What about videos and the new eBay Active Content rules?

By Dan Wilson March 10, 2017 - 6:15 am

Later in the year eBay will be putting to place a series of new rules that will restrict the use of Active Content in eBay listings. It’s banned already in new listings but must be removed from older listings by summer. Here’s the eBay page on the changes.

We’ve also written about it here: How to get your eBay listings mobile ready (and remove active content).

So we were surprised to receive an email from a Tamebay reader and eBay seller, who was informed: “We’re writing to let you know that as of 07 March 2017, at least 16 of your listings on the sites contain active content. From June 2017, active content (e.g. JavaScript, Plug-ins or Flash, iFrame and form actions) will no longer display in your eBay listings.”

Interestingly all of these are listings with video embedded, and as far as we were aware, video embedded from a reputable hosting site is permissible even under the new rules. You can find the video rules here.

Our seller contacted eBay support and was informed: “Unfortunately there is no way to maintain the embedded video. Its OK to generate a HTML link for the buyer to follow to You tube and view the view, but the Iframe and the plug ins least of all the flash content will not be displayed in future, or even at present given Apple software does not support Flash coding.”

We got in touch with eBay HQ and it would seem that this information is not correct. Apparently videos from approved sites are still allowed and should be embedded using the HTML5 <video> tag. Additionally, they are working with the key video hosters to ensure that vids can be used in eBay listings in a way that works well on mobile. So watch this space for developments.

Needless to say not a huge number of sellers utilise video in their listings. They are useful for big ticket items and listings that you’ll use again and again that benefit from an illustrative movie. They could make sense for a car, a drone, indeed anything with moving parts that can be shown off. And these days, with apps, you can transfer a video from phone to YouTube et al in a matter of moments. But vids certainly aren’t the norm.

So what is the best course of action for sellers who have had videos flagged as unsuitable? Or who use them and haven’t had them flagged. Assuming we’re talking a manageable number, it’s probably best to sit tight. You have a few more months until the rules mean such listings are ended and hopefully by this time eBay will have an unambiguous solution and will advise accordingly. But don’t start new listings with vids in the meantime.

  • Andy R
    2 years ago

    The big question is why, having imposed more changes without consultation, Ebay does not provide a tool for sellers to identify which listings require attention.

    We had an Ebay message telling us 3,321 of our listings had active content.

    Clearly, they know which ones need to be changed, as they can specify the exact number.

    So WHY don’t they provide THE SELLER with details of WHICH ONES need attention???

  • Jimmy riddles
    2 years ago

    Does anyone know a approved HTML 5 free site to use for videos which provides the html code to add into the listing?

    • Paul
      2 years ago

      You can post your video on youtube and then add them into your listings using this method:

    • james
      2 years ago

      Does anyone have any definitive answers?

      the guide on how to embed videos is from 2013, it was posted as a response to ebay banning iframes, which is how one should embed a video using HTML.
      the guide details how to embed videos using flash, all flash content will be stripped when ebay remove active content.

      its either an iframe or flash as far as i know, one’s already banned and the other’s due to be banned.

      yet another clusterfart from ebay. they cant operate the site safely & securely from their end, so dumb it down and remove flexibility and freedom of sellers. have sellers do all the work, pointing them at a 3rd party tool we dont warrant and dont care whether it works or not. any costs will be burdened by the sellers, we’ll account for any of our losses from diminished sales via increased subscription charges for sellers.

  • Martin
    2 years ago

    Yes, but I agree with Andy. The Ebay tool is rather useless. It is very slow, and can handle only 1 listing at a time. When you have hundreds or thousands of listings it simply isn’t practical from a time point of view. I’m inclined just to wait and see which ones are removed.

    i am not sure I trust the tool either. I can show 2 listings which are fundamentally identical in structure, wording, layout, everything. Apparently 1 doesn’t have active content, and 1 does. How can this be? And the tool doesn’t tell you what needs to be changed anyway. So it has very limited value.

  • 2 years ago

    We got an email from ebay yesterday with the item numbers of some, maybe all of out listings with active content. This has helped us recognise the ones that need changing. Hopefully this will be their approach over the coming months.

  • 2 years ago

    I can enter two item numbers into the tool both using the same template, one will fail, one will pass.

    I’m sure we will all survive.

  • Mark
    2 years ago

    Videos help when selling used items as they can give more details that photographs and show the device working.

  • Sheltie
    2 years ago

    I have a small eBay shop and it’s just taken me a couple of weeks to revise my 250+ listing to remove the active content and then I get a message from eBay to say 58 of them aren’t compliant but have only given me item numbers for 10!! I’ve used i-ways (one item at a time) which says they are OK for active content but not mobile or CSS whatever that is – I think that eBay could be more helpful and give us some basic codes to copy into our listings to make them compliant – do sellers need a degree in computer programming now?? Like many sellers, I’m retired so the last thing I need is to have to learn HTML. I’ve looked at the i-ways template but am not impressed.

  • 2 years ago

    The only way we have been able to have our customers be able to embed videos into a listing is to self host the video then link it from your URL into the description, youtube currently will not work.

    • 2 years ago

      We have youtube videos embedded into some of our product descriptions and they work fine, but we’ve been told to remove them.

  • 2 years ago

    Video help when selling used items as they can more details and photography and skills that will in part some one life

  • 2 years ago

    I got the same e-mail from Ebay. Interestingly after checking the listings there was one without any active content on it all all. There was talk of a Youtube uploader for Ebay but I’m wondering if they are having difficulty integrating this into the site.

  • 2 years ago

    Hi Folks,

    We can audit your listings for you and give you a comprehensive list of item numbers that do not comply (free and no strings attached), see here:

    Just a heads up on video, the HTML code that eBay provides works on desktop and mobile compatible software from a desktop, but does not seem to render correctly on actual mobile devices. We are looking into this and working on a solution.
    Please drop us a line if you have had the same issue.

  • Rick
    2 years ago

    Hey Andre, Can you please post the code that eBay provides? Maybe I can help too.

    • 2 years ago

      Hi Rick,

      The main issue seems to come from older versions of IE.
      Not such an issue really.

      Also, if the mobile eBay app has not been updated to the latest version then this is also causing a render issue.
      I’m sure in this case eBay should inform users to update the eBay app.

  • Rick
    2 years ago

    Am I nuts? For the last two days I have turned on Preview to view listings without active content and all of my YouTube videos still show and play.

  • Martin
    2 years ago

    The current situation with this is a classic left/right hand discombobulated cluster flop…

    eBay still has its limitations on where video content is hosted from but the acceptable hosts do not support the HTML5 code as is…

    QED: There is no solution that will allow listings to survive past the June deadline…

    Promises of solutions in the Autumn quarter of last year have naturally failed to materialise so it’s going to be a case of remove and wait until someone in charge realises it’s a problem…

Featured in this article from the Tamebay Guide – companies that can help you grow and manage your business.


eBay’s mission is to be the world’s favourite destination for discovering great value and unique selection


Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube.

See More Companies >

Recent Comments

7 hours ago
Gav: Yeah, I can't believe Amazon think getting rid of expedited shipping is a good idea....
7 hours ago
Simon E: I was happy with using spreadsheets but I looked into the good old MTD, just...
8 hours ago
Gav: Thanks for clarifying Chris If you need it quick, you've already paid for prime and Amazon...
9 hours ago
Chris Dawson: Honestly haven't a clue Gav - having clicked the Prime button to ensure delivery I...