eBay consider bidding on fees for visibility

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In a survey of sellers eBay have asked an interesting question which could suggest the way they’re planning to take the site forward – How would you feel if you could bid on your Final Value Fees which would improve your ranking in search results?

That’s a big difference to how fees have been charged up until now. Currently you have certainty on what your final value fees will be according to a set fee schedule. The survey suggests that in the future you’ll be able to bid for higher final value fees in exchange for greater visibility.

The only similar program eBay have run in the pass was eBay AdCommerce which was launched in 2008 and later scrapped in 2011, although an earlier keyword program was trialled in the US for a period starting in 2004.

What the survey didn’t indicate was whether the possible new program would be mandatory or an optional extra. It also didn’t reveal exactly what you would be bidding on – would it be similar to the old AdCommerce program where you bid on keywords, or would it be more akin to the now defunct Featured First and Featured Plus listing enhancements where your item would remain visible in it’s normal place in search results but receive additional visibility on top.

eBay fees are the highest that they’ve ever been. I was reminiscing a few days ago on the days where with careful planning it was possible to get your entire eBay bill (Insertion fees, enhancement fees, shop fees and final value fees) below 8%. These day’s that’s totally impossible as most categories attract final value fees of 10% – eBay fees are already the highest that they’ve ever been.

Of course we don’t know if you’d be able to bid significantly under the current 10% (variable by category) fees you’re currently paying, or if it would simply be an option to pay eBay even higher fees. I suspect that one of the reasons for eBay removing features such as Featured First was that sellers could simply pay for visibility for listings which weren’t the best offers available for buyers thus gaming eBay Best Match. It’s strange that they’d then introduce another option which again would let sellers pay to bypass Best Match and promote less attractive offers.

Would you be willing to pay higher final value fees in exchange for greater visibility? How much room do you have on your profit margins to bid in a Google AdWords style manner for visibility? How much would you need your sell through rates to increase to justify paying higher fees?

19 Responses

  1. I would not bid up for more visibility.

    It only took me three months to become top rated in my niche. Being a top rated seller is not something that is even overly important. The items still sell if you aren’t top rated.

    This is why paying more money for increased visibility will only help the very biggest companies. Isn’t the reason people truly love eBay is because it’s a good opportunity for small businesses?

  2. The idea makes my stomach turn…

    I’m top rated and very high in best match. I’ve put a lot in (and still do) to get to this position though.

    Would I WANT to bid for higher visibility? No, certainly not. But would I have a choice though? Whilst I may be on top now if there are 10 competitors happy to pay 15% or 20% fees then before you know it I’m on page 2…

    I wouldn’t like it, but I WOULD bid for maximum visibility.

  3. What about offering reduced fees of say 5% for lower rankings in search?

    I have absolutely no problem with that. No mention of this option in the survey though.

  4. we are all in effect already bidding for higher visibilty, in striving to attain high best match, and top rated seller status,
    these do not come without Cost!

  5. Sounds like a crock of BS to me.

    As Gary mentioned, **** sellers will be able to buy Best Match placement at the cost of good sellers who haven’t needed to because they offer a cracking service.

    Get ****ed eBay.

  6. Awful idea, and I hope it never sees light of day. I think featured enhancements should never have been retired

  7. What are buyers going to make of an eBay search that can be manipulated by those with deeper pockets?

    Maybe this survey should have been forwarded to buyers to get their reaction.

  8. eBay have spent so long telling sellers that increased visibility comes from performance / service / item specifics etc, then they float the idea that you can ‘buy’ visibility regardless?

    Not the first time in their history that they have turned 180 degrees, but this one must at least be in the Top 10 for bare-faced cheek!

    I couldn’t even consider planning a business strategy that is critically reliant on ebay, nowadays.

  9. we have mouths to feed, families that rely on us for the roof over their head, bills to pay, if increased visibilty puts more food on the table, we will do and pay what it takes , were not on a crusade , or looking for awards ,we are a business that needs to make a profit

  10. Not so long ago some sellers hogged the front page with duplicate listings, now they’ll hog them another way, by paying extra, just as they effectively did with the multiple listings. The customer loses out as inevitably prices will rise due to increased adverising fees, and what now about seller performance?, which Ebay have been banging on about for years.

  11. Judging by the comments on here I suspect the respondents to this survey said the same… I don’t think we’ve got anything to worry about. It’s just an idea they’re “throwing around” and I think it’ll be stopped in its tracks before coming to fruition. (He says, frantically searching for a piece of wood to touch…)

  12. everyone ebay seller should bid 1% and then we would all be winners 🙂 laughing in ebays face

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