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eBay bans digital downloads

eBay bans digital downloads

The ban on digital downloads has given rise to the auctioning of guides on how to 'bypass' the ban - offered by digital download, ironically.

In a controversial move which has many regular users up in arms, auction site eBay has chosen to ban the listing of digital download items in the main auction categories.

Instead of being able to list a standard auction – which can run for anything from three days upwards and cost very little – any items which are purely digital will have to be placed in a more expensive 'classifieds' advertisement, which costs a whopping $10. Products covered under the new rules include MP3 downloads, ebooks, and personally-created software for which there is no physical component such as a CD-ROM.

The main reason for the changes is to prevent gaming of the eBay feedback system. In the past it's been quite common for people to sell a worthless ebook for a few pence simply to give and receive feedback on the resultant transaction. Due to this, a seller with a few quid in his pocket and no moral fibre whatsoever can rapidly build up a 'PowerSeller' rating with high positive feedback. As the classifieds section of the site doesn't use the same feedback system as the auction section, the possibility for this has been greatly reduced. At least, that's what eBay hopes.

The move does put buyers at an increased risk of being ripped off, however. With purchases via the classifieds system not going via eBay's normal route, any guarantees or protections the site may offer on auction purchases are null and void. Equally, you'll be unable to leave feedback should your seller fail to deliver the promised download.

If you're desperate to sell your digital content in the traditional – and far cheaper – auction style, then eBay will continue to allow standard listings so long as there is a physical component involved: if you burn your ebook to a CD-ROM or DVD, for example, then it can be auctioned off as normal.

Quite how this move will put off the professional feedback sellers isn't exactly clear. Although the move to ban digital downloads will make it harder – and more expensive – for them to operate, feedback sellers are likely to simply move to selling a single sheet of A4 posted second-class for under a pound. Okay, so it's more than the pence of their old method but there will always be scammers who need feedback fast and are willing to pay.

Ironically, since the change has come into effect there has been an overall increase in the number of items offered for digital download – including people selling links to websites that offer a 'solution' to the digital download ban. Oh, the irony.

Do you think that eBay is finally taking steps to repair confidence in its feedback system, or is it all about milking more money out of the sellers of digital downloads? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

8 Comments

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TGImages 3rd April 2008, 16:14 Quote
ebay exists to make money. If their increase in profits offsets any loss of business due to the rule changes then they come out ahead and are happy with the change. We either play along or find a different place to sell.. and while there are a lot of other choices, very few come close to the customer base that ebay offers.
cpemma 3rd April 2008, 17:34 Quote
A possible solution would be to show the value of a trader's sales & purchases with their rep. High rep, low money changing hands = dodgy.
MaximumShow 3rd April 2008, 17:40 Quote
I'd like to see a permanent history of all transactions by the seller or buyer. As it is now, the history is deleted or expires too quickly.
Amon 3rd April 2008, 19:47 Quote
They need to do something about all the fake feedback accounts. Until then, I won't ever use ebay for anything other than rare music albums.
r4tch3t 4th April 2008, 05:41 Quote
I didn't even know there was digital downloads on eBay.
You have an extra http:// in the link to the forums.
cebla 4th April 2008, 06:57 Quote
I am pretty sure that there is minimum turnover to make power seller status. If you manage to make over $1,000 a month selling eBooks then you deserve a power seller rating.
naokaji 4th April 2008, 14:06 Quote
ebay is doing more and more to p*ss off their customers, wtb some competition for them.
completemadness 5th April 2008, 23:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by r4tch3t
You have an extra http:// in the link to the forums.
and if you remove that, it redirects you to wikipedia (well, it did for me :s)

Edit:
Oh i deleted the http:// at the front, but the second is http//
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