This morning I started my day as usual, checking my overnight comments and stats from stories in several of our blogs.... Coffee brewing, emails humming... etc.
Certainly I am pleased that our Trading Assistant Journal has had a great deal of helpful comments and interest expressed in my recent article about Cornerstone Commercial Supply.
Find the Article Here: Live Help - Communication at eBay
The last comment in that thread was posted by a regular and valued contributor to our comments, Henrietta of the Red Ink Diary.
Henrietta is adding to the conversation here at the Trading Assistant Journal with helpful suggestions regarding reasons why Cornerstone may have been blocked from listing any new items on eBay. I appreciate Henrietta's suggestions as well as John's (who suggested a link to a free video editing software suite seen in a you Tube video displayed on the item pages could be the problem - great suggestion, but why? and how will we know if eBay does not tell us?)
Is there any possibility that this is related to the telephone number and email address on each listing and his About Me page? Soon to be prohibited.
I know we do not have an actual implementation date beyond the ‘July’ mentioned in the May 19th announcement. Typical of the eBay way, however, you will recall TnS started removing digital delivery sales 8 days before the stated cut-off date of March 31st.
It will be July in 4 days.
I started to reply to the comment, with a new comment under the same article, but as is often in my case, a quick reply morphed into a long article of its own...
@ Henrietta & @ John
Both of you have offered good observations and we have had the same ideas...
Yet without hearing from eBay Trust & Safety to know exactly what the problem is, it is difficult to go changing things within live listings and not know what it is we should be altering to get the listing block lifted. Any changes we make will be in the dark, and we are unable to test individual changes because all listings have been blocked. Yet eBay told us it was not a serious violation of policy... Now over 72 hours later we feel they are incorrect in their classification of this incident.
I would also like to address the point of removing telephone numbers from eBay listings and eBay stores.
Let me please go on record with the view that this ban on telephone numbers and address information is ridiculous protectionism.
If this policy actually goes into effect, I think it will irrevocably harm eBays standing with brick and mortar business sellers.
Think about the customer of a business like Cornerstone Supply...
Most carpet and Janitorial service owners are not extremely Internet savvy. They all would rather speak with a human voice when they have a question concern or just simply want to know which product to purchase for a certain application.
There is no possible way to cover all the frequently asked questions for the line of carpet cleaning agents, chemicals, parts, pressure hoses, machines, engines, blowers, wands, extractors and other items a business like Cornerstone Commercial Supply sells.
Sometimes the merchant just must speak to the customer on the phone!
These types of brick and mortar merchants are very good on the phone. Customers build confidence in these types of companies when they call and speak with a staff member like they have at Cornerstone.
The Internet is a wonderful and amazing way to shop and sell, but person to person communications can not be replaced with a short text message.
Why on earth would eBay consider a telephone number meant for CUSTOMER SERVICE a violation of linking policy?
Why is it, an established business with a retail location would be prevented from telling the world that they are a real entity with a business location by displaying an address? Has eBay ever heard of Google maps? Pretty popular with the public, one reason people shop online today in convenience. Restricting information as basic as an address or telephone number just increases distrust among the buying public.
What is eBay afraid of?
eBay is a place to advertise goods and services.
eBay has always been, in their own words, a "Venue".
If the venue restricts the capability of a business to advertise its location and customer service telephone number, what good is the advertising expenditure on that venue?
And another point - How are the buyers going to differentiate between real brick and mortar businesses with dozens of years of history and experience... from drop shippers and fly by night scammers with no experience at all? Especially if they offer the same goods and there is no way to contact the seller, look up an address or to ask a question of a live person?
ebay's message service is protecting eBay and no one else.
Sure, buyers do not want to be spammed with email if the ask a question, but buyers also want to receive full answers to their questions.
Currently the eBay "My Messages" service only allows one reply to a question and both parties must be familiar with the limitations of the eBay "My Messages" console. Limitations as to length of message, limitation on content of message and what if the customer wants an image sent to them of a very valuable item? What if the customer needs to see a contract or service agreement? How is the merchant going to send this information via the "My Messages" console?
I have personally had inbound messages sent to my company through the eBay "My Messages" service delayed for as long as a week... Suddenly appearing in our inbox on My eBay with a follow up question from the same customer, asking us why we do not reply?
COMMUNICATION should be open - Not restricted!
eBay - if your reading this - please do not make these mistakes by limiting the ability of established businesses to communicate with THEIR customers.
Protecting the buyer is all well and good, but that can be accomplished by processing and following up on the actual claims of abuse of the email policies submitted by buyers rather than restricting each and every merchant paying for your "services".
When these services become so restricted and controlled as to prevent commerce from actually occurring, eBay will no longer be a relevant "venue" for merchants.