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eBay Updates User Agreement, Can Remove Links from Listings

eBay is giving itself carte blanche when it comes to making certain changes to seller’s listings, just one of the updates the company is making to its User Agreement. In a section called Listing Conditions, eBay is adding language to indicate that it may remove metatags and URL links included in listings.

eBay says it’s doing so “in order to improve third party search engine results,” but it’s easy to see how changing a seller’s description could prove detrimental – for instance, if eBay removes information vital to the buyer’s understanding of what’s for sale.

A reader who noticed another change eBay will be making to the Listing Conditions section wondered what the change meant:

“eBay posted an Updates to the eBay User Agreement today, and in it they state (in part): Listing Conditions: In light of our introduction of the eBay Seller Hub, we updated this section to reflect that we may display information about the commercial performance of your listings to other sellers.

“Would you have any idea what “display information about the commercial performance of your listings to other sellers” might mean? Would that mean showing sold listings, as they do now? I searched the full agreement and cannot find any reference to that statement.”

We’ve asked eBay for more information – in the meantime, eBay shows a screenshot of the Seller Hub on this page. The Seller Hub will contain a tab called “Growth” where there is a section called, “Study your competitors” along with the ability for sellers to “filter competitors.”

Update: eBay spokesperson Ryan Moore confirmed that was the area in the Seller Hub the User Agreement referred to, and he sent a full image which we’ve pasted at the bottom of the story.

eBay is also giving itself the right to automatically translate member-to-member messages into local languages, a reflection of its push into cross-border trade where language may present obstacles. But it’s also of potential concern to sellers who may fear the automatic translation tool could do a poor job of accurately conveying their meaning to buyers.

Among the other changes eBay is making is the authorization a user provides to eBay in how the company can contact him or her. Other areas impacted are the Returns and Cancellations and the Global Shipping Program sections.

eBay also said it is simplifying and reorganizing some policies “to make them clearer and easier to understand,” and is clarifying that, “when we make a change to seller fees that result in reduced fees, we will not provide advance notice.”

The updated User Agreement will take effect on September 14, 2015 for new users and on October 28, 2015 for all other users. You can read the announcement on the eBay website.

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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/.