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eBay’s new blogging feature

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce (Wednesday June 7, 2006 )

eBay is rumored to be launching their blog, wiki and other new user generated content features for eBay sellers at the upcoming annual eBay Live conference; but before eBay merchants get too excited of the prospects of these tools, there’s some things they should know.

eBay’s blog and wiki features are not by any means going to be a free-for-all; they will be closely monitored and breaches of the associated policies may include:

– removal of the content
– cancellation of listing
– account privileges being curtailed
– loss of seller status
– suspension of account

So what does eBay define as unacceptable content?:

– the promotion of goods and services located outside of eBay and it’s properties.
– sllers can only promote their stores or other items lists. Promotion of individual listings is not permitted.
– posting content in the incorrect category
– plagiarism
– promotion of advertising companies
– cross posting
– promotion of illegal activity-
– promotion of giveaways, lotteries and similar
– violating eBay’s policy on HTML and Javascript usage.
– keyword/link spam
– adult content
– vulgar or offensive language
– filing false violation reports

… and quite a few other points. There are some exceptions to the above, which may cause some confusion during the initial stages – see eBay’s Community Content Policy for further details.

The reaction from eBayers to date has been rather mixed, as is to be expected with the launch of any added service launched by a major provider. Some are screaming freedom of speech but I do wonder about these sorts of comments – at times they are made by people who want freedom of speech *and* freedom from responsibility rolled into one :).

I must admit that I’d want *really* tight controls on these features as well – the mind boggles at the kind of damage that could be done to the brand if these blogs weren’t closely monitored :).

While it’s a nice feature offered by eBay, if I were a seller, I don’t think I’d participate – I’d much rather put my efforts into a a non-eBay blog and use that to push traffic to my listings. I guess much depends on how eBay promotes these features; i.e. if your listings will be made conspicuous due to eBay making it quite apparent you don’t have a blog (dead blog link on a listing or store page).

I also think that most buyers know to look for a web site address on the “About the Seller” page linked to from each eBay store. A non-eBay web site is something I most certainly look for when purchasing from an eBay merchant – an established web site helps lend credibility to a seller and I highly recommend all serious eBay sellers to develop one – even if it’s just a few well thought out and informative pages.

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