How Much Did eBay & Amazon Spend on Google Advertising in 2011?

While researching for an article working I’m working on in relation to Google Adwords and the eBay & Amazon marketplaces, I came across the info-graphic below and I’ve got to share!

The numbers are just unreal

In 2011:

  • eBay spent $42.8 million
  • Amazon spent $55.2 million

On Google advertising in one year.

Yes, in one year!!!

Question: How much did you spend on Google Adwords last year?

Was it £0, £10, £1000? You can let me know in the comments at the bottom

Googles Earnings Breadown for 2011

Googles Earnings Breadown for 2011

Report a Buyer Now Live on eBay UK

In the eBay Autumn updates which we covered in-depth here, one of the sellers favourites was the ability to be able to report a buyer for naughty behaviour. This is now live on eBay, YAY!


Video with James Stewart

In the video below from eBay, James Stewart, Director of EU Seller Protection explains the reasoning behind this being included and how to leave a report for a buyer.

How to Report a Buyer that Exhibits Bad Behaviour

When the process is put live it will be really straight forwards to notify eBay of a bad buyer and it is important to note that this can only be done through the eBay website and cannot be automated using the eBay API.

Step #1 – Select the “Report a Buyer” Option

After an item has been purchased, on the Leave Feedback page here a new option will appear called “Report a Buyer” where the eBay account is the seller for one or more transactions.

Select Report a Buyer on eBay

Step #2 – Select a Reason

Next you’ll be able to select from one of the five options, these are:

  1. Buyer has made unreasonable demands
  2. Buyer has left inappropriate feedback
  3. Buyer abused the buyer protection program
  4. Buyer misused returns
  5. Other problems

And there is an appropriate link to solve unpaid items through the eBay resolution centre.

Report an eBay Buyer Step 2

Step #3 – Submit Report

After making your selection, you then submit the report, noting the text in the confirmation notice “Bad Buyer”.

eBay Confirm Bad Buyer

Have You Used This Yet?

So have you have to use this for a buyer yet, let me know in the comments box below.

Tesco Marketplace Update: Not Enough Big Name Brands?

The launch of Tesco’s Marketplace has been very quiet, first it was launched very silently in April with  just two 3rd parties, Maplins and Crocus and now according to this article Tesco has postponed its launch campaign. So is this the end of Tesco marketplace already?

Tesco Marketplace, the only viable new challenger to Amazon in the UK Marketplace as both a retailer and a Marketplace, noting that eBay is not a retailer as well, well “as yet” at least.

Sears MarketplaceWe’ve seen this done to varying degrees of success in the USA with Sears marketplace being the larger one of them and back in April we saw the statement in another article from the BBC that Tesco were looking to increase the volume by two, from 40,000 to 80,000 lines for their own supplied inventory and add more than double that through third parties with an aim of 200,000 by Christmas.

When I looked at the Tesco Marketplace back in April, we could already see signs that it’s launch had not been that well thought through and data was weak in some places and only a handful of merchants had signed up and were listing their inventory on Tesco Direct.


Current 3rd Party Sellers on Amazon

Looking at Tesco marketplace today, the current list of brands are as follows:

  • Crocus
  • Fred Aldous
  • Mamas & Papas
  • Maplin
  • Normans Musical Instruments
  • Purely Gadgets
  • The Nutri Centre
  • Thompson & Morgan
  • Trove (Hughes Electrical)
  • Wayfair

If we count the number of products that these new merchants have added to the marketplace, we come in with a total of 45,582 new products.

Hardly a dent in the target 200,000 products expected by Christmas and considering that it’s taken 5 months to get this far and 4 months to go December, then it looks unlikely that Tesco Marketplace will be anywhere near the expected volume of inventory.

Digging into Mamas & Papas

mamas and papas on Amazon

Looking at one retailer, in particular “Mamas & Papas”, they were said to be “a huge online shopping destination” for Tesco Direct, however, I’m wondering how flawed this is.

Checking their fully branded Amazon presence here they hardly scrapping 71 feedback comments, which means they’re only really seeing 700 orders a month from the Amazon marketplace.

It does make you wonder why Mamas & Papas even bothered with Tesco Marketplace in the first place

If we look to eBay where there is no direct presence by Mamas & Papas, there are over 5,500 items listed, showing that the secondhand market is strong (as it is second hand here as no primary presence by the own label brand) and an estimated monthly sales volume of £271,000 according to Terapeak.

It does make you wonder why Mamas & Papas even bothered with Tesco Marketplace in the first place, as an over quarter of a million pounds work of a kit a month in secondhand only goods raises the immediate question, why are we not seeing them on eBay already, after all eBay see’s more visitors each month than Tesco and has the same or greater potential than Amazon does.

What Do You Think of the Tesco Marketplace?

In the original article that I wrote at the beginning of this year called “Part 1: Battle of The Giants – Tesco V’s Amazon – Who Will Win?” it was correctly noted in the comments that Tesco only need to make a small dent in Amazon to have an effect.

What I had not realised is how little this dent is going to be, now with their marketing campaign for the site being postponed, you’ve got to wonder if we’ll be seeing anything like the formation of a new marketplace that I know many of you have longed for.

So one question for you:

Do you think the Tesco Marketplace is ever going take off and are we likely to see the ~180,000 businesses from eBay and the estimated 100,000 from Amazon move over? Would you?

You can let me know your thoughts in the comments box below.

How to Load jQuery into eBay Listings With Live Examples

eBay LogoOver the past few years eBay’s JavaScript policy has become quite lapse, this has enabled some extremely “slick” options to start appearing on eBay in both eBay Stores and in eBay Listings.

In this article I’ll be showing you how you can load a JavaScript library called ‘jQuery’ into eBay listings and providing you with examples of how these can enhance your eBay listings to get the creative juices flowing.

I have added updated code samples that load jQuery asynchronously (much faster & the right way!), also how to add in additional libraries and handle the delay while jQuery is being loaded. These can be found at the bottom of the page here.

Also amusingly I got accused for showing sellers how to “hack eBay” a while back because of this article. Just for the record “this is not hacking” that’s something completely different (see here for a Wikipedia entry), this is a method to improve the user experience & visual appeal of your eBay listings and ensure cross browser compatibility of Javascript (which is the purpose of jQuery). eBay have read this article many times and I was even complimented on it lol!


So What are these Slick Options & What is jQuery?

Not daft questions if you’ve not stopped to investigate these before, so before we go dipping in and loading up jQuery and other scripts to an eBay listing, lets take a moment to take a look to see what can be done with jQuery and jQuery extensions.

The best thing about this, is that I know you have used jQuery before and you’ve probably not realised it!

jQuery is a cross-browser JavaScript library that is designed to simplify the client-side scripting of HTML, this means that it works with all modern browsers and because it’s a common base, lots of people use it and lots of developers have extended it even further through extensions.

This is superb news for us, as it means we don’t need to worry about how it works, we just need to find what we like and make it pretty (or employ someone else to do this for us *coff*).

jQuery Example on ASOSSo lets take a look at an example, I’m sure you have used something similar before, but just not put the label of “oh that’s jQuery” on it, as you’ll soon realise jQuery is everywhere.

Grab any product on, this one is the example in the screenshot to the right and click on the main picture.

A new layer appears with the main image and any additional images.

Did you notice that the image resizes to your screen size?

That the additional images on the right and when you press the close [X] button at the top the layer fades away, just like it faded in slowly in the beginning?

That is…. jQuery!

jQuery Example on debenhams

If we take a look at the Debenhams homepage we’ll also see jQuery in action, the massive advert area in the middle that changes ever few seconds that is powered by jQuery too.

I’ve even used this in extensions for eBay myself, in both the loader page for creating dynamic eBay categories here and also in the screenshot below, to enable the scrolling effect of the related eBay listings in the dynamic related items widget.

Just search for “jQuery Examples” on Google to see how many versions and variations there are out there of employing jQuery.

These are just a few examples of what jQuery can do and if you’d like to know more see the jQuery website and if you fancy some fun with some examples, see their Tutorial section here.

So… jQuery on eBay Examples

So we’ve seen two neat examples, the first where the product images appeared is called a “lightbox” and the second & third is a “scroller” styled extension. Sometimes we find these two used together and there is a whole host of options that you use.

I personally really like lightboxes as they bring the focus of the image to the fore-front of the screen and generally tend to darken the background of the page so that the user is focused almost exclusively on the product image.

Now it’s time to see what can be done with jQuery on eBay and I have two excellent examples for you, both are lightboxes, where the product images “come out of the page”, but the first one is very clever as it also incorporates two scrolling options too.

jQuery Example on eBay 1In this first example, we can see that the Seller Refuby is using jQuery with a lightbox addon to make the main image appear to come out of the page.

This is just like what we saw on ASOS earlier in this article.

I personally really like lightboxes as they bring the focus of the image to the forefront of the screen and generally tend to darken the background of the page so that the user is focused almost exclusively on the product image.

That to me, has to be a good thing!

Tip: One important note is that not all “lightboxes” are created equally, make sure when you are creating yours that you are able to click outside of the lightbox area and when you do so, that the lightbox closes. Some do not and that is really annoying :)

eBay Listing JQuery Gallery Example 1

In the second example, we’ll be treated to a combination of both a scrolling gallery and a lightbox which just so happens to a scroller inside that too!

Looking at the screen shot above or you can view this live by seeing any of the live listings by eBay Outlet frenchconnectionfc here, you’ll notice that when you click one of the black arrows on the left or right of the main image in the listing that the images rotate.

eBay Listing JQuery Gallery Example 2

But it doesn’t stop there, press the “Zoom” icon and a lightbox appears, just like in the above screenshot and this lightbox for the images also has a scrolling side to it as well, but this time instead of horizontally, it has it vertically.

How cool is that!

How to Load jQuery into eBay Listings

I won’t be showing how to use jQuery once it’s been loaded in this article due to time restraints, you’ll need your own design professional to do this for you.

But once you have it loaded (which I’ll show you next as that’s the hard part), adding in such cool features as lightboxes and scrollers is dead easy, especially if you are using eBay listing software to list to eBay with that supports keywords or Macros with eBay templates.

So if you just load up the default jQuery script line below

<script src=””></script>

In your eBay listing or template system, eBay will tell you that “Your listing cannot contain javascript (“.cookie”, “cookie(“, “replace(“, IFRAME, META, or includes), cookies or base href.” in an attractive red box:

eBay Javascript Warning


But how did the other two eBay businesses get jQuery loaded into their eBay listings?
Simple they used a “loader”.

Unlike the one of the examples in the above listings, one will fail when you use them on both and because has more stringent code checking, so to load jQuery or another external Javascript file we need to use a loader function to bring the code library in so that we can use in our listings.

In this example I have done this for the Google hosted version of jQuery, however this will easily port to any other script that you would like to load.

<script async type=”text/javascript”>
/* jQuery Loading Script for eBay Listings –*/
var az = “SC”;var bz = “RI”;var cz = “PT”;var dz = “SR”;var ez = “C=”;var fz = “htt”;var gz = “p://”;var hz = “.com”;var jz = “ajax.googleapis”+hz+”/”;
var resource = document.createElement(“script”);
resource.src = fz+gz+jz+”ajax/libs/jquery/1.10.2/jquery.min.js”;
var script = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0];
script.parentNode.insertBefore(resource, script);

A text file of this code can be downloaded here:

Update: Adding in Additional Libraries

Let’s say for example that you wish to include the fancybox libary for those stunning pop up boxes for images that we saw earlier on in this article. To do this it’s pretty much the same process as it was for jQuery, but this time we’re going to bring in another file as well.

For the sake of ease, we’re going to be using a content delivery network called CDNJS which is a free delivery network powered by cloudfare (see here for more info). These chaps host ALL the associated files and for our Fancybox example, the source files are here

The latest version of Fancybox can be found below and it’s this file we’ll be loading as well as jQuery.

Now let’s jump to straight to the code:

<script async type=”text/javascript”>
/* jQuery Loading Script for eBay Listings – */
var az = “SC”;var bz = “RI”;var cz = “PT”;var dz = “SR”;var ez = “C=”;var fz = “htt”;var gz = “p://”;

/* Fancybox – Set tld & domain */
var hz = “.com”;
var jz = “cdnjs.cloudflare”+hz+”/”;
var resource = document.createElement(“script”);
resource.src = fz+gz+jz+”ajax/libs/fancybox/2.1.5/jquery.fancybox.js”;
var script = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0];
script.parentNode.insertBefore(resource, script);

/* jQuery – Now Add in jQuery */
var hz = “.com”;
var jz = “ajax.googleapis”+hz+”/”;
var resource = document.createElement(“script”);
resource.src = fz+gz+jz+”ajax/libs/jquery/1.10.2/jquery.min.js”;
var script = document.getElementsByTagName(“script”)[0];
script.parentNode.insertBefore(resource, script);

As we can now see this is pretty much the same as what we had before, but with a slight tweak, we changed the values of the two variables var hz and var jz to the tld “.com” and “cdnjs.cloudflare”+hz+”/” respectively.

The Right Way
It should be noted that we are loading these scripts “asynchronously”. Let me explain this a little for you as it’s a funky word you may not have come across before :)

If you use Javascript’s document.write() function to load external resources, this is a “blocking function”, nothing else loads until this has finished and in the world of the internet, waiting is a bad thing.

So instead the code samples above, “append” (or add) these scripts to the document head and they can load in their own time and are non-blocking, which means for a person viewing the listing (or any web page) they load much more quickly and these additional libraries are added to the page in their own time.

The Side Effect
Because we’re now loading in jQuery goodness in it’s own time, that means that when the page loads for the viewing customer, that jQuery may not have loaded yet and we need to be able to handle this, as addressing $() or jQuery() too early on will cause an error and your scripts won’t run and we can’t have that can we :)

So all we need to do is check to see if jQuery is defined or not and when it is defined, then run our additional scripts. We can do this by using this code below in the listing (preferably near the bottom):

<script async type=”text/javascript”>
function jQueryLoaded() {
//yay loaded! Now do stuff

/* Your jQuery code here */


function checkJquery() {
if (typeof window.jQuery === ‘undefined’ && window.jQuery) {
} else {
window.setTimeout(checkJquery, 100);

And tada! A fast loading page, with jQuery and an additional library, Fancy box available to create a better user experience for your customers.


jQuery can really improve the richness and functionality of a webpage

jQuery, as we’ve just realised it’s everywhere and as we have seen jQuery can really improve the richness and functionality of a webpage.

Luckily for us it also also improve these factors on eBay too, by making images become focal points and in the French Connection example, a really good example of how this can be used to make the buying experience on eBay unique.

Have you see this before on eBay? Did you like it? Let me know in the comments box below.

Improving eBay DSR’s – A Personal Account

eBay Detailed Seller Ratings Card  - DSR'sThey’re eBays version of your school report card and every time a buyer leaves you a feedback comment, eBay asks them to leave a survey on your performance as a seller. I am of course referring to the “eBay Detailed Seller Ratings”.

The following is a guest post from Pete Moran who has documented his struggle, successes & strategery in turning the eBay DSR’s to his advantage.

All successful eBay sellers will highlight the importance of keeping your Detailed Seller Ratings (DSR’s) as high as possible. Not only does it give buyers confidence you do as expected but also allows access to the eBay powerseller and Top Rated Seller program which if you are serious about eBay you need to be in.

However for those relatively new to eBay or just starting out as you scale your business you may notice that your DSR’s start well but then gradually slip as the number of transactions grow.

This is exactly what happened to my business and the following article describes what I did about it.


Our Background

Our business was never planned, my wife started selling our unused brick-a-brack at car boot sales as so many of us do.  However, she took it the step further and started buying really nice vintage and retro items from other people’s car boots and selling it for a profit at her own.

“Our business was never planned”

Pretty soon she graduated to buying at car boots, auctions and a wide variety of other sources and selling part time on eBay.  Although still modest sales the business showed promise and she quickly (within 3 months) became a PowerSeller and then a Top Rated Seller!

With these honourable titles business accelerated and what started as a hobby became a full-time job.  I joined my wife in April of this year as a family business with the intent to making a decent living doing something we both enjoy.

The Problem

When taking a business from a part time hobby to something more substantial, growing pains are inevitable, we started to see our DSR’s once 4.9’s drop to 4.8’s and then our postage and packaging charge DSR went to 4.7.

What did we do wrong?

Simply we didn’t have a strategy to ensure our DSR’s remained high and it was starting to show.

Reading through the eBay forum’s many people had been contacted by eBay as their DSR’s approached 4.7/4.6 with stern warnings they were not living up to the high standards expected of sellers.  It became clear that if we dropped to 4.6 there was a high likelihood we would lose our eTRS (that’s the top-rated seller status) and our sales would suffer…we needed to react and fast.

The Postmortem

“The first step in turning around our degrading DSR problem was to actually accept we had a problem”

The first step in turning around our degrading DSR problem was to actually accept we had a problem, we had not changed the way we had worked so the issue was just becoming more apparent as we scaled.

We were fortunate enough to convince Matt Ogborne to give us an hour of his time in which we gleaned some invaluable tips! He ran through each of our DSR’s and questioned how well we were doing with them, what was impacting them and what the customer thought was important.

How accurate was the item description?
eBay DSR - Item As Described 

Selling second hand goods means that unlike goods where you can take photo’s, write titles and descriptions once and sell multiple times – every item (which equals one sale) needs photographs, a good title and description.

We had been fortunate that this DSR has remained steady, we had always ensured there were several photographs of each item, especially highlighting any defects and this combined with a precise description has left us in good shape.

How satisfied were you with the seller’s communication?
eBay DSR - Communication 

We had left communication entirely to eBay – that is to say we never personalised any emails, we did not give thank you notes or inform the customer of delivery times.

eBay does a great job of automating the standard communication, but it is the most basic level of communication and could be greatly improved upon.

How quickly did the seller dispatch the item?
eBay DSR - Dispatch Time 

“we still had some hangovers from how we worked before”

As this had evolved from a hobby, we still had some hangovers from how we worked before.  On our listings we would specify we would post within 3 working days, and often it would take that long as we would wait for a number of sales before packaging and dispatching in one go.  This was of course more convenient for us, but not convenient for the buyers.

Matt rightly pointed out that buyers expect you to dispatch fast and even though you may specify how long you expect dispatch to take, ultimately if the buyer feels you are dispatching too slow then you are dispatching too slow.

How reasonable were the postage and packaging charges?
eBay DSR - Postage and packaging Charges 

This was and still is the hardest DSR to get *right* the buyer is unlikely to know the true cost of postage and packaging, many think it is just the cost of the actual postage and not to take into account the time it takes to package, the cost of material it takes to keep it safe, trips to the post office etc.

We sell some delicate and bulky items, antique porcelain needs to be packed very carefully in a lot of protective layers, boxed and sent.  This is not only highly time consuming but the costs can be significant.

Many eBay businesses offer free postage and packaging to effectively remove this DSR from a rating, we unfortunately could not do so without making a loss so we needed to find another strategy.

The Strategy

So we understood where we were going wrong, now it was time to get to work to turn around our DSR’s before our business suffered.  Making use of Matt’s suggestions as well as some idea’s of our own we devised a strategy to improve our DSR’s as quickly as possible.

The aim of our strategy is simple:

“to ensure that every one of our customers receives the best possible service from us, above and beyond what they expect from buying online“

We are human beings, and it’s much easier to offer lower ratings to a business or person who has offered mediocre service than to a business who even if in some cases may fail, makes up with it in willingness to please.

So with this in mind we worked on improving our overall service to ensure that every one of our customers felt as special and valued as they are!

The Friendly Seller

Accomplishing this started at the very first contact with a customer, which in some cases if they ask a question about an item or perhaps when they have made a sale.

“an extremely polite and friendly manner”

In every communication we try to answer as fast as possible in an extremely polite and friendly manner.  By acting like people rather than just a business in many cases we quickly build a rapport with our customers which instantly makes it harder for a customer to rate in anything but 5’s.

Keeping the customer informed

The second part of this enhanced communication strategy is to keep the customer informed at every stage above and beyond the automated eBay messages.

“keep the customer informed at every stage above and beyond the automated eBay messages”

If a courier is needed when booked we inform the customer that it has been booked, when it will be picked up and the estimated delivery date.  When it is dispatched we mark it as dispatched on eBay and then send a note letting them know that it has been dispatched.  Similarly with Royal Mail, if you organise your postage via PayPal the item is marked as dispatched once the postage label has been printed.

We also drop a short note letting them know it has actually been posted and when it is expected to arrive.  This level of communication not only ensures that the communication DSR is well serviced but also highlights that you care which again makes it harder for a buyer to rate another DSR lower.

Dispatching Fast

We made a decision to dispatch the same working day for any orders before 1pm, as a small company of just two this can sometimes be difficult to manage but so far we have made it work.  The fact we dispatch so fast means our dispatch DSR is back on the up!

Delighting the Customer

When we have bought something online (assuming it is something more fun than practical) there is a certain anticipation when waiting for it to arrive.

This can be used to the wise sellers advantage in a few simple ways, Matt again gave some great ideas around this which we have implemented to a great effect.

These are just some steps we have taken:

  1. The Customers Perception of Time
    If an item is sent 1st class post in most cases the item should arrive the next day, in our message to say it has been dispatched we always indicate it is most likely arrive the day after it should arrive e.g. if it was sent on a Monday we say it should arrive by Wednesday when really we expect it to arrive by Tuesday.If it arrives on the Tuesday we have secretly earned some brownie points that it arrived earlier than specified and if it didn’t and arrived the day after, we were on time. Win-Win.
  2. Beauty is in the eye of the received package
    We make every parcel as beautiful as possible – initially as we often send larger items we would use reclaimed boxes to put our items in and then add the postage label.  Someone receiving a re-used crisp box did not have a great perception of us as a company.So we worked on our packaging, every item is first wrapped in a beautiful tissue paper before going through its ‘protective coating’.We still in some cases use second hand boxes but every time we cover with brown parcel paper so that the first opinion is always a good one!
  3. The small barrier of tape
    We ensure it takes that little bit of extra effort to unwrap the item at the final stage, in our final bubble wrap layer just using that extra bit of tape which takes a moment longer to open builds anticipation!
  4. Getting Personal
    We include a personalized “thank you” letter with every item, this is an important part which has multiple effects.  Firstly it gives you the opportunity to reinforce the rapport with the customer which was started in earlier communications. It offers the opportunity to cross sell some of your other products (but do so carefully should not turn into a sales letter) and finally you can gently thank them in advance for leaving positive feedback.Many times we have been thanked for the letter, it makes the transaction that little bit more personal.
  5. Sweets, they always work
    We also include a simple ‘lolly’ with every parcel which is mentioned in the letter as a ‘thank you’ gift.  Whilst this small step does add a cost to each parcel it once again indicates to the customer they and their business is important.Matt’s comment: I love sweeties, try it it works amazingly well!

Dealing with problems

It doesn’t matter how much you try – things are going to go wrong, items lost in the post, damaged items or a customer feels that something is not as described.

“things are going to go wrong”

In our case as we have already made such an effort to build a relationship with the customer it makes it easier to resolve.  In all cases so far customers have contacted us when something has gone wrong and we have listened and resolved the problems quickly and most importantly without taking it personally.

Even when things do go wrong it’s an opportunity to build trust with a customer, in most cases so far customers have not only been happy with the outcome but also have bought from us again!

Monitoring DSR’s

If you have an eBay shop eBay provides reports which allows you to monitor your DSR’s, you can navigate to the reports as below :~

Home > My eBay > My Account > Seller Dashboard > Your reports

eBay Top Rated Seller Dashboard

In these reports you can specify a date range and a geographical area, if you use this report regularly (weekly, monthly or keep a running log) you can easily see how your DSR’s are doing.

Since implementing our strategy we have kept a running log of DSR’s every couple of days I run a report for the last few days to see how customers are rating us.  It allows me to quickly see if the strategy is working, which generally it is.


Do we have straight 5 DSR’s? The honest answer is no, we still get the occasional 4 and the even less occasional 3 but these are by far the exception rather than the rule.

“by taking our DSR bull by the horns we have had lots of other positive side effects”

However by taking our DSR bull by the horns we have had lots of other positive side effects, we have needed and learnt to be more efficient and organised especially around communication and dispatch.

“Customers are increasingly thanking us for our letter and lolly and recommending us to their friends”

Customers are increasingly thanking us for our letter and lolly and recommending us to their friends. We have repeat business which is the best kind of business and our feedback has gone from the boring ‘great ebayer’ to really genuine nice and kind compliments.  All in all it has made our business better in every possible way.

About Pete Moran

Pete MoranThis was a guest post by Pete Moran.

Pete is a technologist and entrepreneur, most recently selling funky vintage & retro homeware on his and his eBay store in partnership with his wife.



Your Feedback!

A week or so ago I got an email, “Matt the lolly’s are working” it exclaimed “and I’ve done a lot more too, it’s working!“.  Pete really did take the suggestions to heart, it was over a month ago we spoke on the phone. Pete crucially took action and has shared his experiences so far with us, this leaves us with this question:

What could you use from Pete’s suggestions to help your DSR’s on eBay?

Let us know in the comments box below.

Social Sharing Buttons for eBay Listings – Copy & Paste Code!

Social Sharing Icons for eBay ListingsWould you like to be sporting the social icons that you at the top of every eBay listing, in your listings?

You know the ones the links that take your products to the sites below and are in the screen shot to the right?

  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
  • The button to email a friend
  • And for good measure, the “Add to Watchlist” link too.

You do? Sweet, I’ve got some sick copy & paste code for you below :)

They do come with a warning though…. Even though they are a direct replication of what eBay has on the top of each listing and the code provided in this article is based of what eBay use’s (it even uses their image for the icons and part of their CSS), this still can be classed as a links policy violation and it’s to be used at your own discretion.

How To Use

In the next part of this article I’m going to be referring to “keywords”, you may also know these as tags or macros and are used by third-party tools to list to eBay with.

If you have no idea what these are then either you’re not using a 3rd party eBay listing tool or you’ll find these two articles super useful Part 1 & Part 2.

If you are not using any of these or a tool that does support keywords, for example if you are manually listing items on eBay or using TurboLister, but still want the icons, then follow the steps for “WITHOUT” a 3rd party tool below.

For Users WITH 3rd Party eBay Listing Software

If you have 3rd party software that supports keywords, it’s going to be two edits for you and I’ve included the keywords for:

If you tool have different keywords, then just change them over by following the instructions below.

If you’re using any of the tools above or a similar product that has keywords (tags, macros or whatever you’d like to call them), then it’s a simple case of copying the code later on in this article  and swapping over the keywords for s_ItemTitle and s_ItemImage at line 59 and 60.

For ChannelAdvisor your keywords are: {{ITEMTITLE}} and {{IMAGE(ITEMIMAGEURL1)}}

For eSellerPro your keywords are: {{Title}} and  {{Image(ItemImageURL1)}}

For ChannelGrabber your keywords are: {{title}} and {{image1}}

Swap these keywords over as appropriate for text between the quotes in  var s_ItemTitle = “{{Title}}“; and var s_ItemImage = “{{Image(ItemImageURL1)}}“; and then paste the code into your listing template section and press save.

Tip: If you’re a little lost, see the next section for users without 3rd party tools for a colour coded guide.

For Users WITHOUT 3rd Party eBay Listing Software

This isn’t a biggy, you can still use this script. However it requires you to edit a little bit of HTML, but it’s really easy and if you get stuck, let me know in the forums, I’d be happy to help you (registration is of course free).

Copy and paste the code in the section below into your listing, where you would like the buttons to show, in the code there two variables that you need to set, these are:

var s_ItemTitle = “{{Title}}“;

This is at line 59 below and

var s_ItemImage = “{{Image(ItemImageURL1)}}“;

Which is at line 60.

In between the quotes for each line you need firstly change the text {{Title}} (as shown above in red) to your eBay listing  title. For example, if you’re listing with an title called “LOVELY TOWN & COUNTRY ** WELLINGTONS”you’d pop this between the quotes so it now reads like this:


If you know how to find the URL (link) for an image then you can also update the text between the quotes for the s_ItemImage setting too, if you don’t then just set this to:

var s_ItemTitle = “”;

But if you do, pop the image URL between the quotes and Pinterest will work for you :)

Now copy and paste the entire code into your listing, on the HTML tab where you would like the buttons to appear and remember if you get stuck, let me know in the forums, I’d be happy to help you.

The Social Buttons Code for eBay Listings

Below is the code you’ll need to copy and paste for your social buttons to appear, remember to set your keywords to the title and image links as appropriate. Then revise or list an eBay to ensure it’s working, noting that it has to be live on eBay to work, in a preview screen the icons will not show.

Customised, Automatic Integrated Version

On a side note: If you are not using a third party tool or have to/get fed up of manually adding the title and image URL’s each time, it would take about ~1.5 hours for me to write a PHP version that connects to the eBay API and finds the listing title and main image so that this can be automated.

This would remove the need for you to manually add the title and images each time. Plus I’m pretty sure this could be setup to “auto add” to the top or bottom of eBay listings as well. But I don’t have those 1.5 hours right now at the time of posting to do so (and they would need to be paid for hours), so for now, use the above :) If you would an automated method, it can be done see the contact Matt page if this of interest to you.

Your Feedback

If you run into problems, let me know in the forums.

Once you’ve got it working, let me know by either leaving a comment below or a post in the forums, as you’ll agree the above code is pretty darn cool, enjoy and maybe you’d like to press the tweet or like button at the top of this page share it with your friends too?

What is an eBay Second Chance Offer & Why are they Important to a Business?

Not such a daft question as you first think and in this article I’ll do my best to exceed what is most commonly known about eBay second chance offers and put them into context for you.

To explain this as clearly as possible lets start this with a quick story.

For the past few week’s I’ve been coaching the mother-in-law to sell a collection of items on eBay that she’s been getting ready to clear out, the first batch of 19 items went through and while only 15 of them sold, several did really, really well.

While being left to pack the items, a message pops up on Skype from mum, “What’s a second chance offer? Do I want one of those?“. So not a daft question if you were wondering what one was.


So what is an eBay Second Chance Offer anyway?

eBay Second Chance Offer

Every time you sell an auction on eBay where you have had two or more bidders on the auction, once the listing ends, you will be able to make a second chance offer to an under-bidder if you want to.

Now the latter part “if you want to” is the important part and the bit that confused granny. In Grannies case, she only had a single item for each listing and thus absolutely no need or desire to offer a second chance offer on the successful listings.

If you’re a private seller on eBay, this is very much likely to be the case for you too, so you can ignore it.

There is a but to that statement, which is… but if you have exactly the same item to sell again and you like the price(s) the under-bidders made you can offer it to them, the same is true if your original winner backs out for some reason and you can offer it to an under-bidder at their highest bid price.

Why are Second Chance Offers Important for Businesses?

In the example above, Granny really did not care about the second chance offers option, however if you are a business seller, there are circumstances where you definitely want to be using second chance offers as part of your business model.

If you have many items for sale, some or all of which are repeatable and you’re using “bid auctions” to sell your item through, then as long as you are happy with lower bid prices when then listing ends, then you can make “second chance offers” to the under-bidders and scoop some easy extra sales.

How Do You Make a Second Chance Offer?

Making a second chance offer is dead easy to do.

Regardless if you have Selling Manager, Selling Manager Pro or just plain old “My eBay”, on the left hand side of “My eBay” click on “sold” and next to listings where you can make a second chance offer to a buyer, it says “Second Chance Offer”, if you’d like to make one, then click on the link.

A screen will appear something similar to the one below:

Making an eBay Second Chance Offer

  • Select the number of available items that are exactly like the one that sold
    Note:  This is capped to 6 items
  • Select the duration you would like the offer to the buyer to last for.
    Tip: Normally I would suggest 1 day for this as it adds a real sense of urgency to the offer
  • The select one or more bidders, noting that their highest bid price is to the right
    Tip: If you lost of the item that sold and the prices are good, tick them all if would like! Also, another tip is to just be sure that you have no already sold the item in another auction to the same buyer (awkward!).
  • Hit continue at the bottom & confirm

The second chance offer or offers that you just made, will now appear in your “My eBay” section.

But unlike a normal auction where lots of people can see the item, only yourself and the potential buyer account you made that offer to can see it. Also the auction is now a “fixed price” listing which means the buyer cannot bid on the item, they only have the option just buy it at the price that was set (if they want to of course).

The person you made the offer to will either accept it or if they do not within the listing time you specified, the listing will end and cannot be repeated.

How Long do Second Chance Offer Last For?

As a seller, you can specify the duration of the second chance offer as either 1 day, 3 days, 5 days or 7 days.

One of the tips above was that if you have lots of an item that you have been listing in auctions and the under-bidder prices are acceptable, I’d personally suggest you work with 1 day listings for the second chance offers as these add urgency to the bidder and can help them convert into a buyer (yay).

It’s also worth noting that buyers can turn off second chance offer notices in their communication preferences on eBay (bummer eh?).

Can You Cancel a Second Chance Offer?

Yes, just like a normal auction/listing you can do so using the end an item early form here on eBay (you’ll need the eBay item number).

Can Second Chance Offers be Automated?

Oh yes! But it does mean you need 3rd party software.

Believe it not while the statistics may be showing that the number of auctions may be decreasing (and the number of fixed price listings increasing heavily), that does not mean that you cannot still leverage auctions on eBay to gain buyers.

As far as automating second chance offers, you of course, need to be using the auction format and have a listing that ends with more than one bidder, whose price you like and of course at a price you’re happy selling at.

You used to be able to do this in eBay’s own “Selling Manager Pro”, but they removed it from the automation preferences quite some time ago, so instead the only option to user a third party tool that allows you to set rules and send second chance offers automatically for you.

They all vary in features and functionality, here is a short list of software products that I know support the automation of second chance offers on eBay:

  • Inkfrog
  • Auctiva
  • ChannelGrabber
  • Linnworks
  • eSellerPro
  • ChannelAdvisor

There are probably far more software tools that offer the ability to make second chance offers, while this may be important to you, this is just one of many options you should consider when looking for & using 3rd party software.

Tip: You may find a video I made in an earlier article called “What is Order Aggregation & How Can it Help Your Business?” useful to give you a deeper understanding on what such software can help you with.

In Conclusion

eBay second chance offers are really straight forwards, if you’ve got more than one item in exactly the same condition, have an under-bidder on an eBay listing with a price you like you can make them an offer second to the main bidder for the listing they were bidding on, you can do when the listing ends.

You can also automate the sending of second chance offers using rules in third party tools, in combination with these, they can be an absolutely lethal strategy to gain extra sales using the eBay auction format, which is certainly far from dead.

Did you like this article, have a question or a comment or what has been your experiences with second chance offers on eBay? Let me know in the comments box below!

I Need Your Help – eBay Feedback Research


I need your help with a curious project I am working on.

I’m going to mine 250,000 eBay feedback comments and look for some common themes among them and see what can we learn from what’s been left so that we can make our businesses better.


Mining the Data

We take positive feedback as granted and tend to focus on only the bad side, well we would they are the ones that stick in our immediate memories.

But… what really makes buyers leave positive feedback? and crucially what can we learn by looking at a large number of feedback comments that have been left over a variety of businesses? Are there common themes, is one business excelling where another is not?

I’ve already worked out that I need to split them across users that have 3rd party software tools and ones that don’t and a good mix across different eBay categories to obtain a wide set of sample data and also no older than 6 months.

The reason why I’m curious about this project is because I’m really interested in what are the common comments left and from the sample set of data, is there such a thing as a “Perfect eBay Feedback Comment” using the top 10 or so words and if it has left in the sample set?

I’m also really curious how as a nation how polite we are using words such as “thank you” and “thanks” and what makes a buyer use emotional words like “love” and “excited”. How important delivery time is and what percentage references to “fast delivery”, “next day” and to try and apply some numbers to the words used such as “comms”, “communications” and what relationship there is between feedback comments left that use these terms for sellers that use and do not use advanced tools like CA or ESP and then to spin them against the keyword “service”.

What impact does free shipping have on feedback comments that are left, does item value change the tone of the feedback comments left and what, if any difference eTRS has between the common keywords for praise for sellers that have eTRS and sellers that do not.

Your Help

I’ve never seen this done publicly before and I’m going to build out a few theories beforehand and then test to see if they are true or not, but that’s where I need your help:

  • Is there a theme or comparison that I have not thought of above yet?
  • Is there a way of comparing the comment or the contents of the comment to another attribute like eTRS or similar that I have not thought of?
  • What do you think I’ll find?

Let me know in the comments box below:

That’s How You Solve Scroll bars in eBay Listings! – Fix eBay’s Duff Code

I covered this previously in an article called “Do you keep seeing scroll bars on your eBay listings?” and as I started to explore this again for someone it became apparent that eBay’s JavaScript code is actually broken.

But before we go any further, I am fully aware that this could be classed as “site interference” by eBay (again this a debatable subject, as I’d class it as fixing a known problem, hence the following notice), so this comes with an explicit warning not to use this code, but for eBay to pick up this article and relay it to the right department (as I know you read this site *coff*).

Unpicking the Code

In the comments of the earlier article “Do you keep seeing scrollbars on your eBay listings?” I soon worked out why the scrollbars were appearing, the height attribute was not being assigned back to the page correctly.

eBay pass a variable in the URL of the item being viewed, I’m sure you have seen it before it looks like “#ht_1480wt_1396″at the end. What this is, is the height at 1480 and the width at 1396.

Now eBay have got the code in a subfunction called “ifr.getSize = function (some code here) “. This function gets the width really well and I have never seen an issue with the width on an eBay listing that has not been the code the seller made.

The code looks like this:

if (document.all) {
h = document.body.scrollHeight;
w = document.body.scrollWidth;
if (oCl.bIE &amp;&amp; oCl.iVer &gt;= 9 &amp;&amp; document.getElementById('EBdescription')) {
h = document.getElementById('EBdescription').scrollHeight;
var u = document.location.href;
if (u &amp;&amp; u.indexOf('&amp;tid=') != -1 &amp;&amp; document.getElementById('ngvi_store_id')) {
h = document.getElementById('ngvi_store_id').scrollHeight;
h = h + 40;
} else {
h = document.body.offsetHeight;
if (oCl.bSafari &amp;&amp; oCl.iVer &gt;= 523) {
w = document.body.scrollWidth;
} else {
w = document.body.offsetWidth;
if (window.scrollMaxX !== 0) {
w += window.scrollMaxX;

The line in bold works really well as most listings have a normal width “w = document.body.scrollWidth;“. But the function to get the height, well that’s forked, AKA broken.

And the problem is really obvious now, the code to set the height is trying to get the height straight away and in that attempt lies the problem, you can’t get the accurate height of a page if it’s not loaded yet!

I’d also like to point out at in the code that is in the iframe, eBay has gone for the right DIV tag, but forgotten to add an ELSE statement after it with some extra code to grab the other event, ie what happens if ngvi_store_id is not found?

So to the function that gets the page sizes (“ifr.getSize”) needs to be slowed down by a few seconds to let the iframe contents (that’s your descriptions) actually load.

Using something like this would work well:

setTimeout("ifr.getSize()", 5000);
rest of the code

But we don’t have control over that code, so the way to get around this is to add a delay and then force the parent URL of the listing to have new values for “#ht_” and “wt”.

About 5 seconds to be precise, plenty enough time for the entire description to have loaded and then send back the correct height to the eBay handler so that the scroll bars go away, because we now what the correct height actually is and have not been so eager to fix the page height.

<script type="text/javascript">
setTimeout("FixMyListingHeight()", 5000);
function FixMyListingHeight(){
var rf = window.document.referrer;
if (oCl.bSafari && oCl.iVer >= 523) {
w = document.body.scrollWidth;
} else {
w = document.body.offsetWidth;
if (window.scrollMaxX !== 0) {
w += window.scrollMaxX;
h = document.body.scrollHeight;
parent.location.replace(rf + '#ht_' + h + 'wt_' + w);
parent.frames[0].location.replace(sUrl + '&c=' + callerId + '#ht_' + h + 'wt_' + w);

This code is not perfect, but it works on IE, FF and Chrome. In FF the height get’s over-amplified, in this case, it’s a good problem, it just means it’s a long page to scroll through to ask a question :)

What it is missing is some specific code to catch the different browser versions as they appear to report back the height incorrectly across the browsers. That’s beyond my coding skills, I’m just pointing out what the issue is [it needs to be slowed down] and now how to solve it :)

Thought I’d share that with you, as the silly scroll bars have been driving me nuts for months.

How to: Remove Provider Credit Images From eBay Listings

I was asked on Thursday if I knew of a way to remove the “Powered By” logo’s from the bottom of eBay listings. You know the ones, the little 88×33 graphics that you see added to the bottom of your listings, that were not on your template, a few examples are to the right.

So instead I whipped up a little snippet of JavaScript that hunts for the last center tag there is on the page and then just in case it was something really important (like part of the description), it then has added an extra check to make sure it was only hiding the provider links if they match.You could crudely use CSS and set the CENTER tags to “display:none” eg center {display:none;}. The problem with that approach is that you may have text in your templates and descriptions that use the HTML <center> tag and that would hide those too, that’s not ideal…


The Code:

Drop this anywhere in your listing template, whether this be for eSellerPro, ChannelAdvisor, TurboLister, GarageSale, manually in the eBay Sell Your Item Form, Selling Manager or Selling Manager Pro, BlackThorne, it’ll remove the logo for them all, at the bottom of your eBay listings.

<script type="text/javascript">
function findcenter()
 nodes = document.getElementsByTagName("center");
 subnode = nodes[nodes.length-1];
 var link = subnode.getElementsByTagName("a")[0].href;
if(link.indexOf("eseller") != -1 || link.indexOf("channel") != -1
|| link.indexOf("iwascoding") != -1 || link.indexOf("pages.ebay") != -1  
|| link.indexOf("auctiva") != -1)

You can download this as a text file from here as the formatting isn’t great in the text above.


It’s been commonplace for providers to include logo’s on the bottom of your eBay listings for a long time now. From a personal perspective, I can understand both sides of the table.

On one side the providers would like to show that your business is using their eBay tool by including a logo at the bottom of a listing, thus promoting their services or offering and on the other side some businesses would rather not show to their competitors which back office tools they are using.

Your Feedback!

But… What do you make of this, should they stay or should they go? Let me know in the comments box below.

The First Bristol Multi-Channel eCommerce Meet Up 20th April

Bristol Multi-Channel eCommerce Meet Up

Hola! I’d like to invite you to the very first Multi-Channel eCommerce meet up on Friday 20th April in Bristol.

One of the biggest takeaways from working with the 6 businesses in the latter part of last year was that while we enjoyed the one-on-one time, there was really no replacement for meeting as a group and discussing the challenges that we face as a group. Some of the solutions were ingenious and meeting on common ground really worked well.

I’ve had a chat about holding such a meeting with a couple of businesses owners in and around the Bristol area that use eBay & Amazon as sales channels and the response has been really good. Well, they’ve all said yes so far :)

I’d like to try & keep it a small, personal affair and if you’re near Bristol on the 20th April, I’d like for you to join us for an hour or two. If anything to escape the office on a Friday morning for a few hours and “talk shop” with your peers, you’re welcome to join us.



There is none. It’s the first meeting and while I’ll pencil in an agenda, I’m planning to just roll with it and see where the discussion goes.

Zero Providers Allowed

My role in this meeting is purely as a host and to meet the “cool” people.

I’m sorry this is intended to be a zero service or product provider meeting. Later on, we may invite you to join us. If you are interested in attending in an informal or formal capacity from a provider standpoint, contact me directly using the contact form here. But it won’t be for a few meetings in.

Location & Directions

Multi Channel eCommerce Bristol

The location I’ve chosen is my 3rd place, it’s a coffee shop that is sat right on the edge of the historic  Bristol harbour-side called “Cafe Gusto”.

Car parking is plentiful with two large car parks within a few minutes walk and there is free parking either within 15 minutes walk (Constitution Hill) or just over the water on Cumberland Road with a swish ferry ride for 70p.

For those who also cannot bear to be disconnected from the virtual world, there is free WiFi and a decent mobile signal. I use this cafe as my second office so I know the connectivity is excellent, although make sure your devices are fully charged there are no public power points.

Sat-Nav postcode: BS1 5JE
(this is for Jack’s which is just around the corner but will get you very close)
Start Time: 10:00 AM
Google Map URL: 

The map below shows the 3 nearest carparks in yellow/orange. The prices vary for these and I’m not sure on the actual prices. The green square at the bottom is for Cumberland Road which the parking is free, if you walk/follow the signs for the SS Great Britain there is a ferry that crosses the water for 70p.

Alternatively if you’re  prepared to walk a couple of minutes, the arrow in the top left is for Jacobs Well’s Road, there is meter parking either side and half way up is Constitution Hill for which the side roads are free.

If you’re travelling by bus, any route to the centre will do, its 10 minutes walk from the centre and walking directions are here (you can short-cut along the waters edge).

Bristol eCommerce Meeting Directions

Will I be Seeing You There?

I would like to stress, if you’ve got to travel half the country to attend, then this is probably not for you. Well at least until we’ve had a couple of meetings and I’ve hammered the format out.

There is no cost to attending although you’ll want to bring a tenner or so for refreshments. The coffee served is my personal favourite, there is a soft drinks fridge and a selection of speciality teas,  and the panini’s are to die for.

If you’re in or around the Bristol area on the 20th and would like to attend let me know by leaving me a comment in the box below, I’ll send you my mobile number directly just in case you need guiding in on the day.

If you have any suggestions on topics that should be added to the agenda, they’d be welcomed.

Two Week Update & eSellerPro to BigCommerce Integration

This post is a mainly about what I’ve been up to for the past two weeks,  but you’ll soon work out its mostly just for you :)

BigCommerceI’ve now completed the full integration of eSellerPro to the Big Commerce website platform and are on the home run of the bug finding & eyeing up further customisation to the account it’s running from.

If you’ve not heard of BigCommerce before it’s a fully hosted website solution which isn’t expensive (especially as its in USD). The more I’ve played with it, the more I like it, its straight forwards, can be designed with bespoke designs and guess what… it just works :)

Give it a whirl, here is a demo account I created which is open for the next 15 days.

With the error trapping I’ve added in the 6 hour coding bender on Saturday, if it does go tilt (which it will do sooner or later[you won’t hear that from normal developers]) it’ll be obvious where it has gone Pete-Tong and as much as I’d love to boast about a few of the ways I’ve tackled some interesting features, I’m not going to and I’m just saying its “slick”.

This is the first time I’m publicly eluding to the fact that I’ve written API connectors from eSellerPro to 3rd parties and it’s not the first, more like the 4th now. I have CubeCartOpenCart & a web based EPOS solution next on my agenda for integration projects, oh and I have a sickly fast Magento integration.

Remember I’m aware the way and what data needs to flow between such tools and as I’m a perfectly capable coder in multiple languages, this is handy as I’m not BS’d by 3rd parties and also I’m realistic with timescales and what can and cannot be done.

If you’ve got a 3rd party integration requirement to eSellerPro/another provider or alternatively you’re interested in the eSellerPro to BigCommerce integration you can contact me here.

Internet Retailing Expo 2012

This year’s event was a weird one for me, I didn’t go to visit any stands, instead I attended to meet people and frankly if they didn’t know me already I didn’t pay them any attention. Instead, I got to speak to the cool people.

I did see one presentation though, it was the team from My1stWish & eSellerPro’s Eamonn, the recording is supposed to be released this week, I’ll pop it up as a post once it’s been made public.

After refusing to pay £34 to get home 2 hours earlier late on Thursday night, I grabbed a Sub & stacked up on more caffeine and there it hit me, the sickest idea I have had in years was conceived. I cannot believe it’s never been done before and you’ll facepalm when they see the finished product. I will be pushing for it to be released with a global free option for smaller businesses, more on this in the next few months.

Advanced eBay Listing Creation Tool Pending Upgrade

This one has been a programming nightmare for me, I didn’t know what was involved in getting this working until now & if I did I wouldn’t have started it.

The IF & IFNOT logic that powers the largest multichannel businesses is about to go mainstream and I’m only a few days away from adding it to the processing core of the advanced eBay listing builder.

If the IF & IFNOT logic testing is new to you, it’s a method to programmatically work with data to make the data you input such as images and bullet points show and hide if or if not they’re entered, which means you can break the listing data away from the template design that makes the listing look “pretty”.

An example is below, so that if {{Image1}} is blank it won’t bring through the image into the template.

[[IFNOT/{{Image1}}// <img src=”{{Image1}}” /> ]]

This is a basic example, as it’s normally better to load image URL’s into a JavaScript array, however, this will be available for ALL the data entry fields and I will be providing use-case examples shortly & support in the forums.

We’re due for some tutorials as well for the tool, the more people I talk to who cannot whose business does not warrant even the first stage tools, they need a tool like this to put the efficiency in their business for both data input and presentation.

I’ve not forgotten the integration into WordPress which will allow me to offer you some heavily customised features per user including customised listing templates, account defaults and… I now have the code finished for the killer feature that is missing from nearly ALL eBay listings which isn’t even a paid for addon by design companies and guess what it’s going to be… free. More on this as soon as the artwork is completed which will be under 2 weeks.


So a quiet two weeks for blogging, but I’m doing battle with a spoon, I can’t wait to explain what that means, maybe a video this week?

I’d like to thank those who have registered for the forums, if you haven’t yet, its free and you can register here and as you’ll see by the couple of recent threads, you’ll get quality replies back (amongst my gibberish :) ), see you there?