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Thu Aug 6 2009 22:46:26

Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?

By: Ina Steiner

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Some people have read that eBay will be putting all photos into a catalog of online images that is then accessible to all sellers to use in their own listings - this is incorrect. (See update, below.)

eBay is rolling out a new policy (announced last week) on its use of seller photographs that relates to its Product Catalog, a feature that many sellers are unaware of, leading to some confusion.

First of all, what is eBay's "Product Catalog"??
The catalog referred to in the policy is actually the catalog from which eBay displays Product Pages.

What's a Product Page?
A Product Page from eBay's "product catalog" is a page that shoppers see when searching for certain items that includes a generic description of the item they are looking for. (Think about how Amazon.com presents its listings - you see one page per item, not a list of listings.)

In eBay's words, "This product page is the page that appears when a buyer clicks on a Matching Products module in search results. The product page shows buyers common information about the product at the top, community reviews, and the items available for purchase."

For example, searching eBay for a specific model of an iPod might bring up a "Product Page" for that specific model. It would display a generic photo of the item and a description with model number and attributes. Included on that page are two ways to find actual seller listings for the item: a "Great Savings" box featuring listings from three PowerSellers (similar to Amazon.com's Buy Box), and underneath the generic description, a list of all the listings available from sellers.

eBay displays Product Pages in certain categories - currently, you'll find them predominantly in consumer electronics and media categories.

So what's the new policy?
Here it is in eBay's exact words found on this page.

Starting September 1, 2009, eBay will begin selecting sellers' photos for inclusion in the eBay product catalog. If your photo is chosen, an attribution including your user ID and a link to your profile page will be included on the product details page under your picture each time it's displayed. This attribution can give you significant additional exposure.

If you'd rather opt out of this program, please do so through My eBay as described here. To ensure your pictures are not considered for inclusion in the eBay product catalog starting September 1, you need to opt out by August 31, 2009 at 23:59:59 PT.

You can opt out any time after that as well, but any pictures we select starting September 1 during a time you are not opted out may continue to be used in the catalog at our discretion.

Can you explain what that means?
Unless you opt out, eBay may use your photos in their catalog product pages. This does not mean that your photos will appear in someone else's listings - it means your photo may appear on the generic description page shown to shoppers on eBay.

So what do I get out of it?
When we spoke to Todd Lutwak, eBay's Senior Director of Seller Development, last week, here's what he said: "We will be going through a process, looking for the best picture that is available to use on that product detail page. The sellers on eBay take great time and care taking their photos and we love and appreciate that, as do the buyers, and if we decide to use your photo as part of this, what we call community-generated images, we will you the attribution for use of your photo."

So theoretically, you'll get traffic if people click on the link under the photo - it will go to your My World page.



What if I use a watermark on my photos?
Mr. Lutwak said eBay would not be considering photos that have watermarks.

Am I the only one confused about this?
No, not at all. AuctionBytes conducted a survey about all of eBay's pending changes from its July 27th announcement last week, and this was one area that clearly had people confused. You can read more about what other sellers had to say about the new photo policy in this article.

So I do own exclusive content to my listings and photos, right?
Actually, no. Read eBay's User Agreement under Content:

When you give us content, you grant us a non-exclusive, worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, sublicensable (through multiple tiers) right to exercise the copyright, trademark, publicity, and database rights (but no other rights) you have in the content, in any media known now or in the future.

Do you know if my listing descriptions and photos may appear outside of eBay?
Yes. Worthpoint licenses eBay data, and you can find some eBay sellers' photos, descriptions, date sold and pricing information on Worthpoint's database.

Update 8/9/09: According to eBay's Jim Griffith (Griff) on this discussion board thread: "If a seller opts in, their catalog photos will be available to other sellers of identical items to use in their listings. (not similar, identical. Unique, one of a kind items do not have catalog data, are not catalogable, and those photos will NOT be made available to other sellers)."

Actually, he must mean if a seller does not opt-out, but the point is that your photo may indeed appear in your competitors' listings. It's interesting that eBay doesn't make this clear on the description page, as this is a key factor in deciding whether to opt-out or not.

Update 8/11/09: Clarification from eBay in new blog post.





Comments (61) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?   Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?

by: nora

Thu Aug 6 23:56:34 2009

Can anyone explain what this means in plain english?

''When you give us content, you grant us a non-exclusive, worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, sublicensable (through multiple tiers) right to exercise the copyright, trademark, publicity, and database rights (but no other rights) you have in the content, in any media known now or in the future.''

Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?   Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?

by: Marianne Dow

Thu Aug 6 23:58:02 2009


Here's a helpful article explaining how to OPT OUT of letting eBay use your pix for free, at ebay expert Marsha Collier's blog -- http://mcollier.blogspot.com

Here's some info from eBay on "shutterstock for photographers" requesting professional photos that they will pay for. -- http://submit.shutterstock.com/forum/abt65971.html

Shutterstock says that some of the brands eBay wants pix for, are: JVC, Bose Speakers, Rolex Watches, Sony Camcorders, Shure Microphones, and Dyson vacuums.

So it doesn't seem that they will be randomly taking pix from sellers to just let other sellers use. It seems that ebay wants to generate standard catalog pages for new items. This will not affect sellers of vintage items.

--Marianne Dow msdowantiques.com

Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?   Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?

by: fatseal

Fri Aug 7 01:08:24 2009

So I do own exclusive content to my listings and photos, right?
Actually, no. Read eBay's User Agreement under Content:

When you give us content, you grant us a non-exclusive, worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty-free, sublicensable (through multiple tiers) right to exercise the copyright, trademark, publicity, and database rights (but no other rights) you have in the content, in any media known now or in the future.

It means they own you & your photos and your descriptions, and if they want to include any or all in anything they have a part in, they can.

Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?   Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?

by: Bob Unplugged

Fri Aug 7 03:22:38 2009

I realize I will be met by the usual peanut gallery of negative nayboobs here. Buck Efay(clever) huh...huh...huh BUCK EFAY...huh...huh...huh  "J" and others who don't quite understand just what it is like to have a good,positive attitude about eBay.

A venue that has helped millions!

This is a good idea. It will eventually remove all excuses regarding "no photos" and lead to a better marketplace for all!

Embrace change or fall by the wayside I always say!
Well,that and grab me a Foster's!

see me at www.bobunplugged.com!

Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?   Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?

by: For Pete's sake

Fri Aug 7 05:41:38 2009

No Bob it means that people who spend a lot of time & money taking professional looking pics for multi channel venues are going to have them swiped by eBay to PROMOTE their site & be used by nuggets who can’t take photos & which in turn gives the original photo owner more completion on HIS sales..

When eBay should be paying for the privilege; just like if you want to use a Getty or Reuters image…you must ask or pay how about a veRO take down for un authorised eBay use of pics

Many sellers simply do not know of the opt out..or even where to find the opt out box to check ..I did the day eBay made the opt out available..they get enough from me in Fee's, I am not helping them destroy my sales too

Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?   Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?

by: anti-bob unplugged

Fri Aug 7 06:55:29 2009

Sellers can carefully get some small revenge on awful ebay and it's communist type rules. Some sellers imprint their name lightly on their photos esp celeb pix and autograph items.
Also, require a prospective buyer with any type of question to send 3.00 per question and TELL them why - ebay has ruined millions of lives with it's antiseller rules and regulstion and a mere 3.oo is only for a very small offset of costs ebay inflicts on it's customers (the sellers).
Also, if and when any ebay employee bids/buys your item - refuse thier sale as they are working for the enemy ie ebay. We've done that a few times and I can tell you it makes you smile all day to tell some ebay stooge YOUR BUSINESS IS NOT WANTED here.
also, no need to fall by the wasteside, just seek ways to get back at your nemesis ie bob unplugged ebay lackey and his ilk.

Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?   Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?

by: Donuthole Ruined eBay

Fri Aug 7 08:28:54 2009

Let these lazy, cheating Bozos take their own pictures no matter what they intend to do with them.

''A venue that has helped millions!'' As Inspector Clouseau would say: ''Not any more.''

These day it's ''A venue that has screwed millions.''

Bob, you are too much ......

Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?   Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?

by: Dman

Fri Aug 7 09:02:37 2009

So, if I understand this right, I can not watermark my photos, so Ebay can use them. Which will then lead to lazy sellers stealing my photos because they have no watermarks. Brilliant I tell you, Brilliant! Yeah, ummmm, where’s that opt out option again?

Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?   Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?

by: Rob

Fri Aug 7 09:29:46 2009

My god you people are dumber than a post.

Yes, Dman, you can watermark your photos.

No Dman, they won't use them if they have watermarks.

Yes Dman, you can opt out by going into your user preferences.  It's a separate option.  

Nora, is it really rocket science?

Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?   Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?

by: John

Fri Aug 7 09:41:44 2009

The best thing to do is get a simple batch water-mark program. They are quick and easy to use. Best of all they are VERY difficult to remove once on.

Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?   Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?

by: Matt

Fri Aug 7 09:52:53 2009

Ina,

As always great job summing this up, I was a bit confused after sitting in on the PESA webinar.  Your article clarified everything for me, thanks.

During the webinar yesterday an eBay rep said that the attributon will be for a limited time only, they didn't say how long.

So sellers what do you think?  Are you planning on sharing?  Do you think the extra exposure is worth it?  

Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?   Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?

by: Lisa

Fri Aug 7 10:20:40 2009

It's only a matter of time before eBay stops allowing photos with watermarks or other marks, images or text.  Wigix does not allow any photos with watermarks or identifying information. And eBay seldom does anything about other seller's photos unless the photos came from another site or the seller is a VeRO member.  Remember people, this is eBay. They're all about control.

Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?   Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?

by: Mark

Fri Aug 7 10:34:37 2009

Not only Worthpoint. Also Priceminer has been using eBay seller's pictures for years already for their paid access. So eBay has been making money for years already with our photo material.

Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?   Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?

by: just me

Fri Aug 7 11:11:27 2009

Ebays game. Play by the rules or go home.

Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?   Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?

by: J

Fri Aug 7 11:18:43 2009

''... ''J'' and others who don't quite understand just what it is like to have a good,positive attitude about eBay.''

Well since you have pointed me out personally I will comment on your continued shilling for eBay.

According to you I guess I am supposed to exclaim ''Thank you, sir, may I have another?'' with every strike of the whip that eBay gives me. Sorry, I'm not quite the automaton that you are.

And this gem ...

''A venue that has helped millions!''

Even eBay doesn't call themselves a venue any more. Catch up.

''Embrace change or fall by the wayside I always say!''

Yes I guess a good little minion does not question the change they just go along because they are told to. My god, grow a spine. Think for yourself. It is weak sellers like yourself that will help eBay get rid of you.

It is apparent that the donuthole wants eBay to appear as a boring homogenized website. That's fine for junk new products but for the ooak and no longer made products that helped make millions for eBay that type of look will not work. But the hole doesn't seem to care and will continue hiding like the frightened rat that he is.

Unless of course, bob ... your comments directed at buck and myself were just to ''tell a random lie about someone above you'' ... and we ARE way above you bob.  

Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?   Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?

by: On Lies and Secrets

Fri Aug 7 11:36:21 2009

This will be amusing to watch.  If the ebay corporation appropriates photos of items that no one at the ebay corporation has actually seen or  handled, how will they be able to tell whether a photo is of an authentic good or a counterfeit one?  This seems like a great way to muddy the waters of product authenticity - borrow slightly misleading content from scammers without verification and then introduce it into the knowledge base or worthpoint and all of the other companies to whom it sells its data.  Does the ebay corporation actually verify the information and authenticate the items actually photographed that it sells to other companies or uses in its ''catalog''? Does the ebay corporation warrant that the images are of authentic items and that the information in the content is correct?

This will be fun to watch as it unfolds....

Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?   Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?

by: Buck Efay

Fri Aug 7 11:58:02 2009

Boob Unplugged, you're an idiot. Ebay has helped millions, until John Donahoe became CEO. At that point they began DESTROYING people's livelihoods. People, real humans are being hurt be careless & stupid policies generated by KING Jd's rotten regime. Now we are nothing but garbage, unwashed sellers, noise to Ebay, a company WE built with OUR goods. Ebay is nothing without us. No go crawl back under JD's desk, punk.

PS didnt think you were smart enough to figure out the jest in my name, LOL!

Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?   Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?

by: Greybeard

Fri Aug 7 12:01:32 2009

This is a serious legal issue: many photos involve registered trademarks, brand names, copyrights and other legally protected ownership rights.

For a seller to post a picture of an item they own would seem to be fair use: to use that image commercially is another matter entirely.

Sellers need to know if eBay will totally indemnify them from any consequence of the subsequent use of the sellers image. Costs could range from lawyers letters to litigation --- but the risks are very real, and recent court cases are astounding in determining what is fair use. Carry a book into your local library or office store --- tell them you want to copy a few pages and see what happens. A major news organization has claimed a fee is due for the use of as few as four words.  

Liability for the subsequent use of images outside the original sellers control must be clarified.

Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?   Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?

by: Buck Efay

Fri Aug 7 12:05:50 2009

PPS: If Ebay ever tells you you can't watermark your copyrighted images, just go ahead and reprocess them a few times, everytime you resave the image, it strips out data. After a few rounds, the pic will be washed out & they can't use it. Ebay used to not allow others to steal your images, but I guess since all of Ebay is turning into a giant scam, why not encourage further thievery by allowing Chinese crooks to use our pics? The only problem I had as a buyer was a seller using a Best Buy stock image, as I discovered later when trying to replace the hunk of junk later.

Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?   Will eBay Let Other Sellers Use Your Photos?

by: Buck Efay, Huh, Huh, Huh

Fri Aug 7 12:15:10 2009

LOL, Boob unplugged, tried to visit your site, my popup blocker warned me your store was unsafe though. Feel free to send me a tshirt though, clever idea to rework a 1950s ad figure, I guess someone reworking old images would have no problem with copyright infringement eh? Remember, all Ebay users, you own the copyright at the moment you create the image. If Ebay decides to reuse the pic without explicit written permission, you can sue for $150,000 per image per use, since the user agreement changes daily & you were never notified specifically of these provisions in writing. It also does not specifically note they are reselling your copyrighted works to outside companies. I recommend using odd titles for your pics, so you can search them out thru google image search. I successfully recovered $4000
from a television network after they used 3 of my images off Ebay without written permission from me.

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