e-Books are Dead on eBay – Digital Delivery – Information Products – Ending Forever March 31, 2008

Breaking News – Digital Delivery on eBay is Dead Beginning March 31 2008

e-Books are Dead on eBay (core listings)

eBay has been breaking a great deal of news these last several weeks and now they have come up with one more controversial decision…

***New Policy Update: Digital Downloadable Goods in Classified Ads Format Only***

March 24, 2008 | 01:00PM PST/PT

Brian Burke

Hello…This is Brian Burke, Director Global Feedback Policy. Digital goods are often reproduced at little to no cost to the seller. On eBay, this creates the potential for Feedback Manipulation (both real and perceived). To preserve the integrity of the Feedback system, effective March 31 all goods that can be digitally downloaded or transferred electronically must be listed using the Classified Ads format. Using the Classified Ads format, sellers receive a 30-day ad at a fixed price. This solution enables sellers to continue to market their digital goods on eBay; however, because Classified Ad listings are a lead generation tool and do not result in transactions that go through eBay, Feedback cannot be exchanged between buyer and seller.

Sellers who wish to continue to offer digital goods can do so by selecting the Everything Else>Information Products category in the Sell Your Item form and choosing the Classified Ads format (not auction-style or fixed price). For more information about the Classified Ads format, please read Advertising with Classified Ads.


Brian Burke
Director, Global Feedback Policy

Examples of Digital Delivery Products:

  • Software
  • Books
  • Guides
  • How To Manuals
  • Marketing Plans
  • Photographs
  • Artwork
  • Classic Fairy Tales
  • Children’s Stories 

This new policy is a major reversal and will end hundreds, if not thousands of very successful businesses using Digital delivery products as a means to deliver valuable information to the consumer without delay and at low cost.

Digital delivery is not a scam widely used to manipulate feedback.  Unless you consider most of these sellers having maintained great feedback by serving customers with products they want and delivering these products via electronic means, a manipulation in some way.

eBay provides a service which is meant to advertise products and services at a reasonable cost. Why then would eBay suddenly determine that sellers who craft products to fill a niche are somehow scamming the system by actually delivering value for their customers?  If these digital delivery products were all scams, the feedback would take care of the issue and the sellers would not stay on eBay long.

Given the fact that these sellers deliver a product quickly and give a good value for the price paid eBay feels they are using the system in a way which was not intended. They are selling and delivering fast paced items which bring them good feedback.  If feedback were the only issue, why not limit the feedback tally to a certain number per week? Or put an asterisk next to a sellers feedback profile indicating “excessive good feedback due to successful digital products sales”.

e-Book and digital products sellers usually have a low sell through rate according to recent Terapeak research.  With a 20% sell through rate and an average selling price of $1.20 per item eBay may be feeling this category is inefficient for fee generation when listed as core items. This change may coincide with the new listing fee system which recently went into effect.  The new system benefits sellers who re-list items multiple times and have a low cost item with a low sell through rate.  With digital delivery products averaging 3000 listings per day we assume eBay sees a less than optimal return from this segment of sellers.

What do you think?

  • Is eBay tossing out digital delivery marketers because they are “Manipulating” the feedback system?
  • Or is eBay trying to reduce the losses incurred by this category because of the recent fee changes?

Not all digital products sellers are exclusive to that niche.  Many brick and mortar businesses sell low cost guides for equipment or how to manuals via digital delivery. (even Sears has sold PDF versions of manuals for lawnmowers to washing machines on their own website and on eBay).  Do you think eBay has taken these sellers into account when they made this drastic change with almost no warning?

There are many sellers only selling on eBay for one reason, and that reason is to offer digital products to a massive market with incredible traffic.  When these sellers are forced to use eBay classifieds they will also be forced to look for another venue to operate within and to sell these same electronically transferred products.  Before this recent announcement digital delivery and e-books were one of the hottest growing categories on eBay.  Why kill growth?

, , , , ,

30 Responses to e-Books are Dead on eBay – Digital Delivery – Information Products – Ending Forever March 31, 2008

  1. tarzan March 25, 2008 at 1:54 am #

    I’m screwed then….that is like half of my monthly income gone!!! Thousands I’m talking. I will adapt. Getting into internet affiliate marketing now. sighhhhhhh

  2. ebaysucks March 25, 2008 at 4:31 am #

    eBay will burn in hell.

  3. Daniel Sumner March 25, 2008 at 5:12 am #

    Well well eBay have finally taken a step back into the dark ages. This is the information age and they are finally putting an end to digital items sold on eBay! eBay recently stopped guys from selling digital items for less than $1 this would have quite easily stopped the feedback manipulation, however it looks like that was not enough.

    Did someone from eBay just think “ok lets give thousands of eBook sellers, photograph sellers, template sellers websites sellers, digital consultancy sellers and much much more 5 days to re structure their business or hit the unemployment office! Well done eBay another well thought out idea with excellent timing!

    There are ways around this and I will be looking into them. Lets hope when eBay realise what they have done they think twice.

  4. Fire Brian Burke March 25, 2008 at 12:46 pm #

    Fire Brian Burke.

    The man is an idiot and completely out of touch with what is going on with eBay – he must have been promoted from their customer support department.

    The poor developers there slaved over creating special Digital Delivery enabled listings – it’s one of the things eBay jointly developed by meeting with and talking to the eBay seller community.

    The side effects of this decision far outweigh the original reason and justification for the decision.

    Let’s not forget that the reason he gives is that digital items are reproduced at little cost.


    Are they going to next ban things that are ‘produced’ at little cost… Say, anything from China?

    How about any digital products under $10 can’t be listed or something similar.. I am sure there are some holes in that solution because otherwise it would have been the new policy, right?

    But whatever..

    It would seem that eBay could hire people that have the brainpower to think of real solutions?

    Maybe they do and the people in charge are not listening to them.

    Here’s the problem: eBay has developed an immortality complex – it thinks it cannot die and the only thing they worry about it increasing profit and profitability year after year.

    But the corporate graveyard is full of such companies – and they all die because of people in position of power that are clueless about what really makes success in their business.

    Brian Burke is that type of person.

    Fire him today.

  5. Debbie March 25, 2008 at 3:18 pm #

    I actually feel OK about this policy. I know that eBay has been trying to find a way to stop people from selling e-books as a way to get feedback. Some eBay “experts” and scammers actually TELL people to sell e-books in order to get lots of good feedback quickly. eBay doesn’t want that, and I agree with them.

    So they’re not stopping you from selling this stuff. They’re taking away the feedback thing so that this can’t be manipulated anymore. The “experts” will have to come up with some other scam to tell people how to get good feedback quickly.

    That’s what this is about. It’s not about the items being cheap. It’s about them being a major “front” for buying and selling feedback. As a Classified Ad, they can still be bought and sold, but they can’t pump up feedback.

  6. Scott Pooler March 25, 2008 at 4:17 pm #


    Thank you for your comment.

    While you may be correct about a small amount of sellers using digital delivery to gain feedback, I don’t think you have considered the difference between core listings and classified ads when it comes to realizing the benefits of eBay traffic.

    Classified ads are not available in the general (core) search of eBay listings, not unlike like eBay store listings. This leaves very little reason for sellers of digitally delivered products or eBooks to use eBay at all.

    The reason that these products are offered on eBay at all is to attract the traffic from the core listings as auctions and fixed price items.

    eBay developers worked long and hard to create this feature and now all of that work has been trashed by a perceived feedback issue seeming without proper consideration.

    If feedback is the issue, why not create a minimum price or limit the feedback per week or per category? i.e. a seller could not receive more than 5 feedback per week from digital delivery items and buyers could only receive one feedback per week from the same category. This would solve any feedback issue while allowing the sellers to continue to provide quality products and service to their buyers.

    Today we are seeing reports from other blogs that all digital products of some sellers have been removed from eBay without notice. The sellers were sent an email stating they had violated a policy which was not announced at the time, and now does not go into effect until March 31st.

    How can any business treat customers in this manner? The fees from thousands of listings cancelled without cause or notice will most likely not be refunded for this obvious mistake.

    While the feedback issue could be solved in many ways, this is not an equitable solution for the sellers who have spent years developing these products and the ad copy that accompanies them. Digital products are a legitimate way to market your business outside of eBay. They provide value for the buyer and a way for the business owner to create a relationship with the customer.

    I would like to stay neutral on this subject, but there is too much wrong with this entire situation.

  7. Peter March 25, 2008 at 9:25 pm #

    It may be Shock & Horror now, but as the dust starts to clear and our options are realized there will be “Opportunities Galore”

    Problem + Solution = $ PROFIT $ 🙂


  8. Brian Burke March 25, 2008 at 11:39 pm #

    I should resign immediately for being an idiot. I should really look over the buyers who are suspected of purely gaining feedback instead of blacklisting an entire genre of items. I should realize there are powersellers who sell digital items and couldn’t care less about feedback.

  9. Dan March 26, 2008 at 12:07 am #

    Come on people it has nothing to do with the feedback like eBay says.

    I have reported 1000’s of people with .01 auctions and eBay did nothing.

    They want to make 9.95 per ebook thats more then most make on them.

    They make a ton of money on these auctions. I have a store/Selling manager pro and I list about 20 auctions a day. They make 210.00 of me a month + the Final Value Fees and I’m not a huge seller. They can kiss that good bye.

    They should go after the ones that are under 1.00 these are the one that are scamming for feedback.

    eBay doesn’t care about us digital product sellers that followed all there rule changes and put all the stuff at a 1.00+ and fixed auction like they asked.

    We supported all the powersellers and didn’t list for 2 weeks to keep the fees down that would have costed you the most now you support us and don’t post on ebay for a week till they change the rule of no more digital items in auctions.

    Fair is Fair. I lost money to support the powersellers on eBay and now it is your turn to do the same.

    Starting March 31st 2008 don’t post auctions or buy anything on ebay for 1 week ending April 1st. Spread the word

    eBay Go after the scammers and not the sellers that follow the rules and want to make money and not feedback.

  10. Dan March 26, 2008 at 12:18 am #

    Hey Debbie the scammers will always find a way to beat the system.

    You are ok putting people out of business? as that is what they have done to a lot people that sell digital items.
    People make their living off this. Not all digital items sellers are scammers. I find a lot of people are using the ebook as a tool to get a high feedback rating to get people to view their other products and they do this by selling .01 auctions and yes I have sawa lot of these sellers on ebay. True digital sellers on eBay ussually just sell these types of products and not other big ticket items and they follow the rules eBay set out of nothing under 1.00 and fixed priced auctions only and listed in everything else/informational products.

    So learn what you are talking about before you go of at the mouth and not knowing all the facts.

  11. Charmlinda March 26, 2008 at 8:31 am #

    I think we will have to adapt. We will be listing our DD products as DVD sales on ebay with a note on our about me page to go to our website for direct purchase of the digital file at a MUCH CHEAPER price.

    This puts ebay into the marketing venue catagory instead of direct selling. Will actually save us some money in the long run.

  12. Brett Smith March 26, 2008 at 8:31 am #

    It is amazing the logic Mr. Burke at ebay uses. He states, and I quote “Digital goods are often reproduced at little to no cost to the seller. On eBay, this creates the potential for Feedback Manipulation (both real and perceived)”.

    As far as the reproduction costs go, I would like to hear his response to the fact that the drug companies reproduce their products for practically nothing after PAYING A FORTUNE FOR R&D!

    And as for feedback manipulation. The opportunity for bad feedback is still there even if you sell something for 1 cent. And the seller is actually paying for feedback since the listing was not free.

    It would be nice to know the real motivation why Ebay seems to want to destroy an entire industry when there are many ways to remedy their supposed problem.

    One such method would be to simply discount feedback that came from items selling under a particular threshold, or not allow feedback at all under a certain price.

    I do think Ebay will come to their senses and adjust this policy so it can filter out all of the policy violaters without destroying lives and businesses. I have seen some negative posts about this ebook and that ebook ruining the industry because they don’e like the content or some other reason. The fact is, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure and just because one individual can look at an ebook and think it is beneath him/her does not mean someone else does not derive a great benefit from it.

    Let’s work to get Ebay to be realistic, humane, and simply use good business sense and straighten this out.

    My 2 cents worth,
    B Smith

  13. Steve Henry March 26, 2008 at 8:13 pm #

    The number of people affected by this is huge! We’ve had digital delivery at Main Street Mall for a while now. We didn’t anticipate this happening at eBay, though. This will probably cause more sellers to leave eBay than the previous price increases.


  14. Henry V March 27, 2008 at 11:38 am #

    Feedback – scammers is NOT the real reason, but unsufficient revenue generated by low priced information products is. It has been said before in other comments, just wanted to post my 2 cents to denounce this new policy that does not make any (business) sense. If you really want to solve feedback manipulation, there are many other ways to do it without putting honest and creative eBay-entrepreneurs out of business. And what about the buyers of these items: finding relevant digital items will be harder, slower, and maybe even more exspensive (a real Loose-Loose situation…)
    Action has to be taken to get eBay back to its senses, starting to denounce this openly would be the first action everybody selling information products should take…

  15. missvideos March 27, 2008 at 5:24 pm #

    Ebay in the UK is flooded with the things, getting in the way when carrying out product searches. Good decision I say.


  16. performingsys March 27, 2008 at 7:30 pm #

    Dear missvideos,

    I can understand your thoughts on searches. However, to totally neglect the issue for thousands of business sellers who may not be able to put food on the table or literally taking the food from babies’ mouths, or even senior citizens being able to earn extra income to pay for high-energy costs, I have to address your statement as callous and insensitive.

    Kind of like watching the Titanic sinking and making a statement, “I didn’t like that boat anyway”.

    I hope you can reconsider the feelings of so many honorable sellers who are instantly put out of business just like a hurricane that hits without warning.

    I feel discouraged when I read insensitive remarks. B. Robert

  17. User March 27, 2008 at 7:47 pm #

    My powerseller rep said feedback was not the only thing. Said “we don’t know what is being sent to the buyer…”

    Had no answer to why we were given a week notice.

  18. jason March 28, 2008 at 5:04 am #


    We sell on ebay why? because it has the traffic and traffic = sales! well Youtube has just as much traffic (more in fact, lots more). So learn how to draw the traffic from Youtube insted of eBay, its easier then you would think!

    Ive been doing this for a while now anyway, and it produces better results then eBay!

    3 Ways YouTube Generates You Targeted Traffic!

    YouTube doesn’t just give you traffic from its own regular searchers. But, you can get traffic from it in 3 ways. These include:

    1. From those searching on YouTube. There are countless hundreds of thousands that come to YouTube on a regular, often daily or weekly basis.

    They then find your videos by typing-in a search query on the site. For example, if you have a video on “Tatoos,” then when somebody typed in this term, they might find your video.

    Traffic from YouTube.com starts coming-in within mere hours of submitting your video.

    2. Listings from inside Google, Yahoo, and MSN for prized terms. Google loves YouTube videos and often gives them prized search rankings.

    It’s often far easier to get a listing for a top keyword by submitting a video to YouTube than it is to create a web page on your own new website for that search keyword.

    The traffic you get from search engines is almost always going to be much higher quality than that from just YouTube.com searchers.

    3. Other website owners picking-up your videos for distribution. When you upload a video to YouTube, you have the option of allowing others to put it on their websites or blogs. And this is common!

    If they do, this can cause an avalanche of targeted traffic. The readers of that blog will view your video, check-out your website, and possibly republish your video if they have a blog or website!

    As you can see, YouTube generates traffic from across the web… and by submitting your videos, you can gain a massive amount of exposure to many different audiences.

    Its a real simple process when you know how. A very good place to start would be the Tube Mastery system on profiting from YouTube (and other video submission websites), check-out “Tube Mastery” over at:

    >>> http://www.TubeMastery.com

    Lets move forward!

    Jason Shepherd

  19. missvideos March 29, 2008 at 5:30 pm #

    Dear performingsys,

    I have to be perfectly honest when I say I don’t give any thought for sellers and what they are having for lunch when I am looking to buy items on eBay !

    There is a well known saying that the sellers you allude to should have learned. It is, do not put all your eggs into one basket.


  20. Ebay SHOULD be SUED!!! April 4, 2008 at 3:23 pm #

    I am going to be out gross $50,000.00

    Multiple sales, ebook sale and other upsales…

    Ebay has totally hurt many GOOD and respected DIGITAL sellers!!!

  21. Stupid Ebay Suits April 4, 2008 at 4:50 pm #


    One of the hottest markets out there, and they just took a step backwards.

    Not to mention what NO ONE seems to care about – this will generate TONS more waste in the form of PLASTIC PLASTIC PLASTIC as people pack and ship CDRoms.

    So stupid.

  22. N April 5, 2008 at 6:52 am #

    I was considering placing my ebooks onto physical items such as CD Roms/DVDs, but I had a look around Ebay today at people already doing that with the existing ebooks that were previously sold using digital delivery.

    It seems by placing a higher price tag to the item and adding a deliver charge has effectively killed any sales! I know its early days but is this the future or will people begin to start buying again?

  23. Mojo April 5, 2008 at 11:16 pm #

    This is just horrible. The sole reason I started my ebook company was because of the media’s benefits. Namely:

    1. Instantaneous, automated delivery. My customers don’t have to wait a week to get their purchase.
    2. No shipping costs. My customers don’t have to get screwed paying another $5.00 just to get what they buy.
    3. Low price.

    I’ve sold thousands of ebooks through eBay, all original products, all produced by freelance writers I hired to make these original products. I went to considerable time and effort to research the market, find quality writers and produce a good product.

    Believe it or not, some people actual had business plans and ran profitable businesses solely through eBay digital delivery ebooks. (I know, I’m one of them.) Yes, I have a website as well, but my sales through the website are a fraction of what I make (made) on eBay, given that eBay has the largest marketplace around.

    The actions of eBay are just horrendous. First it was raising the FV fees for items under $25.00. (Which was every product I sold.) Then it was the change in feedback policy. Now it’s limiting ebook listings to classified ads. I predict I will be out of business within 3 months unless I can increase my website sales by, oh, about 400%.

    I’ve put up with everything, the fake VeRO claims, the constant inability to get eBay ‘customer service’ to talk to you, much less get someone on the phone. Every single thing eBay has done to me as a seller has impacted me negatively. I have never received any helpful support or had a change of policy that has benefited me as a seller. Everything has either hindered my ability to sell, hindered my ability to protect my business. I hired about a writer a month to create new products or edit existing ones. Those jobs are now gone.

    Thanks a lot eBay.

    Thanks for nothing.

  24. Kevin Smith April 6, 2008 at 10:24 pm #

    Here is a seller breaching the policy I would report him.


  25. RICK June 8, 2008 at 1:59 pm #

    I just read some breaking news that there is another BAN going on!

    Users of eBay, all accross the world, have been raging a HUGE BAN on eBAY and have not been using the site any more since the new regulations on Feedback, Digital Deliveries, and other problems with the out of control California Based Company.

    Users are simply plain “FED UP” and have finally ALL COME TOGETHER to agree to not to use the site.

    Reports have indicated, so far, the eBay SALES HAVE DROPPED OVER 35% and THEIR STOCK PRICE IS FALLING Rapidly. Some predict, that if users stick together in this ban, that eBay will drop drasticly as a major player in the market.

    News also reports that other sites activities, such as Amazon, Click Bank and others have increased and some new arrivals have come and that the weakened eBay may finally be able to be overtaken by a NEW and BETTER PLAYER in the market!

    Its all about COMPETITION in the marketplace. eBay is NOT the only marketplace, said one expert, and the marketplace will correct itself!

  26. ebayneedstoadmitandcorrectmistakesNOW June 16, 2008 at 2:07 am #

    This is a SERIOUS LOSS for ebay, ebay sellers, and ebay
    customers. Not all digitally deliverable goods are
    reproduceable. A physical card with a unique, set digital download value, of any kind, which is purchased individually in a
    physical store for a face value price of more than
    $10, up to much, much higher face value prices, is not
    reproduceable at all, by either the seller, or the
    buyer. These items, which cost the seller more than
    $10, up to a very high price, to purchase to have in
    stock even before listing on ebay, so they do not
    create any potential at all for feedback manipulation
    on the part of the seller. Then, when they are listed
    on ebay for more than $10 minimum, up to a very high
    price, they do not create any potential at all for
    feedback manipulation on the part of the buyer.

    Ebay should SIMPLY remove the ability for buyers or
    sellers to leave feedback for these items, and let
    these items continue to be listed in store,
    fixed-price, and auction format.

    WHY? Very simply, because, the classified listings
    offer no click-to-buy system at all. Without a
    click-to-buy system, the time and difficulty to make a
    purchase skyrockets, and sales plummet. This is bad
    for customers, bad for sellers, and bad for ebay.

    As long as ebay continues to ban these listings, which
    create no potential for feedback manipulation at all
    due to their high price and non-reproduceability for
    both seller and buyer, under a policy which is by
    definition supposed to prevent feedback manipulation,
    ebay by doing this voluntarily does significant harm
    to ebay sellers, ebay buyers, and ebay in general.
    Thank you for reading. Please let ebay know that being
    the biggest does not at all guarantee being the best.
    It does, however, guarantee that any mistakes made
    will have a very wide potential for hurting customers,
    buyers, sellers, and ebay overall. Because of this,
    mistakes should be admitted and corrected. No person
    or organization is free of mistakes, period. Any
    organization interested in staying at the top of its
    field, must admit its mistakes, and correct them, as
    quickly as possible, or else another organization who
    is better at admitting and correcting mistakes will be
    very happy to take its place, and sooner than anyone
    thought possible. This is a very, very serious
    mistake. Thank you for your efforts to help ebay to
    admit and correct this as soon as possible, for the
    benefit of ebay customers, ebay sellers, ebay overall,
    and anyone interacting with ebay in any way,

    Also, ebay’s present idiotic policy of refusing to admit mistakes, and simply repeating its mistakes more and more loudly when asked about them, and suspending anyone who dares to question ebay on ebay’s mistakes, will be the downfall of ebay from the largest online marketplace in the world, and the sooner this happens, the better. The better for customers, sellers, and all people involved with online sales in any way, worldwide.

  27. Emi July 4, 2008 at 3:56 pm #

    Man, ebay is like a dead zone right now because of this. How sad.

  28. WORST MISTAKE in E-Commerce History! August 7, 2008 at 12:43 pm #

    I agree with post 27. Ebay has taken a leap back to the stone age in today’s digital world. The changes they made to DD moving it to Classified Ad where you cant have a shopping cart, cant have links to a sales page or any links for that matter, is a wrong solution.

    Thousands of listings are still being taken off each day even if they are in the right category and CLEARLY state they are on a CD. Alot of good questions were never answered by Burke and Co. at the April 11 Conference. They claim its to “protect the feedback integrity bs”, but its clearly more than that.

    The truth is they they don’t want to deal with Digital Delivery anymore so they threw it away in the garbage (tiny classified format) where your ad will never be seen. Forget impulse buyers. Forget being an ebay user. Just cancel your account right now like all the loyal powersellers did after the change.

    What kind of dumb-asses do you guys really think we are Burke? …Ok everyone, lets buy some flashdrives for $18 a piece so we can sell the $3.00 ebook on it and “add value to the purchase.”

    Ebay gave itself the shaft!

  29. Andrew November 17, 2008 at 10:52 pm #

    I believe that the reason why ebay is prohibiting the automated digital delivery of ebooks is because they purposely want to prevent people from making income in this way. It is part of the direction of the new world order. By herding everybody into work which involves physical goods, people can be controlled more easily because they need to exert more effort in work involving physical goods and make less money.

    The new world order does not want people flush with cash because that means that they are flush with time. People who are time-rich can fight the new world order. The new world order doesn’t like that.

  30. Jacky Soldier April 26, 2009 at 12:03 am #

    Ebay is a major looser, ebay creates more scams on thier own and break more rules………the same rules they could ban us for……….unreal

Leave a Reply