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Clarification of duplicate listing policy

By Chris Dawson January 15, 2009 - 2:56 pm

duplicatelistingsFrom 27th January eBay UK will begin to enforce the new Duplicate Listing Policy which limits sellers to a single fixed price listing and no more than 15 listings in total for each physical product that they stock.

Many sellers have been asking exactly what is considered a duplicate. Essentially if the product is different (eg size) then it should be highlighted in the item title. For myself this could include products such as used printers with different page counts.

It’s a little less clear how to handle products which fit multiple items. e.g. a battery may fit a watch as well as a hearing aid, a spark plug may fit a Ford Ka, A Ford Mondeo and an S Type Jaguar and there simply isn’t room in the 55 character title of an eBay listing to fit this information.

eBay have confirmed that they will allow multiple listings of the same item to cater for fitment across a range of devices/products. Sellers will be allowed to list a total of 15 identical listings, with a maximum of one Buy-It-Now listing in each variation of the listing. This in effect means a seller could have 15 fixed price listings if each was in the form “XYZ widget to fit ABC device”.

Sellers should be aware that even though the fitment relaxation of the Duplicate Listing Policy allows for multiple fixed price listings there is still a limit of one per title and 15 per physical product. Launching 15 of each variant (even if only one of each variant is a fixed price listing) will not be allowed.

With just 12 days left before the policy comes into effect now is the time to cast an eye over your listings to ensure that you’re compliant or will be by the 27th.

  • board_surfer
    11 years ago

    Looks more like a complicated shambles than a clarification to me.

    Thank god i basically sell one offs.

  • 11 years ago

    #2 Tis a much needed clarification – that screen shot is some of my listings. One product which fits about a zillion different model laptops and only sells if the model is in the title.

    Good news though – I can carry on with duplicate BINs using “Fitment” in the title to get them classified by eBay as within the policy πŸ˜€

  • northumbrian
    11 years ago

    seems to us ebay enforce rules on a very hit and miss basis

  • northumbrian
    11 years ago

    it just depends who dobs you in, and how persistant they are,

  • Jimbo
    11 years ago

    I would agree with 1. Seems like eBay made a new policy which really was fairly simple to follow and then and then capitulated & diluted it.

  • 11 years ago

    #5 Seems to me like they introduced a new policy before they implemented a new site feature to sort out “fitment” type items πŸ˜‰

  • Pete
    11 years ago

    Lost me…so if we sell a hat that comes in red, blue, pink. Does that mean I am allowed 1 listing per colour? not up to 15 like it used to be.

    …and to be honest I think the “fitment” hole will just allow the people who abuse the duplicate listings to carry on.

  • 11 years ago

    You’re allowed one FIXED price listing per colour – but 15 in total including auctions.

    The fitment hole won’t allow people to carry on abusing the duplicate listings – they’ll still be limited to a total of 15 per physical product, unlike up til now when they’ve been allowed 15 per title.

  • Jimbo
    11 years ago

    So you can list aaa battery to fit Sony remote. aaa battery to fit JVC remote etc.
    aaa battery to fit philips MP3 player aaa battery to fit, Creative MP3 player etc.

    How about hair brush for blonde hair, hair brush for red head etc

  • 11 years ago

    #6 However you dress it up, the initial announcement was confusing, I can’t see how this new update helps much, the implementation which follows will probably be up to it’s normal standard, and as usual my account manager is telling me something completely different to the policy.

    I won’t be wasting much time on this one…not even half way through January yet and already a major headache for some sellers.

  • 11 years ago

    #10 Confusing ain’t the word for it πŸ˜€

    I can see a ton of people reporting people wrongly and listings being pulled followed by apologies. I can see the same ton of people complaining that competitors appear to get away with breaking the rules when in fact they’re not.

    It’s going to be interesting to say the least 😯

  • board_surfer
    11 years ago

    interesting = shambles

    there has to be a simpler way.

    that is just overly complicated.

  • Nikki at Big Beautiful Bras
    11 years ago

    Still confused esp by your post at 8 Chris.

    I sell bras. So in one style & colurway I can have up to 30 variants of back and cup size ie 30FF, 38G, 34DD. Are you saying that I will only be able to list 15 sizes of one style at a time? Or is that I can only list the 30FF bra as a fixed price once and the same for all other sizes in that style ?

  • Pete
    11 years ago

    #13 I think you have made a very important point. The fact that this policy will rely on member reports is a complete joke.

    No-one understands it let alone the reason for it, although I believe the real reason is to move sellers across to the auction style format over BIN. There will be listings removed when they shouldn’t be and accounts will be suspended in error due to violations that haven’t actually happened.

  • Bunchy
    11 years ago

    14# ebay never act on reports anyway, so basically sellers abusing the system can carry on the same as before.
    What’s the point of this really? Nothing will change.

  • 11 years ago

    I’m with Nikki from BBB on this – I sell French knickers and one line comes in three colours and 5 sizes, making 15 items. Obviously each is different, but the rules are confusing (to me anyway…)

    I often have one of each size and colour on BIN, plus several more listed for auction. Surely each size and colour will count as a ‘different’ item…?

    I do see the point of this policy – it’s really offputting when searching to come across a page of identical listings. I like to make sure that even items that are the same have slightly different gallery photos so that they look different in the listings. I think that really helps, and I also change the wording in the titles for some too, in the hope I will catch the customer’s eye with at least one!

    So if eBay UK are doing this, why is eBay.com dropping the policy?

    Jane
    Silk Dreams Lingerie

  • 11 years ago

    @ Nikki and Anacyclus
    I don’t see any way that eBay can consider different sized items as duplicates. I mean seriously if I need a size 34 waist there is no way a size 30 waist is gonna be of any use to me. Equally a size 38 and I’ll be looking ridiculous.

    I would strongly suggest having the size and colour/style in the title though. Whether you’d be limited to a total of 15 total including one BIN for ALL size/colour choices or whether it would be 15 total including one BIN for EACH size/colour choice I honestly don’t know. The policy ain’t exactly clear… I’ll try and get further clarification.

  • 11 years ago

    Hi Chris – yes I agree. If I list more than 15 pairs of Pink French knicks in a size Large, that’s duplication. Listing 15 or more in various sizes and colours isn’t. Or at least, that’s how I understand it.

    So – you need the French knickers in a size 34″ waist, not the 30″ or the 38″? Would that be the pink ones? I see you more in the ivory silk ones, with the lace and chiffon frills round the legs….

    😯

  • 11 years ago

    #18 I bow to your superior judgment as I’m no expert πŸ˜›

  • 11 years ago

    Jane – if it helps – you can take advantage of the Choice Listing Policy !

    For a multiple BIN listing of one size – you can offer a choice of colour, but you need to ensure your item titles are different, (include the size in each title), so you don’t contravene the Multiple Lisings Policy

    http://pages.ebay.co.uk/help/policies/listing-choice.html

  • 11 years ago

    @ Nikki and Anacyclus

    Good news – Clothing sellers will not have a problem πŸ˜€

    Listings of the same shirt on different sizes or colour are not considered duplicate. Sellers are encouraged to create different listings and fill-in as many item specifics as possible so that buyers can filter by, say, colour or size etc.

    Or in other words your white 34C bra is not a duplicate listing of the exact same bra in a 36C and it’s also different to the black 34C too πŸ™‚

  • 11 years ago

    Phew – thanks for clarifying, Chris. I didn’t think this policy would affect me, as I only do one listing anyway, but when I read the earlier part of the thread, I started worrying as I have 35 different colours of glitter!

    I know I can offer a colour choice on multiple listings and have in the past, but that opens a whole other can of worms (in getting the buyer to communicate what colour(s) they actually want, and potential misunderstandings about what they are getting).

  • Pete
    11 years ago

    Do you think for one second that eBay staff will have a single simple understanding of this policy. I would be willing to guarantee that if we all called our AM, each one would give a different answer.

  • 11 years ago

    #23 You know me, I’d love to be proved wrong on this one… but I can’t see this one being as smooth as one would like πŸ˜›

  • Andy
    11 years ago

    Same ebay BS – just a different day. Clarification my arse! πŸ™‚

  • Nikki at Big Beautiful Bras
    11 years ago

    Thanks Chris for the clarification. I thought that different sizes would be OK but have learnt never to underestimate the weird spin that ebay put on the most simple looking policies.

  • Hereford United Fan
    11 years ago

    I can’t decide if I should dob my competitors. I think I benefit from having just one listing when I have a large number of items because as I sell them I go to the top of the best match. If my competitors have just one lsiting they will rise up the best match too.

    So should I report them or leave them?

  • 11 years ago

    #27 Now that *is* a dilemma!

    Based on laziness I’d opt for leaving them to compete against themselves in Best Match πŸ˜€

  • David Portnoy
    11 years ago

    This is a very stupid policy. What they should do is do what the US site did (although the US site pulled it back recently) and use finding 2.0, this way people can post as many duplicate listings as they want and buyers at the same time will only see one listing.

    I do post a few duplicate listings for fixed priced and I could care less if it shows up only once in search results. My items do well in a couple of different categories, and people find these items by browsing through the categories.

  • 11 years ago

    the reason i shop more on amazon is because its not stuffed to the gills with the same items page after page, hopefully this shall help.
    some people have over 130 of exactly the same item in my cats being repeated on an hourly re-list chedule. no wonder ebay has to act.

    hopefully with best match if you search for AAA batteries their is probably only a few hundred sellers but 10,000 listing, it may give everybody a fighting chance to be seen

  • Roger
    11 years ago

    Can anyone tell me what will happen to me.
    I sell car bulb H1, H4, H7 with listing over 1000, each listing has different title with car model and years. Will this considered duplicate listing?

    Roger

  • 11 years ago

    You can have 15 listings for an H1 car bulb. Each can be either an auction or a BIN but each BIN must have a different model/year car in the title.

    You can have 15 listings for an H4 and H7 car bulbs in a similar fashion to above.

    You can not have 1000 listings of each as they’re the same physical product. You’re limited to 15.

    (And yes I know that’s a really big problem and sorry to have to be the one to tell you πŸ™ )

  • Pete
    11 years ago

    In my opinion yes, because there is only one physical product, the fact that it fits multiple cars makes no difference. But remember this policy relies on member reports.

    Also, does anyone know if you get an eBay slap (violation) or do they just limit the visibility of the listings down to the qty allowed.

  • Pete
    11 years ago

    #32 I thought that you would only be allowed 1 BIN for each physical product, the rest (upto 15) would need to be auction format or BIN with auction format.

    The title being different is only an indication as to whether or not the product is a duplicate and not an absolute deciding factor.

  • 11 years ago

    #34 As per the original post above

    “eBay have confirmed that they will allow multiple listings of the same item to cater for fitment across a range of devices/products. Sellers will be allowed to list a total of 15 identical listings, with a maximum of one Buy-It-Now listing in each variation of the listing. This in effect means a seller could have 15 fixed price listings if each was in the form β€œXYZ widget to fit ABC device”.”

  • Roger
    11 years ago

    Would be interested to see what happen to other sellers as they are atleast 10 times bigger that me, in term of listing and feedback.

  • Mark
    11 years ago

    Hello Chris, has eBay actual clarified this ‘fitment relaxation of the Duplicate Listing Policy’ on the site because I cant find it anywhere other than on this site and to me it sounds too good to be true and a massive exploitable loophole in the policy that can be applied to so many products it nearly makes the whole policy null and void. I was getting ready to change all my listings until I read your comments only to find out that I am virtually in compliance already just by having up to 15 different fitment item titles for identical BIN items. I just don’t know what to believe.

  • keithf
    11 years ago

    What about the US sellers with allowed duplicate listings on eBay.com, also using the international site visibility for fixed price which is still available there, to show their items on eBay.co.uk?

  • 11 years ago

    #37 It’s all held in the duplicate listing FAQ posted on various eBay forums

    The only thing that’s not covered (or been mentioned above) is that listing duplicate items on multiple ids is likely to be frowned upon and probably be interpreted as Search and Browse Manipulation by eBay.

  • Pete
    11 years ago

    #39 Using multiple id’s would be one way round, especially as eBay rely on member reports as other members wouldn’t have a clue about multiple id’s.

    This policy simply doesn’t have the teeth to stop the problems it’s designed for.

    They should be looking at other more important listing violations.

  • 11 years ago

    #40 The US introduced a search and browse manipulation policy which includes the pretty broad “Any other activity that eBay deems as inappropriately diverting members to a listing or harming the finding experience for buyers.”

    That’s been used to include listing on multiple IDs in order to avoid search / listing restrictions. I really wouldn’t recommend it unless the products are materially different or the quantities/price differ substantially.

  • 11 years ago

    One way for eBay to go is to only allow NEW items to be listed with valid EAN numbers. If the item is not in the eBay catalogue then the seller can add it if they have an EAN number. There would be no problem with duplicate listings. Lets face it nearly all NEW items come with EAN numbers and you can always buy your own anyway.
    Sean

  • 11 years ago

    #42 Don’t give them ideas Sean πŸ˜† although I think that is pretty much on the cards for this year anyway.

  • 11 years ago

    Lets face it nearly all NEW items come with EAN numbers and you can always buy your own anyway……. and that’s Amazon’s biggest problem. People running out to buy a bunch of EANs and a few stickers with their logo on. They then plonk a sticker on each product and claim it’s their own “brand” when in reality it’s some generic far east manufactured product identical to what everyone else is selling.

    And of course people would simply make up a few extra EANs claiming non-existent design / manufacturer differences to bend the duplicate listings policy even further πŸ™

  • northumbrian
    11 years ago

    thank the lord the only thing I have two of is bollocks

  • Mark
    11 years ago

    Hi Chris, I spoke to my account manager yesterday to get clarification on the ‘fitment relaxation of the Duplicate Listing Policy’ who could not give me a firm answer until today after the team had had a meeting about the policy this afternoon. Having just spoken to him now he has told me that the so called ‘fitment relaxation’ is not allowed and although it may fool the system initially if someone reports any identical BIN regardless of having different item fitments in the title those listings will be considered identical and removed. Any further comment about this?

  • 11 years ago

    Mark I’d suggest directing your account manager to the information being given out by eBay on the forums e.g. http://forums.ebay.co.uk/thread.jspa?threadID=1100218861&tstart=0&mod=1231844103295

    There’s a lot of confusion over what’s allowed and what’s not (and sadly probably will be a lot of reported listings pulled incorrectly πŸ™ )

    Sounds like your account manager is talking about “one BIN plus up to 14 auctions *per fitment*” not being allowed as opposed to “one BIN per fitment and not more than 15 total listings per physical item”.

    Trouble is if you and your account manager and eBay employees on the boards are confused now, what’s it going to be like on the 27th? 😯

  • pete
    11 years ago

    #46 same info here, also you will only get a violation “slap” if it is pulled due to a member report. If the system picks it up, the listing will simply not be shown.

    That is worrying because how will we know if the “system” thinks your listings are duplicate in error and reduces visibility, the only sign you will have is sales will drop and you won’t know why.

  • Mark
    11 years ago

    Chris I am confused here, where does it clarify ‘fitment relaxation’ on the link you posted? The only point that concerns me is how many BIN listings can we have per identical item and the answer is 1 regardless of the fitment specified in the item title. I was on the phone with my account manager for an hour clarifying it, I also refered him to these comments. Would you agree with that, or how do you see it? From your comments I thought you were saying that you can have 15 BIN’s for an identical item as long as each item title reflects a different fitment, correct? If this is what you believe then can you link me to where it says that because I have been told categorically that this is not allowed. This is from an integrated account manager in the top powersellers team. Sorry if I am misunderstanding you, I don’t mean to be pedantic.

  • Pete
    11 years ago

    Take a look at this, a great video:

    http://www.viddler.com/explore/aswas/videos/15/

  • 11 years ago

    #49 Mark from the fitment info on the link http://forums.ebay.co.uk/thread.jspa?threadID=1100218861&tstart=0&mod=1231844103295 ….

    # Example of listings allowed:

    Sellers listing individual mobile phone fascias that can fit Samsung, Nokia and Motorola phones may do the following:

    # Have 5 separate listings for mobile phone fascias for Samsung (of which only one can be a Buy-It-Now listing)
    # Have 5 separate listings for mobile phone fascias for Nokia (of which only one can be a Buy-It-Now listing)
    # Have 5 separate listings for mobile phone fascias for Motorola (of which only one can be a Buy-It-Now listing)

    Which gives a total of 15 identical listings, with a maximum of one Buy-It-Now listing in each variation of the listing.

  • Mark
    11 years ago

    Chris, this that does not clarify the point in question because those items are not identical, they are 3 different items, a fasica for Samsung, a fascia for Nokia and a fascia for Motorola, so only 1 BIN allowed per item. The example is not a good one and is confusing in the most part. In your opening comment you state as follows: ‘This in effect means a seller could have 15 fixed price listings if each was in the form β€œXYZ widget to fit ABC device”.’ This statement is not true if the item you are selling is identical. Now in your comment #32 you say ‘You can have 15 listings for an H1 car bulb. Each can be either an auction or a BIN but each BIN must have a different model/year car in the title.’ Now from what I have been told today that would be a complete violation of the policy and although it would fool the ebay bots if someone reported the seller his listings would be removed, fact.

  • 11 years ago

    #52 I agree, the phone skin is not a great example.

    A better example would be a car spark plug with “Fitment” listings:

    XYZ Manufacturer Spark Plug part AA1234 fits Ford Mondeo
    XYZ Manufacturer Spark Plug part AA1234 fits Ford Ka
    XYZ Manufacturer Spark Plug part AA1234 fits S Type Jaguar

    These are exactly the same product and fit totally different cars. eBay would allow these three different listing titles for the same physical product but only one fixed price listing for each fitment but up to 15 total listings including auctions.

    Of course “XYZ Manufacturer Spark Plug part AA5678 fits Citroen Xsara” is a different physical product and so up to 15 listings for part AA5678 are also allowed in addition to the 15 listings for part AA1234.

    I’ve not only read the information on the eBay forums but I’ve also spoken to exactly my spark plug example and the answer given was “In a nutshell, we will allow multiple listings of the same item to cater for fitment across a range of cars/devices. If you list β€œS Type Jaguar Spark Plug” and β€œFord Mondeo Spark Plug” as separate BINs they will not be considered duplicate, even though they are the same physical product.

  • Pete
    11 years ago

    Chris, I think you have been told wrong. The reason behind this not being allowed is a similar reason behind the vero system.

    eBay or it’s bots are in no position to know if the spark plugs fits a mondeo, ka, rolls royce etc. Otherwise I could sell a pair of black plimsoles to fit a boy, to fit a girl, to fit a dog, to fit a horse, to fit a pig etc.

    Any fitment policy would be such a large loop hole, that eBay itself may dissapear into it. eBay would have to make a judgement on every report, “do pigs wear plimsoles”…

    The same example would apply to sellers of beads for example, blue beads for bracelets for men, blue beads for bracelets for women, blue beads for necklaces for men etc.

  • 11 years ago

    #54 The bots aren’t in a position to know the spark plugs fits a mondeo, ka, rolls royce etc, but the buyers sure as heck will search for “Ford Mondeo Spark Plug” if that’s what they need which is why eBay are allowing the “fitment” relaxation.

    If a seller exceeds the number allowed and is reported then a human will look to see if the same physical product is listed more than 15 times… that’s when it’ll start to get interesting and possibly a real PITA if the human makes the wrong judgment 😯

    For your black plimsolls, you can’t sell em to fit a pig, but you can list them in different sizes/colours anyway as different physical products so long as you only list on BIN and up to 15 total listings for each size/colour variant.

  • Mark
    11 years ago

    #53 The problem is when a seller is reported for a supposed breach it will be down to the ebay agent that investigates the claim to make the decison, which makes it very subjective. I totally understand your spark plug example and I really wish you were right but I dont think you are, my interpretation and how it has been explained to me in no uncertain terms is that a single model number can only be listed under BIN once. So your spark plug AA1234 can only be listed under one BIN, no additional fitment BIN’s for the same model I’m afraid.

  • Mark
    11 years ago

    #53 When I say BIN I mean fixed price listings, not auction style!

  • 11 years ago

    #56 I suggest you go back to your account manager and ask them to get clarification again for that specific example with reference this thread.

  • Mark
    11 years ago

    Thats exactly what I am going to do first thing tommorrow and report back. One thing of note is that when I first spoke to him on Tuesday he was in agreement with you but said he had a meeting that day which would clarify it 100%, and on Wednesday (after the meeting) he did the back peddling. Anyway perhaps you could speak to your source again and see if he’s had any further clarification since you last spoke to him, because its always seemed to me with ebay that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.

  • board_surfer
    11 years ago

    Actually from a BUYERS point of veiw I can see why they have done this, there is nothing worse than wading through hundreds of identical items that differ only in a part of the title.

  • 11 years ago

    What about instances where the product is the same, but from different makers ?

    Would a seller be listing duplicates IF they listed multiples of the same product, but the only difference was the makers name of that product ?

    Ferinstance :

    100 watt light bulb made by Philips
    100 watt light bulb made by GEC
    100 watt light bulb made by Siemens

    A 100 watt light bulb is just that – a 100 watt bulb, the only ‘difference’ is the makers name.

  • Jimbo
    11 years ago

    Eddie they are not the same πŸ™‚

  • KeithS
    11 years ago

    I still think this policy won’t last long.

    From .Com 18th Nov.

    Hi.. This is Jeff King, Senior Director of Finding. Starting this week we will be showing all identical listings from the same seller for Fixed Price items in search. Since July 30, we had been showing just one listing to ensure that buyers see relevant items from a variety of trusted sellers. Now that a track record of recent sales is a key factor in the sort order for Fixed Price, most sellers are combining identical items into single, multi-quantity, 30-day listings. This has proven to be the right strategy for sellers and a great shopping experience for buyers. Please note that we are continuing to show a maximum of 10 listings per page — whether Fixed Price or Auction-style — from any one seller.

    http://www2.ebay.com/aw/core/200811.shtml#2008-11-18153122

    Sellers from .Com will still be able to list multiples on the UK site.

  • northumbrian
    11 years ago

    59
    things really will get complicated and involved, once you consult an ebay account manager,

    howl at the moon, or bang your head against a wall, is usually the better option

  • 11 years ago

    I can’t be chuffed with any of it.

    I will end all listings tomorrow and relist them one by one throughout the day making repairs and tweeking as I go, I can list our entire stock for less than a tenner and still have change for some heart burn tablets to ease the pain after the wife’s cooking.

  • 11 years ago

    #65 Auctions at starting at an acceptable end price with a BIN are the way to go to ensure visibility. Sure they cost, but if you check the first page of search results to see how long an auction stays on it you can figure out the frequency you need to start auctions to ensure you’re always on page 1.

  • 11 years ago

    #65 Featured First is the way for us Chris, Ok so it costs Β£85 a week for 1 item but its a bargain, I really can’t be bothered to play into eBays hands, this new policy of 1 Bin per identical item + 14 auctions or whatever is just a ploy by eBay to recoup all the money they loose letting us list for 4p.

    You used to be able to have 15 identical BINS, now apparently in order tidy the site up and make it easier for Joe Blogs you can only list 1 BIN + 14 auctions, in my mind they both add up to 15.

    I dunno what bright spark dreamt this one up but I wouldn’t give him a job in my PR dept.

    Anyway, its list and hope as always, there is still plenty of money on eBay and I don’t have any intention of leaving yet

  • Mark Ellis
    11 years ago

    The usual Ebay shambles when they introduce a new policy.

    I am not saying that this is not required – it most certainly is, I have the lost the will to live when browsing listings due to the practice of listing 16 ( or more ) of the same item – it means there are page upon page of identical items.

    The issue here is enforcement and compliance, once again Ebay are avoiding their responsibilities in enforcing a ( complicated ) policy and once again relying on ebay members to report transgressions.

    Once again some sellers will get away with it

    Once again some sellers will have their accounts jeopardized for subjective & petty interpretations of rules

    All over a policy that has just been dumped on ebay.com !

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