Amazon vs eBay for buying media products

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Glenn is one of Tamebay’s regular commenters and has been contributing to the site for many years. Today he talks of his frustration when buying media on eBay and why he now buys on Amazon – simply because it’s easier to find what he wants. His solution? Get more of eBay catalogued to get rid of the clutter!

Like most sellers I also make purchases on eBay and Amazon. I love buying books and regularly pre-order unreleased books on Amazon along with other products and make various business purchases on both channels and as such I consider myself both a private and business buyer.

As a buyer my buying habits have changed considerably over the last 12 months to a point that practically all purchases are made on Amazon and very few on eBay.

If I search for any particular product on Amazon I will need to scroll down a list of possible products matching my search criteria until I identify the particular product I want and then pick from the filtered selection.

Not so with eBay. If I search on a particular product I will probably be presented with a list of products containing the search criteria I used and that list will contain several listings of the product I want intermixed with similar titled products. From this list I need to scroll up and down, ignoring the similar titled products and open a number of selected listing until I find one I want.

The eBay list of products presents me too many options, and I don’t include including various postage costs within this statement. Yes there may well be several listings of the product I want, but there will also be numerous similar titled products I don’t want interspersed between them. I have to scroll up and down ignoring the ones I don’t want.

Try searching ‘‘ on eBay and Amazon and you will see that Amazon lists a number of different but unique products all having ‘Hooked on Classics’ within the title. A search on eBay will also produce a range of products with ‘Hooked on Classics’ within the title, with numerous variations and duplications. I don’t want to scroll passed products I don’t want to view the product I do want and I am finding it harder and harder to find and then select a product from the lists produced by eBay.

On many occasions I have searched on one of my own listed products to see where it is positioned only to find that I can’t find my own product. A product I know exists and which I want to view is lost within a search criteria list.

Every time eBay runs a free listing day the matching criteria list for any particular product gets bigger and bigger. I am being overloaded with images and text and the process of opening then reading a product description, closing and then comparing it to identical products by different sellers is becoming hard work. I am spoilt for choice or more accurately eBay is being spoilt by choice.

With EANs and ISBNs there really is no reason why eBay doesn’t insist on sellers linking to the relevant EAN / ISBN and present matches in a manner similar to Amazon.

eBay has become more and more Amazonian over the last few years and I wonder if now is the time to take the leap and catalogue products.

The search functionality within eBay has been flawed for years and unless something is done to fix it things will only get worse. Until such time that choice means the selection of a chosen product from a relevant list of matching products, rather than a disjointed hotchpotch, eBay will be spoilt by choice.

4 Responses

  1. I think the answer to many of these questions, on the ebay side of the coin is that books especially and media in general has never been that sexy to eBay so it has lacked investment and development.

    The golden children, eBay Motors, then Fashion and now Home & Garden are where the money goes.

    Also, most eBay staffers are artistically illiterate in my experience, past their MBAs and college drinking games. ;o) Not great readers.

  2. amazon vs ebay for me is the easiest questions you could ask me…amazon everytime, why? No other internet based business i’ve dealt with in my 12 years of buying online can come close to the after sales service that amazon provides. I’ve lost count of the number of times a product has failed (sometimes over a year) and they have sent me out a replacement without having to send the faulty one back first. Follow that up with they’ll even front the return costs and you have an unmatched service. That type of peace of mind is invaluable.

  3. It’s all very well asking for everything to be catalogued in the media section.

    How do you catalogue a 1950’s vinyl record 1960’s cassette tape or indeed that rare first edition 19th centry book without an EAN number ?

    Methinks a more suitable soloution would be revisit the segregation of business sellers of new product on a seperate search and leave the business sellers of used goods to battle it out with the ‘Private’ sellers free listing days (Weekends)

  4. In the US it is a bit different. Perform that same search on .com and you’ll see a tab at the top letting you match against products instead. That sounds like what you describe when you talk about Amazon. I don’t know why the catalog isn’t as common on the sites outside of the US though.


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