EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2081 - July 16, 2009     0 of 5

eBay Considers More Changes to View Item Page

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It appears eBay may be going much further than its recent changes to the View Item Page. A small number of users were shown a radically-different redesign in which sellers would have little control over the look and feel of their product pages, including the placement of photos, and it could even mean the end of customized templates for sellers' product descriptions, at least for some sellers.

eBay conducted a survey of users, showing them versions of a new Item page and asking respondents for their feedback on the new design. The major change in the samples shown to survey participants was to the description area.

Currently sellers can format the description area themselves and can include any information about the item, about themselves, or their terms of sale, along with logos, photos and video. Many sellers use templates they've created themselves or have acquired from third-party services, and many make liberal use of the opportunity to format the area with various colors and sizes of fonts as well as images.

In two versions of a redesigned Item page shown recently to survey participants, eBay would place item detail information in standardized sections toward the top of the page including Overview, Item Condition, and Specifications and Details. Sellers would then have the option of adding customized sections below the standard sections, but the content would be limited to information about the item for sale; each section could only contain one photo or video in a predetermined size and placement. eBay would also limit the types of formatting to bold, italic, underline, unordered or ordered lists, basic tables, paragraph, break and anchor links, and it would prevent sellers from specifying font type, size or color.

The Item page design under consideration would also display the sellers' other active listings, and if they had an eBay Store, it would display their Store categories. Sellers could include one logo of a size determined by eBay, and it appears that eBay would ban active content from the page.

eBay has stated its desire to standardize listings in order to improve the buyer experience, and it has also worried about malware that can potentially be included in user-generated content. The new View Item page that eBay rolled out this year separates user-generated content from eBay content in order to "prevent users from submitting HTML that may interfere with how eBay works," but it signaled its intent to go further in the interest of site security.

Note that AuctionBytes is not privy to how many versions eBay was testing, or how far along in the development stage eBay is with an Item page redesign.

Read more on the AuctionBytes Blog

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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