|Mon May 6 2013 22:27:57|
Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements
By: Ina Steiner
eBay sellers have a lot to say about eBay's new photo requirements that requires they provide bigger pictures and eliminate borders, text and artwork in their photos. When eBay told sellers this year (in March) about the July 1st deadline, there were a lot of questions about its ban on borders and on text that sellers include in images as watermarks.
Now sellers are focusing on the size of their images - as of July 1st, sellers will not be able to upload images unless they are at least 500-pixels on their longest side.
As we reported in today's Newsflash newsletter, eBay is sending an email to every seller who has non-compliant photos in their listings that includes a personalized list of the seller's item numbers broken out by the type of non-compliance.
eBay's Head of North America Trust Factors Jahan Shafizadeh told me every seller who had listings not in compliance should receive a letter by this week. eBay realizes some listings will expire by the July 1st date when eBay will begin enforcing the policy, he said, but some sellers have told me the letter includes listings that have already expired.
One seller wrote, "When I called eBay to ask why I would be getting such a notice when the item was not even for sale still on eBay, the eBay person just told me to disregard it. WOW, this is incredibly frustrating if eBay cannot even figure out who is violating policy and who to email about what. I have TRS status and work hard to make sure my listings meet requirements and did not appreciate the notice that was a total waste of my time to respond to."
You can also find Part 2 of the interview in Tuesday's newsletter.
I've received many questions from sellers since March asking how they could check to see if their photos were in compliance. Third-party developer Kioui Apps provides a paid tool found in the eBay app center that identifies listings with non-conforming photos under 500 pixels. Shafizadeh confirmed that eBay had made an API available to developers that would allow them to offer such a tool.
Shafizadeh said eBay will be rolling out new tools this month and next that will highlight all of the seller's the non-compliant listings. How helpful it would have been if sellers had the tool when eBay announced the Spring Seller Release in March of this year!
You can find eBay's policy here, and it posted a reminder on the announcement board on Monday afternoon.
The intention behind eBay's policy is good. Sellers may remember that Google rejected listings in merchant feeds sent to Google Product Search (now Google Shopping) if they didn't comply with its photo requirements, including that images be taken on a white background. So photos that comply with eBay's new requirement could result in better exposure in search engine results.
But with eBay, it's always the execution and enforcement that concern sellers the most. The fact eBay sellers are having a difficult time identifying problem photos with 9 weeks to go before enforcement is pretty typical of eBay's execution of new policies. If its tools aren't ready, perhaps it should push off enforcement to give sellers more time.
A selection of emails sent by sellers after they received eBay's notice of non-compliance follows. Leave your own feedback in the comments below.
I wanted to show you what I received from Ebay today. As you can see, they say that I am in violation of picture quality requirements and that if I do not fix them, my listings will be removed and cannot be relisted.
As you can see, there are many photos that need to be fixed, yet I have no idea of which of my approximately 700 listings they belong to! It is a surprise to me as it is, since I have only used Inkfrog from the start and thought that they adjusted the picture size. Another one of Ebay's slap on the hand with no easy fix and the threat of punishment!
Well, it has begun (see below). My images have always been HUGE, so I really don't understand this at all. When eBay began shrinking (standardizing) images, I began enclosing a link to the real image on my server as a "close-up". I can't redo 600 images - never mind the thousands that I have made and reuse. This is very very upsetting. My images have ALWAYS been what sold my items. They always gave me an advantage because people liked to see them
I only pray the next notice doesn't say "no white background" - or "no text allowed". I've been selling every week at eBay since 1996 or 1997... usually I just try to adjust, but I really am worried.
I thought you might find this interesting - last night I got the email below from ebay claiming that I was violating their new picture policy on ALL of my listings. Their claim was that my "Photos smaller than 500 pixels on longest side".
The problem here is that all of my photos are 640x480 (clearly larger than 500 pixels on the longest side). Plus I explicitly had asked a ebay CSR about my pictures a while back and had been told that they were fine. So unless I can get someone over at ebay to sort this - my entire inventory of prepared listings (500+ items) will be worthless.
I sell a lot of music items. When photographing the 45 rpm record labels, and CDs, even full size photos of these do not reach the size of 500 x 500 pixels. I'm in a bit of a panic because I have thousands of these items in my inventory, already photographed and listed.
I decided to check eBay's CD stock photos. The first one I looked up was Big Bill Broonzy “Good Time Tonight”. You can see the catalog listings for this CD by entering the following UPC code in the regular eBay search window. It is 074644621921. The stock photo for this item measures 170 x 170 pixels. Need I say more?
The biggest complaint we get [from customers] by far is that the "picture made it look bigger" so bigger pictures are not where we want to go.
(Sent by a seller of very small items)