Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sat Sept 23 2017 23:34:05

Shipscript Helps Sellers Dealing with eBay Warning Emails

By: Ina Steiner

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This month we've been reporting on the emails eBay has been sending to sellers warning them to remove contact information and links from their listings. There's a lot of confusion and concern, and sellers have until mid-October to bring their listings into compliance.

We turned to a third-party developer who was helpful when sellers were similarly concerned about eBay's ban on Active Content earlier this year.

The developer behind Shipscript, who prefers to be called Ship, is not an eBay employee and has been creating eBay tools for the past 15 years. You can visit Shipscript’s eBay Tools section of the ISDNtek.com website to learn more.

Ship said there were a few reasons for the confusion - one is that eBay's warning letters said the seller's listings contained contact information - "Of course, my listings don't contain contact info, so they must mean something else, and we determined they mean offsite links." 

"To add to the confusion, eBay's Seller Hub tool may provide guidance that differs from their Description Checker." Ship provided an example of that scenario along with some advice on how to deal with it:


As an example: The guidance in Seller Hub has identified 4 of my listings with "Contact info" of type "Link". I opened one of those listings with eBay's Description Checker and there are three tabs: Mobile Friendly, Active Content, and Non-Compliant Links.  

The "non-compliant link" tool is looking for target="_blank" and will fix that issue. But that is not the only issue with the link in my listing. 

The link is also non-compliant because it points to my website, but the Description Checker does not report that. So when I let the Description Checker fix the target in my link, the Seller Hub is still reporting a "Contact info" problem of type "Link" because my off-site link is still there. And that has sellers perplexed.

I think the best solution for perplexed sellers is to open the listing within my Sandbox tool and let that tool tell them what is wrong. The "Markup" tab on that tool will highlight and color-code the exact phrase within the HTML that requires attention. 

The tool will not locate real contact info because it assumes the seller knows whether or not they put their own phone number or email address in the listing. 


But that's not the end of the saga, according to Ship, who says it's amazing what gets into listings that sellers don't realize, and points to third-party providers as one of the biggest source of external links that sellers will have to remove.

"In many cases, the links are within widgets that the providers plan to update, so some sellers can relax if their providers are updating for them." 

However, many sellers stop using third-party services but continue to use "sell similar" to relist, meaning the code can live on in their listings. Ship even pointed to old PayPal logos as causing problems! Ship advises sellers to get rid of the entire block of PayPal code if they had added it before the split from eBay.

And then there are what Ship calls, "the bizarre issues." Believe it or not, browsers and Microsoft apps such as Word can interpret 10-digit part numbers as a phone number.

"MS Office tools are so full of setup codes that look like Active Content and Contact info that I usually advise those sellers to write their text in Notepad or Wordpad and then use eBay's editor to style the text, making it ten times cleaner and eBay-compliant as well," Ship said.

"Because these advanced editing tools can make other types of clickable links, we are now warning sellers with clever browsers to pay attention to what they type and stay alert to their tools playing tricks on them. I think we all have experience with typing something where a blue underline automatically appears."

Then there are the listings where it appears there are no fixes - in those cases, Ship recommends sellers contact eBay Customer Support to report the issue. "The support team should be able to see what triggered the alert and notify the team in charge of the filters, although many sellers are reporting back that they have been told to move part numbers out of their titles. I think those sellers may have misunderstood, or CS may not have been clear, as I don't think sellers need to change their titles."
 
Ship recommended sellers post problems related to the contact info/links issues on eBay's Active Content Forum if they need help getting pointed in the right direction.

It is also worth noting some advice that eBay's "Griff" offered sellers this week: he advised those with questions about links in their listings go to "Revise Item" and scroll down and click on HTML view and look through it for code that might have been added by third-party services. 

We'd add that it would be prudent to back up listings before doing any tweaking.




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Perminate Link for Shipscript Helps Sellers Dealing with eBay Warning Emails   Shipscript Helps Sellers Dealing with eBay Warning Emails

by: Saintsteven This user has validated their user name.
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Sun Sep 24 00:54:33 2017

Damn shame.  On one ID I sell used record albums with links (hosted on my site) to samples of each track on the albums, eliminating potential buyers needing to trust my grading since they can listen and judge for themselves whether my wares are up to their standards.  Using the Ship tool, it would appear that soon I can't do that.  Disservice to ''their'' buyers.

Perminate Link for Shipscript Helps Sellers Dealing with eBay Warning Emails   Shipscript Helps Sellers Dealing with eBay Warning Emails

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 24 14:23:59 2017

Given the proclivity of eBay to hair-trigger their missles before aiming, with attendant undeserved and potentially fatal consequence, It would seem reasonable to expect that the bot that hit the alleged non-compliant code could - at a minimum - also be programmed to highlight it.  

Instead, their weaponized paranoia is exceeded only by their complete disregard for anything resembling 'service', unless that simple clarifying thought never occurred to them.  Even money on that.

Or maybe they own a piece of 'Shipscript'?  Talk about manufactured monitizing.  

Of course, it would probably be TOO much to expect that such a highlighted listing then be scrutinized by a competent and empowered human (with little else to do than 'colorize' and 'enhance' everything), so to check-fire when appropriate, and at least ATTEMPT to minimize the collateral damage that's become another of their notorious hallmarks.  'Least a ''partner'' can do, no?

Alas, yer on yer own, kids.  Duck and cover.  

Perminate Link for Shipscript Helps Sellers Dealing with eBay Warning Emails   Shipscript Helps Sellers Dealing with eBay Warning Emails

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

Sun Sep 24 20:08:27 2017

In my Dreams :
"Next month, we'll be covering the final comments and closing of Ebay".
"We'll also introduce a Brand New Auction and Selling venue that's got everyone rushing to experience this fantastic new company.".

Perminate Link for Shipscript Helps Sellers Dealing with eBay Warning Emails   Shipscript Helps Sellers Dealing with eBay Warning Emails

by: Mongoose This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 24 21:01:27 2017

Saintsteven, you can cheat the system, for now, by including the link in an answer to an asked question. Just create another ebay account, and ask the original account a question on each listing. Then post the answer with the link.  Is it a pain and time consuming? Of course, but if those sample cuts help your sales you may have to do it.

Perminate Link for Shipscript Helps Sellers Dealing with eBay Warning Emails   Shipscript Helps Sellers Dealing with eBay Warning Emails

by: a_c_green This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 25 10:26:36 2017

> ''MS Office tools are so full of setup codes that look like
> Active Content and Contact info that I usually advise those
> sellers to write their text in Notepad or Wordpad and then
> use eBay's editor to style the text, making it ten times cleaner
> and eBay-compliant as well,'' Ship said.

Hear, hear. Some sellers seem to think that buyers want to purchase their typography instead of their product. It's much more helpful to the buyer, especially on slow connections, mobile platforms or whatever, to observe the Keep It Simple, Stupid rule: just list clear photos and a clear description in a clear typeface. You don't need flowery borders, pink-on-purple text and scrolling animation to sell me your product; you just need to show it to me in a format that lets me learn about it and see it as quickly and clearly as possible. This is not difficult.

Perminate Link for Shipscript Helps Sellers Dealing with eBay Warning Emails   Shipscript Helps Sellers Dealing with eBay Warning Emails

by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 25 10:40:33 2017

Here's what I do - I simply ignore them - their computer generated and often insane. Ebay will suspend me? go ahead - help me retire - please

Perminate Link for Shipscript Helps Sellers Dealing with eBay Warning Emails   Shipscript Helps Sellers Dealing with eBay Warning Emails

by: Saintsteven This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 25 14:12:52 2017

Mongoose, that's an interesting solution, and one of which I was unaware, so thank you.  A long time ago, eBay had a program named Category
Voices, a sort of category-specific focus group kind of thing.  I was a Voice in Media, one of a couple of record sellers.  Before they discontinued that, they made it abundantly obvious that they didn't know doodily about selling records.  I think what I WILL do, given the fact that record sales are somewhat of a sideline for me now, is move that stuff to another platform, probably Facebook.  It's easier to just openly link to my own site from there and there's a different kind of noise there-not so much about the rules.  And of course, I am registered at Discogs, as well as Bonanza, for that matter.  eBay is a terrible place to buy records anyway-I can't begin to count the number of people I know who have been burned there by rookie sellers.



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