eBay Sellers Have Questions and Objections to GTC Mandate

Sellers are skeptical about eBay’s decision to make all fixed-price listings “Good Til Cancelled” with a 30-day automatic renewal. And let’s face it, many people detest recurring billing, whether it’s a gym membership or an item they thought was a free trial or one-time purchase.

Starting in mid-March 2019, the listing duration for all new fixed price listings on eBay will be Good ‘Til Cancelled (GTC). The only way to list on eBay without it will be auctions.

That is a huge change on three fronts:

1) eBay is eliminating duration options – currently sellers can run fixed-price listings with a duration of 1, 3, 5, 7, 10, or 30 days, with 30-day GTC an option. Eliminating shorter durations is a problem for sellers who want to convey a greater sense of urgency or have a limited time frame in which to sell an item.

2) eBay is requiring GTC auto renewals for all listings with the exception of auctions. Repeat, auto-renewals. That can lead to stale listings, some sellers say, and may make it difficult to manage thousands of listings.

3) Recurring billing on all fixed-price listings. Repeat, recurring billing. Sellers who don’t pay attention could end up paying fees for listings they don’t want.

In addition to worrying about paying fees for listings they don’t wish to renew, some sellers who rotate listings to stay under their free-listings allowance say they’ll be forced to pay more in fees (or else make less inventory available for sale on eBay).

Sellers turned to eBay and industry boards and listed many reasons why the GTC mandate doesn’t work for them. Products with an expiration date was just one.

We also saw many questions, including those that touched on the following topics:

– Will GTC listings get greater visibility in eBay search results every 30 days? (Many sellers believe listings currently get a boost in visibility when they are about to expire, or when they are newly listed.)

– Will GTC provide better SEO (visibility on search engines such as Google)? And if so, how?

– If sellers cancel GTC listings prior to the 30-day renewal, will they be penalized – ie, in terms of seller performance metrics? (And will eBay put that in writing?)

– Do GTC listings count towards sellers’ monthly zero-insertion fee listings? (Note: The eBay announcement states: “Good ‘Til Cancelled listings renew automatically every 30 days unless your item sells before that timeframe. We charge an insertion fee every 30-day period. Good ‘Til Cancelled listings count toward your monthly zero insertion fee listings. Fee amounts are based on the terms in effect when the listing goes live and when it renews.”)

– How will sellers who rotate listings to keep listing fees down manage?

eBay manager Brian Burke had some suggestions for sellers worried about the change. Responding to seller concerns on the eBay discussion boards, he wrote on this post:

In the use case where you have more than 250 items that you list every month, you have some options:

– Only list 250

– End some early to rotate other listings (this is in your control – though we do not recommend it since listing items is time consuming and removing listings means buyers cannot see them)

– Upgrade your store subscription level

– Incur the insertion fee cost for those listings above your threshold (in the example above 250 listings)

That response didn’t do anything to quell accusations lobbed at eBay that the move was a grab for more money from sellers struggling on a marketplace that is experiencing troubling growth.

In one sense, there’s no upside to the GTC mandate, since sellers who wished to use it already had the option to if they found it beneficial. 

eBay is hosting a chat session today at 1 pm Pacific (4 pm Eastern), please post any questions there that you have about eBay’s move to GTC auto-renewals or about any of the other changes eBay announced on Tuesday as part of the Early Seller Update for 2019.

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