eBay Seller release: Active content ban enforced from June 2017

JavascripteBay have confirmed that the final deadline to remove all active content in eBay listing descriptions will be June 2017.

From June next year eBay will be removing active content including JavaScript, Flash, plug-ins and form actions. eBay say that “This is to help make sure your listings perform optimally on mobile devices, improving the shopping experience and helping you sell more”. Optimising for mobile is obviously key and has long been an issue, for instance Apple refused to support Flash which may have broken half the websites in the world but long term made mobile a much better experience.

What they didn’t say in the seller release is that removing all active content is one of the quickest ways to improve site security which can only be a good thing.

eBay have worked with i-ways to produce a quick and simply tool to check if your listings are mobile friendly and if they have any active content that needs removing.

Tips on replacing Active Content in eBay listings

There are three tips eBay give to ensure your listings are as effective as possible:

1) Make the most of eBay tools

eBay listing tools can help you create effective image galleries and showcase additional information such as postage details to your buyers.

2) Use your Shop subscription to full effect

It’s easy to cross-promote items, get buyers to sign up for newsletters and include Shop search in your listings if you have an eBay Shop.

3) Know what’s not allowed

eBay don’t allow you to include certain information in your item description, such as links to social media sites or iframes.

It’s fair to say that over the years sellers have added a tone of extraneous information to their eBay descriptions. In the past there was a very real need for this, many veteran eBay sellers will remember the days when you couldn’t even specify postage options or have a returns policy on eBay unless you placed the information in your description.

Today eBay have fields for just about every piece of information you need to provide to a buyer. That means that all those tabbed fields you had in your listing description at the turn of the century are outdated and unnecessary. It’s time for them to go and for a description to become a description once more.

Will descriptions go text only on eBay?

eBay are a long way from banning listing templates, but they’re taking a big step to limiting the type of content you can use within them. Personally I think eBay are simply too scared of upsetting the vast industry that’s built up around listing designs to ban them outright… at the moment that is.

As a pro eBay seller I want a shop and descriptions that carries my brand and tells buyers who I am on eBay. I want repeat buyers to recognise my listings when they see them again and engender trust. A listing template is probably the most effective way to do this but I do believe that one day eBay will ban all designs and mandate text only descriptions.

That begs the question, if I was setting out on eBay should I invest in an expensive listing template (and pay even more to make it mobile friendly), or should I save my money and go text only?