In the early days of eBay, sellers realized that they could use their eBay listings to drive traffic to their Web sites. Best of all, if someone clicked on a link to the lister's own site from an auction and then purchased a product, the seller could avoid paying eBay fees.
eBay soon caught on to this and implemented a policy to keep sellers from linking from the auction description to a Web site or shopping portal where they could sell an item directly without waiting for the auction to end.
Shortly after, eBay introduced eBay Stores, which would seem to accomplish the same thing. Still, sellers wanted to get visitors to their Web sites in the hope of selling them something else or making an immediate sale. The advantages are obvious. First, you can sell to many people who just won't bother placing a bid and waiting for an auction to end. Secondly, you avoid paying the eBay listing and selling (final value) fees.
The eBay Sell Your Item page can not contain links to, or promotional information about, any off-eBay Web page
As to the second item, fee avoidance, I can see eBay's point. They are in business to make money. But, as sellers, so are we. After all, we are paying eBay a listing feenot to mention feature fees. This is no more than an advertising fee. eBay isn't really losing any money. If the Web site links work (and they do), eBay will miss some final value fees, but they will make up for this in listing fees because sellers will place more listings.
eBay's current policy on links
The eBay item page can only be used to describe, promote and facilitate the sale of the listed eBay item. It cannot refer to or promote the seller's individual Web site, off eBay sales or other businesses. The eBay About Me page is a place where the seller can promote their individual Web site or business. The eBay Sell Your Item page can not contain URLs or links to, or promotional information about, any off-eBay Web page, including Web sites of the seller or any third party.
There are two basic exceptions to this general rulethe Sell Your Item page may contain a link to information related specifically to that item that:
- Gives acknowledgement to a company that provided services related to that listing (such as counters, auction management tools, or payment and mediation services). This acknowledgement may contain both a logo (88 x 33 pixels) and up to 10 words of text (HTML font size 3) but only one of those may be clickable.
- Points interested buyers to another Internet page that contains only more information (such as pictures, product specifications or detailed terms and conditions) about [other] eBay items listed by that seller. This page may not contain links to purchase products.
- Links from the eBay Item page that interfere in any way with the eBay bidding process, or solicit any eBay user information, are not allowed. Links from the eBay Item page to pages that promote off eBay sales in any way are forbidden, though such pages may generally themselves contain discrete links to other commercial Web pages.
Working within the confines of the policy
Once readers arrive at your About Me page, you can then direct them to your Web site with a live hyperlink.
Notice the underlined sections above. The first one states: "The eBay About Me page is a place where the seller can promote their individual Web site or business." The second reference reads: "Links from the eBay Item page to pages that promote off eBay sales in any way are forbidden, though such pages may generally themselves contain discrete links to other commercial web pages. The key words to note here are "discrete links."
If you have an About Me page there will be a symbol next to your user name. Some people do click on this to read about you. However, a better way is to invite them to view your About Me page right in the text of your item description. Make sure to create a hyperlink to make it easy. Below is an example with the html code. Just replace the "XXXXXXX" with your eBay username to create the link.
I have been collecting and selling Beatles memorabilia for over 20 years. Please visit my <a href= http://cgi3.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewUserPage&userid=XXXXXXX>About Me page</a> to learn more about Beatles collectibles and our business.
Once readers arrive at your About Me page, you can then direct them to your Web site with a live hyperlink. eBay even provides a place on your About Me page where you can list your favorite Web sites. eBay also allows you to provide links to purely informational pages with information (including more photos) about the item you are selling.
We used to sell amber jewelry. Each of our auctions contained a link to a free article entitled "All About Amber." That page contained an interesting article about amber, how it was formed, where it came from, and so on. However, that page also contained a link to our storefront Web site where people could purchase amber jewelry items directly.
The trick to driving bidders from eBay to your Web site is to:
- Follow the rules.
- Use the rules to your advantage by finding clever loopholes.
The About Me Page is a good way to promote your Web site, but eBay has recently created a whole new way to do this. It is called a Classified Ad Listing. When you launch an auction on eBay you are given several choices of format: Auction, eBay store, fixed price listing and Classified Ad. When you launch a classified ad, you are allowed to list Web links right in the description. There is no feedback given. The listing currently costs $9.95 for 30 days.