True to its word, online auction site eBay Inc. said last week that it had instituted a policy allowing sellers to opt out of being included in its “similar items” recommendation e-mails to losing bidders of auctions from that seller and others.
EBay instituted an e-mail recommendation service on June 3 that alerted losing bidders to similar items for sale from the sellers of the auction they had just lost out on and from other sellers with similar items available. Many sellers complained that the recommendation service was driving business to their competitors. Others complained that eBay was spamming them by instituting a policy that was opt-out rather than opt-in.
After numerous protests from registered users, eBay said in mid-June that it would change the policy and discontinue the use of the word “recommendation.”
“Once a seller opts out, unsuccessful bidders for that seller's auctions will no longer receive e-mails containing the similar item content, including the list of the seller's other items, which is currently at the top of the e-mail,” eBay, San Jose, CA, noted in a message posted on its announcement board.
The message also said that once a seller opts out, none of its items up for auction will be included in the similar-item e-mails sent to losing bidders from other sellers' auctions.