Sunday, April 4, 2010

Notes and Seller Promotions

I am a power Ebay seller with 8 trillion ratings!    Buy 1 get 1 free.  Free shipping if you can find my character on World of Warcraft Bonechewer server near the fountain.

Notes, they are great for some things, but can start to look like spam real fast. Recently, they have been abused and turned into pure promotional vehicles for the sellers and are gumming up the cards for sale pages.

It's time for us to get tough on notes. A few months ago we did a big purge by deleting a bunch of these kinds of notes.  When the new site launches it will become a major policy change.

All notes should only deal with something specific about a card. If it's about something else it is not a note, it is spam.  We will be slowly cleaning up the old notes once the new site is live, but in the meantime, get in the habit of only entering notes for specific differences about a card.  For example, if a card is a foreign language card you can say Chinese or Japanese in the notes field. If the card has a bite out of the corner from your dog, sure you should probably mention that. If you basement just had Noah's Ark pass through causing water damage to everything in sight including your awesome collection of power 9 then yes, if it's still remotely sell-able, mention it (and be sure to grade it as Heavy Play as well).

Special editions, or anything that doesn't have a checkbox on the seller page can be mentioned.  We are attempting to add additional categorization for things like Foreign, Foil, Collector's edition, Signed, etc.  Notes should rarely appear and if we feel you are abusing the notes field for better listing exposure your notes will be removed with a warning and possible suspension with multiple infringements.

Our new system removes the notes field from the bulk listing tools and even from single selling tools when listing more than one card.  This should help prevent abuse and support the new policy. 

With this change we can also improve the card selling pages by "rolling" up all items by price and condition.  This will make these pages must easier to deal with and let buyers choose multiple quantities to add to cart from a drop down (similar to how MTGO is now).  We are very excited about this change and we hope it will dramatically improve the buy process.

We see some frowning faces from the sellers asking "how will we promote ourselves?"
Answer: Run a member promotion and get that cute star next your name or become a premium seller and get a great Shark next to your name.  Be awesome and get a 4.9 or 5.0 next to your name.  If that isn't enough we are adding a more advanced Seller Profile page that gives all kinds of great stats on how awesome you are as a seller. This page will also in the future allow for a promotional message and even the ability to flag several (10?) cards you want to feature.

Let us know your comments on how to make the Seller Profile page better and anything related to notes.  We are pretty firm on this change but will consider any ideas that makes the notes system or seller promotion abilities more viable.


  1. My only concern with the new policy is that I sometimes bulk-upload foreign cards and I really like to specify the language in the notes field. buyers of foreign cards are often looking for a specific language. Am I stuck entering it for each individual card now?

  2. rsilva,

    That's a very valid point and one that we had not considered. Currently, you would have to list one at a time. We could probably work out an exception for this if it was something that happened frequently. We have a feeling it is pretty rare to have a stack of foreign cards from the same set and language though. If it was a large amount of cards we could do this in the database for you if you wrote in about it.

    Another option would be to have a "language" drop down that would insert the chosen language into the notes field for non-english ones. We would have to get a finite list of languages for each game first.

    A final option and one we may want to consider is to actually have a language drop down that stores the language of cards instead of a english/foreign flag. This would be a better solution to the problem but at the current time we are more focused on getting the site live instead of making large structural changes.

    Thanks for your comments.

  3. It might also be nice to have the "tiebreaker" for sorting lists of available cards be something other than alphabetized by seller. If there are several cards being sold at the same price, I would rather see the cards at that price sorted by feedback rating or seller status (landshark, hammerhead etc.) As it stands, the first card you are going to see on the list will be from the seller who decided on "00000000aaron" as a username even if they have never received positive feedback ratings.

    The renovations you are making sound great though!

  4. @Peter,

    Good suggestion. We were just about to blog about that. Check our next blog post and provide any additional ideas you have.