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Duplicate listings on eBay are still rife

By Chris Dawson September 2, 2015 - 11:12 am

eBay have many times over the years stated that they’ll be clamping down on duplicate listings. From June this year eBay.com said that “listing visibility in Best Match will be reduced for sellers who pollute the eBay marketplace with duplicate listings” and we’ve heard of sellers sanctions in the UK duplicates across multiple eBay user IDs owned by the same person.

But is it working? We still hear regularly of duplicate listings appearing on eBay will little if any action taken visible to those that report them.

This week we had a reader notice that a seller on the eBay Deals program not only had a duplicate of the deal, but their other listing was actually highlighted by eBay in the “People who viewed this item also viewed” section of the listing.

We know how difficult it can be to keep track of listings an it’s unsurprising that occasionally a seller mistakenly has a duplicate. However in certain categories the practise is still rife.

Duplicate Listings eBayThis week I was looking for a tempered glass screen protector for my mobile phone and it was almost impossible due to the number of duplicates. It doesn’t appear to be accidental duplication of listings but looks very much like it’s still a concerted effort to flood search results with listings. One seller had no less than 18 duplicate listings, all Fixed Price and many appearing on the first page of search results.

Will product identifiers help eBay decide what’s a duplicate listings? Unlikely as when I checked this particular seller’s listings they’d included the same part number on many of the duplicates.

What would you like to see eBay do for sellers who persistently list duplicate listings? Should eBay step up the penalties and make them even more severe, or are they simply fighting a losing battle which they’ll never win? One thing I do know and that is that sellers on the Deals program should have their listing scrutinised with a fine tooth comb and there’s very little excuse for duplicate listings or indeed any policy violations there.

  • Mark
    2 years ago

    I guess people have always gamed eBay, and EANs could be no different… if you can only have one listing per EAN then people will start making up EAN numbers for their duplicates. If they haven’t been included in eBays catalogue yet, then they’re good to go…

  • Ian A
    2 years ago

    Who are the main culprits? Are they small businesses or large warehouse sellers such as those in China?
    I think eBay need to look at their business registration processes and who they’re allowing to spam the site. It’s too easy to set up multiple accounts or pretend to be UK based when you’re a Chinese registered business

    Some of ebays most interesting items don’t have eans so how are they going to use this to stop it without compromising the range of products for sale?

  • 2 years ago

    We use the eBay API to list products from our database, and occasionally we have technical errors that cause the odd duplicate listing.
    eBay have been very hot on this with us and notify us that they have removed our duplicate listings. Maybe this is because we are a business seller so they want to keep business sellers in line.

    • 2 years ago

      The galling thing is James that it is sellers like yourself which always seem to get caught for a technical issue and not the main culprits who are repeatedly gaming the site.

      The seller who was on the daily deals with a duplicate has had duplicates reported before. Sellers who are on the daily deals should be the creme de la creme of eBay sellers as it’s the ‘shop front’ of the whole site.

  • Dave P
    2 years ago

    I am yet to see anything that makes me believe all of this has been anything but talk and empty threats from Ebay. Nothing seems to have changed on the site and I have not yet heard from anyone else who has experienced / seen this happening (outside of the odd duplicate removed which has happened for ages).

    It just makes no sense to me why they wouldn’t notify sellers if they were actually taking action.

  • aceparts
    2 years ago

    The duplicates in the Parts & Accessories section is beyond a joke!

    EBay say there can be no duplicates. Ok, so we remove vehicle makes / models from titles and rely on ebay to put the correct ‘FITS’ info in the title for us based on the FITMENT codes that are applied.
    Only problem is that FITMENT doesn’t work on mobile. Nor does it work on motorcycles…… So to clarify things for the customer ‘fuzzy duplicates’ are required. Only ebay don’t understand this.

    My head.

  • Fred
    2 years ago

    I think this is what is driving people away from eBay (along with all the 99p search manipulation listings where 99p turns out to be for one of their old toenail clippings). I reported one seller at least 50 times via the report listing link and another 10 times or so through technical support, who each time assured me that something would be done. Nothing ever happened. There are more duplicates now than there have ever been and a huge number of them are from Chinese sellers with multiple IDs. eBay thought they were going to line their pockets with gold by getting all these big Chinese sellers on board, but it turns out they were shooting themselves in the foot.

  • Dave
    2 years ago

    I’ve already suggested to eBay that they should create a duplicate listing resolution centre, here is how it works. I want to report a buyer for duplicate listing. So I select the items that are duplicated and submit it. Instead of the issue going to trust and safety who hardly ever act, put the onus onto the seller themselves. Basically a new Duplicate listing case is created that the seller has to answer to. Now the seller has options. The case has to be answered within X Days. The Seller can agree that it was a duplicate listing, and close the case by having the case remove the duplicate. Case is closed. If the seller dissagree’s, he can put a case forward as to why they are not duplicates, and then submit to trust and safety for a final decision and review.

    Using the above, Trust and Safety have less to deal with, Sellers get a say in the matter before it goes to trust and safety, and it will deter sellers who are abusing, because you build metrics into the system that affects your defect rate. This is just a basic explanation of it, more work would need to be done, but its a start and eBay are so snowed under with it, just put the issue onto the seller themeslves. Sellers who abuse will soon get fed up answering cases.

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