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Tue Oct 11 2011 10:18:41

eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay used to allow sellers to include email addresses and phone numbers in listings - until a week ago. eBay said Friday it has begun enforcing its new policy that prohibits email address in listings. I've already received questions from sellers who say they're running into difficulties as a result of the enforcement.

One seller said she includes her PayPal address in her listing so buyers know where to send their PayPal payments. "Listings won't be accepted without the Paypal email address! So now my listings are being rejected if I DO enter the Paypal email address AND if I DON'T put the Paypal email address! What am I missing?" she asked.

eBay has nearly always prohibited sellers from including most types of links in their product listings, though it allowed sellers to include links in their About Me profile pages. While limiting contact information is a walled-garden approach that may not work in the age of social networking, there may be some reasons for such policies - to help reduce fraud from scammers trolling for victims on eBay, or to have documentation in dispute resolution cases

On the other hand, there are legitimate reasons for including email addresses and phone numbers in listings - the primary one being to answer questions that shoppers have, especially since eBay moved the "Ask Seller a Question" link farther down the page and made buyers jump through more hoops to ask their question.

One thing eBay sellers should know is that they can require a buyer's phone number in the checkout flow - many sellers are unaware they can do so.

Many believe big brands on eBay are using the site to build up their own mailing lists. Could this new ban on include email addresses and phone numbers in listings actually help small sellers since eBay is requiring big brands to also adhere to the policy?




Comments (35) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!   eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!

by: AB Reader

Tue Oct 11 10:50:30 2011

One seller said she includes her PayPal address in her listing so buyers know where to send their PayPal payments. "Listings won't be accepted without the Paypal email address! So now my listings are being rejected if I DO enter the Paypal email address AND if I DON'T put the Paypal email address! What am I missing?" she asked.

What a question? The email address to receive payments is added to the listing form and hidden from the buyers view. eBay isn't telling sellers to not include that address. People should stop over thinking.

eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!   eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!

by: AB Reader

Tue Oct 11 10:59:00 2011

The seller referenced in the article is missing the that eBay is prohibiting email addresses in the item description, payment or return instructions aka Seller's payment instructions etc. eBay is NOT prohibiting sellers from entering their email address to receive payments in the listing form.

eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!   eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!

by: John

Tue Oct 11 11:05:22 2011

I mentioned in Ina's letters to the Editor blog for the  '''Excessive' Executive Compensation'' thread that the next screwing would arrive shortly. Well here it is.

I hope you folks got a bigger jar of lubricant.

To much friction on the object of interest, tends to make that object sore and chafed.

Over the years we compiled hundreds of email address's and Postal address's for continued business. But our clientele was far different from many of the buyers today.

They would actually invite us to let them know when we found something we thought they might be interested in. An educated consumer.

Sorry to hear of the problems sellers are now having.

eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!   eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!

by: Rich(y)

Tue Oct 11 11:25:32 2011

There were still a few of horses left and the barn door was open a crack...

eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!   eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!

by: anyone out there yet

Tue Oct 11 11:28:56 2011

When people pay via paypal all I do is hit the reply button and include my email address for them to use if they have a problem.

Email address of buyer is in the paypal notice.

How hard is that. All other people I don't care if I have their email address.

eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!   eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!

by: ebay is looking for problems.

Tue Oct 11 11:36:42 2011


''On the other hand, there are legitimate reasons for including email addresses and phone numbers in listings - the primary one being to answer questions that shoppers have, especially since eBay moved the ''Ask Seller a Question'' link farther down the page and made buyers jump through more hoops to ask their question.''


What an illogical idea. if you're taking away email communication  which allows buyers to ask for specific info, why on earth would ebay further obscure the possibility for a buyer to get info .
Do they want more not as described problems. How stupid.
many times I  won't purchase from Amazon because they often have even less info on a product, especially sizes on decor.

eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!   eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!

by: Y.D.D.D

Tue Oct 11 11:44:41 2011

Just eBays way of trying to retain what miniscule shoppers visit and buy a few things on eBay

They are sick of us sellers leading buyers astray to our own websites

Donahoe is a control freak in my opinion ! He compels us to do his wishes

He wants us to ultimately offer free shipping, 30 day no questions asked return policy, ship it out within a few hours to no longer than 12 max then he will give us a boost in best match

But when the ungrateful evil customer gets free ship, gets item in 2 days from purchase, and uses it and breaks it within 3 days and gets a full refund, they still ding us, then that sticks against us for 1 year

Sorry, but I can't stand what eBay did to me and other good sellers

Anyone who aspires to be an eBay seller needs to check themselves into the nearest mental health facility, cause if they don't, they surely will need to after the stress for low to almost no profits and the bullsh*t they will get from eBay and the customers !

Nuff said

eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!   eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!

by: 11YearEbaySeller

Tue Oct 11 12:32:37 2011

Its easy to get around, just make a graphic picture /jpg with your info. Ebay scanners won't detect it.

eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!   eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!

by: Scotty

Tue Oct 11 12:35:11 2011

They are going to use the question ''topics'' i.e. returns, not as described, etc....any of the headers that are used on the ''ask a question'' template for buyers to ask questions.....they will use this info to ''rate/score'' you much like the DSR crap.  My guess is too many issues (small and large) were settled via normal cordial e-mail (within ebays system and outside).....they want to know what you are doing and will hold you accountable.  Too many ''return'' or ''item not as described'' header queries.....SUSPENDED.....the culling continues with those of us left as we have not been killed off by the other assinine stuff....mark my words....this is next.

eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!   eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!

by: Tired of eBay's Bullsh*t This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 11 14:41:44 2011

B-I-G
B-R-O-T-H-E-R

ummm, let's see. Do you, as venue...

a) Do a stellar job of getting prospective buyers to pertinent listings, and charge sellers a fair amount (which, imho, is zero closing fee, something well under 50 cents per listing per month). After all, it does not cost eBay any more to host the listing of a $500 item than it does the listing for a $50 item.

...or...

b) Engage in maniacal, secret, Big Brother "IT'S ALL MINE" tactics, over and over, year in and year out.

- Tired of eBay's Bullsh*t

eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!   eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Tue Oct 11 14:52:14 2011

11YearEbaySeller suggests: ''Its easy to get around, just make a graphic picture /jpg with your info. Ebay scanners won't detect it.''

That's true, but it's just a matter of time before one of your competitors will spot it (and report it) PLUS the minion of self-appointed eBay hall-monitors and net-nannies take great delight in reporting listings as well.

I like to push the envelope as well and get away with as much as I can... but this just seems like a recipe for disaster to me.

Along those same lines, I wonder how eBay will respond when people start putting ''QR'' bar-codes in their listings. You've seen them all over the place... the square ''checkerboard'' bar codes that are readable with a smartphone device.

The QR codes can contain over 500 characters of information. Typically it's an email address or web address, but the text message it holds can be anything.

eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!   eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue Oct 11 15:15:00 2011

eBay no doubt created a robotic scanning software which searches for the now banned email addresses, phone numbers, links etc....

What I have been seeing more of recently is sellers who create images with email addresses, phone numbers and web addresses. Since the information is included in a photograph format and not in the listing details, these listings appear to be escaping enforcement.

Since the robotic software apparently can not or does not read images, sellers might have a temporary workaround of this new eBay ban.

eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!   eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!

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

Tue Oct 11 15:17:02 2011

"Could this new ban on include email addresses and phone numbers in listings actually help small sellers since eBay is requiring big brands to also adhere to the policy?"

Anyone who can't find Toys R Us, Best Buy, Buy, etc., off ebay is someone I would prefer didn't buy from me.

eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!   eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Tue Oct 11 17:42:00 2011

That eBay is now threatening dire consequences for any seller including an email address (or website address?) in a listing surely is an indication of how desperate eBay is now becoming for numbers to show to Wall Street.

After all, how much revenue can they be losing from (a few) unscrupulous buyers attempting to go behind eBay’s back to do a deal with a few unscrupulous sellers? That many that it is actually hurting? I really do hope so, and if so, eBay really must be approaching dire straits. Maybe the eBay “house of cards” is finally starting to shudder in the breeze.

The third quarter results will be out on the 19th and the creative accounting undoubtedly involved should make interesting bed time fairy story reading for anyone with small children.

Enron / WorldCom / eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking.

eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!   eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!

by: Sarah

Tue Oct 11 21:39:45 2011

If you ban e-mail addresses, Ask A Seller A Question needs to go back on the top of the page in a very visible way!!! It needs to say Ask a SELLER a question. Not just ask a question in very small print. Ask who a question? Ask ebay  or the seller? If we are supposed to provide good customer service, we need buyers with questions to be able to ask questions and we as sellers need to be able to answer them! Stop playing games. We both want to make sales here. Blocking questions makes it harder to close sales. So stop trying to prevent us getting questions and closing deals!



eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!   eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!

by: Donna

Tue Oct 11 22:04:11 2011

With the holiday season coming up, it would be nice if eBay restored the "ask THE SELLER a question" link back to the top of the page.

eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!   eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!

by: Lace
Web Site

Tue Oct 11 23:42:52 2011

Some buyers need assistance and further clarification on items before purchasing them. The obvious route to take for shoppers is to ask a seller a question via the same link, or email/phone the seller.

It appears the latest change in policy will make it even harder for shoppers and sellers to communicate and will result to more "item not as described" disputes or other negative feedback arising from miscommunication.

Hoping eBay will make the Ask Seller a Question link more visible as a necessary step in accordance with the latest restriction.

eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!   eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!

by: Michael

Wed Oct 12 00:45:19 2011

Ebay is now removing all email addresses and website addresses from all messages between buyer and seller as well. So when a buyer wants more pictures, or information on a website that might help them make a decision to buy, you have to spell out the address. Seems to work so far....

eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!   eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Wed Oct 12 01:43:25 2011

You have to "fracture" your address AND have your potential customer do the same if they want to use ebay internal email. ---- ABCSELLER (at) g mail  dot  com ----sorta thing.  Seems to work so far and I placed a para on my listing next to this bulldingy to ALERT buyers to HOW they have to contact me now.  I have managed to get some to actually READ and figure this out---maybe they feel they are very clever for figuring it out.  Doesn't matter to me how they do it just that it gets them in touch with me so I can ANSWER THE DAMN QUESTION.  

I also put in a plug for BUYERS to tell ebay that they NEED to be able to contact the sellers but surely my few lookers are not gonna change the world that much. Maybe if EVERYONE did it------

In the past week tho other sellers have reported (this is personal friends here) that THEY have received email addys sent  WITHIN the email ebay letters.  Mine how ever have had the email addy of the potential buyer EDITED OUT and a sappy note from ebay subbed in.  

I also have been receiving a series of "letters from ebay" that tell me that I "Have an email address on my listings".  I do not.  When  I go and look to see what the link on this is that is alleged to TELL ME HOW TO "Legally" put in an ebay email addy---there is no info.  Sooooo---dunno what to think about that.  

I doubt very much that ebay is going to allow any further questions of sellers.  If they had their way they would do away with this annoying feature altogether.  They make MONEY when a buyer DOES NOT PAY because an item is "Not As Described".  Simple as that.  And until they DON'T make any money---even as little as the "float" on our meager pennies---they will try to keep restricting contact.  That and for the obvious "Lure 'em away from ebay" reason.  
Oh and go look at EBAY MOTORS---the ASK SELLER A QUESTION is STILL right there at the TOP of the page.  Why is it OK for the site MOST likely to have mis-communications AND FAILED SALES to have this feature---and the rest of us CAN'T BE TRUSTED WITH IT?????  You just KNOW car guys are not gonna buy some '57 Chevy with no info.  And you ALSO know that the SAME guys are gonna exchange phone numbers so they can hash out the sale.  And they are NOT goning to report the bloody transaction to ebay.  But THEY can be trusted.  Don't even worry your heads about their feedback numbers either cause they DON'T MATTER over on the DARK SIDE of ebay!!!!


Ebay is like the "Bad Boyfriend"---they don't want us any more but they don't want any one ELSE to have us either.  

eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!   eBay Tells Sellers, No Email Addresses Allowed!

by: BLR

Wed Oct 12 02:48:28 2011

please EBAY , you make sick of all the good sellers, and you will push away all the good sellers if you continuing do this and please change your sellers dashboard like min 3 cases per month, and lowering their standard performance, that's stupid, have you ever counted what if they have hundreds of hundreds item for sell on your site??? non of the business has no problems and perfect, you push your seller to do the best and tightening the sellers by your stupid policies,  we are trying to do the best, not all the customers are reasonable, you block seller with the stupid rules that you made, that;s not good to protect your sellers, sellers helping you to making money as well. You will lost them online if you keep doing this.

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