EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 3097 - June 28, 2013     1 of 3

eBay to Forge Ahead with Photo Compliance Enforcement

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eBay sellers' anxiety levels are rising as the deadline for compliance with the marketplace's image policy draws near. The latest cause for worry was an email eBay sent to some sellers this week identifying photos that were not in compliance - but sellers said the images were in compliance and are at their wits' end as to how to fix listings that don't need to be fixed.

It's nerve racking for sellers who thought their listings were in compliance to receive an email from eBay with the subject line: "MC999 Enclosed listings need photo revisions." The problem was reported earlier this week on the Ecommerce EKG board - "eBay sent me an email stating I have listings with "Photos containing seller added text or artwork or borders". This is 100% FALSE." Other sellers said they'd also received such emails saying their images were too small.

eBay's Head of North America Trust Factors Jahan Shafizadeh told EcommerceBytes in an email response to our inquiry on Wednesday that the data behind the emails was not real time and were from a snapshot in time. "As sellers update their images, our reporting becomes a bit aged."

Shafizadeh said the emails include a link to a tool to help recipients understand which listings were not compliant. In addition, "Since we began sending out the email, we also fully launched picture capabilities in our Bulk Edit and Revision (BEAR) Tool, and this tool provides real-time data that sellers can use to measure their listing compliance. I would also add that our policy only refers to listings which will be new, revised and relisted as of July 1st."

The email sellers received included the following reminder of the photo quality requirements:

  • Every listing needs to have at least one photo.
  • Photos must be at least 500 pixels on the longest side.
  • The primary photo for items in used condition can't be a stock photo.
  • Photos can't have added borders, text, or artwork.
  • Watermarks are allowed for ownership and attribution, but not marketing.

Sellers discussing the issue on the eBay forums were concerned they were receiving emails identifying compliant listings as compliant. They confirmed that eBay tools showed the photos were in compliance despite the email telling them otherwise.

Asked on Wednesday if eBay would begin enforcement as planned despite such reports and possible glitches, Shafizadeh said, "We'll begin enforcement of our policies on July 1st."

Keep in mind that eBay has said it will not remove non-compliant listings on July 1st ("We don't have a team of people who are running to go take down listings at the touch of a button"), but if people revise or relist those listings, eBay will block them from being listed.

You can learn more about these issues and read tips provided by Shafizadeh for sellers with non-compliant images in this two-part interview from last month.

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About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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