Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Aug 4 2016 13:39:34

eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay has been warning sellers about its upcoming ban on active content that it announced 4 months ago, and we are getting questions from readers about what it means and how it will impact them.

The decision is a long time coming. Allowing sellers to embed active content inside listings on eBay's website left it vulnerable to exploitation by bad characters. On the other hand, it allows sellers to include useful features, such as scrolling galleries to help cross-merchandise and boost sales, which is the reason eBay has waited so long to make the decision. (eBay had told developers in June 2008 that it planned to ban active content, then reversed that decision 8 months later.)

Active content includes JavaScript, Flash, plug-ins and form actions. The good news: you can still use HTML in your listings! 

Here are a couple of things eBay sellers should know:

- The ban will take effect next year, first limiting active content on new listings, then completely blocking active content on all listings including Good Til Cancelled listings as well as eBay Store pages.

- You can expect more information from eBay about the coming ban in the Fall Seller Release at the end August - this will include information on how to be compliant when embedding video in listings.

The third-party developers with whom I've spoken who work with eBay assure me that their tools will be compliant. But if you use active content directly or through certain templates or through fringe developers, you'll want to make sure you're listings will be compliant.

eBay has put together a guide of best practices

We'd like to know what questions you have about eBay's upcoming ban on active content, and how confident you are about whether your listings will comply.




Comments (20) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please   eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please

by: Randy This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 4 13:46:59 2016

This is a good move since more and more sales are by mobile and active content does not show up well on most smart phones.

Perminate Link for eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please   eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please

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

Thu Aug 4 15:55:16 2016

Ebay needs to be clearer what 'active content' means.  Even as a programmer,I have no idea what this encompasses. My pages have a static link to another web page strictly for the purpose of displaying more images. However, this too, is active content in the eyes of ebay. In my category, we have 100's of pictures sometimes.  To have them load all at once is a bottleneck performance-wise for the buyer.  So I break them down to 100 per page. However, ebay will block static links as well. i think the term active content is very vague. Need a better term.

Perminate Link for eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please   eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Thu Aug 4 18:47:31 2016

Just another step on the path to cramming us all into a nondescript catalog entry just like Amazon.

Perminate Link for eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please   eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please

by: Trying-My-Best This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 4 22:46:59 2016

eBay should have banned this a long time ago.  
.


Perminate Link for eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please   eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please

by: puppy This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 5 00:19:09 2016

Do the scrolling promotion boxes at the top of the old version of ebay store home pages qualify as "active content" that will soon be banned? Does anyone know? I tend to think they must be included in this.

Perminate Link for eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please   eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Fri Aug 5 00:37:53 2016

I happen to like 'active content.' Why? I sell luxury goods and the scrolling gallery is a visual cue that I am not selling fake Louis Vuitton handbags along with a stream of $10 items. Reputable sellers need all the help they can get. Of course, eBay is dead set on taking away seller selected tools.  

Perminate Link for eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please   eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please

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

Fri Aug 5 00:43:30 2016

What a sore subject this is. I've seen quite a few ebay exploits over the years all based on allowing 'active' content of some form usually resulting in the presentation of a fake login form appearing to come from ebay.

It was a couple of years ago I'd emailed this site regarding a known listing containing malicious code. Ebay had left the listing up nearly a month despite being notified and the CSR commenting ''wow... we'll take care of that right away''...

There is not, nor has there ever been, a legitimate reason for ANY content other than sanitized ascii ( A-Za-z0-9 and some dashes and dots ) to be allowing on the site. Each and every carousel, or embedded widget could EASILY be controlled by ebay to ensure it's safety. It's embarrassing that a tech company continued like this.

It's 2016 - most 'useful' widgets are already built - seller's 'other' product carousels, more images, vides, etc. but none are provided as an option. It's not like the jscript for a carousel really takes up that much bandwidth and a video, while it might have been an issue 10 years ago, isn't such a big deal these days.

Speaking of video it's the #1 widget that improves sales - at least for items that could use a 'demonstration' like used electronics.

Embedding a Youtube video helped me get a lot more money for lots of used electronics that might have taken much longer to sell - it's nice to let the customer see the display works, the knobs turn and aren't noisy, and all the features work. I'm guessing that's going to be 'punted' as well.

Whatever... it's late - I'm tired -- and ebay trashing isn't as fun as it used to be.

G'night.

Perminate Link for eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please   eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please

by: tb This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 5 02:15:51 2016

We use Youtube videos in almost all of our listings. Read the "Best Practices". It says in Spring 2017, they'll strip out the video. But if you read further down under the video section, it says they WILL support Youtube video, but haven't figured out how to support it yet and will lets us know in Fall 2016.

More things to constantly change.

Perminate Link for eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please   eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please

by: KE6HTS This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 5 02:17:51 2016

Banning active content may well be a good move for eBay. But is also is a great demonstration of their inability to deal with problems preferring to force those eBay limitations on site users.

Perminate Link for eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please   eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 5 04:31:09 2016

Just another step on the path to cramming us all into a nondescript catalog entry just like Amazon.
^^
Not really.  I can understand the ban on those software programs because they can be hacked and cause viruses.  Plus, not every browser supports Java, Flash, etc.

Perminate Link for eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please   eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please

by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 5 09:05:10 2016

I do not like ads that are overloaded with tons of unnecessary movement and music. But, I can see the need for a video for some items.  I also use the scrolling photos on my home page.
I use inkfrog, I am hoping my ads do not disappear!
But, since we probably won't know what will actually happen until it does, I guess I won't worry about it.  

Perminate Link for eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please   eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 5 10:28:52 2016

Glad that ebay is getting rid of the junkie dancing, swinging, twirling, spinning junk.

Its a distraction that most of us can do without.

Perminate Link for eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please   eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Fri Aug 5 12:08:36 2016

WOW ! HOLY COW ! !
In just about Every category,
ETSY has at least 4 TIMES MORE LISTINGS THAN Ebay ! ! !

Perminate Link for eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please   eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Aug 5 14:26:54 2016

FeelingFroggy, how is that any different that all of the advertising that pollutes eBay?  At least the active content doesn't send buyers off site like the ads do.

Perminate Link for eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please   eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sat Aug 6 00:13:03 2016

@ The End

Lamp shades

Etsy 12,000
eBay 73,000

Pet Bedding

Etsy 12,000
eBay 90,000

It's hard to find matching categories but when I do ebay has 6x as many as Etsy.

Can you show me some of your 4 to 1 categories?

Perminate Link for eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please   eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please

by: Scotty This user has validated their user name.

Sat Aug 6 09:44:55 2016

This will make room for more competitors ads on my listings....

Perminate Link for eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please   eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Sat Aug 6 15:39:18 2016

"Not really.  I can understand the ban on those software programs because they can be hacked and cause viruses.  Plus, not every browser supports Java, Flash, etc."

Yes really.  The lack of features on a mobile browser is not carte blanche to strip those features from desktop browsers.  Also, they're taking away JavaScript too, which certainly _is_ supported by every browser.  That wrecks every interactive feature that isn't part of eBay's listing boilerplate.  When they finally put the lid on the pot by taking away HTML 6 months later, it'll be too late for you to go "oh no, I think maybe we're being boiled!"

"boo hoo, I can't work Flash on my phone so nobody anywhere should have it!"

What if your browser doesn't support eBay's JavaScript widgets?  Will somebody cry for them and get those taken away from everybody too?  Actually, some people still use dialup or text-based browsers, so why not have them take away pictures while they're at it.  It's all fun and games taking away from others until _you_ lose something, isn't it?

Perminate Link for eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please   eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please

by: Scotty This user has validated their user name.

Sat Aug 6 19:22:07 2016

''When they finally put the lid on the pot by taking away HTML 6 months later, it'll be too late for you to go ''oh no, I think maybe we're being boiled!''
.....that says it all as that is exactly what is going to happen.

Perminate Link for eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please   eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please

by: thebobman This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 9 01:42:39 2016

When did they start *allowing* active content? I think back in about 2007 I wanted to put some simple javascript or something and at the time it wasn't allowed.

Javascript and flash are overused and would prefer less over more (ever view one of those slideshow websites with 200 ads and the browser freezes and get those unresponsive script errors?)

HTML works fine for me, I can put inline images, tables and formatting. I have no desire to subject buyers to "widgets"

Perminate Link for eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please   eBay to Ban Active Content, Your Questions Please

by: Mongoose This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 10 17:05:09 2016

The real question is will ebay ban active content in the ads they run on sellers listings.  



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