Dave, I’ve just started selling stuff on eBay and am having a great time. One question I haven’t figured out, though, is whether it’s okay with eBay if I want to offer bonuses with my auctions to motivate buyers to bid. I might offer a bonus with an item because the two go together well, but I also want to be able to offer a bonus if bidding reaches a certain threshold too. Are those legal?
First off, congratulations on joining the world of eBay sellers. I’m sure you’ll find that with just a little bit of work on your part, you’ll be having fun, meeting buyers and making a profit on most of the items you list!
In terms of your specific question, I figured that there’s no better reference than the eBay site itself, so I dug through their online seller policy documents and found this revealing page: eBay Seller Policy: Bonuses and Prizes which basically says that what you want to do is fine.
The most important caveat that they have, though, is that if you want to have conditional bonuses, you must state the exact threshold of when it’s going to be awarded. You can’t say “if a bunch of people bid on this, the winner will get …” but you can say “If this item receives more than 10 bids” or “If the winning bid amount is more than $100 then the winner will also get…”
Finally, also note that the policy prohibits you from mentioning the bonus or prize in the TITLE of the auction, which might or might not be important to you.
Do I use this sort of strategy? Absolutely, when it’s relevant. For example, just yesterday I listed a collectible Google flashing lapel pin on eBay and in the description added the following note:
We’ll see in a week or so whether it was effective. 🙂