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Tue July 12 2011 05:17:40

eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay will announce Seller Release 2 today. eBay will ease up slightly on its open cases policy for some sellers, and sellers will get an extra 25 characters in their titles - starting in early September, titles will have 80 characters so that sellers can add more keywords and buyer-attracting descriptors.

eBay will modify its open cases policy: starting August 31, if the buyer doesn't contact a seller before opening a Buyer Protection case and the seller acts quickly to resolve it, the case won't be included in their count of opened cases.

Less positive changes include a ban on URLs and email addresses in listings. It also said that early next year, it would begin requiring require more generous return policies - including cash-back options.

Other changes include a new ticket hub, and ebay will roll out required catalog in the GPS devices category whenever there's a product match.

See the write-up in today's EcommerceBytes Newflash.

Update 7/12/11: Also see my podcast interview with eBay execs.




Comments (74) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links   eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links

by: Reality Check

Tue Jul 12 05:34:39 2011

On the whole, it doesn't look bad. I stopped putting links or email addresses in last year. I wonder how this will affect the diamond sellers...I guarantee they won't be asked to remove email addresses from their listings.

eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links   eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links

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

Tue Jul 12 05:38:02 2011

"... a ban on URLs and email addresses in listings"

Ah, the sweet smell of desperation at eBay ...

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

eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links   eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Tue Jul 12 05:43:00 2011

Is anyone surprised that eBay will require sellers to include cash-back options as part of their return policies? How standard is that across the stores you shop?

eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links   eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links

by: Digby
Web Site

Tue Jul 12 05:50:50 2011

Gee 80 characters is good.
They must be short of server space, as everyone says.

Cash back returns is OK, if the seller gets the goods back first !

eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links   eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links

by: Gillauna

Tue Jul 12 06:06:49 2011

On the whole I can live with these changes. The upgrade from 55 to 80 characters will be nice!

eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links   eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links

by: stephen

Tue Jul 12 06:52:35 2011

anyone noticed that GPS systems you can only list using the catalogue, If your product is not in the catalogue you'll have to create a catalogue page. Further confirmation that ebay has become amazon

eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links   eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links

by: Charlie W
Web Site

Tue Jul 12 08:15:17 2011

Well, that will pretty much put me out of business on eBay!

I've specialized in a niche product for sellers (personalized stickers) and each listing includes an off-ebay link to a ''Personalize your Item'' form...which allows my customers to easily specify their personalization options, color choices, wording selection, etc.

If this type of link is no longer going to be allowed (see ebay item 290453947058 as an example) then my customers will have to provide their detailed personalization instructions by email...or by ASQ...or in PayPal's ''note-to-seller.

Unfortunately, the free-form alternate methods of specifying the options is not as accurate or complete. Not being able to use an off-ebay form will lead to errors, misunderstandings, character-overruns, omitted info... AND DELAYS in production.

eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links   eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links

by: Walker

Tue Jul 12 08:17:43 2011

If I am reading this right, we can still have a No Return Policy but it won't raise your listing in searches?

eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links   eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links

by: Charlie W
Web Site

Tue Jul 12 08:31:27 2011

Although the policy about GPS devices does not apply to me, it's unclear if this policy applies only to ''GPS sellers'' who offer news GPS devices in-the-box...or if it also applies to the garage-sale seller who has a used (unboxed) GPS device to get rid of.

Could this in-the-catalog requirement cause some buyers to incorrectly believe that they are purchasing a NEW device when the seller is offering a USED one?

If this is the case, then it looks like there may be complications ahead.

Many buyers are likely to see the catalog photo, assume its new, and click ''buy-now'' without reading the full description. Ebay's smartphone app will probably encourage more photo-only impulse buying and discourage reading full descriptions.

eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links   eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links

by: Tony Matarazzo

Tue Jul 12 08:58:33 2011

This one is going to hurt:

Starting October 1, an email address or link to a web site that does not help a buyer safely transact on eBay must be removed before the listing can be submitted.

Examples of information that is no longer allowed in listings:
Email addresses (clickable and non-clickable)

Links that do not help buyers safely and efficiently transact on eBay:

Non-clickable links (e.g. www.mysite.com that does not hyperlink)

Shortened URLs (bit.ly, TinyURLs)
Other links that are currently prohibited under the existing Links policy

Instead of linking buyers off eBay, include the information in your listing when possible.

The updated policy will apply to new listings and re-listings. Good ‘Til Cancelled listings will be required to comply in early 2012. Advance notification will be provided.

Exceptions: Categories that will be allowed to include email addresses in listings:

Business & Industrial
Motors > Vehicles
Real Estate

eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links   eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue Jul 12 09:24:39 2011

Returns are not a pain point for us. Our return rate is below 1%, and increasing from a 7 day money back return policy to a 30 day money back return policy should not significantly increase our return rate.

I can however see this as being painful for other sellers. Buyers remorse returns will likely increase. So too will those who buy, wear and return items who will now have a longer time frame from which to rotate their wardrobes back to sellers.

Links are not an issue for us, and listing with catalog is not an issue as long as eBay has all the correct information in their catalog details.

For most sellers, this round of changes seems pretty benign, and even has a positive included with word that longer titles are coming.

All together, I would say this round of changes is rather positive. The question is; has eBay's management team finally run out of draconian, seller antagonizing and self defeating changes to impose, or are there more to come but not until after the holidays for a change.

eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links   eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links

by: Honus

Tue Jul 12 09:34:06 2011

Can anyone clarify what is meant by ''cash-back'' options?  Does this mean simply that the buyer can get their money refunded after returning their item, rather than being forced to take an exchange or store credit?  Or does it mean that eBay is going to endorse partial-cash-back discounts if buyers are unhappy with an item or the price they've paid?  

eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links   eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links

by: Phil DeBasquet

Tue Jul 12 09:41:18 2011

Looks like i can continue with no returns. Ebay and paypal allow buyers to rip off sellers using returns, none for me.

eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links   eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links

by: pete

Tue Jul 12 09:46:25 2011

I think so many sellers here have been worn down, to be happy to get 15 extra characters says it all?
eBay have not done anything to stop scam buyers, nothing to stop killer DSRS  Nothing to protect sellers  NOTHING and where is the Traffic? ....so I will still stay with Amazon as my sales there are what i was selling on eBay 8 years ago????
eBay are playing with you wait till Sept when update2(1) is announced

eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links   eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue Jul 12 10:11:21 2011

@ Charlie W

I believe the way the links policy is written, it would be acceptable for you to provide a link to a form which enables a buyer to provide customization information for labels.

I would approach eBay for a clarification. In the case of customizable goods which are sold on eBay, I would think that a link to a detail specification form would be acceptable as long as the form does not in any way encourage buyers to purchase outside of eBay.

I believe the intent of the links/email address policy is to eliminate the opportunity for a seller to promote off eBay transactions, not prevent sellers from offering eBay buyers the ability to easily submit order specifications for customized goods.

eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links   eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links

by: Peter

Tue Jul 12 10:12:17 2011

Typical Ebay. It offers trivial, barely usable pluses and severe new labor intensive costly and seller bottomline harming restrictions.

Without a link to ask questions from us in teh upper part of the listings, we woudl get zero questions because Ebay's 'Ask' link is virtually invisible. And then we would not sell, since m,any of our used items require 'communication'.

Their negative attitude towards 'no returns' is also another way of diminishing our sales. Used/old items have flaws by definition, sometimes major, sometimes trivial. Our no return items are a great opportunity for buyers to get something cheap, but we will have to stop offering that if they become invisible. So we lose sales again and the buyer loses an opportunity.

Of course the new policy for sellers protection is a joke. First Ebay institutes a heavily punitive policy and then they give us a tiny sliver of relief in  very specific cases, which usually do not happen? Sounds like the prisoner who gets 80 lashes instead of the usual 100 lashes. Of course requirement is that seller 'quickly resolves' which no seller in his right mind will do in cases of unjustified claims (which is most common).

eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links   eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links

by: MR ME

Tue Jul 12 10:26:56 2011

"early next year, it would begin requiring require more generous return policies - including cash-back options" WTF? "More generous?"eBays one sided SNAD process has stung me more than once , SNAD is an umbrella for all sorts of "bad" buyer behavior ... including.....Buyer Remorse, Cheap "rental" of expensive items (tools, camera, software), buyer not reading description, buyer not understanding item, buyer not researching product before buying.
I've seen it all ... eBay will likely make seller pay for "return shipping"  "Quickly resolves" , in eBays eyes, is that seller accepts SNADs without "fighting" as currently eBay "Suggests" that seller refund SNAD, no matter what reason.

eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links   eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links

by: Visa Decline

Tue Jul 12 10:33:21 2011

I like the analogy of eBay seller improvements being 80 lashes instead of the usual 100.

eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links   eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links

by: Pat

Tue Jul 12 10:47:08 2011

Ebay is already history for me for both selling and buying.  Too few buyers and too many hassles.  For those of you who think you are off the hook because you have a no return policy, how long do you think it will be before ebay has a mandatory return policy?

eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links   eBay Fall Seller Release Includes Ban on Emails and Links

by: anyone out there

Tue Jul 12 11:07:16 2011

Ho Hum another rule directed at everyone instead of those that are trying to scam the system.

If you have to spend hours redoing auctions, GUESS WHAT???

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