If you are using duplicate listing tactics to increase your chances of getting sales on eBay, you really want to stop doing that now, because it's about to have a potentially devastating effect on your account and ability to make sales.
eBay announced a new search penalty for sellers who violate its duplicate listings policy. Those who do so will see reduced search visibility on the site, which is obviously going to be terrible for sales.
In other words, if you thought you could get a jump on the competition by putting multiple listings into the system, you're sorely mistaken, and will suffer the consequences. At least that's what eBay is threatening.
The company is at least giving sellers the opportunity to mend their ways, as it won't be going in effect until June, at which point listing visibility in Best Match will be reduced for those "who pollute the eBay Marketplace" with duplicates.
And to be clear, we're not talking about just those listings that were in violation. We're talking about all of the seller's listings. The company said in an 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...
eBay uses this as an example of what it's talking about:
eBay's goal is to make it easy for buyers to find and compare items, and this kind of stuff makes that significantly harder. It's actually surprising they haven't cracked down harder on this until now.
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. You do have a month to get things in order.
Images via Wikimedia Commons, eBay