eBay UK Spring 2017 Seller Release: eBay may use your images
eBay are removing the option for sellers to opt their images out of the eBay catalogue. This means that eBay will have rights to re-use any image you upload to your listings.
The good ways eBay may use your images
eBay may promote your items on themed browse pages like Curve, or product reviews. This wouldn’t be possible without the eBay catalogue and it needs to use images. Even if your item is unique, eBay may use your image to promote unique items across the site, creating product catalogue entries and browse pages.
The thing that’s going to wind you up
You can use the eBay catalogue to create listings, faster, with better guidance through the listing process – If you’ve listed a CD or DVD lately, you’ll appreciate that it’s pretty much a scan of the bar code and your listing is complete including an image… which comes from the eBay catalogue.
What this does mean however, is that if you’ve spent hundreds of pounds on photo shoots to get the perfect image of your product, you may well find that in the future eBay are allowing (even encouraging) other sellers to use it.
If you’re using images with restricted licences or which come with usage conditions from the supplier, you should either negotiate a new usage licence or use different images (I’m thinking it would really stir things up to say that perhaps you should simply nick an image your competitor has uploaded to the eBay catalogue!)
There are two ways to look at this, firstly you’ll rightly be peeved if someone else is using your images, but think about Amazon. On Amazon they pick the best image and everyone lists against it so what’s the difference with that happening on eBay? Secondly, giving eBay rights to your image for promotional purposes is only really regularising a situation that already happens when they promote your listing off eBay.
We know many sellers won’t like this announcement and totally sympathise. You could of course watermark your image with your company name or eBay shop name which might discourage use (check the rules to make sure your watermark design is allowed!)
After investing over £10,000 in specialist photography equipment, I’ll be damned if eBay are getting their dirty little hands on my pics. I’ll be changing from a discreet corner watermark, to one that spoils the image and makes it impossible for anyone else to use.
I can’t help thinking that eBay just don’t want my business
The problem I have with this is that, yes on Amazon, images and content are shared by sellers on the same ASIN, but only if you are not enrolled in the brand registry with a private label… We don’t share ASINs with anyone; we own our brand and all selling rights to all products under it and frequently kick off people trying to sell on our listings. Our images are protected on Amazon, but now no longer on eBay. We have our own photo studio with a team of 3 permanent staff that shoot lifestyles, and I am supposed to share that expense with every cheap knock-off seller on eBay (or, incidentally, have that beautiful image ruined by sprawling a watermark across it? I thought eBay’s sales were down, how can they afford to miff their sellers off so much?!
When you say “You could of course watermark your image with your company name or eBay shop name which might discourage use”, your are right, it may…
But from experience I have found it does not deter some.
Making your photos stand out to the point that the customer recognises you as the seller just from your image, can now be misleading the buyer into thinking they are buying from the same seller they have used before.
In the past I have managed to get Ebay to remove the listings, but now that will not be possible.
As you said, many people will not be happy.
I appreciate tamebay trying to provide balance but the bottom line is you fail.
Image is everything and many brands spend months deciding how their images are shot so that customers can easily recognise one of their products even before they spot the watermark.
This is a complete deal breaker for us and based on how incompetent eBay are at managing their existing policies this will no doubt be another one that is open to abuse and unsupported when things go wrong.
I would encourage all to request a bulk edit feature that allows the wholesale removal of your images and replace then with the stock images.
If like us you design your own products shift all your focus to etsy and folksy and we are even launching face to face selling again.
Unless eBay feel some financial pain from this action they will have no incentive to change so we will be removing our listings on Friday 12th May for one day in protest end encourage others to do the same.
Yes, that’s all above true.
Another thing is that we (sellers) have to pay fee to eBay, and now eBay forces us to work for them as well, bearing in mind that we will be worst off.
And another thing is that, choosing eBay over Amazon was the fact that eBay gave us a clear choice for protecting our asset. Now they will use their dominant position to abuse good sellers.
As mentioned in the post above, until eBay does not take any financial blow for it they will not change that. To make them suffer sellers’ business models must be changed. For example, as INGA (post above) explained, there is option on Amazon to protect photos.
Its the legal ramifications which are important, so you have your beautiful image being used by anyone who is not selling your product so what disclaimers will ebay insist on because if a person is using your image without it being your product then some sort of legal disclaimer will be needed stating that this is just a representation of what they are selling and not the actual product. Other wise is will be mis-representation :
1. Creating confusion with competitors’ products
2: Promoting a product similar to another manufacturer’s in a deliberate attempt to make the customer think that the product was made by that manufacturer (This is also the case when eBay allows a seller to use your brand name without permission when it is clearly not your product)
3: Omitting important information
The list goes on and on.
Here is eBays legal department address:
eBay Europe S.à r.l.
22-24 Boulevard Royal
We have all ready sent a legal outline letter stating our case and Duty of Care for the entity, representative of a business to prevent theft or fraud of any of its property. To not do this when it has been brought to a your attention is in its self a dereliction of duty. ( Director, business owner, entity, representative must display the care, skill and competence that is reasonable for somebody carrying out the functions of that office) This includes protecting the business from theft of data, image rights etc. We stopped caring about ebay a few years ago as we felt that in the long term it was not the market place to expand and so far we have been proven correct we still sell steady but made sure we were not dependant on eBay as i have found them to be lets say ignorant of UK law and untrustworthy i have not bought anything on eBay for years especially now with all the drop shippers avoiding UK taxes and profiteering.
Anyway good luck folks
Being a photographer and working in the art business I find this totally unaceptable.
As a ‘top rated seller’ with 100% positive feedback our company will now let our eBay account just fade away as there is no reward for being original or professional on eBay.
So this Summer we are investing in a total redesign of our own website and waving goodbye to the parasites.
P.S Interesing that Tamebay are taking eBays side on this image issue by making light of it. I see nothing neutral in there description. In fact relating it to Amazon using erroneous details which are actually incorrect if you own your own brand.