eBay Cracks Down On Duplicate Listings

Chris CrumeCommerce

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Back in May, we reported that eBay sellers using duplicate listings were about to learn a hard lesson if they continued the practice. eBay had announced a new search penalty for sellers who violated its policy on this. Those who continued to use duplicate listings would see reduced search visibility on the site, which is of course terrible for sales.

It appears that the company is really taking action on duplicate listings now. Tamebay says it's received numerous questions from sellers about duplicate listings, indicating that there is some confusion out there. It also shares a couple of details indicating eBay is indeed going after these listings:

One Tamebay reader has been monitoring duplicates and had some interesting news to share. They told us “For ages eBay seemed not to be doing anything about this plague. A week or so ago you ran an article about how they are getting tough on this and are demoting accounts, or multiple linked accounts doing this. I have reported a few over the last week (by phone) and nearly all of them have been actioned“.
 
eBay will of course allow sellers to leave one listing live, but they’ll force them to cancel the other duplicates. There are two benefits to sellers who report their competitors – Getting higher up the Best Match search results by having duplicates removed and as a side benefit eBay demote eBay sellers breaking the rules.
 
It appears that there is a two working day turnaround for reports to be actioned, so don’t expect an immediate result. However our reader tells us that eBay let slip that they had a meeting last week and they have increased the people in this department to tackle duplicate listings as they see it as a priority to clean up their catalogue.

eBay gave sellers until June to mend their duplicate listing ways, but at that point, the company previously said it would reduce listing visibility for those who "pollute the eBay marketplace with duplicates.

eBay also made it clear that this wouldn't just be the case for the actual duplicate listings, but for all of the seller's listings. It said this in its announcement:

If a seller violates the duplicate listings policy, then all the listings from that seller—including those across linked accounts—will have reduced visibility. This visibility reduction will last until the duplicate listings are removed.
 
Remember, each listing should provide distinct and unique value to buyers. 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…

You simply can’t have more than one fixed price listing of an identical item at the same time. Period. You can, however, have more than one auction-style listing for identical items. Separate listings can be created for the same item on different eBay sites as long as the international shipping options don’t result in the listings cluttering the search results in any individual site.

You can also use separate listings for items that are similar but not identical, as long as the differences are clearly reflected in the title, subtitle, price, photos, condition, item specifics, or parts compatibility areas of the listing. You can have one fixed price listing with variations or one fixed price listing offering multiples of an item.

You can have separate listings for items that are identical except for condition, like if one is new, one is used, and one is refurbished.

If you’re unsure about where your listings stand, you better take a few minutes to read through eBay’s guidelines here.

Image via eBay

Chris Crum
Chris Crum has been a part of the WebProNews team and the iEntry Network of B2B Publications since 2003. Follow Chris on Twitter, on StumbleUpon, on Pinterest and/or on Google: +Chris Crum.