eBay Pulse - Most Watched, Most Popular Items - How Many Watchers?

Did you ever wonder what it takes to get onto eBay Pulse? What kind of Watch Count is needed for an item to appear on an eBay Pulse page? Normally Watch Counts are private data, available only to the seller of the item in question and eBay Customer Support. But with the help of certain software, you can (legitimately) lookup the Watch Count of most any eBay Pulse item -- and many other items listed on eBay.

But wait -- let me take a step back in case I'm moving too fast here...

You've been to eBay Pulse, right? It's the place on eBay where, among other things, top-watched auctions are showcased for the rest of the world to see. Auctions who've accumulated the most number of "Watch This Item" clicks bubble their way up to the Pulse page for their category, and perhaps even to the main eBay Pulse page. Such clicks act as "votes" of popularity for items, whether in popular Auction format or alternative listing formats such as Fixed-Price or Classified Ad.

So what kind of numbers (i.e. how many watchers) does a seller's item need to accrue to climb into the limelight on eBay Pulse? As an eBay shopper or onlooker, maybe you're curious. If you're a seller, knowing the Watch Count of Pulse items in your category can help you measure yourself up against your competition. I had a closer look at Pulse using an online utility and here are some trends that I found on the eBay US site, as of this writing.

Top-watched auctions seem to get visible on the main Pulse page past the 200-250 Watch Count range. And it's not uncommon to see items who've elicited over 600 votes to appear there as well. Naturally this can always change as auctions come and go in the marketplace and as eBay tweaks its threshold criteria.

For a while there have been sellers who've used clever marketing techniques to accumulate watchers at an extremely accelerated pace so that they can guarantee themselves placement on Pulse. They employ strategies that range from the benign "click here to watch this auction" links within their auction listings to custom scripts that are likely used in violation of eBay policies. Lately eBay has cracked down on the latter, but when those auctions were visible on Pulse they had inflated Watch Counts in the 100,000+ range. Yup, that high.

Drilling down into certain Pulse categories, one can see figures that are easier to fathom. The Tickets category tends to have items in the 100-200 range, although a celebrity event or hot football game can garnish Watch Counts above 400 or even in the 1,000+ terrain. The Real Estate area tends to feature its most popular properties and land auctions at 200+, and over in eBay Motors it's not uncommon to see 400+ watchers on an auction, especially for early- to mid-century Fords.

Looking for a cheap laugh? Then head on over to the Everything Else category where you'll find at the top of the list such in-demand items as a common toothpick, empty bottle of laundry detergent, or a piece of mint candy -- all offered with free shipping, of course. These festive sellers enjoy showing off their creative listing templates and sometimes hope to make it on the 11 o'clock news with their zany item (or entertaining listing), much like the seller who spotted an image of the Virgin Mary on their grilled cheese sandwich and sold it on eBay for US$28,000.00 back in 2004. These items grab numbers of active watchers across a broad spectrum, from unimpressive single-digit Watch Counts up to 10's of 1,000's in certain cases.

There are some other considerations that eBay seems to take into account when screening auctions for Pulse eligibility. These criteria aren't disclosed, but I've noticed that an item's bid count and/or number of "Contact the Seller" emails can play a role. Nevertheless, the Watch Count is the primary ranking factor, and it can be fun (and potentially profitable too, if you're an eBay seller) to see the wide range of counts that eBay Pulse items can amass.

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