Getting Seen on eBay: 21 Tips for Cracking the Cassini Search Engine

This post is by Carlo Silva, founder of ecommerce outsourcing company 2nd Office. Carlo has 16 years of experience selling on eBay and is a former eBay Titanium Power Seller.

UPDATE January 2017: this second edition has been completely reviewed and revised, with three new tips added.

Do you remember the days when you as a seller could leave negative feedback for bad customers?

Do you remember the days when you could list multiple listings and flood eBay’s search engine with auctions, Buy It Now listings and get tons of sales?

This is when eBay was still using their search engine called “Voyager,” which was built around 2002. Voyager was clearly more about the seller and not so much about the buyer because, if you knew how Voyager worked, you would be banking in on all the sales.

If you’re an old school eBay seller like me, then you experienced the glory days of eBay from the early 2000’s to 2008. I still remember those days. I also remember when everything started to change.

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How it all started

It was in 2008 when eBay’s marketplace started to change and the company implemented detailed seller ratings (DSRs). Prior to this, it was just about getting feedback from buyers and also leaving feedback for buyers. If you had more positive feedback compared to others in your category, you would have better rankings in search and better conversion rates. Ultimately, customers looked at feedback to make their buying decisions.

Back then, sellers had the power to leave negative feedback for buyers and feedback was the only metric sellers were rated on. Those good old days are long gone. With the new DSRs in place, buyers are asked to rate sellers in four different categories with a score of one to five stars, five stars being the highest. These ratings were anonymous, so as a seller you had no idea who would give you bad ratings. If you had a rating of 4.3 or below in any of the categories you would be penalized in search. Powersellers were required to have a rating of 4.5 in each category.

Sellers who were not ready for this were heavily affected by this change. Back then, software choices to help you manage your eBay business were limited – they were either really expensive or they weren’t any good. Long story short, most businesses had to change the way they operated to be successful on eBay.

There were numerous other changes from 2008-2012, the most significant would probably be “Top-rated” seller status. Being a Top-rated seller meant you would have gotten 30%-50% more sales compared to standard sellers. Some businesses lost half of their revenue over the next few days after Top-rated seller status was put into place.

Fast forward to 2012, eBay began testing a new search engine called “Cassini”. In 2013, eBay began to roll out Cassini as the default search engine. This was another major change that affected eBay sellers worldwide.

What exactly is Cassini?

Cassini is eBay’s new search engine that was rolled out in 2013. If you have been an old school eBay seller and your sales have never been the same since then, you have probably not changed your listing style to accommodate the needs of Cassini.

Prior to Cassini was “Voyager,” and with Voyager the typical seller strategy was to make multiple listings with different keywords in the title and item specifics. Sellers would make multiple listings of the same product and dominate the search results. With Cassini and eBay’s duplicate listing policies in place, however, those days are long gone and I’m sure you’ve noticed that already.

eBay likely put these policies into place for several reasons, including:

  1. They wanted to limit the number of duplicate listings in their marketplace, making it easier for a customer to find products.
  2. Google made changes to their search engine penalizing websites with duplicate content.

Just like Google’s search engine, Cassini is all about relevance and the customer. Cassini reflects how much value you can offer the customer as a seller.

What does Cassini want?

  1. Relevant content (product title, description, images, categories, item specifics)
  2. Value for buyers
  3. Top-rated to above standard seller ratings

In a nutshell, Cassini wants to deliver products to buyers at the best price, from the seller who can provide the best service.

How do eBay buyers search?

eBay buyers search for the keyword and then they will use the refine feature (on mobile) or start choosing item specifics on the left side (on desktop) to help narrow down the listing even further. They will also choose a category to drill down the results even more.

Descriptions are more relevant for conversion in Cassini and not necessarily keyword matching directly. By default, “search in description” is not turned on, and is hidden under the more tab on mobile, and unchecked when browsing via desktop.

Now that you have the background, I’m going to give you 21 tips on how to succeed selling on eBay’s Cassini search engine.

1: Optimize your titles with relevant keywords

The maximum character count for eBay titles is 80, so be sure to pack the title with relevant keywords for your listing and if able, maximize the character count without keyword spamming!

Example of a good title:

This listing uses all relevant keywords (brand name, engine size, material, vehicle year). The listing also showcases that the product comes with a lifetime warranty through the use of a subtitle.

Example of a bad title:

Why? The keywords “free coolant” shouldn’t be in the title. A customer looking for coolant isn’t looking for a radiator, most likely he already has a radiator. This will bring down the listings ranking, because he’s getting irrelevant traffic to his listing. The seller should have put “free coolant” in the subtitle or created a new image with the coolant next to the radiator.

This would have been a better image to use to showcase the free coolant. By using images, you will avoid keyword spamming and still get the same message out to your customer.

These listings above are perfect examples of keyword spamming.

  • Example 1: LLBean t-shirt title says “Looks similar to Ralph Lauren”
  • Example 2: keen Vibram sliders says “Similar to Crocs Style”
  • Example 3: NOS Vintage Sunglasses says “Similar to Oakley”

DO NOT keyword spam by using keywords that do not directly relate to the item. For example, selling an unbranded pair of jeans from China with a listing title that says “Similar to Levi’s”. Why would people do this? So they can get traffic from the keyword “Levi’s”. Does this actually give you sales? Not really, and you will get demoted in eBay’s search for keyword spamming, since the actual pair of jeans are not the Levi’s brand.

There are a few software solutions I can highly recommend for building eBay titles, including Terapeak and Title Builder. Title Builder is free and shows you the best-ranking keywords buyers are searching for a particular product. Terapeak is paid and starts at $19.98 per month, but gives you more insights on the eBay marketplace including top-selling products and the number of items sold for a particular product.

Title Builder:

Terapeak, hot product research results:

You can also use eBay’s search suggestions to find out what buyers are searching for. If you start typing in “playstation 4 dualshock”, for example, eBay will show you the most frequently searched related terms. You can then use the same exact words, in the same exact order, to begin your title building.

The goal is to find the most targeted, accurate and niche keyword the eBay audience is already using to search on the marketplace, and embed those in your item title. This will increase discoverability and conversion. The goal is not to necessarily drive a high amount of traffic. Conversions are more important to eBay’s search engine than views.

NOTE: When using eBay’s search box for keywords, know that this process works well with popular branded products, but not so well with other products, because eBay doesn’t have enough search data.

2: List using GTC (Good ‘Til Cancelled) – with a twist

Good ‘Til Cancelled (GTC) is when eBay will automatically re-list your items every 30 days. You should list using GTC to retain sales history. The more sales and watchers a listing has, the higher it will go up in search. This means that your listing has good buyer engagement.

The Twist

The twist is, what about listings with no sales after 30 days? You need to END these listings and re-list them. Why? Because it will re-index the listing and wipe the previous history of bad buyer engagement. Once relisted, your listing will show up as a “new listing” and be on top of search while Cassini gathers data on it.

Before relisting though, you need to figure out why your listing had buyer engagement and fix those issues. You need to ask yourself did the listing have a bad product title? A bad image? Is my pricing competitive? Is my description speaking to my customer? Did I fill in all my item specifics? Did I list in the correct category? If you can figure it out, you’re on your way to a better listing. I explain most of this in the tips to follow.

Bottom line is, if the listing gets good buyer engagement, it will stay up at the top. If it gets bad buyer engagement, it will be pushed down. So make it a habit to always end and re-list items with no sales after 30 days.

NOTE: When re-listing, make sure you use the “Sell Similar” function rather than “Relist”. This way, you’ll get a new eBay item number with fresh stats.

3: Out of Stock Inventory Control

eBay has a feature called “Out of Stock Inventory Control,” which allows your listing to stay live and active even when there is no inventory available.

If you have a sales history, for example, of 100 items sold then you run out of stock, your listing will end automatically and you will lose all of your sales history. You don’t want to lose that, because eBay sees items with a lot of past sales as a good thing. If you lose your sales history you start at zero again, lose your search rankings and – if your competitor has an established sales history – his product will have a better chance of showing up first. Buyers also like to buy from listings with a lot more sales. It shows that the seller has a proven track record of delivering goods to their buyers.

With the Out of Stock Inventory Control feature turned on, however, the listing will say “out of stock” instead of automatically ending, thus retaining your sales history. This feature is available in most third-party listing software and available in eBay’s account settings under “selling preferences”. The preferred method is to use eBay’s own out-of-stock feature.

4: Use scarcity

Scarcity gets customers to buy your product. A good strategy that can be combined with out of stock inventory control is what I like to call the scarcity trick. In this, you will use your 3rd party listing software or an app like Quantity Manager to control the stock that’s shown on eBay. We can use this app to make your listings always display “Last one” and make customers think you only have one in stock left, even if in reality you have hundreds.

How do you do this?

Setup your third-party listing software or application to always display one in stock and turn on Out of Stock Inventory Control (see tip 3 above). Note that this method will vary depending on your listing software. You can also turn on Out of Stock Inventory Control directly in eBay if you aren’t using third-party listing software.

5: Offer the most value for your listing to stay competitive

Free shipping: Offer free shipping on all your domestic listings and eBay will give you a boost in search.

Offer additional shipping methods: Like express, local pickup and international shipping. Use global shipping if applicable to your category.

30-day return policy: Offer a 30-day return policy to earn your buyers’ trust and to help increase conversions. You now need to offer a 30-day return policy for your listings to qualify for Top Rated Plus status. In addition, you need to be a Top Rated seller and provide a same-day or one-day handling time. The benefits? An extra 20% discount on your FVF (Final Value Fees) and a Top Rated Plus badge.

Best price: Buyers are always looking for the best price. If you have the highest price as well as other competitors with similar seller ratings and policies, you will most likely lose the sale. You need to stay competitive by offering the same or better pricing. You can use software called Price Spectre to auto reprice your products to help you beat your competition. This is very useful if you have hundreds of products. It also enables you to reprice against Amazon.

Price Spectre:

6: Create a sale

Using eBay’s Markdown Manager you can create sales on a store category or per-product level. Buyers love sales and it will entice them to buy something if they see it’s on sale. This will also help increase buyer engagement.

Encourage multiple purchases by offering combined shipping discounts or bulk-buy discounts to drive additional sales. Or use Markdown Manager for your store inventory or fixed price listings, to create a price discount sale or free-shipping sale to create a sense of purchase urgency.

Markdown Manager:

How a sale item looks in eBay’s search results:

How a sale item listing page looks:

7: Maintain your DSRs and feedback

Cassini rewards sellers with great detailed seller ratings (DSRs) and feedback. You need to maintain awesome DSRs to be on top of the search results. Top-rated seller status is preferred.

Tips on maintaining great seller ratings from eBay can be found here.

You also need to respond to open cases in the resolution center ASAP and you must close all of them to maintain your rankings in search. Cassini will penalize you if you have a bad seller reputation, and that includes having too many open cases.

Resolution Center tips from eBay can be found here.

8: Use auctions

If you have some popular items and you’re able to confidently auction them off without sacrificing your margins, you should create auctions to help increase the traffic to your eBay store.

In the auction listing, you can cross-promote your other items for sale. If an item is popular and is getting good buyer engagement, the auction will get more love compared to items with the similar keywords in the category, since it’s only up for a limited amount of time.

9: Drive outside traffic to your eBay listings

To help increase buyer engagement on your listings, a great strategy is to use social media platforms, your email list and PPC so you can drive targeted traffic to your new listings. This will give the listings more views and hopefully purchases which will help push your listing up in search.

You will want to do this on newly listed items only. If you have items with no sales, end those items, relist and then drive traffic to them. Make sure you drive only targeted traffic. Cassini’s results are often based on conversion and engagement (time on page) rather than high traffic with a high bounce rate. Drive targeted traffic to convert, not just to get views.

10: Use the eBay catalog

When you’re able, use the eBay catalog. If your item is a well-known brand, most likely it already exists in eBay’s catalog.

All you have to do is enter the UPC or EAN of the product and the listing will automatically populate all of the product data. By using eBay’s catalog, it will populate all the correct item specifics, eBay category, photos, and product descriptions for you saving you a lot of time and effort! I would add your own images though, as that will separate you from the competition.

Example of eBay’s catalog:

11: List in the correct category

Choose the category based on product and buyer behavior. If you list in the wrong category, your listing will be brought down in search. Listing in the incorrect category could also give you problems when it comes to eBay global shipping as some items are not allowed to be shipped to other countries. Here’s a list of categories and items that global shipping doesn’t support.

For example, if you are selling a case for a mobile phone, the correct category will be All > Cell Phones & Accessories > Cases, Covers & Skins:

If you’re selling men’s jeans, they would go under All > Clothing, Shoes & Accessories > Men’s Clothing > Jeans:

12: Fill in all of your item specifics

What are item specifics? Item specifics are the features or specs of your products. They also act as a filter when a buyer is shopping, so they can easily find what they want to purchase. For example, if you’re selling a mobile phone case, you’ll want to indicate what material it’s made out of, the color, what model it fits, the part number, the brand, and more.

Item specifics displayed on the listing page:

Make sure all of your item specifics are filled in and that they are relevant to your product. Also add in your own “custom item specifics” to help educate your buyer even more about your product. If your item specifics are not filled in, your item will not show up in the search results. This is especially important in mobile, since most buyers on a mobile phone will use item specifics to drill down into listings.

For standard item specifics (non-custom ones), you should only use item specifics that already exist in eBay’s catalog. If your listing software doesn’t populate the item specifics for you, eBay’s Item Specifics Lookup Tool will get the exact item specifics you can use from eBay’s catalog. Make sure you enter the values exactly as they are spelled.

13: Answer eBay messages within 24 hours or less

eBay says that you will get an automatic five stars for communication for a sale if:

  • You specify handling time of one business day and upload tracking information within one business day.
  • There are no buyer- or seller-initiated communications in eBay Messages, and there are no pending eBay Money Back Guarantee or PayPal Buyer Protection cases.
  • There are no requests for contact information between you and the buyer.

The faster you respond to a potential customer on eBay the more likely they will buy from you. It will also help with your detailed seller ratings. This will help increase your buyer engagement on the listing once they buy the product and will give you a boost in search.

14: Price your item to be the lowest for every new listing

When you are able, pricing your item low in the beginning will get you more sales since you’re the cheapest on eBay. Once you build up your sales history, you can increase your price as long as it’s within the market rate for your category. Cassini likes conversion and having the best price on eBay will help convert buyers.

15: Use a mobile responsive and branded listing template

Hire a professional to design a mobile responsive eBay template to help build your brand. A good eBay template will help increase conversion rates and increase your brand awareness online.

Make sure that your eBay template is mobile-friendly and that the person making the template has the description above the fold, i.e. that the HTML coding is not preventing your descriptions from showing up first. Some templates aren’t coded correctly and could affect your eBay rankings.

16: Optimize your listing for conversion

Most sellers don’t take the time to write good copy for their listings. If you write good sales copy and showcase why you’re different, you will have an advantage over your competitors. What does a good listing look like?

A good listing will have the following:

  • Good sales copy: Buyers like buying from sellers who know what they’re talking about. Showcase that you know your products and tell them about your business and why they should buy from you. Write a good product description and format your item specs in bullet points. Make it easy for your buyers to scan and read quickly.
  • Policies: Showcase how easy it is to return an item. If you provide tech support for your products, tell buyers about it. Make a nice banner or image showing this. Use your customer service to appeal to the buyer and close the deal.
  • Extras: Do you offer extra services that the competition doesn’t? If yes, then tell your buyers about it and make it so they can see it. Using images or banners is the best way to do this.

Example of a listing that showcases more than just a product description:

17: List using variations

If available in your category, list products using variations. Variations allow different products to be purchase from one listing, and also combine the number of views, watchers, clicks and sales – which Cassini loves.

18: Create combo items for maximum search exposure

This strategy creates more listings for your store without violating duplicate listing policies. Creating combo items gives you more visibility in search with different types of products as you can put multiple keywords within the title.

For example, if you’re selling jeans and t-shirts, you can create a package deal to buy them together. So, instead of having one listing for a t-shirt and one listing for jeans, you’ll have a total of three listings. I would combo every item that makes sense and a buyer would purchase.

There’s three types of bundling strategies:

  1. Creating more value for the buyer. For example, if you’re selling a $500 smartphone and you decide to throw in some accessories like a $4 screen protector, $3 charger, $3 case and $10 memory card. Accessories like these sell for low margins if you’re selling them individually, but if you sell them with a $500 smart phone you can sell the bundle for a lot more. Why? Because a buyer looking for a new phone will want all those accessories and will most likely pay more to avoid having to buy them separately. Time is money!
  2. Discount bundle. You can combine products which have a high list price (MSRP/RRP etc) and show the buyer that by purchasing them as a bundle they’ll save a bunch of money.
  3. Wholesale lot. You can create a wholesale lot of different products for resale. This is a great method if you want to move product fast. Don’t bother doing a wholesale lot if another seller can’t make money off it. Customers that look for these type of deals usually resell the items individually for more money. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.

Xbox System bundled with three games. 5,172 sold:

The best way to increase conversion rate is to communicate to the buyer the following:

  1. They’ll save money. You can do this by listing each product’s original price and how much they’ll save by purchasing the bundle compared to buying them individually. This can be done in the product description.
  2. Beautiful main image. Create a main image that showcases all of the products included in the bundle.
  3. What they’re getting. Include a detailed description for each product and what’s included in the total package.

In The Dynamic Effects of Bundling as a Product Strategy, researchers Vineet Kumar and Timothy Derdenger found that:

“Sales can soar when companies bundle products together into one cheaper package—Happy Meal, anyone? Yet a buyer’s affinity for such deals comes with a big caveat, according to new research: These groupings are often successful only if the consumer is given the option of buying the same products separately.

However, when a bundle was the consumer’s only option—a “pure bundling” scenario—Nintendo would fare much worse, when compared with both offers that lacked any bundle as well as those with the mixed bundling option. Revenues decreased by over 20 percent compared with the mixed bundling scenario; the total hardware units sold declined by millions of units; and software units fell by over 10 million as well.”

19: Use plenty of high-resolution photos

Create high-resolution photos that are a minimum of 1600 pixels on the longest side (height or width). This will give you the zoom effect you see on some eBay listings.

According to Kissmetrics, great photos are known to increase conversion rates.

You also want to add as many pictures as possible, because buyers love images. Since buyers can’t touch or feel the product, images are the next best thing.

Take as many angles and close ups of your product as possible. The maximum amount of photos allowed per listing is 12, so use them.

Example of using multiple images on eBay, by Tech Armor:

Example of using images to showcase product features:

20: Qualify for Google Shopping

For your eBay listings to show up in Google Shopping, your listing needs to meet the minimum requirements and this varies per category. The bare minimum you need to have is brand, model and a product code (e.g. UPC, ISBN or EAN). You’ll also need color, size, gender and Manufacturer Part Number (MPN) if applicable to your category.

Then check that your listings are showing up in Google Shopping, and that your template is coded correctly so the description shows up rather than general text about your store. Below is an example of a listing with a badly coded template.

21: Use subtitles on your best selling products

Use subtitles to promote free delivery, free support or anything else that can help convert your customer into a sale. Having a subtitle makes your listing stand out from the buyer’s perspective. Good copy helps sell the product.

This is an example of wasting subtitle real estate. The seller is letting the consumer know that he’s a top seller and that the listing comes with free shipping. But this is already showcased with the Top-rated seller icon, and free shipping is shown under the Buy It Now text.

To make the best use of subtitles, showcase why a buyer should buy from you. What makes you different as a seller? Is your product different from the others on the market? Do you offer a better service? Do you have freebies?

A better subtitle would have been:

== 100% Authentic Guaranteed! ~ 1 year Warranty ~ Same Day Shipping! ==

Here are some examples of listings with great subtitles.

Subtitle below: ==| 100% GUARANTEED! ~ FREE/FAST Ship! ~ SAVE NOW!! |==

This tells the consumer they’re getting a reliable product and fast shipping.

Subtitle below: Weekend Sale With Zagg Glass Cleaner + Surprise Gift 🙂

This tells the consumer they’re getting a useful freebie (the glass cleaner) as well as a little surprise included in the package.

Subtitle below: Message Us For Free Preloaded Windows 10 Upgrade!

This one is a call-to-action to contact the seller about a free upgrade.

Putting it all together

Cassini is all about the value you can offer to your buyers. The goal is to show relevant listings ranked according to their criteria, which we can assume include the number of sales, price, quantity sold per hour, number of views, number of watchers, number of clicks and your seller rating.

To prove this theory, I did a search for the keyword “iPhone 5s” then selected the following criteria:

  • Storage Capacity: 16GB
  • Condition: New
  • Lock Status: Factory Unlocked
  • Category: Cell Phones & Smart Phones
  • Sort by: Best Match

I then picked the top four listings to gather data on.

I then went into each listing to pull the data points below, and figure out why they rank in those positions.

  • Price: The selling price of the item
  • On Sale: If the item is on sale through markdown manager
  • Top Rated Plus: Does the seller have Top Rated Plus status?
  • Seller Rating: The seller’s current rating after all feedback and DSRs have been accounted for.
  • Watchers: The number of watchers each listing has
  • Sold: The number of items sold since the listing was created
  • Sold per Hour: The number of items sold per hour
  • Qty Left: The number of items left before it sells out
  • % Sold: The percentage of inventory already sold
  • Views per hour: How many people are viewing the listing per hour
  • Views per day: The number of people viewing the listing per day

By looking at the data above, we can come to the conclusion that seller ratings and the number of items sold play the biggest factor in ranking on Cassini. If you notice seller #3 has a higher price compared to seller #4 and ranks higher. Why? Because seller #3 has a higher seller rating at 99.1% compared to seller #4 with only 98.8% feedback.

What about seller #1? Why is he ranking first? Seller #2 has a slightly better price compared to seller #1, the same feedback rating as #1 at 99.9% and the same # of views, but #1 has more listings that are converting and a lot more watchers!

Since seller #1 has more sales he’s ranking #1 in search. But why do you think #1 is converting better? I went into the actual listing of #1 and found this:

The seller is offering a 100% money-back guarantee and the other sellers are not. By offering a guarantee, this seller is able to sell one hundred times more than his next competitor!

To be successful on eBay, you need to know your buyers, maintain your DSRs, and create listings that convert. Once you rank well, or ideally first, you’ll be pulling in the big bucks.

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100 comments on “Getting Seen on eBay: 21 Tips for Cracking the Cassini Search Engine

  1. Great Article.

    Using “Out Of Stock Inventory Control and scarcity” should be carefully thought upon. If customers are looking to purchase multiple quantities than instead of generating sales it will actually loose the sale.

    I have bookmarked this article, and will be sharing with “Old School Ebayers”.

    1. That is a good point Akhtar! Thanks for that and the clarification for the rest of the readers. Scarcity should only be used for items that people might not wanna buy multiple items of.

      1. I want to build absolute trust with my customers, so I avoid gray-area business practices like falsifying quantities. One can list fewer items at a time and remain honest. Pretending I’m always almost sold out may give short term results, but in the long term people tend to figure these things out.

        1. Sort of like the continual going out of business sales for years that low cost furniture sellers use! Nobody would believe that their prices are actual sale prices.

      2. Thanks Carlo,
        I can vouch for scarcity.
        I started using this (I am in Australia) and it increased my sales by 38%

  2. When you recommend ending GTC listings on eBay and relisting them if you have no sales over a 30 day period, do you means just relist them using the relist button? or do they have to be relisted using ‘similar item’. I had heard that just relisting them after ending them does not work so well, and I would like to know which is the most appropriate before I start all the hard work!

      1. FYI: I have tested this and it DOES keep the same eBay ID if you just “relist” so you have to choose to sell similar and do a another listing.

  3. Tip: If a seller is making regular use of point #8, they may consider applying to join eBay Partner Network which can generate sales commissions on affiliates traffic. Yes, you can indeed have eBay pay you sales commissions on traffic you send to your own eBay listings! (The source of the traffic is important, and ePN has certain rules around that, but generally traffic from social media sites is acceptable by ePN.)

    1. A question I had about this. Alot of my friends on my social media outlets are dropshipping. Wouldnt this just open the door to people finding my store for the wrong reasons…example….stilling my products?

  4. Question: I am a month into eBay and want to keep going. General advice on how to list as I have all types of items vintage, collectible, clothing, and then some brand new with a small quantity (but more than 1) short auctions better, how to relist in a way to not fall so far down in the search? Am I even going to be seen with buy now or good til cancel? Thank you and any eBay Amazon specific education you recommend? Have a good day, Michelle

    1. Michelle: Skip McGrath’s newsletter and website is fantastic for serious in-the-trenches eBay and Amazon advice and guidance for small sellers. He’s been doing both for years and knows his stuff. Find his website, join his mailing list, and browse his back issues (all free) for great tips and strategies.

    2. Hi,
      With BIN fixed price listings I would list for 30 days then revue the listing and create a brand new listing number with the ‘selling similar item’, NOT relist. This way you will start again, and won’t be penalised by eBay for the viewer versus the buyer ratio. You won’t get charged any more and its just a little more hassle. Also it helps you to tweak listings to keep them relevant and check for small mistakes that can easily be made first time round.

  5. re: more than search issues

    I’ve been an ebayer for over 15 yrs (serious buyer & seller) so I’ve seen it all. This article gives some tips for search optimization, but ebay voodoo is far more complicated than search issues. Example, in all the threads I’ve read regarding ebay issues during past few yrs, I haven’t seen a single comment on something that’s both obvious yet obscure…the item number…not even the studs at ecommercebytes have chimed in on this. Next time you’re on ebay, take some time to check a bunch of seller listings (past & present) and compare the (obscure) first 2 digits of the (obvious) 12 digit item listing with their feedback score, category range, location, sell-thru-rate, etc. I “casually” mentioned this to an ebay CSR last yr (I’d been waiting to get the right guy) who at first suggested it was some type of location prefix (seller location, server assignment, or ???) until he worked the system (from his side) and quickly concluded it some “other type” of 100 character index. I still hope that when JD & his goons depart that ebay reverts back to past core business of small sellers & buyers, since their biggest block of ebay buyers are the small sellers. It not rocket science, simply limit listings to something like 500 listings and similar simplicities…

  6. Okay, so I took your advice for #2 given that I have 2 similar listings (same item, different quantity) and they have been stuck at numbers 37-38 out of 40 on the eBay best match for months, and no sales for several weeks. Viola, NOTHING! Closing the GTC listings and restarting them put them exactly where they were before and now I have lost 2.5 years worth of sales history. THANKS FOR THE USELESS ADVICE! Maybe time to update your article?

    1. To update my post, I even tried relisting the same items using the “Sell similar” link in order to generate a new item number (which did work), but the result was the same: both listings have exactly the same best match as before.

      1. Hello Michael,

        Thanks for reading the article. Just curious, did you change the listing in question? For example, before you re-list you should do market research and make sure that your listing is competitive against your competition. I mentioned in the article that you will need to get buyer engagement or else it will go to the bottom of search.

        “Once re-listed, your listing will show up as a “new listing” and be on top of search. If the listing gets good buyer engagement, it will stay up at the top. If it gets bad buyer engagement, it will be pushed down in search”

        If you didn’t update your listing to be competitive, or change anything I would try that and re-list again. Some things I would suggest are:

        1. Optimize title for better keywords
        2. Change up the description to be better then your competition
        3. Add as many quality pictures as possible
        4. Price it competitively or better yet, put the item on sale so its the lowest price on eBay and you can raise the price after you get a good amount of sales. This will generate buyer engagement.

        I hope this helps and good luck.

      2. Hi Michael,
        I doesn’t always work, as you have discovered, but over time I have definitely seen an improvement in selling old stock I have had hanging around for ages. I do try to tweak the listings as well, even a couple of words reversed or an extra mention of a brand name can do the trick. Also try putting the items in a different but relevant category. Personally, I am also unpleasantly surprised by the number or times I realise I have made simple but important mistakes no doubt due to late nights and lack of sleep – I don’t drink or take drugs- but it’s so easy to press the wrong button especially when listing a whole lot of new items at the same time.

  7. The whole ebay experience for a newbie is not an experience to make them want to stay. I did an experiment on a new account. They give new accounts 5 listings $500 wow they are generous lol. That is ridiculous you can’t sale nothing unless you can list 500 items. That search engine don’t like newbies. I listed 25 times in a month had 2 to 4 views sold nothing at all. Ebay is loosing revenue that why they selling off stuff. Why because the new customer is you core and they can’t keep new people because of that search engine not liking new people. Amazon unlimited listing why do Ebay care how much you list. That is going to kill Ebay they selling off stuff for a reason cash flow problems. Ebay might go bankrupt it happens. I like Bonanza more up to date all they need is advertising get more traffic to the site. Do some TV ads or something. If Ebay people go to Bonanza that site will be the New Ebay. You Ebay people better run from Ebay something is happening over there.

    1. It’s BIG BROTHER again! Every time there’s something that allows the little guy to get ahead they squash it. Same is happening with Airbnb rentals , they now have a new law we cant rent or limit the rent of our own homes that we own outright! That is Unconstitutional and creepy frankly! Theres other examples too. We were making too much money on ebay so they put an end to it and set it up so we are angry and poor and only their big corp sellers do well. They try to keep us agitated and broke so we have no power or energy to fight, so we dont pay attention to what they are REALLY doing with all of our tax money. When are people gonna wake up?

  8. As far as DSR’s go, in my own store, I’ve noticed that sales don’t really start declining at 5%. They actually start around the 3.5% defect rate. In fact, at 3.5%, I even get a different email when I sell an item.

    Usually, you get an email that says “your ebay item sold….”. After 3.5%, I get “Sold:…”. With the regular email, you get some options like uploading tracking through the email. With the “Sold:” version, you get pretty much nothing. I guess its their way of slowing you down so you focus more on customer service.

    1. If you use sell similar instead of relist you will get a new item ID and potentially a better placement in the search results. Remember you are penalised for the number of visitors you have to a listing with no sales, with sell similar you start fresh.
      The one exception is if you have a multi variation, or large item number listing which is doing well, as the better it does the better your search placement.
      It is time consuming though if you have a lot of unique listings, as you will need to end and sell similar every day, as your listings come up to the one month mark.
      ( If you use 1 month duration or good till cancelled)

      1. @Patricia Beattie

        “f you use sell similar instead of relist you will get a new item ID and potentially a better placement in the search results. Remember you are penalised for the number of visitors you have to a listing with no sales, with sell similar you start fresh.
        The one exception is if you have a multi variation, or large item number listing which is doing well, as the better it does the better your search placement.
        It is time consuming though if you have a lot of unique listings, as you will need to end and sell similar every day, as your listings come up to the one month mark.
        ( If you use 1 month duration or good till cancelled)”

        How do you know if you’re penalized for a bunch of views but no sales to your listing? I’ve never heard that one before.

        1. I was informed by a very well known eBay expert that old listings with multiple views, but no sales, are penalised by eBay as there is a perception that there is something ‘wrong’ with the listing eg,. It is too expensive, the description is bad, not enough photos etc. It’s these listings in particular that you want to concentrate on and revamp to make them more appealing.

        2. It’s generally accepted that conversion rate is the most important factor in the Best Match algorithm.

          Zero sales and many views is a zero conversion rate. People are finding your listing but didn’t want to buy, which is good evidence that it is a “bad” listing and should be dropped down in the search results.

          1. I find this to be untrue. I have a 900 gallon aquarium for $20,000 Yes $20,000, that gets 100’s of views daily, but no sale. The 51 watchers keep building up. Moreover I have many other listings that are similar, with 1000’s of views and counting. These items become “POPULAR” which show up on the side field when people search for similar items. I can literally refresh the page every 3 minutes and there will be more views.

  9. yep you got to keep at it, either by listing brand new items every month and thus keeping it fresh or you have to be monitoring and optimising your existing stock every week= it’s a two rule game my friends.

    remember folks, in business, don’t blame the players, blame the game.

  10. What about unique, one of kind, vintage items. especially those with very few competitors or even no competitors on Ebay? We use another database research engine to find the historical selling prices of rare, hard to find items. If we see that only 7 have sold in the last 5 years, none are currently listed on Ebay, then we price about 10% higher than what our research shows as the highest last sold item. With rarer. collectible items you don’t want to get caught in a race to the bottom.

    It seems your suggestions are more for the newer, easier to source and find, multiple items. Go find 20 new, current items and list variations, play with multiple quantities and so forth.

    Some of the above strategies do not apply to real, vintage, unique items, so what would be the suggested strategies for these types of items?

    1. The same type of strategies will still apply I’m afraid. The computer techniques used to rate listings won’t know the difference between rare expensive items and cheap mass produced goods. They don’t discriminate and will still favour quality photos with a white background, good descriptions etc.. and penalise you for an active listing that has had views but no buyers.
      Try ‘selling similar’ every month at the time of the renewal of your listings. If you have hardly any watchers try to work out why. Is it the quality of the overall listing, the price or the demand?

  11. I have a question regarding RSS Feed. I currently have around 20 thousand listing on my eBay. Here is my concern. I want to use Bayfeeds to refresh all my 20 thousand listing. But I am afraid to do so because i have read that toggling your vacation settings on ebay does the same thing. This kind of concern me!!! Because I have turn on my vacation setting once before and it absolutely drop all my listing in search result. This only concern me because I have a few top seller on my account and would not want bayfeeds to drop my top sellers in the search results. If you could can you please clarify if bayfeed will affect the top sellers I currently have?
    Thank You
    Alex

  12. Great info! The challenges presented to eBay sellers who were used to the “way things were” have caused a lot of strife!
    I only must clarify something in your first tip – you do not want to stuff a title with words purely to use all the characters. Only use words and in the order of phrasing as a customer would most likely put in for the item you are selling.
    And I absolutely MUST disagree on #14! This will be a race to the bottom for all sellers and is no way to run a business unless you are the dollar store.
    Provide value in other than the price, be in the top 10% of pricing in your market and this will keep all sellers making money. Stay away from highly competitive products where price is the main factor. Not everyone searches by lowest price, there are a lot of shoppers who want quality and good service over price!

    1. I absolutely agree. I charge a reasonable price and I am not the cheapest. I sell clothes and I offer a no quibble 30 day refund for any reason and have lost count of the number of messages I have received thanking me. These will be repeat customers as they are reassured they will be treated in a polite and friendly manner. I don’t think I get any more returns than other sellers in this market. Most return because items don’t fit which is perfectly understandable and I’ve done it myself.

  13. Sadly being on Ebay since the beginning and the last two years being so bad I question remaining, I truly feel with the introduction of so many other avenues to sell, ebay traffic is just not there anymore. Kijiji, Facebook, Etsy and Ruby Lane have had enormous amounts of Ebay sellers transfer over. As a seller I had over 100 other sellers I liked bookmarked for many years, they have all left Ebay. Sad to say….traffic is getting worse with every month.

  14. Hello, I just signed up with TeraPeak because I have heard really great things, but I’m disappointed so far and hoping I am wrong or just missing something. I don’t understand how the Title Builder Tool (Now called SEO) is helpful at all.

    The results are based on current live listings. Why wouldn’t they base them on completed listings OR even better why wouldn’t they base them on what the buyers are actually searching for in eBay instead of what sellers are using in their titles? Like an adwords for eBay.

    Who cares what keywords other sellers are using in their current live auctions. So I type in Bowflex Treadclimber TC200 and find out that there are 25 sellers using those exact keywords on current listings. How does that help? I want to see the keywords that buyers are using.

    I understand I can go into the product research and dig for hours to “sort-of” figure that out, but I could do the exact same thing on Ebay for free. It’s identical to ebay, without the color charts.

    For $30 /month, shouldn’t they have something that shows us what keywords the buyers are using? Am I missing something?

    I just spent the last 4 hours on the site and I don’t understand how the information is helpful. I read the tutorials and courses too. Sorry, if I’m a little brash, but I’m a little frustrated after spending all the time and not really finding any helpful info.

    There are other features on the site that are helpful, like the hot categories and stuff, I am referring specifically to keyword research for you eBay titles.

    Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks so much!

    1. You’re right, TeraPeak is utter useless junk. You can do all the research on eBay for free. They give you the impressions data of TeraPeak for free. The Alibaba research thing is a gimmick/joke.

      It doesn’t even monitor your competition very well and the sales data seems nothing like what I actually did so I can only assume most of the other data is inaccurate too.

      Typing your competitor in should instantly show you all their listings sorted by highest selling first, how many they sold of each, let you get notifications when they sell (quite handy for high value items where you want to check your competitors are not out selling you in real time and if so, why and for what reason)

      Its largely a useless joke of a tool and anyone telling you they actually found anything useful out with it is just trying to sell you affiliate signups for it.

    1. Variations on a listing are when you have more than one of the same item. For example you have 20 of the smae design T-Shirts but different sizes and colours. You would ‘merge’ them into one multi variation listing.

  15. someone who sells carrot seeds seasonally is in charge of how items are viewed when searched on eBay? how about hiring a real seller with real experience, then maybe eBay will see some real revenue like the old days.

  16. Everything in the article is set to work against sellers of one of used items where they need to sit on eBay for some time to find the right buyer.

    The sellers who sell these one off used items are the selling that built the site to the size it is why alienate these sellers?

    I know eBay is trying to be Amazon and attract the box shifters but eBay is not Amazon its a different animal its time eBay stopped trying to be Amazon and became eBay again.

    I cant ever remember reading any comment from an eBay user saying they like Cassini only negative comments on Cassini when will eBay realise they have got it wrong their customers don’t like it and the only people who like Cassini are eBay

  17. I have been selling jewelry for years on ebay but it’s getting to where ebay wont show my listing unless i offer free shipping and 30 day returns. Just before mothers day, I listed an art deco 14k white gold diamond ring and when I searched for my own item it was not to be found. I called ebay and the rep couldn’t find it. When I typed art deco as one word artdeco over 2k listing came up even though all the titles had art deco as two words. When I typed in art deco diamond ring, I got 2 listings. really. I have a picture of my listing and one where the search shows 0 listings with the same words as my title. After a 10 day auction less than 30 people saw my listing and it sold for the first bid at the lowest price. Ebay hides listings unless we do what they want.

  18. Hi, I’ve been active on eBay since 1998, I’ve sold just about everything.
    Over three years ago, I broke my knee, it was at the top of the scale for the
    type of henceforth, took me off eBay until about six months ago…Boy was I lost! I have tons of random inventory and the first 2 months, I could not find my own auctions. Then I started seeing all these type articles a blogs.
    I did get some excellent info from a webinar about Cassini/Best Match to bring me up to date and finally make A sale! I have enough 100% Good fresh feedback, but yet to get my DSR! Anyway, the webinar explained, that if one gold star is missing, then none are counted! I believe the problem for me is I live very remote and shipping just takes at least a day longer, EBay puts in the auction BIN and receive item by this certain date. So I think that I loose one star because of an impossible situation! The one that says “did you receive your item on or by the specified date?” So I attempted to describe the problem to customers in the Description and EBay without providing a word count, just hacked my Description to junk! Because of to many characters.
    I’ve since edited it down. It is a whole new game, and I’m just starting to up the amount of active auctions to pay med bills! They want to run us smaller vintage vendors and others off! Well I’m sticking and learning.

    Sorry to be so wordy, but I really have a Question that I seem to not be able to answer.
    “What Is The Best Way To Title A (Lot) Of An Item.” In all this time I’ve never done any ‘LOTS’ I find how to write titles and do good in placement finally but I would love to know the best way to Title a Lot? Example: I think: P-Touch Labeler Cartridge TX-2311 (Lot of 6) ~ Sealed New Old Stock. 1/2″ x 50′ Black Type on White Tape. But I see so many auctions that Start by saying:
    (Lot of 6) P-Touch…….etc. Are the parenthesis a good or bad thing. It seems
    That typing it like above, won’t get good results. The first words are not what your selling. Any critiques or advice welcome. Thanks and Happy Sales to You!

    1. I have read that parenthesis is not good on any part of the listing. I haven’t sold a lot either but I usually say what the item is at the end of the title as it reads better eg;
      Marks and Spencer Fully Lined Calf Length Black Dress Size 16

  19. I really love the new ebay. I tried it out a few years ago and was killed by charges and other useless rules etc. I started back up a few months ago and have had a great time and become successful. I look at pricing and other details of other sellers and try to learn . My items are found in searches and usually its just low prices and good customer service that makes things sell. Oh the one main rule of success is selling what people want and not what 5000 other people are also selling. I sell vintage collectables and its very easy to be unique. Paypal is the pain as opposed to ebay, I was put on hold on paypal for sales from 06/24 – 07/01/2016 (which were all comic books and for some reason it raised a red flag for being suspicious) . I had to send my passport, Drivers ID and proof of residence to unblock my paypal. Very inconvenient and intrusive.

  20. Ive been a powerseller for years and I can tell you first hand Cassini is a scam put in place so ebay can make additional listing fees off of items that do not sell. Think about it on a large scale. Sure they are not making thousands off of you but they sure the hell make millions off of everyone as a whole. Ebay has a track record of greed and politics that are antiseller. I suggest you find other avenues if you want to expand your business rather than lose 33.33% + just to list here.

  21. Does anyone know of an app or service that will automatically end your GTC listings if there are no sales for that 30-day period? There are many apps I’ve found that will relist your items, but I need to find one that will end my non-selling GTC listings and relist them in the “Sell Similar” format. Does anyone know if this exists?

    1. You might get this facility in some of the more expensive top end management services but I do this myself “by hand”. Its’ tedious but does allow you to tweak your listings on a monthly basis, change the copy slightly and correct any mistakes. It definitely works for older listings.

  22. If sales volume is so important to boosting your cassini searches,then what’s stopping sellers who have friends or multiple accounts on ebay from going out into their backyard and finding say 50-100 sticks or pebbles or leaves and listing them on ebay under a buck,free shipping,pickup only which would kill most fees and then having your buddies or using other id’s to purchase these items to fool the system into thinking your averaging 50-100 sales a day. You could keep relisting and rebuying them! Smart people sell at flea markets,collector venues/shows or antique malls or all!

  23. Just out of interest
    If a listing gets a sale (then from what you are saying this will be a positive in the sales conversion rate, but what happens if then you have to do a refund of that item, does that then affect the listings standing and get it demoted?
    Or will the listing be unaffected by refunds.

  24. A whole lot of work all these steps created for me. Like a WHOLE lot of work. A ridiculous amount of work. And for what? It hasn’t helped my search rankings or my sales one bit after trying this a month. Thanks for wasting a whole lot of my time. You know, the one thing in life you can never get back.

    1. We, the sellers, are being told the same things over and over again. All of the advice mentioned here I have been using for over two years. My theory is that with all of the listings coming into Ebay from the big box stores, department stores, wholesale companies, etc, Ebay has NO need for the small sellers. We are just the useless “eaters”. They know we need them, but they don’t need us now that they are bazillionaiares. Can you imagine what amount in fees these big box people are paying? Store fees, listing fees, selling fees? My little $400 a month fee payment means nothing to Ebay. Can you compete with Chinese sellers who sell an item that costs $5.00 for 99 cents plus free shipping? Hilarious. I have had my own website on the first page of google and for 7 years, the same time I started selling on Ebay, I started optimizing my Ebay pages. I know the solid basics of SEO. My listings are great. My feedback is over 10k positive. My pictures are super. I list or change something every day and my sales have dropped over 90% and continue to drop since 2015. When I call Ebay, everyone says that everything looks good, just keep up the good work. This last time I called, I really got penalized because I asked why my listings weren’t showing up. Guess no sales is the resulting punishment. LOL. I write guides and I just found out tonight that someone from AU is selling all of my stuff with all of my pictures with all of my listings through their AU website. When I went to check out, it asked me to sign into my account through Ebay AU!!!! In addition, last year, all of My collections were going to some other person’s username. So screwed up. Something is going on behind the scenes and we will never know what that is. There are a select few who do. I even paid a consultant recently to tell me what was wrong with my listings. Her advice was just wrong for the most part. She was even having problems selling her stuff on Ebay and she is well known and in the know with them. Don’t count on being able to make a living on Ebay unless you are one of those who are “in” with EBay.

      1. No big sign in mystery there,if your browsing on any eBay site and are asked to sign in you will sign in to the site you are on at that given time be it eBay.au eBay.uk or eBay.com etc etc. Look at the website URL,top of page. I’ve seen my listings on many non eBay websites,I don’t fully understand how they work but the links they use all lead back to my item page so I’m not concerned if there using my listings to promote their pages, it’s all traffic heading in my direction. There’s no conspiracy theory but there’s more to eBay than eBay.com. I sell globally so I sometimes sign in to an overseas eBay site to see how visible my listings are in that country, give it a try, it’s quite an eye opener.

  25. Thank you for such useful information. I’m a sole trader on eBay and struggling to sell against the “big guy” and you’ve given me quite a few pointers of where I can perhaps make some changes and increase my sales.

    Where mobile optimization is concerned, do you have any advice? I have no HTML knowledge and have been going through my listings removing java etc based on what i-ways is telling me shouldn’t be on my listings. I’ve also successfully managed to use their template creator (took me forever to work it out) but it’s really basic when I see how it looks on eBay. Do you have any suggestions of other companies out there who offer a similar free service (but with a better end result)?

    Also, I have Auctiva scrolling gallery on my listings and although this is not compliant with mobile optimization, Auctiva have informed me that it is. Do you have any advice on this for me as I don’t know what to do in this respect?

    1. I would really like to know mora about this too. Confilcting advice from eBay and Auctivia. Also I can’t seem to phyically remove the new Auctivia Scrolling gallery even if I wanted to.

  26. Worst week on Ebay since 1998,with several accts just few sales,Selling on the internet has become a waste of time. Had 3 really good months in a row selling in an antique mall and have booked April at the flea market. Can not make money on ebay any more and all these so called posts and you-tube video’s are nonsense! Don’t fall for the free shipping or offering 30 day money back guarrentee or updating your adds to be mobile friendly or even relisting by using sell a similar item,all nonsense!

  27. Re: listing titles. Suppose I have a “perfect” title, with all the most optimized keywords for the item in question. If there’s room for a couple more useless words like “amazing” or “luxurious” that people aren’t searching for, will that move the listing DOWN in the Cassini engine results?

  28. Most people today are using group stores on facebook or posting items on instagram. I SOLD 4 THINGS ON FACEBOOK THIS WEEKEND! 4 ON AUDIOGON AND had 5 sales on discogs/4 on etsy this month.

    Make sure all your EBAY site preferences are correct as most sellers had their preferences changed without them knowing it! 4 of my 5 id’s said I didn’t use paypal or had paypal as my main payment preference! It also said I didn’t except ebay checkout nor global shipping program. My store ID had me only selling in USA and all other countries were unchecked! Since the split with paypal,many ebay users found their paypal payment preferences were turned off and sales died! You should also remove where it asks if you want other sellers items showing up on your pages! Go to MY EBAY,then ACCOUNT then SITE PREFERENCES and double check that it says yes in the proper area’s,like accepting paypal!

  29. Wayne! I can’t thank you enough! It had me in the US only! My sales in the past have been almost 50% international and NOW not one of them was checked? I have fixed it. When did this happen, I wonder?

    1. Me too! Aghhhhh…I thought it was the huge international price hike in Jan of ’16 that did it. I feel physically sick. Things getting reset left and right. So thankful for this page it’s helping me a lot. Adding UPC codes now. Can anyone tell me how much that helped them? Between July ’15 and Dec ’15 I lost 1/2 of my impressions, then the International shipping hike took 25% of what was left, then Aug 17 of last year I lost my listings coming from outside of eBay completely, overnight, and didn’t know why — delayed reaction from them because I had no UPC codes? (I buy from China — no codes, but I bought some yesterday). So I’m at about 1/8 of what I was making in June of ’15. I sooo hope it was the UPC codes that caused it. Now realizing that I was only listed in the U.S….that should help to get those other countries back. I’ll change from 14 to 30 day returns…

  30. Not sure when it happened,but I stumbled on a you-tube video about it. I’m on another ebay blog like 38 pages long with hundreds of sellers having major sales issues. Sure enough many of them had their paypal/ebay checkout preferences turned off. My sales have picked up somewhat since fixing the paypal glitch,not to mention they had me accepting payment upon pickup only. Ebay took a major loss after splitting with paypal and since most of ebay’s money comes from store and relisting fee’s from store owners,they could care less if you sell anything.

    Keep the items you list on ebay in the unusual to rare category and you will do well,heck I sold a record last week 988.00 .The run of the mill stuff,like clothing has few high end sales and is flooded on ebay. Use the ebay advanced search to get educated on the high end items and stop wasting your time on low sales things,bring that stuff to a flea market !

  31. Do you know if the options you choose for accepted payments affect the search results? I currently accept only Paypal as a payment method, but if I also give customers the option of Visa/Mastercard and Bank Deposit, would that give me a better result as far as Cassini is concerned?

    1. July was the worst month in 20 years. It doesn’t look like all the hype about everything from free shipping to 30 day returns to using mobile friendly adds helps at all! Their are alot of people claiming that it’s ebay not using google due to fee’s,but Amazon and etsy use google and not much happening their either! Too many places now to buy! People are posting on facebook every couple minutes and it’s free and you can join multiple selling groups even those that specialize in a specific category. Ebay wants to cater to the Chinese so it’s killing usa business! If your using ebay,stick with unusual items ,they still do well! Better to list a few rare itemsthen hundreds of small change things that just sit and rot.

  32. None of these suggestions will work. Ebay manipulates every bit of it’s own marketplace. Just check your sales history, your numbers are the same “velocity” allowed every single month. Once you notice a significant drop, that’s not a sign that you need to improve, it means you were found by cassini and your threshold was lowered. Now if you stick it out, you can check your sales figures and you’ll notice that you get the same dollar amount every month. These are velocity limits. When my website outperforms ebay in sell thru rate and all I’ve done is optimized SEO and NOTHING else, no social media, no advertisment, nothing. Something is wrong. Here’s the reality as I see it. We are in the final stages of transition from ebay old to ebay new. The small seller was absolutely needed for the transition in order for ebay to keep traffic flow up. Ebay still ranks number 36 on Alexa, they are a google unto themselves (That means people come directly to ebay to search more so than they go to google to search for a product that ultimately leads them to ebay). They have a crappy search algo that actively OMITS seller listings from results under a mysterious penalty program based on metrics, some of which are out of our control. This is a company that doesn’t know what the hell they are doing and they are beholden to the stockholder. So far their latest attempts at showing good numbers have been things that negatively impact the company in the long run so they can try and show short term improvement. I.E. reducing TRS in half, offering guaranteed delivery in an embarrassing attempt to compete with Prime, offering a buyer back twice what they paid if the buyer claims counterfeit. All the while keeping FVF. It’s as though ebay hired The Bobs from office space to help them efficiently run the company. The bobs came upon us, the Milton of ebay. The small sellers…. We were supposed to be terminated years ago but due to a glitch in the system we kept getting our paychecks. But the powers that be prefer to avoid confrontation with us, so they talked to payroll (The visibility team at ebay) and they fixed the glitch. “Wait a minute” says ebay “Did you fire milton?”. “Hold on there genius” say the bobs “We fixed the glitch, Milton won’t receive his paycheck anymore. This will just work itself out” This feels EXACTLY like what is happening on ebay. I sell on multiple venues and my own website. The real way to increase sell thru rate is to close up shop on ebay. I don’t want to compete with myself, I don’t need anyone seeing my products show up there mistakenly, hell ebay could have a terrible image now and this could explain the lack of sales. Who’s to say people seeing my items listed on ebay kills sales elsewhere? Ebay doesn’t work at all anymore for me.

  33. So if I’m selling individual items and not multiples, and I’m just starting out, what I’m hearing is that I should not do it on ebay. If not, where should I go? Please don’t tell me to not sell at all. I love the thrill of it and want to continue to help with some family expenses. I’m just not sure what the best platform would be now for the small sellers. Ideas?

  34. Ebay has been limiting sales for years. Mine are always the same no matter what I list or how much. And if I happen to sell a rare item that exceeds my quota limit,then my sales stop for some time! I also notice sales stop when my invoice/bill arrives until it’s paid. I Read the average sales percentage on Ebay is 1 for every 100 items listed per day. I reopened my Amazon account 2 weeks ago,made 3 sales this weekend about 6 overall and they were ebay items that sold for higher amounts. Purchased upc bar codes on ebay to use for Amazon and it works well.

    I Sell my records cd’s on discogs and audiogon and been selling some on various facebook market places and craigslist. I guess if you list all your ebay items to these other venues,you would proberly sell more ! Problem is MOST SELLERS list all their items in 1 place. I list everywhere and when it sells at one venue,I remove it from the others this also includes doing flea markets and an antique mall! 1ST come 1st serve! By the way I gave up on ETSY!

  35. Seems to be some incorrect advice around relisting vs sell similar.
    A 30 days Buy it Now listing has a listing number.
    At the end of its cycle, you relist it, it has a DIFFERENT listing number.
    Why confuse people and suggest that they have to waste time and sell similar to get a new listing number?
    Bulk relisting is quick and easy, and lets you tweak prices and titles in-line on the one screen.
    So many people have advised to ‘sell similar’. Why, exactly?

  36. I’ve been trading on eBay since 2002 and saw my sales grow steadily year on year, the more I put in the more I got out of it,those were the glory years. The moment cassini went live my sales fell like a stone,it took two years and lots of effort before they started to flat line,and that’s where they’ve staid, at about a third of what I used to sell!!!! And everyone has a similar story,so if our sales are down then eBay profits will be down so how have they managed to justify that to the shareholders for all this time??? eBay used to be the buzz word on everyone’s lips,it was the place to be,I would have and did recommend it to everyone and anyone, nowadays if a viable competitor came along I’d drop eBay like a hot stone, I tried Amazon it’s not set up for what I sell and it’s cold and impersonal. I have two hip teenagers,the next generation of internet consumer,now they have paid part time jobs they like to buy things online, do they use eBay,no they don’t, it’s Amazon all the way for the youngsters and that should also be worrying the hell out of those eBay shareholders. Last Sunday was one of worst I can remember,I could hear the cyber tumbleweed rolling past it was that quiet, so next day I decided to take a look to see what if anything other people had sold in my chosen category during that Sunday. So total live listings 90k most of which were buy it now, total sales in said category during Sunday???? Less than 200, seriously less than 200 out of 90000,that’s two hundred sales out of ninety thousand items on a normal run of the mill Sunday when sales are should be booming,something is seriously wrong with the current algorithm.

  37. I’m glad you revisited this article because something curious happened to me on ebay and I want to share this with everyone and get your opinion.
    I had been a top rated seller for the past 5 years and have 99.9% feedback. -I sell vintage collectibles so each listing is only 1 unique item.
    -I have about 250 listings at any given time.
    – I have 30 day returns
    – handling time of 1 day
    -My listings are all at Buy Now and set for the buyer to pay immediately.
    -All the listings are set to a 3 day duration and I have them spaced at 12 minute intervals so every 12 minutes one of my items will be in view of potential customers as they mostly use the “ending soonest” option.
    ( The items I sell are a type of collectible that are the same item but in many different models and made by many different manufacturers)
    -I use the ” Relist Automatic” feature on all of them and every time they relist they have a different item id.
    – My listing titles are good, good keywords, full of good clear pictures etc.

    From around 2014 my sales had been going down until it reached a point where if I was lucky I’d sell 2 items a day.
    Then a month ago my account was “restricted” for a whole week , When the week was over and my listings were reinstated I had lost my top rated seller status and had to wait close to a month to regain it.

    Here comes the interesting part.
    As soon as I was able to reinstate my listings I relisted everything WITHOUT having my top rated seller status and my sales SHOT THROUGH THE ROOF !
    I sold more in that first week than I had in any week for the past 3 years. The next week Sales then went down about 25% and I decided to use the ” Promoted Listings” feature ebay is now offering. So I put all of my listings on promotion giving ebay a 5% commission for every sale. The first 3 or 4 days it worked great and my sales went back up. Then they went down again so I promoted my listing at a 6.5% they lifted back a little bit and then went down again.
    3 days ago I got my Top Rated seller status back and again my sales have dropped dramatically to a point where a couple of days ago I had zero sales. That had never happened in the past 5 years. I upped the percentage on the promoted listings to a 7% and still nothing.
    What’s wrong !

  38. Everyone has had a similar experience since they rolled out cassini and eBay hasn’t been the same since for both sellers and buyers!!!
    Not only do I sell on eBay I’m also quite a prolific buyer and will spend at least an hour every day what I call “trawling” for what I’m interested in, sad but true, I’ve done this now for about ten years and I’ve noticed a massive reduction in the amount of casual sellers listing items for sale. Like most prosperous market places be it swap meets,fairs,car boot sales,autojumbles etc,once the word gets out then the wholesale traders move in with their cut price Chinese tat which kills the vibe and puts people of attending and that is basically whats happened to eBay. eBay just isn’t the place it used to be. I read with interest that you have items ending every 12 minutes, presumably these are auction listings? I buy everyday but can’t remember the last time I sat there waiting to bid at the end of an auction,I use an app to bid, I’m sure most people do,set it and forget it. I also see sellers repeatedly relisting items every three five seven or ten days, round and round the item goes,all this does is create a stale uninspiring atmosphere that people aren’t interested in. Trends come and go, we can’t expect to sell the same stuff day in day out. If you find the formula to crack cassini please let us all know, however much I try to increase my sales with new items, offers, discounts,I basically end up with the same sales total every month, it’s like I’ve been capped and I’ve heard other sellers say similar.

    1. Actually my items are all at a Buy Now format. This afternoon after posting here I spent the next 2 hours talking to a specialist on ebay having my store analyzed for anything wrong and according to the Rep everything looks fantastic but my sales dropped DRAMATICALLY in the last week. Which is exactly when I got my TRS status back. Her excuse for my sales jump last month was that the store was “refreshed” and ebay detected this and bumped me up. She said she would refresh my store again after our conversation but today I sold a measly 2 items so the refresh did nothing to boost my sales.
      How is it possible to sell close to $800 a day for the whole first week I was reinstated and today I sold $55 total.

      I’m starting to wonder if it’s true that regular sellers are in one category that is much laxer and the fact I have my store set to give the best service, best shipping, best handling etc bumped me up in the listings because I wasn’t a TRS at that time.
      And Top rated sellers are handled by a separate set or parameters that are stricter or my competition is tougher and I’m being left behind.
      The way I see it is either I can be the mouse in a Lions world OR I can be a Lion in a mouses world. Honestly I’d rather be a Lion in a mouses world but at this point I’m just not sure what step to take next.
      I can set all my listings for a 2 day handling time and lose my TRS but am scared of the ” unkown” .
      According to the ebay REP what I say isn’t true and they judge us all by the same rules but look at what happened to me and I see so many others commenting similar things happening.

      1. I feel for you. I went from $200 a day two years ago to gradually 0 a day and now under $200 A MONTH!!!!! 10,000+ POSITIVE feedback. Hard working. Ship mainly same day. Could make a living. Now I have to sell on Amazon and make over $100 a day, but was doing that before while making the $200 a day on Ebay. I get the same answers. . . great everything. . . perfect listing, perfect pictures, perfect keywords. So, I experimented and closed my store. No change in sales. My daughter opened an account about a year ago and she doesn’t have a store, so we experimented. She hadn’t listed for awhile so she put up a few similar listings to what I had and a few things sold, in fact, more than I did. She has under 30 feedback. I am keeping my store closed. It wasted so much money for me over the past two years and I am certain that it was NO help at all for the past 7 years. I just kept it running out of fear. I always had 300-400 products, many that were one of a kind popular and that I was the only seller on for a long time. I couldn’t keep the items in stock. Now, those same items sit for months at a time before they are gone, unless I sell them on Amazon.

        If you think about it, neither Amazon nor Ebay need any sellers now that they have the big box stores on their sites. The fees that those companies pay alone keep both of these entities in business. We helped them build their companies and now we are just useless feeders. Amazon is now phasing out small sellers for all kinds of reasons. Ebay has already done that. He who holds the money holds the power and in this case, they have the money and the power, have taken away all power from the sellers, and like Amazon, have given the consumers an unfair advantage over sellers so now we are in an even worse position. I have no doubt that they know exactly what they are doing. Maybe there is an insider who will tell us why and how to fix it, but after 2 years of asking. . . life goes on elsewhere.

  39. Well your not alone in what you say, most people appear to be in the same boat. Might be worth carefully checking your seller settings, I found out last week that I was promising same day despatch if payment was received by 2pm, something I have no recollection of setting up,so I presume that would have been been effecting my DSR ratings. I ship globally and on another settings check I found my listings weren’t appearing on many overseas eBay sites because I hadn’t yet ticked the appropriate box!!
    Also I’ve just started using the listing tool that makes your listing mobile (cell phone) friendly.
    If you’re prepared to give me the name of your shop I’ll take a browse at your listings and let you know what I rekon.

    1. Rich, I would be very grateful if you would take a look at my shop – Dressage with Style – I have also experienced what all the people posting on this blog say, really at a loss as to what to do next ?

  40. I Closed my premium store 2 days ago. I’m on another blog titled Ebay sales why so slow,it is 50 pages long now with hundreds of sellers literally making few if any sales. I have heard every excuse in the book,but it is all bs! Ebay is distributing wealth evenly by capping sales! They make their money from up front fee’s! They sucker sellers into stores which in turn actually have more fee’s than non store owners. Example 15 cent listing fee’s for most category’s, like records/cd’s that they know sellers list in bulk! I have 5 ebay id’s and no matter what I list or how much or how rare,the same amount of money is made each day,week,month, and year ! I have gone back to flea markets and collector shows and joined several facebook selling groups which is pretty much where everyone is going anyway! Stop falling for the nonsense with free shipping or 30 day returns or whatever else they throw at you!

  41. It’s so disheartening isn’t it? I once had a thriving business, and although I’m still making reasonable sales, enough to keep the doors open, it’s nowhere near where it used to be. So disappointing and exhausting! With Amazon coming to Australia now, it is an avenue I was going to go down, but I don’t think I’ll bother. I think they seem to have the same business model and aren’t interested in small business. Luckily my website has reasonable sales, so the time and energy I used to put into ebay will be put into my own website now and how to drive traffic to that.

  42. I have only been an Ebay seller for 3 years. Newbie. But I retired as a Cost Accountant of 30 years, Managing the Costs of 6 Plants for a $25 billion $ Company. Focus on your Profit not your sales. I do not accept returns. I do not give Free Shipping. I am in this to make money for my family. Free Shipping may increase EBay’s Sales and your sales but maybe not your Profit. Keep an Excel spreadsheet of your costs & Profit. Then use that spreadsheet to create another by Type of what you sell. You may surprise yourself with what products you are really making money on. Then your 3rd spreadsheet is by month to show you when you are making your dollars.
    I have barely heard of the Casini engine. I use common sense when I create my Titles. I fill in all relevant Item Specifics. I have kept Excel spreadsheets since I started, showing my Return on Investment, Items that I have sold etc. This helps me with what I want to buy to resell. I have history by month of what I have sold…Nike…Michael Kors…name brand & attributes…Fox Fur Trim on Hoods etc. So I can see where to invest my $’s to increase my sales. Also I can see what I sold an item for last time so I can price a like item. I do not price at the lowest price. I find that I get more views pricing higher since I only sell Quality items. I love doing this. Focus on Profit not Sales. I know you can make $’s on Ebay because I have and I knew NOTHING when I started on Ebay. When I list I look up the items like mine, look at the listing prices of items like mine on Ebay, look at items that have sold then compare to my spreadsheet for a price. Also I list for 30 days. Big Selling Point for me is…Every Thursday I review my items prices maybe drop the item price depending on how many viewers and watchers I have. I do this on Thursday because I find that the prices will be adjusted in Ebay on Friday then an email is sent out on Friday. So I am prepping my items for a Saturday sale. Usually works. I have more sales on Friday & Saturday after I have lowered my prices a few $’s. Just a few hints on things I have used to create more Sales. Thanks for all the info you shared with me.

    1. I sell on the UK site and we simply can’t list without offering returns, even auction items are returnable if the buyer isn’t happy with them.
      Things must be different on the US site.

  43. What you don’t understand is that Cassini hasn’t caught up to your account yet. Ebay has been throttling sales for 5 years ,in other words limiting your sales per month. You can google Ebay throttling to read all about it. Ebay suckers you into a basic or premium store and then after 2 months hits the kill switch on your growth!They make their money off upfront fee’s and store fee’s on bulk category’s! For example a record or cd seller has 2000 listings and pays 15 cents to list in the music category and 5 cents buy it now fee which is true for basic/premium store users,then relists those records/cd’s 5 or 10 more times in bulk or automatically ,well do the math.Far more money in relisting in bulk from store owners then non store owners! I just read a blog an Ebay that a user has 2000 items listed,but no sales this month.I made 6 sales over 5 Ebay accounts.in November . Ebay is blocking our sales and blocking our limit results from being viewed on most of our accounts who don’t have Anchor stores.

    Made 4 sales on Amazon in 2 days and recently purchased 1000 UPC bar codes as I continue to transfer my Ebay items to Amazon and Etsy and Facebook group pages combined with 2 Antique malls and regularly selling at the flea market. Ebay is not only in a death spiral for sales,but fraud and theft is a huge increasing problem as well with their ignorant return policy’s!

    1. This makes so much sense. I finally closed my store after 7 years when I realized what they are doing. They should be prosecuted.

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