Saturday, August 02, 2008

Watch eBay self destruct

So since eBay implemented a change to lower listing fees but raise fees if the item sells that's led to a large increase in junk listings. Some people list crazy number of listings, often of absolutely identical items. They're just trying to get more exposure.

So eBay announced today that starting in the next week only one "identical" item per seller will be allowed. Oh, you can pay the money to list them, they just won't show up in search.

How do they determine if they're identical? By the title. So if you have 20 items with a title of "Fine art nude photograph" or "Abstract painting, see picture for details" only the first one will show up. It's actually a bit more subtle than that - if items have different numbers of bids it treats them as different, but if nobody can see them how will get get bids?

On the eBay forums lots of people in various art categories are furious and the eBay reps are mysteriously ignoring their questions because they have no answers.

They could fix this by changing the algorithm so that different picture = different item but they haven't included other obvious options like the item specifics so I think there's little chance of this, especially since you could probably just duplicate your image and use that to game the system.

Sigh...

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