New eBay Feed emails are spammed by sellers

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Whilst I love the new eBay Feed currently live on eBay.com and coming to the UK in 2013, I’m not loving the email marketing coming from the Feed.

eBay have made a fundamental change with the Feed, that it allows me to tell eBay what products I’m interested in, and then eBay display the newest matching products up front on the eBay home page giving me a constantly updated view of merchandise of interest to me.

Sadly I’m getting so fed up with the feed emails that I’m tempted to unsubscribe. Unlike the Feed which shows me the latest products recently listed on eBay, the email marketing defaults to show me the most watched items and the most bid on items.

While bids are a good indicator of popularity, most watched items on eBay have quite frankly always been rubbish. It’s too easy to game. That most watched items aren’t that relevant is indicated by the fact eBay have scrapped eBay Pulse. Whilst Pulse used to show popular searches, it also displayed the most watched items on eBay.

Compare the images above from three emails received several weeks apart. The most watched item appears to be the same in all three. They are not the same, it’s three different auctions. Not only is this three different auctions spread over the course of a month, but they’re all from the same seller and none of them got a single bid.

What’s the chance I ask of three listings for a tatty $10 hat being the most watched items in my Feed? I can only think of two reasons – one is these are extremely desirable items (in which case why no sales) and the other reason is that someone is gaming the most watched items on eBay.

If eBay want the Feed email marketing to be a success they need to stop showing me the most watched items, period! The chances are they’ll often be the same from week to week and the whole point of the Feed is that it reveals the unusual unique items which won’t be found by being the most watched.

eBay should trust the technology they’ve built and the new serendipity that the Feed has to offer. As soon as humans (either eBay, or their site users) get some input they’ll scam and skew the Feed until it’s useless.

5 Responses

  1. It’s still in beta. Just wait till it goes fully featured!!

    In the meantime, I have unsubscribed.

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