There’s a new way that some unscrupulous sellers have found to game eBay’s Best Match search. It involves using keyword spamming recognised brand names so that listings are returned in search results.
Many years ago eBay banned using Brand Names in Item Titles, you are not allowed to use brand names in titles, other than the specific brand name used by the company that manufactured or produced the item you’re listing. However sellers have discovered that they can add brand names to variation fields and this has the same effect.
eBay use variation data to return relevant search results, you don’t need to include information such as size, colour, brand or other relevant keywords in your titles if you’ve used them as a variation. Having the keywords as a variation is just as good as having them in your title.
Sellers appear to have figured out that using a long variation string means that only the first 30 characters are displayed. Any other characters are hidden from view, but crucially they’re still used in eBay search. By hiding brand Names in the hidden portion of variation titles these sellers are getting unwarranted views and doubtless believe they’re attracting more sales.
By only using one variation option for keyword spamming, there are no variations for the buyers to select from – The only possible reason for having the variation is for keyword spamming.
Sadly reporting the item to eBay is unlikely to gain a response. The only options on eBay’s reporting flow is “Search and browse manipulation – Keyword spamming”. The trouble is any customer support rep will scan the listing and fail to see the spam keywords as they’re cleverly hidden from view and there is no free text ability on the reporting tool to explain where the keyword spamming is occurring.
We wouldn’t recommend trying this method of keyword spamming – We would hope that when caught eBay will sanction the sellers and cancel all their offending listings losing their Best Match history and recent sales data. However we would be interested if you’ve seen listings using this keyword spamming method (please don’t name sellers in public). We’d like to know if it’s a wide spread issue or just a handful of isolated incidents.