WTF eBay

WTF! eBay Pushing Your Customers Elsewhere!


This I just don’t get and I know you’ll be thinking the same once you realise what’s going on.

eBay are actively promoting product sales for the same products on external websites.

You might be thinking “so what” eBay have been running adverts on the site for ages now.

Let me make the point of this post right now for you. I’m about to spend a whole chunk of cash, more than £500 (+$1000 USD) not on eBay because of it.

If you sell on eBay, I assume you might be slightly concerned because that’s a hefty order that you could be missing out on. All because eBay sent me as an eBay buyer, somewhere else.


Read on to find out more.

I just received an alert on my phone that the replacement mini-quadcopter I bought has been marked as dispatched (the other one is 50ft up in a tree).

Great, I now know it’ll be here in a day or two. Happy days so far.


Below is a screenshot from my phone using the eBay mobile app.

eBay Remarketing Adverts


Have you worked out what the issue is for you as a seller is yet?

Scrolling down the notification page in the eBay app, as a buyer we’re presented with the obvious options

  • 5 buttons for “Buy another”, “Leave Feedback”, “Contact the seller”, “Sell one like this” & “More options”
  • An image of the listing and the the title of the listing
  • Then an advert block. In my case a “” one, typically these are for something very unrelated to the products purchased like “Sky” for example
  • A decent related items section sporting 6 related products with an option to view more
  • But then the kick in the balls for eBay sellers as shown in the screenshot above

The Kick in the Goolies

You’re probably already following the mini-series on the 6 things eBay is missing for buyers in 2016, there are several obvious things missing for buyers on eBay. And why I’ve been buying a lot from eBay, I’ve been looking elsewhere too.

It appears from the set of adverts above that eBay has allowed product remarketing ads to be displayed on the site and in the eBay app too.

A big boo-boo

While my issue isn’t with remarketing (which works exceptionally well and a topic for a different day), what eBay has inadvertently allowed to happen is this:

  1. As an eBay buyer I went to eBay and found a listing I was interested in (which took too long, see the mini-series for more on this)
  2. I bought a quadcopter for £10.44 + £2.99 postage from an eBay seller (this could have been any product and also from you as a seller on eBay)
  3. The seller updated the shipping details & as a eBay buyer I received an alert on my phone via the eBay app
  4. I check the details and scroll down the page and this is where it just goes all wrong

To clarify the situation here:

I am an eBay buyer and made a purchase from a seller on eBay.

With that clearly in our minds, because ultimately as a seller on eBay you pay eBay to list products there and you pay eBay AND PayPal each time you make a sale there as well.

eBay have now just rubbed salt into wounds by showing me that I could have purchased the product elsewhere for considerably cheaper.

Not on the eBay site ( a little price disparity is to be expected, I chose a slightly more expensive eBay seller anyway ), but from a 3rd party product website.

You might be wondering why I’m raising this point.

It’s only a couple of adverts after all right?

Wrong, Wrong & Wrong

Here is why.

eBay Purchase: £10.44 + £2.99 = £13.43
Banggood: £9.14
Price difference: £4.29 or 47% more expensive

You don’t need a calculator to have visually worked out that Banggood was a country mile cheaper than eBay.

And also to hammer this point home, hard.

This is my current shopping cart on, I’ve highlighted the part you’re interested in as a seller on eBay with a red box.

Shopping Cart on Banggood

Thanks eBay

I found out about from two sources, the first was in a video tutorial series on YouTube, the second source was….

Yep you guessed it eBay.

And now because of the role that eBay played in this process, I’m about to dump a +£500 / +$1000 order there.

That is an order that I could have been placing on eBay.

That’s an order that I could have been placing with you as a seller on eBay.

But as an eBay buyer I’m not.

Because eBay actively promoted a 3rd party site that has inventory available that is similar to that I can find on eBay.

How do you feel about this?

Frankly speaking, if I was sat on your side of the table as an eBay seller, I’d be pretty annoyed.

eBay through the ability to spam adverts through the eBay site & apps have now just enlightened me to as a buyer that there are other sites available that have the same products for cheaper.

How many adverts are being shown on eBay every day? How many customers are being leaked to alternative sites?

I know I’m not your “typical buyer“, but come on…

  • How much is eBay leaking buyers off to other sites?
  • How much is eBay leaking your potential customers to other sites?
  • Have you seen this in your categories as well?

Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments box below.

As always, to your continued success,


3 replies
  1. Fred Harrington
    Fred Harrington says:

    Eh, eBay is gonna do whatever is best for eBay at the end of the day. If this really is hurting them (eg. driving sellers/buyers away en masse) then they’ll stop. But if not then they’ll probably continue doing it ;)

  2. Steve
    Steve says:

    Hi Matt,

    Just some observations really.

    1. You are aware that banggood are China traders so their goods could be subject to import tariffs, especially for a £500 order. Plus if that happens and Royal Mail surcharge you to deliver the items they won’t be so cheap.

    2. Their returns policy is a bit onerous. You have 3 yes THREE days to tell them if there’s a problem and you will be required to send photo or video proof of the fault before they refund or replace.

    3. Returns can only be made to their China warehouse even if your goods were shipped from a local hub. Admittedly they will allow you to keep items that cost less than $70 but anything over must be returned before refund.

    4. I presume that ebay are using banggoods affiliate programme. It would be interesting to see if their affiliation fees are netting them more than seller fees that they lose out on but I guess we’re never going to get to find that out.

    So as a seller do I feel threatened, yes a little but it’s very much a case of buyer beware. I wonder if Ebay are aware of the disservice they’re doing to their customers by recommending this site? Also as an aside how many people are actually using the mobile app in the way that you are. Is it all of my customers or only a small percentage?

    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:

      Howdy Steve,

      Firstly thanks for the comment.

      Yep totally aware of the import taxes, the orders were broken up into smaller ones & DHL handled that really well for me (dead simple to pay online) & delivered yesterday.

      The returns policy, what I actually did was buy individual components for a project for which each part, bar one was pretty inexpensive. I admit I took a punt on the FatShark goggles (the bar one), they’ve arrived and work well though.

      For #3, I’m not sure, I believe it’s direct ad placement rather than affiliated. Ah ha just turned off adblock and the redirected URL contains “&utm_medium=cpc” so yea most likely cpc and no sign of a tracking ID you would normally find in an affiliate url.

      I’m not using the the eBay mobile app for anything special, in fact I rarely use it for buying with, I personally prefer a desktop browser. It’s the order status notifications that I look at to see when the order is going to arrived, those are pretty standard and how I spotted those ads originally.

      How many people are using the eBay mobile app? eBay haven’t posted anything for a while about the eBay app usage, but last time it was pretty high.

      Obviously this whole scenario isn’t ideal, hence the article, I hope someone at eBay takes notice!



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