||July 2009 Update
Seller update: September 2009
Updates that impact your listings are now being consolidated with more lead time for you to adapt. These updates are scheduled to take place the weeks of September 22 and October 1, 2009.
- Rewards for sellers delivering great buyer experiences
Enhanced search presents more relevant listings
Easier, more profitable selling on eBay
1. Rewards for sellers delivering great buyer experiences
Today's online buyers expect the best, and eBay sellers who deliver will enjoy even greater rewards—more visibility in search results for Fixed Price listings, discounted fees, a prominent badge on their item pages, and other great benefits. Quality is not a result of how big you are, but your dedication to doing right by your customers. The main focus of these changes is to give sellers the rewards, insights, and help they need to improve and succeed.
- New way to look at DSRs: Underlying all these changes is a shift in the way we look at detailed seller ratings (DSRs). Our research shows that low DSRs are a more accurate measure of the quality of buyer experiences provided by sellers on eBay. That's why we are evolving the way we measure quality, focusing more on how many low DSRs—1s and 2s—a seller receives than on a seller's DSR averages.
- The 1s and 2s a seller receives are tracked for each DSR: Item description, communication, shipping time, and shipping and handling charges. Low instances of 1s and 2s will be the main quality requirement for the new Top-rated seller status and the PowerSeller program—and even continuing to sell on eBay. Sellers are encouraged to focus more on avoiding 1s and 2s than on getting more 5s or higher averages.
- Only transactions with U.S. buyers will count for eligibility requirements on eBay.com. Repeat sales from your U.S. buyers will also count-good news for sellers who inspire repeat business from satisfied customers.
- You can see a monthly snapshot now of your standing toward the new low DSR requirement through a link at the top of your Seller Dashboard. In October, you'll be able to see your standing updated daily.
For more details on the change in focus to low DSRs and how DSRs are calculated, see Frequently Asked Questions.
- New eBay Top-rated seller status: It's not sales volume that distinguishes quality of service. That's why, starting in October, a new PowerSeller status—eBay Top-rated seller—will highlight and reward those sellers creating the best buyer experiences.
- eBay Top-rated sellers will earn top rewards: 20% fee discounts, exclusive promotion in search results for Fixed Price listings, exclusive ability to purchase Featured First, and a prominent Top-rated seller badge on their item pages.
- PowerSellers of all levels, from Bronze to Titanium, can qualify as eBay Top-rated sellers if they have at least 100 transactions and $3,000 sales in the past year, and low DSRs (1s and 2s) on no more than 0.50% of all transactions with U.S. buyers on each of their 4 DSRs.
- To ensure that lower-volume sellers (fewer than 400 annual transactions) can be included as Top-rated sellers, two instances of 1s or 2s on each of the four DSRs will be allowed before the 0.50% requirement is applied.
- The time period over which a seller's low DSRs are evaluated will depend on sales volume: For sellers with 400 or more transactions over the past 3 months, it's 3 calendar months. For all other sellers, it's 12 calendar months.
- Until April 2010, the current PowerSeller discount structure based on average 30-day DSRs will also continue: 20% for 4.9; 15% for 4.8; and 5% for 4.6. PowerSellers will continue to get those discounts through April 2010 as long as they continue to meet the 30-day DSR requirements. This gives PowerSellers eight full months to keep those discounts while they evaluate and adjust their business practices to meet the new requirements.
For more details on qualifications for the new eBay Top-rated seller status and how low DSRs are calculated, see Frequently Asked Questions.
- New PowerSeller requirements and rewards: Starting in April 2010, quality requirements for all PowerSellers will be based on low DSRs, and benefits will be extended to lower-volume sellers who meet those requirements:
- To ensure PowerSeller status rewards consistently good service, a minimum of 100 transactions in the last 12 months will be required for all PowerSellers.
- To allow more sellers providing great service into the program, the sales dollar volume requirement will be lowered to $3,000 per year.
- Also starting in April, PowerSellers can have 1s or 2s for item as described on no more than 1.00% of transactions with U.S. buyers and on no more than 2.00% for communication, shipping time, and shipping and handling charges.
For more details on the new PowerSeller requirements and rewards coming in April, see Frequently Asked Questions.
- Highest rewards for sellers with great service:
- Starting in April, there will be a new structure for PowerSeller Final Value Fee discounts, with the biggest rewards going to the best sellers: The maximum 20% for eBay Top-rated sellers and 5% for all other PowerSellers.
- Until April, the current PowerSeller discount structure based on average 30-day DSRs will continue: 20% for 4.9; 15% for 4.8; and 5% for 4.6. This will give PowerSellers who continue to meet the 30-day DSR requirements plenty of time—eight full months—to keep those discounts while they evaluate and adjust their business practices to meet the new low DSR requirements.
- Starting in October, Top-rated sellers will get the new Top-rated seller badge displayed prominently on their item, other member profile pages and search result pages. The current PowerSeller icon will no longer be displayed on buyer-facing pages like the item page and other member profile pages. The PowerSeller icon will still be displayed in My eBay, Selling Manager and Selling Manager Pro.
Top-rated sellers get the new Top-rated seller badge on their item pages.
- New minimum standard for all sellers: We're evolving the way we assess quality for all sellers on eBay:
- The current 4.3 minimum average DSR requirements will be replaced with new requirements based on a seller's incidence of low DSRs (1s and 2s) on transactions with U.S. buyers:
- In October, all eBay sellers will need to have 1s or 2s for item as described on no more than of 3.00% of transactions, and on no more than 4.00% for communication, 4.00% for shipping time, and 4.00% for shipping and handling charges.
- In April 2010, the standards will be stricter. All eBay sellers will need to have low DSRs (1s or 2s) on no more than 1.00% of transactions for item as described, and no more than 2.00% for communication, 2.00% for shipping time, and 2.00% for shipping and handling charges.
- To ensure lower volume sellers are not penalized as a result of one or two transactions, it will take at least four instances of 1s or 2s before consequences based on low DSRs are enforced.
- Sellers with more than the maximum allowed 1s and 2s will receive lowered placement in search and may face limits on selling activity until their ratings improve.
- Sellers with excessively high rates of 1s and 2s or other low performance measures may be restricted from selling.
- The current Seller Performance Standards policy will be updated with the new DSR requirement.
- Changes scheduled with time to adjust: We're giving sellers extra time to evaluate their selling practices in the light of these changes—and still take advantage of new rewards as soon as possible.
- Starting in October, current PowerSellers of all levels—and sellers with $3,000 in sales and 100 transactions over the past 12 months—can qualify as Top-rated sellers and get all the rewards right away.
- The current PowerSeller program discount structure will remain in place until April 2010. That means PowerSellers who don't meet the Top-rated seller requirements in October will be able to keep their discounts according to the current discount structure until April of 2010: 20% for 4.9; 15% for 4.8; and 5% for 4.6. That gives them eight months to adjust business practices and qualify for Top-rated seller status.
- The new DSR requirement for all sellers and the enforcement of the new Selling Practices policy are also being phased in over time to give sellers an opportunity to understand the new requirements and adjust their practices and listings.
- Get an at-a-glance overview of scheduled changes.
- Enhancements to help you get good DSRs: Sellers have been quite clear on changes needed to help them get DSRs in line with great service. Toward that end, we're making some key adjustments to the DSR system over the coming months:
- Domestic only: International transactions will no longer count toward the PowerSeller requirements, including the Top-rated seller status, or toward the new standard for all sellers.
- All transactions and DSRs from repeat buyers will count—great news for sellers who inspire repeat business from satisfied customers.
- Strong measures will be in place to prevent buyer abuse.
- New messages to your buyers about shipping in Feedback flow: When buyers go to leave you Feedback, they'll see your uploaded tracking information and a message indicating when your package was delivered. For listings with free shipping, they'll also get a stronger message encouraging them to leave a 5 for shipping and handling charges.
- No shipping DSRs with local pickup: When the only delivery option in your listing is local pickup with no shipping charges, your shipping-related DSRs will be "turned off."
- New Selling Practices policy: A new Selling Practices policy will define clear standards for accuracy and professionalism in listings and listing descriptions, and for all stages of a transaction. Adhering to the new policy will be required for eBay Top-rated seller status in October and for all other sellers in early 2010. In short:
- Information within a listing such as item condition and seller terms and conditions need to be consistent.
- Sellers will be expected to follow through on their stated terms through all stages of a transaction.
- Also, comments that undermine confidence in eBay sellers or misrepresent a seller vs. buyer's responsibility in a transaction will not be allowed in listings.
- Optional buyer charges for shipping insurance removed: The insurance option creates the perception that buyers need to purchase shipping insurance as a protection on eBay, an experience they're not accustomed to on other ecommerce sites. In fact, sellers have always been responsible for their items until they arrive safely in their customers' hands. That's why shipping insurance will no longer be included in the purchase flow as either an option or requirement for buyers.
Of course you can choose to purchase insurance on shipments, but not ask buyers to buy insurance separately. In some categories like Antiques, Collectibles, and Jewelry, shipping insurance for sellers is essential. When appropriate, you can include the cost of insurance in your item or shipping price.
- New Seller Dashboard:
- Get a snapshot of your current 1s and 2s now, updated monthly, from a link at the top of your Seller Dashboard.
- In October, you'll be able to track your 1s and 2s on a daily basis in your Seller Dashboard and get insights about the specific business practices contributing to low DSRs.
- Get familiar with the focus on low DSRs (1s and 2s), the new standards for all eBay sellers, the PowerSeller program, and the new Top-rated seller status.
- See a monthly snapshot now of your 1s and 2s from the link at the top of your Seller Dashboard
- Get started now to make sure you're in the best possible position to meet the scheduled changes and maximize your rewards.
- Follow best practices for getting high DSRs from your buyers and minimizing the instances where you get a 1 or 2 rating.
2. Enhanced search presents more relevant listings
We're introducing a number of changes specifically designed to surface your relevant listings to more of the right buyers.
- Best Match update: We're continuing to refine and improve the technology for surfacing the most relevant, best-quality listings from sellers providing the best buyer experience at the top of search results—and give you the information and tools you need to get the best possible exposure for your listings.
- As of July 27, 2009, raising the price or changing the title does not automatically reset your recent sales. We're making this change to the way Best Match works because we understand that actively managing prices provides a competitive advantage in some markets.
- Listing performance score for Fixed Price—Impressions count: When only a few people view a Fixed Price listing and the item is snapped up quickly, it's a fair indication that the listing is more relevant to those who see it than a listing with thousands of impressions and no sales.
That's why in the improved Best Match, launching in September, Fixed Price listings in most categories will have a listing performance score based on the listing's recent sales in relation to the number of recent impressions it received. An "impression" is any time a buyer sees a search results page that includes the listing.
For example, in the new Best Match, a listing with 100 recent impressions and 10 recent sales will score higher than a similar listing with 1,000 recent impressions and 10 recent sales.
This listing performance score will be a more accurate measure of how buyers perceive a listing's relevance than recent sales alone.
- New multi-quantity and single-quantity Fixed Price listings will be given exposure in Best Match even though they have no sales history. These listings will be given a certain number of initial impressions based on the performance scores of similar listings. This change will improve the exposure of new Fixed Price listings that are relevant to buyers.
- Titles count. Relevant titles will be more important than ever in getting the best position for Fixed Price listings. Since a good listing performance score is basically a close ratio between your impressions and sales, in some situations a title that is too general could bring you a short-term gain in impressions, but end up giving your listing a lower listing performance score.
- Seller performance counts: Top-rated sellers will get promoted in Best Match for Fixed Price listings. Sellers not meeting the new minimum standard will be demoted for both Auction-style and Fixed Price listings.
- Shipping counts: As always, shipping costs are considered. Keeping costs reasonable and offering free shipping continue to be best practices. Fixed Price listings with free shipping will continue to receive added exposure. Auction-style and Fixed Price listings with excessive shipping will be demoted.
- Auction-style listings will continue to receive a boost in search results when they're about to end. Given the improvements in the way new and single-quantity Fixed Price listings are treated, and the new guidelines for Auction-style listings with Buy It Now, it will be even more important for sellers to use Auction-style listings the way they work best—with a low start price to attract buyers and stimulate bidding. Some sellers may see significant fee savings by moving Auction-style with Buy It Now inventory to Fixed Price.
- Optimized by category: : Fixed Price listings in collectibles and toys categories sorted by recency of listing. To make sure the most relevant inventory from the best sellers surfaces on top of search results, there may be variations by category in Best Match. For example, to keep the freshest inventory on top, the main sort factor for Fixed Price listings in Collectibles will be recency of listing instead of listing performance score.
- No one "silver bullet." Many factors are considered in Best Match and can vary with different circumstances. But the bottom line best practices for optimizing your position in Best Match will be the same. List in the right format and the right categories, write accurate and relevant titles, offer good prices and reasonable shipping and provide good service.
For more details on the changes to Best Match and the new listing performance score see Frequently Asked Questions.
See Collectibles page for details on how Best Match will work in Collectibles categories.
- New Search Visibility tool: With the launch of the new Best Match, you'll have a new tool to help you evaluate your listings and get the insight you need to improve your position. With the new Search Visibility tool, you'll be able to answer key questions about your listings such as:
- Where is my listing appearing in search results when sorted by Best Match?
- How many impressions is my listing getting?
- How is my listing performing? (i.e., converting to sales)
- What listing attributes help or hurt my listings rank?
- What can I do to improve my listing's rank?
- How do listings on page one of search results compare to my listing for a given search?
Analyze your listings individually, or by category.
Run reports to see how your listings are performing in specific key word searches.
- For most sellers, the best practices to get visibility in search results are the same: List in the right format and the right categories, write accurate and relevant titles, offer good prices and reasonable shipping, provide good service.
- Re-evaluate your listing titles. This will be more important than ever for Fixed Price listings.
- Use the new Search Visibility tool to get insight about how your listings are performing and the impact of specific listing practices on your position in Best Match search results.
- Consider moving some of your Auction-style with Buy It Now inventory to the Fixed Price format.
- Consider adding Best Offer to your Fixed Price listings to give buyers more choice.
- As always, test a variety of listing formats and strategies to learn what works best for you.
- Updates to Auction-style with Buy It Now listings: Auctions with a great start price draw millions of buyers to eBay. To protect that important distinction for the eBay marketplace, we're establishing some new guidelines for Auction-style listings with Buy It Now. For all Auction-style items listed on or after October 1, the Buy It Now price will have to be at least 10% more than the auction start price.
- Use Auction-style listings the way they work best—with a low start price to stimulate bidding.
- Consider moving some of your Auction-style with Buy It Now inventory to the Fixed Price format. You can also use Best Offer with Fixed Price.
- Listing features discontinued: To keep the emphasis squarely on relevance and quality, we're make changes to available features, retiring some and making changes to others:
- Featured Plus, Border, Highlight, Gift services, ProPack and Homepage Featured will no longer be available. These features will no longer appear in any listings as of October 1, and sellers who purchased them before that date will be issued appropriate credit. See FAQs for more information.
- Featured First will be available only to Top-rated sellers and won't be displayed when buyers select a different sort order than Best Match.
- When sellers purchase Featured First or Bold along with International Site Visibility, these features will be displayed only on the site of purchase to ensure that domestic listings get top visibility.
- There's nothing specific you have to do to your listings since these feature changes will be applied automatically.
- Take a new look at your listing strategy in the light of these changes and the new Best Match to make sure you get the best position in search and the best value for your fees. See more best practices.
- Product pages surfacing to more buyers: eBay catalog product pages continue to be surfaced for more and more buyers. An expanded "Great Savings" box will feature listings from three PowerSellers instead of just one. To qualify for the Great Savings box, you need to be a Top-rated seller or meet the PowerSeller requirements as defined for April 2010.
These pages have a higher sell-through rate than search results pages, and eBay is continuing to expand and improve the eBay product catalog to include more categories.
Starting September 1, 2009, eBay will begin selecting sellers' photos for inclusion in the eBay product catalog. If your photo is chosen, an attribution including your user ID and a link to your profile page will be included on the product details page under your picture each time it's displayed. This attribution can give you significant additional exposure.
If you'd rather opt out of this program, please do so through My eBay as described here. To ensure your pictures are not considered for inclusion in the eBay product catalog starting September 1, you need to opt out by August 31, 2009 at 23:59:59 PT.
You can opt out any time after that as well, but any pictures we select starting September 1 during a time you are not opted out may continue to be used in the catalog at our discretion.
- List with product details whenever they're available to make sure your listings appear on the eBay product pages. See more best practices.
- Qualify to get your items featured in the product page Great Savings box.
- To increase your chances of having your photos selected for the eBay product catalog with your user ID and link to your profile page, follow these simple guidelines: Upload clear, high resolution photos at least 1000 x 1000 pixels and do not include watermarks.
- If you don't want your photos used in the eBay product catalog, you can opt out at any time through My eBay. To ensure your pictures are not selected starting September 1, you need to opt out by August 31, 2009 at 23:59:59 PT. You can opt out any time after that as well, but any pictures selected starting September 1 during a time you are not opted out may continue to be used in the catalog.
3. Easier, more profitable selling on eBay
Updates are coming to increase your efficiency, make it easier and more profitable to follow best practices, and provide great service to your customers.
- Unpaid items: Streamlined process cuts time in half. If a buyer doesn't pay, you can open an "unpaid item" case through the eBay Resolution Center. Changes to this process, coming in September, will make it faster and more efficient to get resolution—either getting paid, or getting your Final Value Fees refunded and your inventory "back on the shelf."
- Time to resolution will essentially be cut in half—from as long as 60 days to about 30 days—mainly as a result of reducing the emails and "back-and-forth steps. You can choose to start the process as early as 4 days after the item ends, and have it close as soon as 8 days after the item ends.
- Fewer pages to fill out means opening and closing cases will be easier and less time-consuming. And you'll be able to contact Customer Support via phone or chat as well as email.
- Email communications with your customers will be clearer and more neutral in tone and come from eBay (no more mandatory back and forth between buyer and seller). There will also be fewer emails overall.
- You'll even be able to choose to have the process initiated automatically—especially helpful for sellers with very high transaction volume. The new automated process will roll out gradually starting at the end of September and we are planning to make it available to all sellers by the holiday season.
- With the automated process, buyers won't be permitted to leave Feedback when a claim is open.
For more details on the streamlined unpaid item process, see Frequently Asked Questions.
- Follow best practices to avoid buyer non-payment. Consider requiring immediate payment with eBay checkout.
- Opt into the automated process when it's available. Sign in to My eBay or Selling Manager and choosing Site Preferences from the Account Tab. There will be a link to opt in under Selling Preferences.
- Managing buyer emails made easy: Email updates will make it faster and easier to respond to buyer questions and manage your email with buyers.
- See the whole thread: Whether you prefer to manage buyer emails in eBay My Messages or in your own email inbox, conversations will be "threaded" so you can see the entire communication stream.
- Some of eBay's post-transaction emails to buyers are being streamlined. You'll be able to customize these emails through Selling Manager Pro. The improved post-transaction emails will be:
- Payment Reminder: Only goes out if the buyer hasn't paid after 48 hours (first reminder) and 96 hours (second reminder) after committing to buy. Coming soon: Sellers will be able to have the 96-hour email coincide with an automated triggering of an unpaid item claim.
- Order Confirmation: Sent when the buyer completes checkout and pays.
- Order Update: Sent when the seller marks item as shipped or uploads tracking information.
- You can see the new emails through Selling Manager. Get it free! If you send out your own post-transaction emails, make sure they don't duplicate messages coming directly from eBay.
- Review, update and customize your emails by adding your own logo and messages through Selling Manager Pro.
- Go global! International selling is easier than ever:
- Only transactions with U.S. buyers will count toward meeting DSR standards for selling on eBay.com, including qualifying as a PowerSeller or Top-rated seller.
- You'll also have more control over where you want to ship. You'll have the same ship-to choices you have now, plus you'll be able to specify countries you do not want to ship to. For example you can indicate you ship to Europe, but specifically exclude Russia and Italy.
- More shipping updates to boost efficiency and DSRs. Sellers are responsible for their items until they arrive safely in the buyers' hands. "Where's my stuff?" is one of the most common buyer questions. When buyers can easily find out for themselves, they're more satisfied with transactions and leave sellers higher DSRs—and you spend less time answering buyer questions. Tracking and delivery confirmation also play an important role in eBay dispute resolution for items not received or items significantly not as described.
Today when you upload tracking information, your buyers can access it in a pop-up window right from My eBay. If you pay shipping and print labels on eBay, your tracking information is uploaded automatically. Or you can upload the shipping tracking number or delivery confirmation, or mark your item as shipped on your own. When a tracking number is uploaded or an item has been marked as shipped, an email is sent automatically to notify your buyer.
A number of updates coming in September will help improve your shipping service and DSRs and, at the same time, reduce your operating costs and buyer inquiries.
- Tracking for more carriers: Starting in late September, you'll be able to upload tracking and delivery confirmation numbers for more carriers.
- Shipping information more visible to buyers to help DSRs: Buyers will see a message next to your handling time on the item page to help set expectations. Plus they'll see tracking information and your stated delivery time right in the Feedback and dispute resolution flows. For transactions with free shipping, there will be clear messaging in the Feedback flow encouraging buyers to leave a 5 DSR for shipping and handling charges.
- No shipping DSRs with local pickup: When the only delivery option for your item is local pickup, your shipping related DSRs will be "turned off."
- Start uploading tracking information for all carriers whenever it's available.
- Sell internationally! Now you'll have more control over specific ship-to destinations and only your domestic DSRs will count towards PowerSeller and eBay Top-rated seller eligibility.
- Faster ways to edit listings and listing descriptions-including bulk edits:
- Starting in late September, you'll be able to make changes to most fields of your multi-quantity Fixed Price and Store Inventory format listings—even when those listings have already had a sale. For any sales prior to your updates, you and your buyer will have access to a record of the listing as it appeared at the time of the sale.
- Plus with the eBay Bulk Edit tool available in My eBay, Selling Manager (now free), Selling Manager Pro and Turbo Lister, you'll be able to make edits to most fields and the descriptions of up to 200 listings at a time.
- Use bulk editing tools to make the upcoming required updates to your listings: add your return policy and handling time to Good 'Til Cancelled listings by mid-September. Those fields can be edited now, and it's better not to leave it to the last minute.
- Remove any references to buyer purchase of shipping insurance and any other content that might violate the new Selling Practices policy. See the seller checklist for details.
- Take advantage of the new bulk editing functionality to optimize your multi-quantity Fixed Price listings for enhanced Best Match.
- Category and Item Specifics changes: Changes to categories and Item Specifics that were previously announced monthly are now included with other major changes that may impact your listings. Category and Item Specifics updates are coming the week of September 22 in the following categories:
Antiques: Linens & Textiles (pre-1930); Science & Medicine
Coins & Paper Money
Clothing, Shoes & Accessories: Dancewear; Men's/Women's Accessories; Men's Clothing; Wedding Apparel & Accessories
Collectibles: Science & Medicine (1930-Now); Linens & Textiles (1930-Now)
Computers & Networking: Desktop & Laptop Components; Desktop & Laptop Accessories; Vintage Computing
Electronics: Pro Audio; Stage Lighting & Effects
Home & Garden: Holidays, Cards & Party Supplies; Inside the Home; Wedding Supplies
Motors: Golf Carts and Golf Cart Parts (moving to eBay Motors); new categories for new vehicle models; Wheels, Tires & Parts (adding item specifics; removing sub-categories)
Musical Instruments: Pro Audio Equipment
Pottery & Glass: Publications
Sporting Goods: Golf Carts (electric) and Golf Cart Parts (moving to eBay Motors)
Sports Memorabilia, Cards & Fan Shop: Cards; Fan apparel
Coins & Paper Money
Video Games: Internet Games
- New Selling Manager Applications available in August for free trial:
eBay has been working closely with a number of third-party providers to bring you powerful new tools and applications to make all aspects of selling on eBay easier and more efficient. The new applications can be used right from eBay Selling Manager—now free for all sellers—and Selling Manager Pro. Many of the applications are available now for a FREE trial:
- Get a text message whenever a buyer takes action
- Streamline returns
- Offer rewards for repeat sales to your Stores' customers
- Automate customer support
- Add video to your listings
- Source new product to sell
- Shipping and bulk label printing for multiple carriers with automatic tracking upload
- Schedule listings to reduce fees
- Manage stock availability for multi-quantity listings
- and much more.
Get more information about the applications available now.
- Stores sellers: Now you can go on vacation and put all your Fixed Price listings on hold—not just your Stores listings.