eBay Punishes Sellers for Duplicate Listings

January 04,2016
by Kristin Foster

Did you know eBay has started policing duplicate item listings? If they find violations of their duplicate listing policies eBay can now downgrade ALL of a seller’s listings in search results. That could have a drastic effect on a merchant’s sales. Policy infractions will even affect listings across a violator’s linked accounts – until the seller removes the duplicates.

 

The recent crackdown is an attempt to provide the best eBay experience for buyers and a fair marketplace for the sellers. Apparently a small number of sellers have been posting misleading listings or using duplicates to gain an advantage. The new emphasis on enforcement is aimed at reducing the negative impact of such activities.

Unfortunately, some of the criteria used to define duplicates can be a bit vague. According to eBay’s announcement, “Listings are considered duplicates if they’re for items that have no significant difference between them or if they appear to be for the same item in search results.” eBay urges sellers to review the complete Duplicate Listings Policy for further clarification.

Some international sellers have encountered difficulties when they listed the same item on multiple country-specific eBay sites. eBay even considered listings in different languages as duplicates. How international shipping options are set seem to be a factor in singling out such listings.

The eBay announcement made no mention of seller alerts or notifications. Sellers found to be in violation of eBay’s duplicate listing policies may not know it until they notice a change in their items positions in search results.

SellerActive customers benefit from built-in protection. When we detect duplicate listings on our customer’s eBay account, we’ll stop the import into SellerActive and generate a file of listings to download. Sellers can view the duplicates and correct the issues. Our interface for generating individual listings also prohibits the creation of duplicates. SellerActive customers can be confident they aren’t breaking the eBay rules.

As with any attempt to curb the activity of flagrant violators, innocent victims can suffer an undeservedly severe response. Innocent mistakes could prompt eBay to exile listings to the bottom of the Best Match pile. Some eBay sellers believe the marketplace should consider their overwhelming volume of perfectly good listings before handing down punishments for a handful of inadvertent duplicates. A seller with a few items, all duplicated, indicates a willful disregard for marketplace rules. Those are the people the policies are meant to catch.

Merchants who aren’t using SellerActive should review their listings manually and correct any duplicates they find. Though such an effort may represent a great deal of work, proactively removing duplicate listings is a better solution than suddenly realizing sales have dropped because listings are no longer visible.

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