Replacing
Active Content

Active content will be disabled in all eBay listings starting in June, 2017. Take action now to give your customers the best buying experience.

Why Replace Active Content?

Active content such as JavaScript and Flash hinders mobile purchases, creates longer load times, and increases security vulnerabilities. To ensure the best shopping experience, it’s important to replace active content in your listings now—before it’s disabled in all listings across all devices starting in June, 2017.

  • June 2017
    Active content in all listings across all devices will be disabled. Use eBay tools or third-party partners to replace any active content in your listings.
  • In 2018
    The policy will extend to eBay Store pages.

What is active content?
Active content includes third-party applications like JavaScript, Flash, plug-ins, and form actions. Such applications can negatively affect the user experience by inhibiting purchasing, increasing page load times, and raising security vulnerabilities.

eBay will eventually phase out the ability to use active content in listings, so you should limit or eliminate its use in eBay listings and Stores as soon as possible. We also strongly suggest you don't invest in creating or augmenting a custom Store experience with active content since this capability will be retired at a later date.

Use this guide to help you remove active content or find a third- party resource to help manage it for you. Contact information for trusted partners who can help is listed below.

Active Content Preview Feature

You can see what your listing looks like with and without active content enabled. This new feature/check box is located at the top of the Description on your item page—it's the content in the red box below.

Active Content Preview

Advanced users and third-party partners can go to http://www.i-ways.net/mobile-friendly/en-us/ to find additional details as well as other recommendations to make the listing more mobile-friendly.

Alternatives to Using Active Content

This guide covers the most common cases where you might use active content in your listings. It also offers recommendations to replace active content. By removing active content, you will get the benefits of faster-loading listings that enhance viewing on mobile devices.

In some cases, you may find alternative features and options already built into the listing flow (seller tools, My eBay selling form, and APIs) or in the standard View Item page. In other cases, we provide example code to incorporate CSS/HTML for similar results without using active content.

Mobile devices
While active content is relevant for listings on mobile devices, it doesn't improve listings for viewing on mobile devices. For more information on customizing listings for the best mobile viewing experience, see the following guides:

How-to Guides

Cross Merchandising

When you cross-promote related items, you may have used active content to display product thumbnails with links to live eBay listings, as shown below.

Cross Merchandise Example

For sellers with an eBay Store subscription
We recommend using Promotions Manager to merchandise relevant items. See the Grow Your Business seller page for more information on Promotions Manager. An example of how a promotion appears on your View Item page is below, just above the product image.

Cross Merchandise Example eBay Store

Since your items compete against other sellers' items on eBay, promotions help yours stand out. They also drive traffic to your Store, where shoppers see more of your relevant inventory. That helps you sell more per visit. APIs for third-party partners will be coming later this fall. We're also exploring non-discounted events as another merchandising lever. Stay tuned on this. There's more to come in early 2017.

Implementing Newsletters, Coupons, and Discounts

Newsletters, product coupons, discounts, and sales events can be effective tools for attracting and keeping buyers. Here are tips to make them more effective.

Note: To be eligible to use Promotions Manager, you must have an active eBay Store with a Store subscription. See the Grow Your Business seller page for more information on Promotions Manager.

Implementing eBay Store Search

You can let shoppers easily search your eBay Store by including a search box in your item description section. Simply enable the listing frame feature. For more information see the Customizing your store's appearance help topic. You can see an example of an embedded search bar below.

Example: eBay Store Search

The listing frame feature not only allows Store searching, it lets you offer category links, newsletter subscriptions, and lets you display your Store logo. We also plan to refresh the listing frame feature in early 2017.

Creating Tabbed Panes in Listings

You can create the most complete and optimal listings across all devices when you use the standard eBay listing fields instead of creating tabs of information. Just type in the information in the corresponding fields: acceptable payment methods, shipping options, return policies, and item specifics. But try to avoid repeating information already in the standard eBay listing fields. It helps to think about the buyer experience before adding a tab. Buyer testing has confirmed that tabs get less than a 3% open rate, so try to avoid doing this:

Example 1: Tabbed Panes

If you still have reason to create custom tabbed panes, create them by using only HTML and CSS. Below you'll find an example code to create a four-tabbed pane. You can cut and paste this code into the item description when you list.

<! -- HTML code -->

<main>
  <input id="tab1" type="radio" name="tabs" checked>
  <label for="tab1">Tab 1</label>
  <input id="tab2" type="radio" name="tabs">
  <label for="tab2">Tab 2</label>
  <input id="tab3" type="radio" name="tabs">
  <label for="tab3">Tab 3</label>
  <input id="tab4" type="radio" name="tabs">
  <label for="tab4">Tab 4</label>
  <section id="content1">
	Tab 1 Content
  </section>
  <section id="content2">
	Tab 2 Content
  </section>
  <section id="content3">
	Tab 3 Content
  </section>
  <section id="content4">
	Tab 4 Content
  </section>
</main>


<! -- CSS code -->

main {
  min-width: 320px;
  max-width: 400px;
  padding: 50px;
  margin: 0 auto;
  background: #fff;
}
section {
  display: none;
  padding: 20px 0 0;
  border-top: 1px solid #ddd;
}
input {
  display: none;
}

label {
  display: inline-block;
  margin: 0 0 -1px;
  padding: 15px 25px;
  font-weight: 600;
  text-align: center;
  color: #bbb;
  border: 1px solid transparent;
}

label:hover {
  color: #888;
  cursor: pointer;
}

input:checked + label {
  color: #555;
  border: 1px solid #ddd;
  border-top: 2px solid orange;
  border-bottom: 1px solid #fff;
}

#tab1:checked ~ #content1,
#tab2:checked ~ #content2,
#tab3:checked ~ #content3,
#tab4:checked ~ #content4 {
  display: block;
}

@media screen and (max-width: 650px) {
  label {
	font-size: 0;
  }
  label:before {
	margin: 0;
	font-size: 18px;
  }
}

@media screen and (max-width: 400px) {
  label {
	padding: 15px;
  }
}

The result of this HTML and CSS is the tabbed pane shown below. The name of each tab label can be configured by editing the text between the <label> tags. So, instead of <label for="tab1">Tab 1</label>, you might have <label for="tab1">Description</label>. The content under each tab is input between the <section> tags. The tab dimensions, text font size, colors, behavior, and other look-and-feel elements are controlled through the CSS.

Example 2: Tabbed Panes

Creating Image Galleries

Offering a robust picture gallery in your listing can also improve the user experience, especially on mobile devices. You can include up to 12 photos in your listings for free using the image gallery feature (24 in eBay Motors listings.) More images can help conversions. Plus, buyers can zoom in on gallery photos—another helpful feature to encourage conversion.

Example 1: Image Gallery

Here's an example of a mobile image gallery:

Example 2: Image Gallery - Mobile view

Avoid creating your own gallery in a listing
If you create your own in-listing gallery, like the one shown to the right, buyers on mobile devices will not be able to see them. Since more than 50% of shoppers use mobile, that puts you at a disadvantage. Plus, your pages take longer to load with custom gallery images.

Example 3: Custom Image Gallery

While not recommended, you may need to create your own image carousel in your listing by adding HTML and CSS to your item description. Below is one example of how HTML and CSS code can be used to create an image carousel.

<!-- HTML Code -->

<header>
<div><img src="http://ir.ebaystatic.com/pictures/aw/pics/s.gif" alt></div>
<div><img src="http://ir.ebaystatic.com/pictures/aw/pics/s.gif" alt></div>
<div><img src="http://ir.ebaystatic.com/pictures/aw/pics/s.gif" alt></div>
<div><img src="http://ir.ebaystatic.com/pictures/aw/pics/s.gif" alt></div>
<div><img src="http://ir.ebaystatic.com/pictures/aw/pics/s.gif" alt></div>
</header>

<!-- CSS -->

body { margin: 0; background: #333; }
header {
  padding: .5rem;
  font-size: 0;
  display: -ms-flexbox;
  -ms-flex-wrap: wrap;
  -ms-flex-direction: column;
  -webkit-flex-flow: row wrap;
  flex-flow: row wrap;
  display: -webkit-box;
  display: flex;
}
header div {
  -webkit-box-flex: auto;
  -ms-flex: auto;
  flex: auto;
  margin: .5rem;

}
header div img {
  width: 100%;
  height: auto;
  border: 1px solid #fff;
}
@media screen and (max-width: 400px) {
  header div { margin: 0; }
  header { padding: 0; }

}

When you copy and paste this code into your item description, you'll get something similar to the image below. You'll need to include the actual paths to the image files between the <div> tags above, however.

Example 4: Custom Image Gallery

While we discourage custom image galleries, it can make sense for adding contextual photos and content to tell a specific story. But you should also include the images by using the eBay image gallery built into your listing template.

Including a Product Video

You can include videos in your listing using the HTML code below. While some video hosting sites do not fully support HTML5, we're working with popular sites to provide a solution in early 2017. Before you post a video, make sure you understand the eBay Links policy for more information on restrictions/requirements for videos in listings.

Here's some code to embed a video in your listing:

	<video width="320" height="240">
	  <source src="movie.mp4" type="video/mp4">
	  <p>Here is a video of the product</p>
	</video>

Unless you follow the guidelines above, you should avoid embedding product videos in your listings like this one.

Example: Product Video

Specifying Freight Shipping Rates

Our suggested best practice is to provide flat rate freight shipping charges which presents a clear value proposition for the buyer during search as well as view item. Later this year, we will also provide a provision for sellers to offer regional flat freight shipping charges. If you cannot offer flat rate pricing, use the regular freight option wherein buyers will reach out to you for obtaining a quote or for arranging shipping on their own.

Implementing Tracking/Analytics

If you use eBay Seller Hub, it's no longer necessary to embed JavaScript code to track listings and analytics. Get more information on the Seller Hub at this help topic link: Growing your business. Seller Hub-related APIs are now available.

Specifying Parts Compatibility

If you sell motor vehicle parts, the Parts Compatibility feature generally does a great job of matching up parts to compatible vehicles. You can find this feature in the listing flow and API area. However, if you discover that the feature generates incomplete or slightly inaccurate information, you can embed a simple HTML table to give the complete list of compatible vehicles. For more information, see this help topic link: Parts Compatibility.

Implementing Responsive Design

Your listings can be optimized with responsive design to control width and user-friendly design on various devices and browsers. Using HTML and CSS in the item description, you can detect the browser or device type and serve up content that's easier to consume.

<!-- HTML code -->

<div id="pagewrap">

  <header>
	<h1>3 Column Responsive Layout</h1>
  </header>

  <section id="content">
	<h2>Column 1</h2>
  </section>

  <section id="middle">
	<h2>Column 2</h2>

  </section>

  <aside id="sidebar">
	<h2>Column 3</h2>

  </aside>

  <footer>
	<h4>Footer</h4>
	<p>Footer text</p>
  </footer>

</div>


<!-- CSS -->

#pagewrap {
  padding: 5px;
  width: 960px;
  margin: 20px auto;
}

header {
  height: 100px;
  padding: 0 15px;
}

#content {
  width: 290px;
  float: left;
  padding: 5px 15px;
}

#middle {
  width: 294px;
  float: left;
  padding: 5px 15px;
  margin: 0px 5px 5px 5px;
}

#sidebar {
  width: 270px;
  padding: 5px 15px;
  float: left;
}

footer {
  clear: both;
  padding: 0 15px;
}


/************************************************************************************
MEDIA QUERIES
*************************************************************************************/


/* for 980px or less */

@media screen and (max-width: 980px) {
  #pagewrap {
	width: 94%;
  }
  #content {
	width: 41%;
	padding: 1% 4%;
  }
  #middle {
	width: 41%;
	padding: 1% 4%;
	margin: 0px 0px 5px 5px;
	float: right;
  }
  #sidebar {
	clear: both;
	padding: 1% 4%;
	width: auto;
	float: none;
  }
  header,
  footer {
	padding: 1% 4%;
  }
}


/* for 700px or less */

@media screen and (max-width: 600px) {
  #content {
	width: auto;
	float: none;
  }
  #middle {
	width: auto;
	float: none;
	margin-left: 0px;
  }
  #sidebar {
	width: auto;
	float: none;
  }
}


/* for 480px or less */

@media screen and (max-width: 480px) {
  header {
	height: auto;
  }
  h1 {
	font-size: 2em;
  }
  #sidebar {
	display: none;
  }
}

#content {
  background: #f8f8f8;
}

#sidebar {
  background: #f0efef;
}

header,
#content,
#middle,
#sidebar {
  margin-bottom: 5px;
}

#pagewrap,
header,
#content,
#middle,
#sidebar,
footer {
  border: solid 1px #ccc;
}

If you use this code, here's what you'll see. As you can see in the 'Media Queries' section, column width, font size, and other page attributes are adjusted based on the size of the screen that is rendering the page.

Example: Responsive Design

For more information on best practices for media queries, you may find the following sites helpful:

Using Page Visit Counters

Using visit counters on your listing is a good idea, especially if you rely on page-view hits. Here's an example of what this feature looks like:

Example: Page Visit Counters

Items That Should Not Be Embedded in Listing Descriptions

The item description is one of the most important parts of your listing because the basic information helps buyers complete the transaction. You should avoid information not directly related to the product in the item description. The following are some examples of unrelated information. If you are using active content to display this information you should discontinue its use:

  • Embedded buyer feedback:
    Example: Embedded buyer feedback
  • You don't need to embed buyer feedback since it's easily accessible from the seller information box on your listing. Buyers simply need to click on the seller's feedback score and the following feedback profile page will load:
    Example: Feedback Profile
  • Other examples of unrelated content that should not be included:
    • Currency conversion widgets: It's no longer necessary to include this feature. eBay will perform currency conversion for buyers and sellers when necessary.
    • Social sharing icons: Social media site links in listings are not allowed. See eBay's Links policy document for more information. Fortunately, eBay already has Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest sharing icons at the top of all eBay listings.
    • iframes: iframes are also not allowed in accordance with the eBay HTML and JavaScript policy.
      <!DOCTYPE html> will be added by eBay to the description document so that browser knows what type of document to expect.
    • The following HTML4 elements have been removed in HTML5. So please do not use them.

      Removed Element Use Instead
      <acronym> <abbr>
      <applet> <object>
      <basefont> CSS
      <big> CSS
      <center> CSS
      <dir> <ul>
      <font> CSS
      <frame>  
      <frameset>  
      <noframes>  
      <strike> CSS, <s>, or <del>
      <tt> CSS

Need Help Managing Active Content?

Several companies have partnered with eBay to help sellers design and manage their businesses and remain compliant with active content best practices.

Service Provider Pricing & Sales Contact Primary Offering
Frooition frooition.com

Remove existing active content $149 and up

New active content designs $3.50/month and up

Sales: sales@froo.com

  • Removal of Active Content from existing eBay listings
  • Pre-designed Active Content compliant templates
  • Active Content compliant cross- promotion scroller
Channel Advisor channeladvisor.com

Annual Subscriptions
Custom pricing

Sales: support@channeladvisor.com

  • All default options for sellers have the best practices for mobile adaptive content and omit any active content that will be restricted.
Inkfrog inkfrog.com

Free plans available
Paid plans from 11/month

Sales: open@inkfrog.com

  • Immediately convert listings to non-active-content with software that can manually run and deactivate active content on listings.
  • Non-active-content template builder that can be used to replace old listing templates with an updated, compliant one.
Sellbrite sellbrite.com

$200 and up

Sales: hello@sellbrite.com
888-411-4117

  • We offer a drag-and-drop template builder that is 100% compliant with eBay's active content policy, including mobile
  • Ability to bulk update all existing listings at once or create new listings.
Suredone suredone.com

$299 and up

Sales: hello@suredone.com
877-773-6755

  • Default templates are active content free
SellerActive selleractive.com

$299/month and up

Sales: Kevin Thomson
503-821-2867

  • Default templates are active content free
Crazylister crazylister.com

Free Trial
Starting from $9/month

Sales: contact@crazylister.com

  • Bulk revise - Apply a compliant template on 1000's listings, in seconds
  • Active content compliant cross-sell gallery
  • 100% Mobile friendly - World's only Mobile Listings Editor
Maker Inc. maker.me/integrations/ebay

$499/month and up

Sales: sales@maker.me
415-287-7777

  • No code needed. Easy drag and drop, design- your-own layouts.
  • One-Click Post to Ebay: Catalog sync with your eBay stores.

There are also many more providers that are active content compliant – please view some of them here or just ask your provider if they are compliant with eBay’s active content change.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will eBay support externally-hosted CSS?
We allow links to external CSS, however, if the external CSS contains any script tags or active content, it would get blocked. For page performance reasons, we do not recommend externally-hosted CSS.
Will I still be able to brand/personalize my Store/listing?
You can still brand and customize your storefront and listings, but you'll have to do so without active content. You can get many of the same branding elements by using HTML and CSS.
What kind of active content will be blocked?
JavaScript, Flash, Plug-ins, and form actions will be blocked.
Will eBay Stores be affected by this change?
Yes, we will restrict active content for Stores and listings in 2017. You can find more specific guidelines in the 2016 Fall Seller Update.
Will links to YouTube videos in listings and Stores be allowed?
Currently, links to YouTube and other externally hosted video sites are not allowed. We are working on a solution though the timing on this is yet to be determined.
Will eBay provide guidance on what HTML is supported or allowed?
Yes, we will publish guidelines for creating content for your item description. For certain functions, we will share code and in other cases, we will recommend using certain features.
When can we expect more details?
In the 2016 Fall Seller Update, you'll find the launch schedules of specific product features so you're aware of the impact ahead of time. This guide will also be periodically updated with additional resources and details.
Will there be exceptions for using active content in item descriptions?
No, there will be no exceptions. You can get more information on the timing of restrictions with the 2017 Spring Seller Update.
Are links allowed in item description?

If links are used target="_blank" attribute should be added to the link. This allows sandboxed document to spawn new windows without forcing the sandboxing flags upon them.

Example: <a href="url" target="_blank">link text</a>

What is changing with Apple security?
Apple provides a security feature called App Transport Security (ATS) to all iOS apps and app extensions. ATS is enabled by default and ensures all HTTPS connections use industry recommended standards.
How does this affect my listings?
If you have customized item description or other content that includes images, links, and other URLs that are not hosted by eBay and the hosting sites are not ATS compliant, these images and links will not work as expected on devices and applications that meet the latest industry security standards.
What do I do if my listings are affected?
If your item description contains content at a non-compliant ATS domain, you can remove the content hosted by the non-compliant domain or move them to an ATS-compliant domain.
How do I know if a hosting domain is ATS compliant?
Use Qualys SSL test at https://www.ssllabs.com/ssltest/