end in sales, you may be in violation of this policy. If you don’t have a strong record in converting these types of duplicate listings into sales, you’ll need to remove the listings, and you won’t be allowed to list duplicate auction-style listings in the future. If you do, we may remove the listings or give them less visibility in search results. If you continue to list duplicate auction-style listings, you may lose your selling privileges or your account may be suspended.
Note that this doesn’t specify how many “too many” is, or what a “strong record” on sales conversions might be.
There’s been no official announcement of this policy and it doesn’t seem to have been included in the either.
Hidden away is a little more information:
Before you can have duplicate auction-style listings, you’ll need to achieve and maintain at least a 30% average sell-through rate for all of your duplicate auction–style listings by the deadline indicated in your notification. That means at least 30% of your ended duplicate auction-style listings must sell by your deadline week and you must at least maintain that rate going forward. Otherwise, your duplicate auction-style listings may be subject to removal. Continuing to list duplicate auction-style listings while your sell-through rate is less than 30% could lead to selling restrictions or account suspension.
So there we go: 30% it is.
I’ve got to say, I’m broadly in favour of this policy. As a buyer, duplicate listings are a pain to scroll through whether they’re in auction format or buy-it-now. As a seller… well, if it isn’t selling, don’t waste your time and shoppers’ listing and listing and listing: liquidate the stock and move on to something that *will* sell.
What I’m not in favour of is the way this policy appears to be being implemented. With no general announcement, the first (it seems) a seller is going to know is when they get a call to say they’re violating the policy. This is no way to treat your customers. eBay, yet again, appear to forget that sellers invest in their eBay businesses: time, to create listings, and money, in stock. If they’re going to change the way that stock can be sold, the very least they should do is give a decent notice period so sellers can work out other strategies (and other channels).
For the avoidance of doubt, this policy is in place only on eBay.com. It does not (yet) affect sellers on eBay UK, where the allows up to 15 identical auctions.