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eBay Accidentally Resets Photo Sharing Settings

eBay told sellers in the UK (and in the U.S. on Monday) it had inadvertently reset sellers’ photo-sharing preferences and advised them to check their settings. While not everyone realizes it, eBay allows itself to add photos that sellers have uploaded in their listings to populate its catalog – unless they opt out.

Sellers who opted out but aren’t aware of the glitch may find their photos have been included in eBay’s product catalog and included in competitors’ listings.

From what one reads on the boards, it’s not unheard of that eBay accidentally resets sellers’ settings on occasion, but it is unusual for eBay to inform sellers. In this case, is eBay worried about intellectual property law?

EcommerceBytes wrote about the policy when eBay rolled it out in 2009. eBay UK’s “sharing content” policy is found on this this eBay help page. eBay explains, “For the convenience of sellers, we offer a product catalogue of photos, item descriptions, and specifications, which are provided by users and/or third parties. Sellers can use content from this product catalogue when creating their listings and, in these cases, sellers will not have to source stock images.”

The letter sent to UK sellers last week informing them of the glitch follows:

Dear (seller user id),
Like most sellers, you may have enjoyed the convenience of automatically adding a photo to your listing from eBay’s vast catalogue. The robust catalogue of great photos benefits the marketplace and helps attract buyers and close sales.

As you may know, according to the eBay user agreement, any photos uploaded to listings through eBay photo services may be added to and made available through the eBay product catalogue- unless you change your photo preferences in My eBay to opt out of sharing.

During a recent technical update, the photo-sharing preference may have been inadvertently reset for some sellers. We have temporarily stopped collecting photos until we could notify you and give you the opportunity to change your preference.

Your preference is currently set to allow sharing. If that’s ok, there’s nothing you need to do. If it’s not correct, please opt out now through your “Site preferences” in the account tab in My eBay. Look for “Share your content” under selling preferences. On 13 March eBay will again begin to collect photos.

We apologise for any inconvenience. As always, thank you for selling on eBay.
The eBay Seller Team

It seems all sellers would be wise to check their settings if they don’t wish eBay to use their photos in its catalog.

Update: eBay sent the email to U.S. sellers on Monday.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.