An eBay manager surprised sellers when he revealed that eBay regularly archives discussion forum posts. “We’ve been archiving content for over a decade and will continue to do so,” said Brian Burke, senior manager of seller promotions and engagement and who has been with eBay for more than two decades.
He explained in a thread on eBay’s message boards on Thursday that previously “archived” content could still show up in external search engine results. “We can now archive content in a way that removes it from the community (which we have done) as well as from search engines. We started with all the content that we had previously archived,” he said.
Burke explained in general terms how eBay determines what content to archive:
“We are moving towards archiving current active content, but three factors will determine whether content is archived: recency, relevance and accuracy. We haven’t ‘flicked a switch’, it’s a process.
“Relevance: Content that is no longer relevant can be confusing – for example, how do I connect my PayPal account to my eBay selling account?
“Precision: Inaccurate content can cause frustration or worse, problems leading to site violations. For example, our policies change and a response regarding a prohibited and restricted items policy may no longer be accurate.
“Recency: Older content, even if accurate, raises doubts among consumers of the content – for example, can I trust this answer from 12 years ago? »
When a seller asked what the distinction was between archiving and deleting content, an eBay moderator responded as follows: “The advantage of archiving is that if we ever have to check out the content, it is available. As a general rule, we do not remove community content. »
We recall instances where discussion forum content was apparently removed, such as when eBay updated its discussion forums or migrated to another platform.
Generally speaking, keeping content is a good idea (if you’ve ever tried to find a thread that you were sure existed but couldn’t find, you know the frustration).
But it’s also frustrating when someone replies to an old thread, which can lead people to think an old thread is new.
One thing discussion forum posts have going for them: they include dates. eBay’s help pages, on the other hand, have always been difficult to navigate. There are times when it’s not clear if a particular help topic is new or obsolete or if particular information has been added to a help page.
The important thing for sellers to remember: if you find a particular discussion helpful, you might want to document it in case eBay “disappears” it.