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Links in listings policy update

Email addresses and some links no longer permitted in listings
Too often, buyers are being directed off eBay to make purchases that are not protected by eBay Buyer Protection. Most everything buyers need to know about an item should be included right in the listing, without leaving eBay. Also, any communication outside of My Messages in My eBay cannot be used to protect buyers or sellers. To ensure this confidence-inspiring experience and keep buyers on eBay, email addresses and links to some websites will no longer be allowed in new listings and re-listings starting October 1.

Highlights

  • An email address or link to a web site that does not help a buyer safely transact on eBay will no longer be allowed in listings.

  • Examples of information that is no longer allowed in listings (item description, payment or return instructions, etc.):
    • Email addresses (clickable and non-clickable)
    • Links that do not help buyers safely and efficiently transact on eBay:
      • Non-clickable links (e.g. www.mysite.com that does not hyperlink)
      • Shortened URLs (bit.ly, TinyURLs)
    • Other links that are currently prohibited under the existing Links policy

  • Instead of linking buyers off eBay, include the information in your listing when possible.

  • The updated policy will apply to new listings, revised listings, and re-listings. Good 'Til Cancelled listings will be required to comply in early 2012 but sellers are encouraged to update listings now. Advance notification will be provided.

  • Exceptions: Categories that will be allowed to include email addresses in listings:
    • Business & Industrial
    • Motors > Vehicles
    • Real Estate

Preview the updated policy for more information.

Take Action

  • Familiarize yourself with the types of links that will no longer be allowed. Get a preview of the updated policy.
  • Update your listing templates—remove email addresses and links to websites that do not specifically assist buyers with safely and efficiently transacting on eBay. Be sure to remove email addresses and prohibited links from payment and/or return instructions too.
  • Review tips & tools to edit listings to make editing your listings faster and easier.
  • If you use a Certified Provider to list on eBay, allow plenty of time to work with your provider before October 1 to ensure your listings will be fully compliant with this updated policy.

Best Practices

  • Include all information relevant to an item for sale within the listing itself.
  • Use My Messages to communicate with buyers and potential buyers. Communication between members should be kept on eBay. Messages sent using My Messages are tracked, which helps with dispute resolution. Learn more about sending attachments through My Messages.
  • Put your About Me page to work for you. Instead of linking buyers off eBay, you can link them to your page for information that may be common to some or all your listings.
  • Use eBay picture hosting services. Buyers will see your pictures in enhanced ways when you upload your pictures to eBay picture hosting services. They can enlarge, zoom and will even see an optimized version of your listing when using a mobile device. Remember, eBay Stores sellers can add up to 12 pictures per listing for free!
  • Convert all non-clickable links in your item description that are allowed per the Links policy to clickable links. To do so, use the HTML tab in your listing tool to insert the following anchor tag: <a href="link"> link </a>. Link, in both instances, should be replaced with the non-clickable url/link that is currently in your item description. Note: Payment instructions and return policy fields do not support HTML and therefore do not support links. Remove any urls/links you have in these fields.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s changing under the existing policy?
The current Links, logos, and video policy will be updated to reflect that email addresses, shortened URLs, non-clickable links and links to websites that do not help buyers transact safely and efficiently on eBay will no longer be allowed in listings. The updated policy goes into effect October 1 and enforcement begins that week. Enforcement will expand to more listings in the weeks following. If an email address or unapproved link is detected in a new, revised or relisted listing, it will have to be removed prior to submitting your listing. Sellers will not be required to update existing Good 'Till Cancelled listings until early 2012, but are encouraged to bring listings into compliance with the new policy now.

Preview the updated policy
Why is eBay changing this policy?
Too often, buyers are being directed off eBay to make purchases that are not protected by eBay Buyer Protection. By removing email addresses and links that eBay cannot track, we are reducing the risk that a buyer makes a purchase off eBay that is not covered by eBay Buyer Protection. Under the current policy, sellers have not always been aware of the rules and may have had a listing removed without knowing why. Under the new policy, in most cases sellers will be prevented from submitting listings containing elements that are in violation.
When will enforcement begin?
The updated policy goes into effect October 1 and enforcement begins that week. Enforcement will expand to more listings in the weeks following. To avoid any interruption in selling, especially during the holiday period, bring your listings and listing templates into compliance by October 1.
How does eBay define a "link"?
A link is any text or image (such as photos, logos, or icons) that takes a user off eBay. Non-clickable web sites are not allowed, and email addresses (clickable and non-clickable) are not allowed.
Why does a link have to be clickable, or hyperlinked?
Making links clickable allows eBay to track and better understand which links are being used by buyers and for what purpose.
How do I make an allowable link clickable?
You can convert non-clickable links to clickable links in your item description as long as they adhere to the Links policy. To convert non-clickable links to clickable links, use the HTML tab in your listing tool to insert the following anchor tag: <a href="link"> link </a>. Link, in both instances, should be replaced with the non-clickable url/link that is currently in your item description. Note: Payment instructions and return policy fields do not support HTML and therefore do not support links. Remove any urls/links you have in these fields.
Will revised listings be blocked as well starting October 1 if they contain an email address or prohibited link?
The updated policy goes into effect October 1 and will apply to revised listings. Enforcement begins the first week of October and will expand to more listings in the weeks following.
Can I link my listing to my own website?
Yes, provided your web-site helps a buyer safely transact on eBay and is not transactional, i.e. it does not provide opportunities to make a purchase or payment.
Can I link to pages that might have rotating ads for other ecommerce sites appearing on them?
Yes, you can link to such pages provided the primary purpose of the page is to help buyers transact safely and efficiently on eBay. Occasionally, pages like this may have rotating advertising which is, of course, outside the control of the seller. Please bear in mind that eBay continually reviews links on the site. If the primary purpose of a page changes over time, we reserve the right to block any link considered unsafe for our members.
What are some things I can do to be sure my listing follows the new policy?
We recommend that you do the following:
  • Include all relevant information about your item and terms of sale in the item description.
  • Use eBay picture services to host any images for your listing or item description.
  • Use My Messages to communicate with your buyer. All communications are tracked.
  • Link only to sites that are intended to help a buyer safely complete a transaction on eBay.
  • Leverage your About Me page and Stores pages to host information about you and your products that will be useful to buyers and help them make a quick purchase decision on eBay.
What happens if my listings don't follow this policy and I have a link or email address in my listing when the new policy becomes effective?
The updated policy goes into effect October 1 and enforcement begins that week. Enforcement will expand to more listings in the weeks following. If an email address or prohibited link is included in a new, revised, or relisted listing, it will have to be removed before the listing can be submitted. Sellers will not be required to update existing Good 'Til Cancelled listings until early 2012, but are encouraged to bring listings into compliance with the new policy now.
How can I revise my listings in bulk to remove links and/or email addresses?
If you use a Certified Provider to list on eBay, work with them to ensure that your listings are compliant with this policy. If you use listing templates that include email addresses or links off eBay that will be prohibited, you’ll need to edit your templates to remove this information from all your listings. Get tips & tools to edit listings.
Can I link to FAQ, Terms and Conditions, or Warranty information?
Yes, provided the page is not transactional, i.e. it does not provide opportunities to make a purchase or payment.
How can I send emails with attachments to a buyer’s My Messages inbox?
You can send attachments to other users’ My Messages inboxes with a few limitations:
  • You’re only allowed to send photos in .jpg, .gif, .bmp, .png file formats
  • The total message size must be less than 2MB

To send an email with an attachment to another user’s My Messages, follow these steps:
  1. Go to the email inbox where you receive copies of My Messages emails. (This is the email account that is associated with your eBay account.)
  2. Locate the email in which the buyer has requested additional pictures. You must do this from within your personal email program - not your My Messages inbox on the eBay site. It is not possible to attach pictures to an email inside My Messages.
  3. Respond to the email, attaching the requested images. The buyer’s reply-to email address will be a “members.ebay.com” address.
  4. The email will be sent to the buyer’s My Messages inbox.
Please note that your buyer won’t be able to open the attachments within My Messages. Instead, they’ll need to save the pictures to their hard drive and open them there.
Does this policy update apply to eBay Motors?
Yes. This policy update applies to eBay Motors Parts & Accessories and eBay Motors Vehicles. However, eBay Motors Vehicles listings can include email addresses due to the nature of the business.



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