Monday, 13 August 2012

eBay hurting sellers with advertising strategy

eBay's recent addition of placing advertisements on sellers pages has been met with some hostility by a number of different sellers.

The advertising strategy, which was launched by eBay at the beginning of May, places an advertisement under the sellers information, giving customers details about various products on sale by a number of different major brands who have stores on eBay.

Do online sellers have a right to feel aggrieved by this? While eBay have categorically stated that these adverts will not include products from other rival sellers and that the sole aim is to bring additional value to the view item page, the last thing any seller would want is for a customer to open up the page of a product they are interested in, only to be then to be shown an advertisement of a similar product provided by a major brand.

While the product sold by the seller's eBay store could be much cheaper in price, store owners may find that many customers leave the seller's page in order to visit the brand's store, resulting in a loss of sales for that online seller.

The question also arises as to the ethics behind it. With a small ecommerce business spending their hard earned money for the ability to list their products on eBay, should the company be allowed to place advertisements of other brands on pages sellers have paid for without their permission? 

Although the ads on some sellers pages are in house advertisements and have nothing to do with the products a store owner sells, eBay should have some parameters in place to ensure that a conflict does not occur with the brand advert showing similar products to what the seller provides. 

What it seems from an outside perspective is that eBay are using small eBay stores as a platform to advertise their bigger brands. While this will generate greater revenue for both the large brands and eBay themselves, this is seemingly at the expense of small sellers, who could see an impact in their store's popularity and sales as a result. 

To combat this, many users of eBay have now looked to remove these advertisements altogether from their browsers through the use of various ad blocking programs. 

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