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Highlights from today’s Q&A with Patrick Munden

By Chris Dawson February 23, 2011 - 9:03 pm

Today Patrick Munden, eBay UK’s head of seller communications took questions from members of the Online Business Forum. Unsurprisingly there were plenty of comments, questions and suggestions around Best Match, feedback, DSRs, achieving Top Rated Seller status and business sellers masquerading as private sellers. There were also some useful nuggets of information which I’ve not seen published elsewhere so I’ve summarised them below.

Duplicate Listings Policy enforcement and date of next Seller Update

It’s definitely time to eliminate any duplicate listings that you have. Patrick acknowledged sellers who have noticed competitors listing multiples of the same product and said Watch out for an update on Duplicates Policy in our next Seller Release in mid March. This is also the first confirmation of the date to expect the next Seller Update, so look out for news on what changes to expect in the first half of the year.

Multi-Variant Listings to roll out to more categories

There’s good news for sellers who are hoping that Multi-Variant listings will be rolled out to their categories. Patrick suggested that there could be news of extended Multi-Variant listings as early as the March Seller Update.

Searching Sold Items

There was a great suggestion from Daniel Brash who asked why the eBay search couldn’t have extended functionality, especially when locating sold items. His idea is a general search box in My eBay which returned a result regardless of the type of information you input to include sales records number, item number, buyer ID, buyer name, and even postcode. Patrick said that the Global Seller Tools team are meeting in London this week and that he’d personally get this suggestion to them.

Opportunities to meet and greet eBay staff this year

There are no plans for any eBay Universities this year, unlike in the US where they’ve announced the first date for eBay On Location. However if you want to speak face to face with eBay employees you’ll be able to catch them at both Retail Week and the ChannelAdvisor Catalyst conferences.

  • northumbrian
    10 years ago

    if these are the highlights gawd help us

  • Whirly
    10 years ago

    Haha

    I’m grateful to Chris for the effort as always, but…

    the highlight appears to be they may start enforcing something that should already be enforced. Ground breaking stuff.

  • JohnC
    10 years ago

    I really welcome the fact that we now have only two seller updates a year, leaving the rest of the year free from such irritations.

    Apart, that is, from category changes, best match revisions, a u-turn on mandatory free postage, new postage caps, item specfics rewrite, changes to the links policy, the removal of adcommerce, the shopping basket, etc., etc., etc.,………….

    Nice to have some site stability at last.

  • northumbrian
    10 years ago

    the head of seller communications needs to communicate not hide away on little heard of forums that you need to register and jump thru hoops to read

  • Warren
    10 years ago

    I think the best thing eBay can do is become a retailer itself, much the same as Amazon is a retailer. If eBay sold its own products, it would have a better understanding of issues sellers face.

    • northumbrian
      10 years ago

      Eh
      ebay sell nowt and make trillions
      they would be daft to start retailing

  • JohnC
    10 years ago

    If ebay became a retailer, it would pinch all the best business for itself.

    It could certainly favour itself in Best Match, and might even be TRS.

  • Jack
    10 years ago

    In some cases Amazon do better out of their marketplace sellers than they would if they sold the items themselves, factor in no outlay, no dead stock etc and its win win. Amazon know it is to their advantage to increase this side of their business and they are actively doing so especially through FBA (fullfilment).
    There are hundreds of thousands (millions?) more sellers on ebay than Amazon and that is where ebay will continue to make their money. If they wanted to go into retail they could buy an existing large etailer and keep it independent. The main area where ebay fail to capitalise on their vast sales net is with consumer confidence and satisfaction. They have an uphill struggle to convince buyers that they have a risk free environment in which to purchase. They have sidelined this in favour of maximum seller growth but they have gradually been trying to correct the balance in favour of the buyer. Although in theory they have achieved this with purchases through paypal, the image of paypal and ebay combined is way down the ladder from Amazon. Ebay and Paypal have a long legacy of mistrust to overcome before they can trade on the same playing field as Amazon.

    • JohnC
      10 years ago

      Why? 98.7 is comfortably above the 98%PS threshold. Do you have any evidence that they are deteriorating?

      In any normal non-ebay environment, 98.7 is pretty good, especially for a seller of clearance stock.

    • Jack
      10 years ago

      Hi, if you are talking about seller ratings, I don’t see how you can compare Amazon with Ebay they are not necessarily the same customers and I would think most are not.

  • Gerry007
    10 years ago

    Off subject slightly, but look at today’s daily deal TRS’s feedback

    Member ID argos ( 560511)

    This member’s 12 Month Feedback ratings
    Positives: 221386 Negatives: 2986

    This member’s Positive Feedback percentage 221386
    221386 + 2986
    = 98.7%

    End of LayerPositive Feedback (last 12 months): 98.7%

    Won’t be long before they loose their Powerseller/TRS rating.

    OR will the numbers be manipulated???

  • Warren
    10 years ago

    Another thing about eBay is that every Christmas they promote themselve with a sell your unwanted Christmas presents. This instills an image of eBay = unwanted crap. A lot of people I know avoid the eBay brand for this reason. Most people I know think more highly of Amazon than eBay. I just think if eBay sold their own stock it would inprove the brands image instead of it being associated with secondhand items.

    • 10 years ago

      I wonder how many of our friends and relations give us “Crap” for Christmas. It may be that Auntie Ivy has given us something that we do not want and so we advertise it on ebay but is it really “Crap”. Surely it is only something that we do not want. Auntie Ivy probably spent hours agonising over what to get for us she went from shop to shop before she settled on her present. But when we opened it we decided that we didn’t want it because perhaps we already had one, or it was not in our size or colour or for some other reason we did not want it but it would be ideal for somebody else. However it is a bit harsh to describe it as “Crap”. Now if Auntie Ivy really did give us something that justifies the description “Crap” perhaps it is an indication of the very low regard that your friends and relations hold you in. But my guess is that for the vast majority of ebay sellers the unwanted presents that they advertised are really very good items.

  • elvis
    10 years ago

    “Duplicate Listings Policy enforcement and date of next Seller Update”

    What about sellers who list the same items across multiple accounts? When I had an account manager at ebay she said it was not permitted yet in the media categories there are mutliple sellers selling the same buy itnow items at the same price across at least 3 different ebay accounts. Some have 5-6 accounts.

    I feel that this is basically spamming the site. If we all did this it would not be a great for buyers, plus the get a visibility advantage over the rest of us that play by the book.

    Do you know if they will be acting on these aswell or just multiple items from the same ebay id?

  • Jimbo
    10 years ago

    Going slightly off topic: I received the “Seller Report” for two accounts through the post yesterday. On both reports my sale value had dropped but my “ranking” position has risen. What does this mean?

    • 10 years ago

      It means that even though your sales value has fallen you’ve moved up in the ranks so everyone else’s sales have fallen more than yours 😀

      That might or might not be surprising depending on the categories you trade in and the season that a particular report is based on. For instance if your business is selling garden sheds and garden furniture you’d expect sales to drop in the winter and rise in the spring/summer. However it’s worth noting the sales on this report will be for Q4 but the ranking is apparently for Q3.

      What I’m surprised about is my sales are up over 30% and yet page views are apparently down around 80%. Does this mean that the less people that look at my items the more likely they are to buy? 😀

    • 10 years ago

      IIRC eBay page views have been falling steadily for the last 2 or 3 years. You can attribute this to less interest, more exciting things to do on the net (the rise of Facebook) or better eBay search functionality, just as you like 😉

    • Jimbo
      10 years ago

      The categories were “Jewellery and watches” + “Cloths, Shoes and Accessories”. I wondered if it means that the number of active business sellers on the sight is dropping. Is the cake getting bigger but fewer people are eating it?

  • 10 years ago

    Reading through the keyword recommendations on my seller report for the computing category I should be putting the word “Cheap” into all my titles. “Cheap laptops” is the 3rd most popular search term following “laptop” and “laptops” in 1st and 2nd position. “Cheap new laptops” takes the 10th slot.

    Do I really want to sell “Cheap”?

    • 10 years ago

      Do you really want to sell laptops? 😆

      Acutually, let me know if you do – I might have 3 or 4 to get rid of.

    • Jimbo
      10 years ago

      In Jewellery and watches Top search term number 2 is “pandora bracelets” and number 6 is “pandora bracelets”.

      In the cloths, shoes and accessories 9 of the 10 are brand names the exception being “boots”. Does this mean that “mulberry” is used more often in a search string than shirt for example?

  • 10 years ago

    I see James the Pink is touting this on Seller Central:
    http://community.ebay.co.uk/topic/Seller-Central/Worthless-Policies/2000034814
    (post #14).

    As both a seller and a buyer, I find eBay’s statements on the duplicate listing policy very difficult to swallow. eBay already HAS a policy on duplicate listings. What’s needed isn’t an updated policy; it’s action on the duplicates that are already there, which are:
    1) a pain for buyers when you’re searching, and
    2) unfair on sellers who play by the rules, when their competitors don’t and have no penalty for doing so.

    Further, the action that’s required isn’t complicated: remove the duplicate listings. It’s very difficult to respect a company who will censor someone for a tenth of a feedback star, based on the complaint of one buyer, and yet not just remove stuff that contravenes their own rules.

    • Jimbo
      10 years ago

      eBay operates in a parallel universe where our notions of logic and fair play do not apply.

    • elvis
      10 years ago

      I’m with you on this one Sue. There are media sellers who sell on numerous accounts to get round the multiple listing rule.

  • JD
    10 years ago

    James should enter politics.

    Hang on … I think that he already has.

  • Gary
    10 years ago

    On the dublicate listings policy I thought eBay search was set up so that only 1 listing appeared in the search result from countless duplicates from a seller.

    All eBay need to do is link multiple seller accounts together so that only 1 listing shows up from the multiple linked seller accounts. But….

    Now I may be wrong but it does seem to me that from a UK perspective it is overseas sellers (relative to the UK) who seem to take the michael with multiple accounts. It has to be much harder to police overseas sellers because of extended families and business partners and multiple computers from multiple locations. As a result I really don’t know what the answer is here.

    • 10 years ago

      I thought eBay search was set up so that only 1 listing appeared in the search result from countless duplicates from a seller

      Gary, it’s supposed to be, but the search results I’m getting (esp on eBay Mobile) don’t look like that. Either the filters are broken, or people have found ways to game the system – most likely, both.

    • Gary
      10 years ago

      Would anybody like to provide the search phrases that are being used to generate what appears to be duplicate listings in the search results.

      We can then discuss what the likely scenarios are that cause this. It may be that what looks like a duplicate listing is not for whatever reason.

      If they are apparent duplicates we can see what methods the listing spammers are using to beat the filter or if indeed the eBay filters are working or otherwise.

    • Martin
      10 years ago

      http://stores.ebay.co.uk/love-happyshopping/_i.html?_nkw=%09+PORTABLE+FIR%2FFAR+INFRARED+SAUNA+SPA+WEIGHT+LOSS+DETOX+f&submit=Search&_sid=749694567

      Apparently these aren’t duplicates Gary, reported several times for cluttering up page 1….but apparently “we take action that isn’t always visible” last month they had 7 in the first 25 results returned.

      Someone is taking the **** and it ain’t me.

  • BigPoppa
    10 years ago

    I think first we need to know what eBay call a duplicate listing.

    Is it:

    1)Same item, same description, same price, same picture.

    2)same item, similar description, similar title, similar picture.

    3)same item, same description, different title…

    etc…etc…

    There are so many ways to measure if something is a duplicate or not.

    For example, we don’t even know if eBay are trying to stop duplicate items being listed OR duplicate listings…there is a difference.

    I can list the same item in a different way, title, pic, desc etc but the item is the same.

    • 10 years ago

      Ahh but we know the answer to that. They’re not going to specify because if they do, people will use the definition to get around the rule 😆

      Here’s the policy:
      http://pages.ebay.co.uk/help/policies/listing-multi.html

      genuinely unique items with fundamental differences in their characteristics (e.g. memory size of USB sticks). Differences must be reflected in the listing title, price, photo and item description.
      (Emphasis mine.)

  • Gary
    10 years ago

    If you visit the eBay store of the seller whose items are in the search link above and examine the BIN items for sale there is multiple duplication.

    I do use the a, b, c, d, e, and so on type referencing to list similar but different items with different images and prices.

    The seller above uses a similar system but for absolutely identical items with identical images and prices listed at 1 minute intervals.

  • rosie
    10 years ago

    Hi, Does anyone know the date that the March ‘seller changes’ will be announced please.
    Thanks.

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