Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon May 6 2013 22:27:57

Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements

By: Ina Steiner

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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)




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Perminate Link for Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements   Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements

This user has validated their user name. by: Sandymenu

Mon May 6 23:05:16 2013

Crust! It's all crust.

Will our sellers PLEASE provide us here any sites we can use to redo our pixs with a white background before the firmed date?

The notices other sellers have been receiving are more than likely ''automated chain notification reminders'' coded within our profiles noted as ''sent'' on their behalf.

I've not received mine yet but suspect will arrive before I wash-rinse my new wig!

I do highly suggest that if you're selling on ''other sites than offer the watermark option'' then you'd best NOT do it or redo your pics because there are codes within the saved image that ebay will see if you seller decides to go from site A now to site B.

Currently, I've ran into the orange ''vio notice'' on photo size (minimum 500 pixel) while listing a new item but what I have been doing (since March) is Copy the image and going into my Paint and dragging to extend the size to 500-502 leaving an UGLY white blank below the bottom of image and it works (for now) and then it goes into sell format ''in compliance'' accepted.

Crust! Post spring madness pre summer CRUST!

Perminate Link for Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements   Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Mon May 6 23:41:05 2013

I have always self hosted my images on ebay but that is going by the wayside.  This leads me to believe ebay will eventually charge for the pictures and maybe even end up owning the images!

Perminate Link for Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements   Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements

by: Dragonfyree This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 7 00:20:27 2013

In part 2 they say they're aware of the turbo lister problem but that it only affects 1% of the sellers.

How do they know? Is that how many sellers have complained.

I'll bet a majority of sellers never read the announcements and don't even know this requirement is starting.  

If a seller already has photos the correct size, they may never check to see if they're still conforming once uploaded by Turbo Lister.  I only did it because I had a couple old listings and wanted to be sure they conformed.

I used that link that I found on the discussion boards and that's how I found out only the brand new listings I had just created conformed. I updated the photo's for about 300 items while they were still running and the other 300 after I downloaded to TL.  It was after I uploaded them all again and the ones I had added new photo's while they were running now showed they did not conform, did I figure out there was a problem.
 

Perminate Link for Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements   Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements

This user has validated their user name. by: cfrphoto
Web Site

Tue May 7 00:53:33 2013

So far, eBay has not stated any requirement about the background color. Certain items like postage stamps for collectors do not show well against a light or white background. It is possible that defects like missing perforations will be missed if the background does not contrast with the stamp paper. Also, old paper may look dirty or excessively toned against the stark white background provided in the eBay gallery. Adjusting the tonal range of the image (levels in Photoshop) will mitigate the problem, but many sellers don't bother or don't know resulting in muddy images that look terrible against a white background.

Perminate Link for Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements   Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 7 01:09:31 2013

I bought Smart Photo Editor this past week and I very impressed with it. Once you learn how it works, you can do about anything with it, including resizing and changing background colors. Of course, enlarging photos that are 170x170 pixels, might still go fuzzy on you. My thimbles were around 400 or so and so they enlarge without losing the sharpness. I think I paid somewhere around $29 for the program.  

Perminate Link for Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements   Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements

This user has validated their user name. by: Rocky
Web Site

Tue May 7 01:33:04 2013

Just passing on this tool that helped me a lot.  At the very least you can determine which images aren't large enough.  It is a very handy FREE tool:
http://www.isdntek.com/ebaytools/ListingPhotoSizes.htm
Vis
it
the sellers page for a lot more nifty free auction tools.
http://cgi3.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewUserPage&userid=sh
ipscript
I
saved hours of time and found images that needed changing that eBay had not yet informed me about.
Good luck!

Perminate Link for Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements   Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 7 03:01:49 2013

"Certain items like postage stamps for collectors do not show well against a light or white background. "

same goes for books, my buyers want to see the edges of the book.  i use a neutral gray background because white would throw off the exposure.  

so my question is what exactly is considered a border?  

Perminate Link for Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements   Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue May 7 07:52:28 2013

Think of all the incidences over the years where eBay have added a ton of work to your plate requiring you to re-edit your listings.

Then think of how many times Amazon has required this.

Nuff said.

Perminate Link for Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements   Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 7 08:02:45 2013

"eBay's Head of North America Trust Factors Jahan Shafizadeh explained" .... LMFAO ... the words eBay snd TRUST dont belong in the same sentance its an oxymoron!

"We want our sellers to succeed, so we're not going to go behind the scenes and try to penalize them," he said ... you mean like all the OTHER times when they did ???  (seller protection, removal of sellers being able to leave feedback for buyers, frequent non posted updates, magic invisible DSRs etc)

Hell for sellers who just want to sell and do the right thing, heaven for eBay and the moron who has the time to think these things up.

Go ahead, fix eBays catalog for them and if you DONT, they will punnish you! Sure ... eBays got your back .... lmao

Perminate Link for Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements   Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements

by: traceyg This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 7 08:31:29 2013

Another reason to find other places to sell aside of ebay. I have had some luck with Etsy. I sell a lot more locally, do my own website. Over the last few years I have down sized what I sell on ebay BIG time to many rules, takes to long to list now since the have made things so complicated. .  fees are high and for most things profits are not what they used to be. Still there are some thigns that I can only sell only ebay to get the money I want. They are few and far the rest I put else where. My lowest bill for ebay was this month abotu 33 dollars I used to pay 300-500 in fees tells you how much I have downsized. I am still sellign the same stuff just selling it else where and making more money there for most things them I would on ebay with all their feess rules etc. . . .  

Perminate Link for Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements   Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements

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

Tue May 7 08:39:17 2013

I received an email message from eBay which reminded me of the new photo size requirements, and which explained the punishment for not complying.

EMAIL SUBJECT: ''MC999 Selling Practices policy violation alert''

In the message, eBay explained what I needed to do, and the deadline date, along with various links for help and further information.

Near the end of the email, eBay provided a list of item numbers that were in violation of the policy.

The odd thing is... I have NO LISTINGS ON EBAY AT ALL! And the item numbers that eBay included had ALREADY expired almost TWO MONTHS AGO!

Uh... Hello-o-o-o?!

eBay has OCD when it comes to photos (but only for NOW). Next month it will be something different.

I wonder what eBay will obsess about next. Perhaps ''spelling and grammar''. --- On second thought, perhaps not. To do such a thing would likely have a negative impact on all the listings for ''USB phone chargers'' with item descriptions that were translated from Chinese to English via Google.

For the life of me, I can't figure out WHY it is that eBay is convinced that its woes can be solved by obsessing on all of these peripheral issues. The eBay ship is sinking, and instead of patching the holes, eBay execs are arranging deck-chairs and polishing the brass rails!

Perminate Link for Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements   Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements

by: paul This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 7 09:07:03 2013

Just more to aggravate sellers, Ebay cares nothing about the small sellers. The photo's are just another way to get more sellers to leave Ebay..  People get the message, ebay has became a total disgrace in the way thay treat sellers. Make the photo's bigger Ebay says, you will sell more items,  a total lie and disgrace just another slap in the face from Ebay and King Donahoe....Good luck to all....

Perminate Link for Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements   Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements

This user has validated their user name. by: Sandymenu

Tue May 7 09:12:04 2013

Cruise bay? How exciting!

Getting back to Ina's original topic:
I've recently read online about Stock Photos being reused by online resellers have a specific code when uploaded onto selling sites. More and more Dropshipping sellers might end up having these issues arise this year especially if selling on both EB and AMZ.

Thought I'd share this with some of Ina's finest!

cruise bay? how funny

Perminate Link for Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements   Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements

by: Susan Averello This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 7 09:34:32 2013

And this is a problem why? As a buyer it is frustrating how many sellers think a thumbnail sized pic is enough to show off an item.

Sites like Etsy have long told sellers pics are key - use macro lens for small stuff, do close up. It's about time Ebay finally caught up so you can actually see what you're buying

Perminate Link for Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements   Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements

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

Tue May 7 09:40:41 2013

RE: The buyer complaint about how a large photo makes small items ''look bigger''...

This is a complaint that I've had as well. It doesn't matter if your title explicitly says: ''WIDGET 2-INCHES TALL''... there are some buyers who refuse to read.

So... when photographing small items, I started to add an additional item (or a prop) in the photo so that the small item would be viewed in proportion to the *known* size of the additional item.

For this purpose, my photos also included: quarters, dimes, pennies, the sharpened end of a #2 yellow pencil, a dollar bill, a plastic ruler, and a tape measure.

Although I never happened (to me) I was worried that someone would complain that the tape-measure was missing from their package.

So... I started adding text to the bottom of the image that said ''Dime Not Included'' or ''Tape Measure Not Included''.

It's unlikely that I'll ever have the chance to find out, but it's very easy for me to imagine a day when eBay would yank listings because the photo showed an item that was not included (or because it contained text letting the buyer know that accessories/props were not included.)

These things will NOT help to get rid of eBay's problems. (Unless, of course, we define ''eBay problems'' as ''rank-and-file small sellers''. And in that case, eBay's latest efforts MAY VERY WELL help to get rid of eBay's ''problems''.)

Perminate Link for Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements   Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements

by: nothingnew This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue May 7 10:02:43 2013

I dont care if the photos are big as a house! That is NOT what sells your items. When i first started online selling on ebay I had no camera first 6 months,sold just fine with no pics. Size does not matter in this case lol, what does matter is the desire of a buyer to buy, Unfortunately for many the desire has left the building on many items. I also hot an email on items i stopped trying to sell

Perminate Link for Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements   Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements

by: nothingnew This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue May 7 10:04:17 2013

cont. 2 months ago!

Perminate Link for Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements   Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 7 10:33:54 2013

@Rexford.  Amazon still ask for pictures when the picture already is there. Called, CSR stated they want your picture.

Perminate Link for Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements   Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements

by: Lois This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 7 10:38:30 2013

I have a real problem with the size requirement. When I sell signed jewelry, I take a real close-up view of the signage (which, of course, is miniscule, since it is on a little plaque on the bottom of a pin.) Of necessity, the picture, for maximum clarity, is smaller than 500 by 500. It is an essential component of the description, and is not ever the first, or even the second picture in the listing. How on earth do I handle this?

Perminate Link for Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements   Sellers Still Coping with eBay Photo Requirements

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Tue May 7 10:39:25 2013

Susan Avarello -
I have the same gripe. Looking for some items recently and I can't believe the number of photos (mostly stock photos) that just stay small.

I was trying to look for a certain feature & can tell you these tiny photos are costing sellers potential sales.

Not just eBay - many results on a google search have the same problem with images that are not large enough.  No wonder so many people have to go ''showrooming''.

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