The Mystery of the "eBay Shops Directory"

In October 2005, many UK eBay Shops reported a large reduction in visitors. This coincided with changes to Google, which apparently removed millions of eBay items from its' index. At almost the same time, an "eBay Shops Directory" suddenly appeared on the first page of Yahoo searches (out of 120 million results). But here's the mystery - there doesn't seem to be any way for eBay shop owners to join this directory. What's going on - are eBay and Yahoo working together or are they enemies?

Monday, November 28, 2005

The eBay Shops Directory Mystery

Last month, many eBay shops in the UK began to report a worrying drop in visitors and started to ask searching questions on the eBay community discussion forums as well as requesting information directly from eBay.

This drop in traffic (and hence, buyers) seems, at least in part, to have been caused by a major change to the Google search engine – the so called Jagger 1/2/3 update. Google is said to produce over 50% of the natural search traffic for eBay sellers, so when millions of eBay items were removed from Google’s index, visitor numbers were bound to drop dramatically.

But at around the same time, searches for eBay Shops on Yahoo suddenly started to reveal an “eBay Shops Directory” on the first page of results, with around 120 million other eBay related pages beneath it in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS).

This eBay Shops Directory had never been noticed in Yahoo searches before October and the timing seems more than co-incidental. But here’s the very strange thing – if you want to get your eBay shop listed in the directory, there’s no way to do it!

An extract from the directory says….”Many big-name retailers now have shops on eBay and you will be able to find them easily. So this directory has been set up especially to help you locate the medium size and smaller eBay shops, many of which offer specialist products and high quality services which cannot be found elsewhere.”

But the only contact point in the entire website is on the home page – a Yahoo.co.uk email address. If you email a request for information, all you get is an apparently automated response saying,”……patience, as the directory is not accepting additional registrations at the moment….”

So what’s going on? Well that’s what a lot of eBay UK Shops and PowerSellers would like to know and that’s why we’ve started this blog in the hope that someone out there will give us a clue.

If eBay and Yahoo are working together, that’s great – but please don’t charge us a fortune to get listed in the directory. If eBay and Yahoo are enemies – then will Yahoo please open the directory quickly so we can save our businesses which are suffering right now from lost traffic.

Our next post will contain much more detail about this “mystery” along with links to discussion forums that are about the same subject. All contributions, thoughts and advice are gratefully received.

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