Can take down eBay?

I have been eBay’s biggest fan since the beginning. Even bought a hat with their logo. I decided to clear out some stuff from the closet (brand new cat litter scoopers) with hopes of raising some cash and possibly gaining some pet food customers. (I operate and among other websites)

As I was focusing on the item page on eBay checking spelling etc., I found myself on a totally different page analyzing checking accounts. I did a double take and wondered, “How did I get here?” I went back to my item page and saw a large display ad for checking accounts. And I went Hmmmmm to myself. “I wonder when they started putting those on MY page? Then, when I realized that my customers would also be shown these somewhat intrusive ads, I went a bit ballistic. I pay eBay for the privilege of putting my stuff for sale on their website. And I expect that customers that go to that page to look at my item will not be taunted by large ads, enticing them to click AWAY from my page.

If it did not cost anything to sell on eBay, fine, but I pay them well. Generally, on this digital monster we fondly call the Internet, if you offer something for free you get to show ads (Yahoo recently bought tumblr. They did this mostly so they could show more ads to a younger audience.) No more, no less. Ads are what make money on the Internet. Conversely, if you charge people a fee for using your website, you do not get to show the ads.

I did a quick spot check and even without the large display ad that eBay thinks it is OK to put on a page that I am PAYING for, eBay had no fewer than 6-10 other links and logos to further eBay’s business. PayPal, Ship & Click, eBay’s logo, etc.

Keep in mind that these large  ads I speak of are professionally designed by the best Madison Avenue (digital style) has to offer. With only one thing in mind, to take away the viewer interested in my item to a completely different website designed to sell them something else. I CALL CONFLICT OF INTEREST!

I called eBay right up and asked if I could opt out of this atrocity. They said yes, and told me how. But it turns out that I can only opt out of having them use MY INFORMATION to show me better ads (read more likely to take me away from my task), not the ads themselves.  Well, I opted out quickly even though that did not solve my complaint, not even close.

To further support my case, albeit a slightly different vector, I was on Facebook recently and into my “stream” was inserted a post about Cheerios. And it was not for Cheerios per se but Cheerios was asking me to somehow become involved in a campaign of some sort. Mind you, this is made in every possible way to look like a friend of mine posted this. It took me a minute or three to even realize that it was sponsored by Cheerios (a product I do not consider real food nor part of a healthy breakfast) so I wasted some time trying to figure out what “friend” of mine would consider this worthy of my attention. That is all in all, about 5-8 minutes (I had to figure how to make it go away too) of my life I wasted and cannot get back.

Dave, your digital outlaw, hereby calls out eBay to stop abusing the very customers who made them what they are today. One of this outlaw’s purposes is to make people aware of, for lack of a better term, “ad creep”. Yahoo knows about this and they got forced by their customers to stop showing so many ads on their email website. They toned it down alot. It had gotten to the point that they were selling so many ads that it was hard to remember that the actual purpose was to offer “free” email to their users.

I immediately looked into using Amazon to do my selling of old stuff but that is a whole different animal. I shall look more into this. EBay is the best at what they do, but that does not give them the right to run amok with greedy ads all over the place. Imagine if you went to a Chevy dealer to buy a car and there were large posters all over the place for baby diapers and lawnmowers. Well, the Internet is getting like that. We must fight back!


Cape Cod’s own Digital Outlaw (think Lone Ranger, not Jesse James)