From October 2017, with changes to several of eBay’s policy updates, UK sellers will no longer be able to insert external link URL’s into their product listings, whether they are clickable or not. Except in specific circumstances and to permitted domains.
Sellers will also no longer be able to share contact information in product descriptions, images or eBay shops, however contact details will continue to display under business details on the seller profile page.
I’ve written this post to explain why eBay are making these changes and what you need to know, in order to ensure your sales are not affected.
Why is eBay making these policy updates?
In a nutshell, eBay is wanting to create a more secure marketplace, and to improve the whole buying experience for its users:
- Marketplace Security
Listings that take users off eBay are no longer covered by a number of security standards eBay offers to protect buyers such as their money back guarantee program. Meaning buyers cannot be persuaded into making a purchase on an in-secure platform or for the purpose of fraud.
And from October, eBay will also begin using HTTPS URL’s for all listings, with the intention of moving all store pages to HTTPS in the near future. So if a listing contains a non-HTTPS link, eBay will begin to hide the product description behind a button, to ensure the user is not presented with a “not secured” message in their browser.
- Increase Conversion Rates
It is one of ecommerce’s highest best practice principles of never detracting the user from completing the purchase. Taking users away from the product page to an external site is one of the worst examples of disrupting a sale.
However, there can sometimes be a benefit, which is why the policy allows links to specific site for specific reasons, which I will cover further down in this post.
- eBay is Fairly Paid
eBay invests a lot of money in marketing activities and platform development. It is therefore understandable they are not wanting the transaction to be made off-site, so they are unable to collect their deserved fee for listing and promoting a product.
What are the exceptions to the links policy?
eBay is not disallowing links altogether. Sellers are still able to link to product videos, information on delivery and courier services and legally required information.
- Product Videos
Linking to product videos is allowed but you should either have full permission or ownership, and it must be hosted on an eBay approved site such as the ones below:
- Shipping / Delivery Information
When linking to shipping information, you can only link to one of eBay approved shipping courier service websites, which you can find here:
- Legally Required Information
They is no specific guidelines on this, however if your product does require specific legal information to be supplied then it is best to contact eBay’s customer support to get advice. That way you do not run the risk of having your products or account suspended.
How do you stay safe and compliant?
If you know you use external links and provide your contact information in your product listings, then DON’T PANIC. But you do need to start going through and updating all your listing to make sure you are compliant before October 2017, as after this date eBay will start issuing listing cancellation or even account suspension notices.
If you provide links in your listings for the reasons eBay accepts, what do you need to check in order to be compliant:
- Make sure they link to a URL using the HTTPS protocol – if you don’t your ‘Product Description’ will have limited visibility as mentioned above.
- Any external link requires a target attribute – the target attribute should be set to ‘_blank’, so when the user clicks, the new page opens in a new browser tab rather than opening in the same tab.
If you provide links that are not accepted by eBay:
- Remove all clickable links in your description
- Remove all links or business URL’s (including images) – even if they are not clickable
- Remove all social media links
eBay’s policy update also includes removing all contact information. It is important that any contact information, including phone numbers and email addresses are removed from your listings. eBay have also recently been suspending sellers (as well as buyers), who are responding to buyers questions when off-site deals are being discussed:
You can find out more about eBay’s updates and the reasons on for having a links policy here:
If you do find your listings are being remove, have been suspended or need more information about the policy update please get in touch – we are happy to help!