What was eBay thinking when it built a spam engine?

Ah, it’s a brave new world over at eBay. On 2 December they introduced “My Messages” so that they’d have a way to communicate with customers directly. You can’t communicate with another eBay user using My Messages, it’s just a one-way conduit for whatever material the eBay marketing team deems worthy of sharing with its loyal customers. (quite literally, too: customers that aren’t loyal and regular visitors to the site will find that the messages in their My Messages box automatically delete after 60 days)

So should I be surprised when I log in and check My Messages for the first time just to find that that I’ve not only been spammed by eBay, but that they’ve introduced what’s essentially a one-way spamming engine to do so? In a 72 hour period (15 Dec-17 Dec) I received the following three messages in my My Messages mailbox:

New from eBay: Want It Now – Where buyers ask and sellers deliver!
Shop the easy way! Find something for everyone on eBay
Find great stocking stuffers on eBay!

I’m just aghast at this new “improvement” to the eBay customer experience. This is just spam, just the worst kind of email junk. Even the subjects are badly written, with exclamation marks mentally filtered by most ‘net folk automatically.

I can only hope that eBay recognizes that a private messaging system is a good idea, I suppose, but a new channel to pour crass marketing messages to their existing customer base (as opposed to potential new customers) is just a really bad idea.

If you’ve an eBay account and have seen this My Messages feature, what do you think of it? Don’t just tell me, btw. eBay has a feedback email address too: MyMessages-Feedback@ebay.com.

6 comments on “What was eBay thinking when it built a spam engine?

  1. What was eBay thinking when it built a spam engine?

    Ah, it’s a brave new world over at eBay. On 2 December they introduced “My Messages” so that they’d have a way to communicate with customers directly. You can’t communicate with another eBay user using My Messages, it’s just a…

  2. I really think that someone was crazy at eBay. I mean you are right, no one will use the ebay communication thing, I just noticed it myself since I am an advid ebay buyer and seller. I have sold and bought over 100 times and see no need other than spamming it’s users for this new system.

  3. My wife joined Ebay years ago. Soon after she joined her mail box was overrun with Spam, both from other sources and from Ebay. It’s not old news that Ebay sells user information and Spams their users themselves…..

  4. I just fired this off to them:
    “Wow, talk about abuse of your customers. Please, please, let me opt out of my messages, or at least give me a way to filter them down. I don’t need 4-5 messages a day, on my eBay account promoting eBay! If I’m there reading the message, chances are I already know 90% of what the message is telling me. So please, please, stop the spam.
    Murdock
    (Generic42)”
    Man are those messages annoying!

  5. Isn’t it clear what is around the corner for the My Messages service? It will be expanded in 2005 to include all inter-buyer/seller communication. You will receive an email from ebay telling you that you have new messages and go to ebay.com to see communication from other buyers and sellers. This effectively blocks the exchange of email addresses. Great for ebay because it helps prevent sellers from making deals outside of the auction venue. Bad for buyers because they are further insulated from the true identity of sellers.

  6. Well, it is at the end of 2007, and eBay continues to have this system. I’ve not only constantly received junk from eBay like promotions and such (which I never take advantage of anyway since they’re always on slower days, and such), but I get constant spam from no-feedback, obviously dumbed accounts which are used to advertise cheap electronics, etc. If eBay can institute a country block for messages originating outside my selling area (I only sell to Canada and the U.S.) that would curb 90% of these messages. It’s worse because I now have to delete messages in three places – in “my messages”, in the actual listing where it posts user questions, and also in my actual email where it automatically sends a copy. I swear, eBay is not very intuitive, and I am an eBay seller who has 1000+ feedbacks.
    Of course, then there is the stupid messages from eBay themselves that I am trying to find a way to filter out. Wish we can just turn off my messages completely.

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