As per normal with eBay, the conspiracy theories are already circulating about inflated listing numbers to disguise the boycott impact and artificial stats to satisfy Wall Street analysts.
Preferring to keep my feet on the ground I’d rather accept for now this is an apparent glitch involving data being used between Shopping.com, eBay Express and the main eBay.com website. If listing counts have been inflated short term as a result it will quickly get resolved as news of the rogue listings circulate and they get removed.
While we don’t like to spoil the fun of a good conspiracy for those who like them, there are much easier and less detectable methods eBay could employ to inflate their numbers if they were so minded. For instance, listings on other eBay international sites could be granted temporary visibility on eBay.com and very few people would become aware. So to deliberately add what appear to be incorrectly formatted Shopping.com product feeds in to eBay.com listings looks more likely to be a simple cock up by someone down the line. So, for now, I’m betting Murphys Law is driving this event rather than any evil empire.
As a possible explanation I can imagine that, following the closure of eBay Express in the UK, there are some major changes underway at Shopping.com and the rest of the convaluted group of eBay websites if the US eBay Express site is also to close shortly.
For me this isn’t a significant issue in isolation but there is a potentially more worrying aspect to this story. Many readers will share the belief of many that eBay has never been good at introducing new or changed code leading many users to feel like Beta testers all too often. With the amount of changes planned for the coming months I have a hunch today is just one of a string of “cock ups” we will be reading and reporting in the near future.
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