Multivariation Search & Browse manipulation on eBay

Too many people are spamming Best Match by adding cheap products to their variation listings according to Tamebay reader Damien and I agree with him. It’s search and browse manipulation and it’s a rubbish buying experience.

eBay say that “If a seller uses tactics that can inappropriately divert bidders and buyers to a listing, we’ll take action”, but they don’t seem to be checking spurious variations to display attractive prices that in reality aren’t offered. Here’s what Damien had to say:

PriceWhilst searching for appropriate iPad covers to buy for my units for resale I noticed a continued trend of offering seemingly cheap covers for only £0.99. However on closer inspection the 99p offer is for a screen protector or stylus only, if you choose a cover from the drop down menu offered in the listing the price then shoots back up.

Best-Match-SpamThe image to the right shows an example. Notice the price when you first visit the listing is 99p, in search results it shows up as “£0.99 to £9.99”, but when you make a selection for anything other than the stylus the price jumps to £9.99.

The titles make no attempt to reference that they’re also selling 99p guff in the listing so it’s obviously an attempt by sellers to jump up the front page for cheapest items. Whilst searching for all items in this price bracket I’d say virtually 99% of sellers were using this trick.

As a buyer it’s pretty annoying as I’ve now lost confidence in finding cheap cases to buy as it’s too much of a ball ache to find a listing at the advertised price!

Has this been noticed before by yourself? Is it something new?