Thursday, September 25, 2008
Upon Further Reflection - eBay AdCommerce
I read through the multiple AdCommerce announcements from yesterday, as well as the responses on eBay Ink and I have to say, I don't see the value here. I participated in the old Banner ad program, at the top of the SRP (Search Results Page) and got just a few click-thrus. eBay eventually canned that program in favor of Yahoo Display advertising.
To me, this program would only have value if they allowed sellers to click out to their own websites from the ads, or if there was no FVF on purchases made through those links.
eBay, of all companies, should know how expensive online advertising is, because they have pulled back on their own online ad spending, what makes them think cash strapped eBay sellers are going to pony-up more advertising dollars? Aren't insertion fees supposed to give them the exposure they need in search? Or is this just another way for the Diamond sellers to get broader exposure on the site, in categories and searches where there listings would not normally be found? When you don't pay listing fees, like the Diamond Sellers, it might make sense to try a PPC program for the added exposure, but for the regular, rank-and-file seller, paying the additional fees just won't generate the needed ROI (Return on Investment).
Why not allow sellers to link off the site? Amazon does it with their Product Ads program.
eBay may still be a 300 lb. Gorilla, but they are more like the gorilla in the Inflatable Madness logo than King Kong. They have a perfect opportunity here, to give sellers a real advertising value and allow them to link out to their own websites, but instead they continue this "walled garden" approach to the site.
A seller responded to yesterday's AdCommerce news; "It makes no sense to me if they aren’t going to let sellers advertise their websites." and here was eBay's response: "People come to eBay to shop. Buying an ad on eBay gets your product in front of them when they are actually shopping for things you are probably selling. These ads have a similar look and feel to regular listings and we think buyers would be concerned if they clicked on one and were taken offsite. Rather, we think that a consistent shopping experience that is under PayPal’s buyer protection plan makes buyers more confident and more willing to buy more stuff from smaller businesses. Small business is the engine of eBay, and our ad network is here to serve their needs for more exposure to likely buyers.
In addition, ProStores users who sign up for our new Pay Per Sale model will be eligible to receive exposure on eBay. In this way, they can advertise their off-eBay items, and we think we have a very compelling opportunity for ProStores users to monetize eBay traffic as well." (bold is mine)
How can they say this with a straight face? "we think buyers would be concerned if they clicked on one and were taken offsite" yet, they are already allowing non-eBay sellers to use Yahoo sponsored ads to click off to their own websites and they follow up that comment with "ProStores users who sign up for our new Pay Per Sale model will be eligible to receive exposure on eBay." What are they smoking up there in the executive offices at eBay? Let's see, we think it would be bad to click off-site unless of course you are paying us more money by using our Pro-stores.
Back in the day, this may have made some sense, when store listings were free and the FVF was 8% but not now when FVFs are rising and eBay still charges listing fees. After all, what are eBay sellers paying for now? Aren't they actually paying for exposure. Why would there be any additional need for a PPC program to link to their current eBay listings. Let's see... I can pay 35 cents to list an item for 30-days and then pay 15% to eBay when it sells and wow, now I can add a PPC program to pay eBay even more money.
My suggestion to eBay sellers is to run on over to Amazon.com and take a look at their Product ads program. This is what Amazon says; "Product Ads is an advertising program that allows sellers to promote their products on www.amazon.com. As a seller, you simply upload your catalog and set your cost-per-click bids. Amazon will then display highly targeted ads for your items on select product and search pages. Customers can click over to your web site and purchase the product directly from you."
After all, with a the upcoming holiday season approaching, where do you think the customers will be.
Just my 15%