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Thu Nov 30 2017 09:30:28

eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks

By: Ina Steiner

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Update 11/30/17: eBay made an official announcement on its Seller Announcement Board regarding watermarks.

eBay gave sellers some good news, at least to sellers in the UK. The company had told sellers it would remove listings that contained watermarked images from search results beginning in March 2018 - but eBay UK won't enforce the policy, and an eBay employee confirmed there would be changes coming in the US, though she wouldn't provide details.

The buzz began when a seller reported that a customer service rep had informed them eBay wouldn't require them to leave watermarks. There was much discussion about the credibility of the statement.

Sellers went into the weekly chat session yesterday seeking answers. A moderator wrote: "Thanks for the question - yes, we've seen the thread - and we know this is a topic with a lot of energy around it. We will be answering this question in greater detail later this week." 

This morning, eBay UK's Rob Hattrell emailed the following letter to UK Sellers:

Dear (redacted),
In our update to business sellers in September, we announced that listings with watermarked images would be removed from eBay search results from 1st March 2018.

I know that this has been an important topic and I want to thank those of you who took the time to contact me directly to explain the challenges you had with it.

We encourage you to have clean images because when watermarks are in place, we cannot typically promote your listings on platforms outside eBay, such as Google and Bing.

We’ve also heard from customers directly in focus groups that they are more likely to buy from us when product photography is on a white background and uncluttered.

But having listened to your views on this, we recognise that you as the seller should be able to make the choice. So I wanted to let you know today that I have asked the team not to enforce this policy, but to keep it in place as guidance only.

Thank you again for your feedback, which made a real difference on this. The views of the people who sell with us are absolutely essential as we continue to evolve eBay for buyers and sellers. We are listening.

I hope that you have a great Christmas trading season.
Rob Hattrell

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Readers Comments

eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks   eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Nov 30 15:07:27 2017

I'm guessing they backtracked on this policy because of the deluge of complaints from sellers about stolen photos.

eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks   eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks

by: TrickyMick This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 30 16:06:20 2017

They will just hide the listings with watermarks.. everyone is happy then.

eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks   eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Fri Dec 1 02:39:47 2017

I'm not sure if anyone is confused here, but just in case.  This does NOT just apply to the UK.  Ebay announced that they are not going to enforce this on the US site either.

Yes they got lots and lots of push back from sellers.  But it is important to remember that Google doesn't like watermarks.  So we each need to decide for ourselves how important Google search returns are to our respective businesses.

eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks   eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks

by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 1 07:19:38 2017

Google often appear to not mind borrowing without real attribution,.

eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks   eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks

This user has validated their user name. by: BuildingMyOwnSite

Fri Dec 1 19:41:02 2017

As Ebay customers, we all get mad at Ebay, but as I keep pointing out, watermark issues have never been from Evil Ebay, they stem from Google.

BUT, I fail to see why Google gets to set these rules, and then enforce them.  Whether they show, or penalize our photos, and websites, either With or Without watermarks, borders, white backgrounds, or just plain crummy photos!  They seem to think the internet and it's rule making belongs to them.  When they get through, and get everything Googleized, ALL photos will be white on white, no borders, no text, even the size and  resolutions controlled, and no watermarks.  That is, if you want your site to be seen at all.

Google's rules are onerous enough, and slanted toward their ability to collect & categorize more and more information, at less and less cost, to insure bigger and bigger offshore savings accounts.  They LONG AGO, ceased to be just a search engine, and are well on their way toward becoming the overlord of the internet.  Google doesn't have these rules, because they have permission from God, to be the arbitrator of fairness and good taste, and it's NONE of their business how we choose to exhibit photos.  

— 1967 “The Graduate” (Mr. McGuire):
“I just want to say one word to you - just one word..... Plastics.”
— 1987 “Wall Street” (Gordon Gekko):
“The most valuable commodity I know of is information.”
—  2017 Google Mantra:
“See 1987 above”

A big reason I LEFT EBAY, was that instead of a 10 second job, with a red arrow, and a word or two, they told me TO DESCRIBE just exactly WHERE EVERY stupid  Ebay flea bite was, on every piece of stemware, in the set of 6 !!!  REGARDLESS if the set was $24.00 worth of Libby Glassware from 1958 Sears, or 6 pieces of Steuben, Strawberry Mansion, 1932 Frederick Carder stems for $1,400.00.  No text on photos  of ANTIQUES!   There's a company with a real good solution, just like  Ebay..... A RULE, and an ALGORITHM, neither of which are fair, proper, appropriate, or EVEN WORK !!!

FINE, but don't even THINK OF POSTING your father's 4th grade class photo, with the kids' names all written in by your grandfather, or your grandmothers 1906 State Champion H.S. basketball team photo, with the names scribbled below, or your stupid friend's Prom Queen photo, in 12 pt. courier, directly from the designated 1968 class photographer, or ESPECIALLY the photos of your ancestor, in his P-47 Thunderbolt, shot down bombing military convoys, over France during the D-Day invasion.  Yeah, the photos of him in action, with greetings and attributions written somewhere on the face of nearly every one, by his buddies.  

Then again, Google's algorithms will undoubtedly make PROPER exceptions for those photos.  SURE.....

eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks   eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks

by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 1 21:10:42 2017

@ BuildingMyOwnSite

Amen!

Google ''do no evil'' Yeah! RIGHT!!!!

eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks   eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sat Dec 2 15:20:02 2017

Hooray for ebafia!

However, I wonder how many sellers had already started removing watermarks or rephotographing.

eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks   eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks

This user has validated their user name. by: BuildingMyOwnSite

Sat Dec 2 18:11:28 2017

@Ming the Merciless said:  ''Hooray for ebafia!  However, I wonder how many sellers had already started removing watermarks or rephotographing.''

Yes Ming, you're exactly right.  And this issue is one of 3-4 that are deal breakers for me, and ANY selling site.  I REALLY care about this. This  is a CRITICAL issue of control of our art, expression, and data.

When I read this announcement, all I could think  of, was all the posts that I read a few weeks ago, where sellers were wondering how they would handle their THOUSANDS of photos.  After all, several years ago, Ebay told them all to remove text, and borders, and keep watermarks to a certain percentage of density.  So they did.

Yes, Ebay did back off.  As they should have.  

But FOR CRIPES' SAKE !!! DON'T THEY EVER HAVE MEETINGS.....
WITH REAL PEOPLE & MANAGERS & COME TO DECISIONS.....
BEFORE — THEY USE THE ASSAULT RIFLE ON THEIR FOOT ???

HOW can a company, week after week, month after month, year after year............
Be sooooooooo...... STUPID !!!
That is not a Rhetorical Question, I WANT AN ANSWER !!!

Yeah.....  HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA !!!

eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks   eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks

This user has validated their user name. by: BuildingMyOwnSite

Sat Dec 2 18:18:47 2017

One more example of an INCREDIBLY LABOR INTENSIVE problem, that should NEVER have even come to light.  Does Wenig have ANY control over this company ???

eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks   eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sat Dec 2 19:23:58 2017

This issues as you described yourself in your first posting was not brought on for the needs of Ebay but for the needs of Google.  Ebay was doing what was and still is best for any seller that desires to have their listing get a better position in the Google returns.

We as sellers had a long lead time on fixing our photos.  That is not always the case when there is a labor intensive change.  There are lots of sellers that have or would have waited until March of next year to fix their photos or not done it at all.  Then when Ebay would remind us of the pending implementation date, those same sellers would have been outraged and the lack of notice or not being allowed enough time to prepare.

eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks   eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Sun Dec 3 09:14:14 2017

''Ebay was doing what was and still is best for any seller...''

Uh huh.  But who asked THEM to decide what ''is best for any seller''?  

Notice this question does not try to argue WHAT is 'best'.  Rather, it points to one of the main taproots feeding the weed that is eBay's mantra - 'For this kind of technology, customers don't really know what they want...'.

Be it a 'venue' or 'managed marketplace', if one doesn't OWN the offering, one has no business defining it's offering terms.  Certainly, suggestions (with reasons) can be made, so to educate and allow the ACTUAL seller to make appropriate offering detail choices.

But requiring mandatory (and labor intensive) 'changes' because eBay wants to decide what is 'best' for 'everyone' - unilaterally, unconcerned with sub-market nuances - is what is REALLY objectionable.  And not just for this subject either.

GOOGLE that, eBay.  

eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks   eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks

This user has validated their user name. by: BuildingMyOwnSite

Sun Dec 3 13:45:14 2017

@Snapped: Agreed.  Especially the garbage that Ebay and Etsy keep giving us about “Customers don't really know what they want” OR  “Customers tell us they want a blah blah blah”.

When Google, first started came out against Watermarks, White Backgrounds, and No Borders on images, Ebay should have PUBLICLY protested those policies.  It is really NONE of Googles, OR Ebays business.   Penalizing those images is not only incredibly unfair, but has NO purpose other than allowing  Google and Ebay more ways to control the outcomes of search.  (Googles own image search had near black divisions at one time.  Until they came out against dark backgrounds.)

People, AND businesses have a MYRIAD of reasons to have these things on their images.  Imagine all the businesses besides Antiques that need to point out stuff on their photos.  Arrows, mid-image text, text paragraphs below.   Titles on the top.    At one time Ebay advised that borders couldn't  be bright neon colors.  Well I sure don't want neon on a Tiffany Turtleback, but I can see how someone selling neon ribbon, or metallic & pearlized paint might.

How about a sales image that happens to have a green grass background, with a beautiful bright orange & deep red “Leafy” border.  Should Google deny that seller (of whatever is pictured on the green grass), the opportunity to tie that photo together with the other images of a “Fall Promotion”?  They say to use THE space between your images, with your “Leafy” design.  Well, what if I don't want the whole page that way?  Do you realize HOW MUCH easier it can be to do these things to your images, than to your Web Pages?

If Google thinks that Leafy Borders, or Watermarks, or Informational Arrows are somehow in poor taste, or Un-Indexable (their argument for text on photos), then my customers can simply hit the back button.    

IT'S NONE OF EBAYS BUSINESS, BUT THEY OWN THE SANDBOX.  They can expouse & enforce MOST ANY search garbage they want, and get away with it.

BUT, GOOGLE DOES NOT OWN THE INTERNET.  And has no business making rules on content owned by others, and whether or not they restrict showing that content.  CRIPES!!! They do nothing to restrict porn, other than the meaningless safe search setting.

eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks   eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks

by: moonmyst This user has validated their user name.

Sun Dec 3 23:41:19 2017

Google's got way too much power. I'm keeping my watermarks. I'm tired of spending time, energy and creativity taking photos and other eBay sellers stealing them. If my items don't make it to Google, then so be it.

eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks   eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 4 02:47:30 2017

From what I can see Google considers any photos posted on the internet are free for them to use for whatever purpose they have in  the works including making money off them.  

eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks   eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks

by: sickandtired This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 4 20:32:49 2017

Tiffee - you nailed it exactly - Google wants to control all digital images that it scoops for whatever purposes it has in mind and whatever those are you can bet it puts $ in their coffers.  

I honestly don't care if my photo's don't make Google - from my research, my customers don't come to me from Google anyway - they start on ebay for their search.

eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks   eBay Gives Sellers Some Good News about Watermarks

by: SmartBidder This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Dec 5 15:23:13 2017

If eBay allowed use of a little .js, you can prevent anything on your listing from being copied.  I guess a cropped screenshot can get past that, but it's the plagiarized descriptions that really yank my chain!



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