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Thursday, Jan. 19, 2017

eBay Chatter - external links are extremely restricted

Posted Wednesday, July 2, 2008, at 10:38 AM

In past classes I used to tell my students to use eBay, and specifically the 'About Me Page' to link folks to their own private website. Many already know, but in case you are not an 'eBay junkie' that has come to an end. External links are only allowed to non-selling sites and they don't like the linked page to have links that could take them on to other selling sites.

Links are helpful in many ways so I am experimenting with a link to the U.S. Post Office to see if it gets censored. After all, they are an approved vendor and we use them quite a bit.

These policies are new even to eBay folks so getting a definite answer is sometimes difficult. I used to offer an easy way for the customer to contact me using a link to my email. That option is being stopped as well.

Now I could shout UNFAIR, and cook up all kinds of conspiratorial scenarios, but it is really not hard to understand that the practice was a leniency that eventually would come to an end.

How many links would you expect Sears to have going to J.C. Penny? I have not seen any USPS links to DHL or their other competitors. Do those of you who have web sites link to direct competitors? Probably not, but it depends on your marketing strategy and strategic alliances. eBay has some, but they are not for US to promote.

There are work around methods. Our website is the same name as our eBay identity without the .com on the end. You could research eBy identity names for a domain name that is not being used, then set up both, but eBay will not let you make the full address as your eBay name.

That does not mean you won't see a .com eBay name. Some have been grandfathered in, but unless you know Don Corleone from The Godfather movie, you probably won't get it through, maybe not even then.

There are other methods that I have seen tested and some groups are trying to get together to form a huge, off-eBay linking community. That would help your private site anyway, so joining sounds good. The more links you have to your website, the higher you rank in search engine ratings.

I have other ideas being tested but any suggestions from you folks?

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

I believe the more ebay restricts its users, the more users it loses. I think people loved ebay when they allowed the users to dictate what they wanted. Ebay thrived, people loved it. Maybe they are just testing different market strategies, lets hope so. But it really made alot of people hate them, yes hate.

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Wed, Jul 2, 2008, at 11:11 AM

The French courts don't think they do enough restricting. They just won a judgment for about 60 million because the designer folk think they should do more.

Too many of those crazy awards and we may not have eBay to "kick around anymore". I wonder what they think would be a good solution since eBay never takes possession of the products sold.

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jul 2, 2008, at 12:16 PM


That is one of the reasons for my issues with the sites I was proposing. If I was going to charge hefty fees then I should offer some sort of buyer protections. But when offering free services, should I still be held responsible?

-- Posted by Evil Monkey on Wed, Jul 2, 2008, at 12:48 PM

I don't think eBay should be as responsible as everyone wants to make them. Right now they have a BIG target on them.

As far as what responsibilities eBay and others have, I need to think about it a while. As a seller I want a platform that stays up, is easy to navigate and list items and has good visibility.

As a buyer, and seller I want secure connections on which to do business. I want my records and information kept confidential and I also want assistance on how to buy safely, like a healthy feedback system. But after that, I don't think you or eBay is responsible if I use poor judgment or buy until I drop.

There needs to be some buyer responsibility for reading the listing, understanding the terms and refund policy. If it looks too good, guess what?

If they say no return, then believe it. I chose not to bid on a camera because he had a no return policy. It was just what I wanted but the terms were clear and I chose to not bid.

For not having any ideas, I guess I said too much. I will add more as it comes to me.

By the way lets talk about the forum or blog formats. I will start another blog topic.

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jul 2, 2008, at 4:17 PM

I think ebay has put themselves in the position of being responsible for everything on their site. EM is dead on about how the extent of the fees changed the burden. Also with the added control dictated by the site, they are taking an increasing risk. Like we talked about before, you believe ebay is more akin to a flea market operator, but I see it more as an agent. The more control they take of everything (payment included)and the greater their fees for every aspect of the listing, they are more and more like an agent. Now with them choosing who gets the best exposure, it pretty much seals it in my opinion. If you do not want to shout "Conspiracy" that is okay, you are probably correct, but you had better know that the capitol is trying it's hardest to maximize the output of its investment. That is just how it works. (They are not always smart about it though)

I have never used links from ebay, and doubt I would ever start anyway, but I have noticed that this year every listing I have submitted has a disclaimer that they may put ads on any auction page. I am guessing they are laying the groundwork (legal and otherwise) to make that a reality. They want to be a traffic director to retailers as best as I can figure.

Are you still looking for that camera? You should find yourself one selling on ebay, pay with a credit card and you will be covered. If it does not look as good on your neck as you imagined it would, you can get a refund. Everyone else does it, I guess we should too. Why should you be burdened with having the added responsibility of choosing the right seller when ebay makes sure you are taken care of?

-- Posted by memyselfi on Thu, Jul 3, 2008, at 2:49 AM

Credit card protection is not all it is cracked up to be. I bought a camera in a store and when I checked out my bag of goodies, I found that accessories did not match up with the camera and the camera was not working properly.

This was within one hour of the purchase. I called the credit card company and told them I smelled a rat and they said no problem. Yeah right.

When I took it back within the second hour I found out that they had not put all the packing in the bag and had a "store policy" refusing refunds on any products not brought back with all the packing.

The short version is Visa told me no problem, except they never refunded my money. So it was no problem to them or the store, but I ended up losing about $800 after I sold the camera for a big loss. There is a LOT more to the story, but my point is that credit card is not the ultimate protection that they lead you to believe.

If the seller of a product states no return and you buy it, you will have a hard time getting eBay and or PayPal to back you up unless you can prove obvious fraud. You can gamble on the credit card, but it is not a sure thing.

I understand your point, but I do not think there is a set of guidelines for when an online market becomes an agent. The real estate agent is controlled by law, and unless there is a law defining an online facilitator and specifying dollar amounts as the identifying criteria, I do not think it matters how much you charge or what restrictions you put on the members.

I could easily be wrong. Is there such a law? While I do not like legal writing, it would be interesting to see the structure of that legislation.

-- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jul 3, 2008, at 8:55 AM

I do not think it is anywhere near that clear legally yet. The law is reactive and lags behind the times. The key points are commission percentage, not total amounts, the payment options being limited and now giving priority to specific sellers. Not to mention the controls of what to sell, how to sell it and the mediation services offered.

There are a couple cases that will help to further define what their role is considered to be, but it will take time, maybe 30-40 years before we have an answer.

The problem with how your card protection was weak is that you apparently have some morals and were not petty enough to be slightly dishonest about your situation. Even if a seller on ebay does not offer a return policy, an item not as described complaint will work every single time. To add insult to injury, it does not matter what condition the item was shipped in, only the condition it was received in. Think about that one for a few minutes.

-- Posted by memyselfi on Thu, Jul 3, 2008, at 9:48 AM

Hidden Bidders

For anyone that is interested, a detailed comment on the disingenuousness of eBay on the matter of hidden bidders at:


eBays response:

We have removed this post because the following is not allowed on our boards:

Advertising merchandise, listings, services or commercial Web sites, including offers to trade, "wanted" posts.

-- Posted by PhilipCohen on Mon, Jul 28, 2008, at 2:35 AM

This is a long one to read. I have an opinion based on only half of the article but I will have to take time to read more.

It may be discussed later in this article, but in case it isn't, eBay is trying this program to see if it cuts down on scammers using the eBay ID to offer deceptive "second chance" offers. From my personal experience and the students I teach, false phishing e-mails have been significantly reduced.

For that matter, so has the PayPal phishing efforts been reduced. Is it the result of this effort? I do not know why, but something is working. I used to get 5-10 emails a week and now, I can not remember the last one. I can research that because I send each one to spoof @ebay or PayPal.

I will read more later.

-- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Jul 28, 2008, at 7:57 AM

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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.