eBay Drops Another Nuke On Sellers

2012 eBay Policy Changes Sellers Take Notice

I’ve talked on my radio show about how eBay policies will impact buyers and sellers in the category. In a recent episode I talked about the crushing fees that led to me closing my eBay store and totally changing my selling strategy. That show was Scouting Hot Finds Radio: How To Sell Your Boy Scout Patches.

Listen to “#27: How To Sell Your Boy Scout Patches” on Spreaker.

There is a one that I haven’t touched on but is mentioned in the bottom of this article from The Online Seller.

New eBay Policies Take Effect

The bomb that I think eBay is dropping on some sellers in the Boy Scout category has to do with images. From the article referenced above here is an excerpt.


“Policy changes will continue to roll out in July, when eBay will begin allowing up to 12 free photos per listing and require that all listings have at least one image. eBay adds that it will not allow borders or text on or around pictures, and that catalog images cannot be used as a listing’s main image.”


It seems that eBay is on to sellers who have been using the trick of having images which also have text in them. In our category this strategy has been adopted for years by sellers big and small. A casual glance through the category will reveal several examples of sellers including text in their images that gives out their contact information. Will eBay get so strict as to outlaw even these practices?


Would this include the ubiquitous patch ruler that some sellers put in their photo. Other sellers include their business card underneath the photo of the patch they are selling thereby including all their contact information (same as the ruler). You never know how stringently eBay will enforce this rule. Those of us who have been doing this a while know that they have screened out certain words for a long time now. For example, eBay won’t let you launch a listing that talks about accepting checks, charging for insurance, stating you are not responsible if something is lost in the mail to mention just a few. With this new policy on text around images I can’t predict what impact (if any) it will have the sellers in the Boy Scout category. I can tell you that as a seller if I had to re-shoot photos for hundreds or thousands of items that would be a monumental headache!


I spent some time in the eBay discussion boards researching questions that many of the Hot Finds readers will have based on this information. What I have here are some questions that were posted and the response from a member of the seller standards team from eBay. Here are some things I found.


Q: So is a photo with the date / time watermarked in it considered against policy ??

Answer: Yes. Date and time watermarks are against the picture policies we are implementing in the fall.

Q: I have about a 1000 pictures listed with my eBay handle at the bottom of each one. Will eBay be removing these photos?

Answer: Your eBay handle at the bottom of your pictures is against our upcoming policies and in the fall you will not be allowed to create new listings or revise/relist your current listings with your handle at the bottom of your picture.

Q: Many sellers, myself included, use small text and/or markings to show chips or other damage on an item. Will this still be possible?

Answer: We will allow sellers to put annotations and comments in the pictures they post in their descriptions; however we will not allow pictures with text to be upload to eBay’s Picture Hosting Services. Starting July 2nd, sellers will be able to post up to 12 free pictures in our hosting system and we would recommend that if there are flaws or issues with your item that you take detailed pictures of the flaw, upload them for free, then describe them in your description.

Q: Please, explain how the eBay new policy of not text on pictures works for pictures of CDs and DVDs, given that CDs and DVDs do have text on their labels.

Answer: We are working a solution that can distinguish text that is part of the item vs text that is added to the image. Also, if you pull the image of the CD or DVD from the catalog, there shouldn’t be a problem.


Here are some other general clarifying statements that I could pull from the seller standards team.

  • Watermarking for attribution is fine to protect your property. Watermarking for marketing purposes will not be allowed this fall.
  • This fall, simple lines or arrows (without text) pointing to flaws or features will not be allowed in the gallery; they can, however remain in the description area. Because pictures are now free, sellers can upload lots of pictures that focus on flaws and features; the zoom and enlarge feature can also be used by buyers to see these.
  • Photos with text in existing listing will not be removed when the policy takes effect; but starting this fall, new, revised, and relisted listings with pictures uploaded to the eBay picture hosting service will need to meet the new picture requirements.
  • It’s fine to have a circle on the picture calling out the flaw; however, if that secondary image is in the gallery, it will not be allowed this fall
  • Reasons for prohibiting text in pictures include: Buyers tell us that large, clear pictures are a key part of their shopping experience. We want the item to be the focus of the picture so that buyers have a good shopping experience and expectations are met when the item arrives. We also want to have a consistent experience across the site enabling buyers to easily scan listing.
  • It’s understood that sellers may need to protect their intellectual property and eBay will not prohibit watermarks that are used for the purpose of establishing picture ownership. However, these watermarks need to be non-obtrusive and only be used for the purpose of ownership attribution and not for marketing purposes.
  • If the item you are selling has text natively part of the product then text can be on the picture. If you are adding text to the product through a sign or a label or other text then that is not ok.

If you want to see more of the official explanation you can follow the link to the eBay announcement page.

Snapshot of eBay 2012 Picture Policies







Leave a Reply



Search this website

ScoutPatchCollectors.com It is not officially affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, the Girl Scouts of the USA or the World Organization of Scout Movements.