Are eBay Feature Fees Still Worth the Money?

The New Best Match Algorithm puts a big question mark around the Featured First (formerly Featured Plus or Category featured).

In the past, this featured option used to place you listing at the top of the first search page that came up with your listings on it. For example, even if you were on page three of the results, your listing would be listed with the “featured” items at the top of the first page.  At $24.95 for up to 10 days and $74.95 in Fixed Price listings up to 30 days this is a pretty expensive option. Most sellers only use this for very expensive items. But now even that is in question.

How Featured First Works According to eBay


  • If you purchase Featured First, each time a buyer enters search criteria that may result in your listing appearing in the search results, there is a chance that your listing will appear on the first page of search results.
  • When the buyer performs this search, a number of Featured First listings will be randomly selected to appear on the first page of search results in the Featured Items section.
  • Your listing will have a chance to be randomly selected to appear in the Featured area as long as you maintain a Standard or Raised Search Standing – until the Featured First option expires.
  • If your Search Standing falls to “Lowered” during the duration of your Featured First option, your items will be excluded from the random selection. However, if your search standing improves again before the Featured First option expires, your listing will again have the chance to be randomly selected.
  • If you are a new seller you might not have enough feedback to have a Seller Dashboard yet. In this case, you can contact eBay Customer Support and find out your current Seller Search Standing.

This was brought to my attention this week by one of my readers. I want to protect his identity so I will call him SW.  SW called eBay PowerSeller support a few days ago and recorded the following transcript.  He is identified as “me” in the transcript. This makes for very interesting reading. The person identified as David Li is the eBay PowerSeller support person on the call.

I also use the featured feature and frankly didn’t notice the change.  This seems to be typical of eBay to make a change like this and not point it out.

Here is the transcript:

me:         Hello. I paid for Featured Plus but my item is not showing up on the first page of the search results

12:44:52 AM David Li.     Good evening. Featured first/plus doesn’t guarantee the item will fall on the first page of the results. The way the upgrade works is the item will be moved to the top of the page it naturally falls on.

12:47:47 AM  me:             It used to be (6 months ago or more?) that it would always show on the first page

12:48:11 AM  David Li.:   Right, it would appear on the first page of category results. I believe they changed it last fall.

12:48:18 AM  me:             I think that, with the advent of “Best match” the value of the Featured Plus upgrade has been SEVERLY diminished

12:48:23 AM  me              Do you think they will ever change it back?

12:48:39 AM  David Li.    I haven’t heard any word of a change, but we usually don’t get a lot of notice.

12:48:42 AM  me:             Or is there another way / upgrade that will mirror the old Featured Plus?

12:49:24 AM  David Li.    The closest we have is Featured First and that will randomly display the item within the first page, so it’s still not guaranteed. My personal feelings are it’s usually not worth it unless you’re making enough profit to cover the upgrade.

12:50:21 AM  me              I deal solely in items that cost upwards of $500 usually so I almost always got the Featured Plus upgrade and it was of massive benefit

12:51:01 AM  David Li.    Yeah, seems like it wouldn’t be too bad in that case. I’m not sure how many people use best match, but it would be moved to the top of the page with other sort methods as well.

12:51:33 AM  David Li.    I always sort by ending soonest when I shop on the site since I don’t bid on auctions until the last couple hours.

12:52:04 AM  me              With the way FP works now, my sales have been significantly impacted for the worse as the number of hits to my auctions is noticeably down and I feel that it is primarily due to the the change.

12:52:28 AM  me              What do you mean when you say “but it would be moved to the top of the page with other sort methods as well.”

12:53:20 AM  David Li.    For example, if someone sorts by duration, chances are it’s going to be on the first page when there’s a day left. Since it has featured, it would then be at the top of the first page.

12:53:40 AM  David Li.

I realize that’s not quite as good as how it used to work, but it does have it’s benefits.

12:54:29 AM  me

Thanks for the clarification. If you could kindly put in a vote for reverting back to the vastly superior Featured Plus, this (some time) PowerSeller would be very appreciative

12:54:51 AM  David Li:    Sure, I’ll pass that along at least. You’re welcome as well.

12:55:12 AM  me:             Have others mentioned this? I am kind of surprised that there is not more of an uproar

12:55:14 AM  me: ……..

12:56:16 AM  David Li.    I’ve spoken to a couple people who didn’t realize it changed. I probably get a contact about once every couple weeks.

12:56:57 AM  me              OK – thanks again and please pass it along. I would *really* love the old FP back (for obvious reasons.) Have a great night / day and take care.

12:57:16 AM  David Li.    Sure, no problem. Have yourself a nice evening as well.


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