|Tue Feb 28 2012 04:09:48|
eBay Rolls Out Major Policy Changes along with Fees, Feedback
By: Ina Steiner
There is good news and bad news with eBay's Spring Seller release 2012, which eBay will announce today. eBay will stop charging sellers for images (it will give them up to 12 free photos), but it will introduce additional "quality standards" for photos.
Sellers may not add text to their pictures, although watermarks for attribution purposes only will be allowed. And when listing a used item, stock photos may no longer be used as the primary item photo for the listing (with the exception of Books, Movies, Music, and Video Game categories).
eBay will roll out automatic 5-star DSRs on communication for transactions in which there is no communication between the buyer and seller (not counting invoices and invoice requests or Best Offers). However, sellers will not qualify for automatic 5-Star DSR ratings in Communication if they notify buyers of order status or delivery information. (eBay sends automated emails to buyers regarding order status and delivery information, so buyers will have to upload tracking information to eBay.) This provision is bound to be among the most controversial of today's announcements.
Sellers must also specify same-day or 1-day handling time and must upload tracking information by the end of the next business day in order to qualify for the automatic 5-star Communication DSR.
One change that is a long time coming: eBay will remove all feedback and DSRs for transactions in which buyers have an Unpaid Item record whether or not the seller is using the UPI assistant, as long as the seller required eBay Checkout, used an approved payment method, and local pickup was not offered.
We knew eBay was retiring 3-day and 7-day returns, and today it will announce that the change will take effect the first week of May. This will also be controversial, even though previously announced, particularly among sellers of clothing where sellers feel the policy may turn them into "rentals."
See today's EcommerceBytes Newsflash for more information. Sellers will want to pore over the changes in great detail - for instance, eBay is making item specifics and product codes such as UPCs and ISBNs more important in Best Match search.
eBay will hold a Town Hall Meeting, we'll keep this blog post up-to-date as news happens.
Update 2/28/12: Lots of questions about photos - here's a graphic that shows two photos - the one on the left will no longer be allowed beginning in the fall, the one on the right shows an acceptable watermark.
What does this mean for sellers? Lots of sellers will have to spend many, many hours reformatting their images and then swapping out compliant images with the photos they currently have, and on top of that, will have concerns about photo theft by unscrupulous competitors.
While the Spring changes may not be as dire as some Seller Releases have in the past, many sellers will find they must spend a lot of time readying listings to be compliant with new policies, such as this one.
Update 2/28/12: eBay will hold a Town Hall to discuss the changes on Wednesday February 29, 2012 at 3:30 pm PST.
Update 2/28/12: eBay VP of Merchant Development Michael (MJ) Jones and Senior Manager of Community and Development for eBay Marketplaces Jim (Griff) Griffith joined EcommerceBytes Editor Ina Steiner to talk about Seller Release 1 in this Ecommerce Industry SoundBytes podcast interview.