Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu June 8 2017 21:41:11

Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay initiated launch sequence on its promised ban of Active Content. It announced the European-wide ban had commenced yesterday, warning sellers their descriptions might not be rendering correctly:

"On 7 June we stopped displaying active content in item descriptions for all EU sellers. Active content includes JavaScript, Flash, plug-ins and form actions.

"Check your listings on eBay.co.uk and eBay.ie now to see whether any of the contain active content. If any of your listings still contain active content, your item descriptions may not render correctly and this could have a negative impact your eBay sales."

To our surprise, we couldn't UK sellers discussing garbled or missing descriptions, only a couple of recent threads about the warning messages themselves.

We did notice that this month sellers have been struggling to deal with new templates Auctiva rolled out to be free of Active Content and mobile friendly.

eBay initiated the ban on Active Content a week after it began "disappearing" sellers' listings in a fit of what it called "Spring Cleaning." We've reported on the first reason: listings eBay considers to be stale - a new, unannounced practice that came as a shock to sellers. (And some are still unaware of the new practice.) eBay also announced it was deleting what it considered to be duplicate listings in violation of its policy (which isn't new).

Some sellers were concerned that these "disappeared" listings were actually deleted by eBay. In its weekly chat session yesterday, eBay said it is not "deleting" the listings it ends for being too old ("Listings ended due to no sales for 12+ months are available to sellers so that they can edit the listings to make improvements to them to increase the likelihood of sales"). 

But, it added, "Listings that are removed for policy violations may not be available to sellers, depending on the severity of the policy violation."

If you've experienced problems with eBay's "spring cleaning" or active content ban, let us know. Will eBay succeed in making its site safer and less cluttered, or will there be unintended consequences?




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear   Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Fri Jun 9 00:07:02 2017

I just was looking at some VHS tapes for potential resale, and came across a movie called ''The Lost World'' (an out of print early 90's film).

When I searched active listings on eBay by using ''Lost World VHS'' to get a price comparison, over 175 Jurassic Park- The Lost World VHS TAPES came up in search.

Amazing, because even in DVD format, this movie is available for next to nothing- on Amazon, for instance, it sells for around $2-$3 + shipping.

This is a prime example of why eBay needs to clean their house of STALE LISTINGS. Here is the epitome of what constitutes a basically worthless item, and there are 175 + of these listed!!

Conversely, there are many OOAK and rare items that are waiting for the right buyer to come along, and they do have value. But they just do not sell overnight.

Hopefully when eBay deletes the listings which are creating a drain on their system, they can somehow distinguish between an item which may someday sell, and one which has no chance of ever being worth any amount of money. Seems like it would be simple, based upon the amount of page views and / or watchers.

I understand everyone wants to ''strike it rich'' selling online, but really? And the outdated Jurassic Park movie is just one example. How much more PURE JUNK is offered on eBay?

So, yes, there is a need to thin the herd here. And hopefully they do not create ''unintended consequences'' (as Ina mentioned) by getting rid of items with true sales potential, even though they do not move quickly.

Perminate Link for Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear   Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear

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

Fri Jun 9 02:30:07 2017

I had some trouble with the Active-X warning on two different accounts for a few hours last Sunday, June 4. That had me scratching my head for a little while because I don't use ''Active content (including) JavaScript, Flash, plug-ins and form actions''.  There was a ''fix the problem link'' so I used that, examined my HTML, and discovered that eBay had a problem with my HTML when I anchored to self-hosted images on my site.  My links didn't specify a target and the system inserted target=''_blank'' and then I was good to go.  Not a major problem, I can change my templates easily enough, but unless that's a form action, I don't see the violation.  I only list once a week but I just checked an old draft and the system still doesn't like my self-hosted images in the description without the target designation.  Until I get my templates updated, I can use the ''fix the problem'' link, but I don't think this is an active content issue.  Substandard HTML, maybe.        

Perminate Link for Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear   Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Jun 9 06:51:59 2017

We have always had listings disappear, even when Active content was not an issue.  We no longer have any active content in our listings, but I have caught a lot of listings this week that simply disappeared. A few of them were listings that had photo pixel size issues so eBay's bots must be stuffing out those too.

Perminate Link for Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear   Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Jun 9 06:52:34 2017

I mean snuffing out those too.

Perminate Link for Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear   Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear

by: funkygrrl This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 9 08:41:18 2017

I know when I read buyer forums on Ebay that stale listings are a huge pet peeve with them.

Perminate Link for Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear   Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear

by: toyman This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 9 10:29:58 2017

I am still concerned about self-hosted listing being made invisible. I prefer to host all but 1-2 in my description. It will be a nightmare if they become invisible.

Perminate Link for Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear   Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear

by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 9 11:08:19 2017

I've been spending the last 2 months ending all my GTC listings - what's the point of having them? Seriously. Combine that with the email asking me to upgrade to an anchor store (joke) what's the point of that as well if ebay is so busy deleting "stale" items? How long do they think it takes to fill up an anchor store? It's like kindergarden. Doesn't anyone have a clue anymore? Now I pretty much just run an item for 3 times then move it to my website. Headed towards 3,000 unique items on the my own venue. Problem the way I see it is ebay buyers are like Jim Jones followers - that same item on my website is always $5-$10 more affordable - I send out a message with every package shipped. Sales are slow and the economy sucks. If ebay was smart they'd stop all this yanking of stale listings if they can't distinguish the truly unique items.

Perminate Link for Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear   Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear

by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 9 11:10:39 2017

Hey - when your listings are delisted - are they simply vanished from the face of the earth or can you still see them in your unsold listings?  

Perminate Link for Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear   Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear

This user has validated their user name. by: weber796

Fri Jun 9 13:18:52 2017

So what else is new with ebay. They keep changing rules and regulations like we change underwear. My listings disappeared  with the help of ebay. No buyers, no sellers. That is the trend that Ebay is going in that direction. Bye Bye ebay.

Perminate Link for Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear   Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Jun 9 13:57:33 2017

Whatever-- they simply vanish from  your listings. Poof! Nowhere to be found.  You might not even know that they are gone. They are not in one's unsolds and you have no way of knowing.

For those of you against "stale" listings--I've sold at least 10 high dollar "stale" listings this year.  What is stale to you obviously is not stale to someone looking for that item.  If eBay would stop hiding listings they would no become "stale".

Perminate Link for Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear   Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Fri Jun 9 19:03:07 2017

An anchor with no target or a blank one will open in the same window.  _blank or _new will force a new window.  A custom name will open a new window if a window with that name doesn't exist.

They blocked it because it took you away from eBay and they're too lazy to differentiate between a full website URL and an image.  _self would've done the same but probably passed their check.

Perminate Link for Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear   Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear

by: Saintsteven This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jun 9 22:46:15 2017

Rktoys: Yeah, I don't blame 'em for being afraid of me leading people off site, except for the part where you can still see my URL in the address bar when you view the image in the new window anyway.  I've never been nuts about them leading my browsers off the site with their ads either.  

Perminate Link for Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear   Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear

This user has validated their user name. by: eXtinctBay

Sat Jun 10 01:29:52 2017

I have always been a very vocal critic of eBay hiding listings from potential buyers. It seems unfair to sellers who put time and effort into placing an item for sale on the site.

But when worthless merchandise takes up space (like, for instance, VHS movies that have been released on DVD), I can understand why eBay has to draw the line.

These listings, for instance, are stale, since there is no chance there will be any interest in them. Ever. Period. And they clog up the site so unique items cannot be shown.

This may be the motive behind a structured data initiative- eBay could theoretically block all listings tied to a UPC code to make room for merchandise that is in demand. But, of course, not all items have barcodes, and this task would seem to be impossible.

Why is Costco so successful? Because they only place things on the sales floor that move. If something does not have a decent amount of sell-through, they do not offer it for sale for very long.

With all the technology available, hopefully eBay can PROPERLY determine which items need to be removed. And, as mentioned many times on ECB, duplicate listings, which most of come from Asia, need to go first. Not those with the one-of-a-kind and unique merchandise the site is known for.

Since Wenig touts eBay as a technology company, now is the time to use it for the benefit of all involved.

Perminate Link for Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear   Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear

by: smotty1 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jun 10 12:14:32 2017

Its not just the active content change in the UK, the front page of search is sometimes only showing 3 slider banners with items on, and sometimes 2 with a list of 25 items across the search category. Our listing impressions are down 53% and our sales are down.. guess what.. 53%.  Others on the forums are reporting sales are down more than this.  Its a joke.

Perminate Link for Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear   Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear

by: smotty1 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jun 10 12:16:42 2017

@eXtinctBay  if this is what they are doing, we have 100% sell through - usually as soon as we list stock it sells.. this new system has resulted so far in a massive drop in visibility.

Perminate Link for Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear   Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear

by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jun 10 14:20:21 2017

As XtinctBay said
''There are many OOAK and rare items that are waiting for the right buyer to come along, and they do have value. But they just do not sell overnight.''

I specialized in odd and difficult to find expensive IT items, but you can't do that anymore. They were hard to sell, but in demand for the right buyer.  But took time to sell.

Ebay is now worthless for non commodity items. As long as you are Chinese and want to sell 500 $1.99 cellphone car chargers a day you are fine. For the rest of us, you can't find our items.

Perminate Link for Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear   Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear

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

Sat Jun 10 15:02:04 2017

Unless Ebay reduces it's take rate and Final Values fees by at least 50%,
the ads won't make a bit of difference.
I saw one ad. It's horrible and irrelevant.
Ebay takes away TOO MUCH from the sellers for all their labor.
Excellent old items are missing from the landscape ONLY because of the buttinski rules Ebay burdens the sellers with. It's all anti- commerce.
I used to actually SELL unique excellent things on Ebay. Rule changes chased me away. I'm staying away. Unless Ebay finally "gets it", I'm never coming back. And I haven't bought anything on Ebay in a year because Ebay rules discourage the people with the good stuff from listing.

Perminate Link for Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear   Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sat Jun 10 16:16:06 2017

@ theend

"Ebay rules discourage the people with the good stuff from listing."

So you're saying that there is NOTNING good on eBay?

I would beg to differ as I think I have some WONDERFUL stuff listed at OUTSTANDING prices!

I'm sure I'm not alone. . .

Perminate Link for Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear   Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jun 10 19:49:29 2017

@tool -

I don't see where the quote you referenced states there is 'nothing good'.  Those are YOUR words.  ''Outstanding'' and ''wonderful'' are wholly subjective as well.

Are you attempting to declare by your 'begging' contraryness that eBay's rules (and resulting manipulations) do NOT discourage ephemera and OOAK item sellers from listing?

Because *I*, and tens upon tens of thousands of others can assure YOU that would be incorrect.  

Perminate Link for Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear   Why eBay Listings May Be Garbled or Disappear

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

Sat Jun 10 21:08:24 2017

Dear ToolGuy, Yes, I'm saying : compared to the hay days of Ebay (before your time) There is NOTHING good on Ebay anymore. All the sellers I did business with are GONE. They are alive but Not doing business on Ebay because Ebay's greed drove the sellers away.
For you to argue with me on this point is very telling....
Ebay SUCKS.

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