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Which listings should you amend? Sellers confused about eBay active content

By Dan Wilson November 9, 2017 - 6:28 am

It’s long been expected, and now the eBay active content ban is in place. Needless to say we’ve written about this before, so if you need to know more, check out previous posts.

And eBay has also been chasing sellers to comply. A fairly strident email has been sent to numerous sellers in the past few days telling them to amend listings. And the penalties are potentially stiff.

As they say in the email: “We’re writing to let you know, that as of November 8, 2017, some of your listings are in violation of eBay policies and require immediate update.

XXX of your listings contain(s) non-secure HTTP content. Starting in October 2017, Google Chrome – the browser used by almost half of all eBay buyers – will begin displaying the message “Not Secure” in the address bar when users visit standard HTTP pages or HTTPS pages that include non-secure HTTP content. We encourage you to immediately remove this content.”

But there are also mixed messages. A Tamebay reader has been in touch to say that she has received warning that over 100 of her listings are still not in compliance. That email came from eBay directly and said that listings could be removed if they don’t meet the new eBay active content standards.

Unhelpfully the email received cited fewer than half of the item numbers of listings that required amendment. A truly useful email from eBay would specify not just each and every listing that they considered non-compliant but also the reason why. Such detail was sadly lacking.

But then she has also reviewed her listings via the I-ways tool recommended by eBay in the Seller Centre.

And that recommended tool says that all her listings on eBay are compliant.

So which is correct? Our seller is seeking clarification from eBay customer support as I write and is concerned that eBay could pull her listings without warning, or recompense, at any moment.

It’s obvious that most sellers are keen to comply, play fair and abide by the rules. And most sellers will get behind any change that increases sales and conversion on eBay.

But eBay isn’t being a helpful partner here when it sends such mixed messages. What has your experience been?

  • Andy R
    1 week ago

    We get the Ebay compliance message. The number of items they say are not compliant varies between 65 and 30,477 depending on which system error is occurring at the time.

    Clicking on one of the “offending” items is interesting, as it usually has no issues to fix. If it does, however, the fix is duly applied and the list of items refreshed. Guess what, the item still shows as non-compliant.

    After 15 years of jumping through Ebay’s hoops, we’ve made a decision:

    WE’RE NOT TAKING THIS SH*T ANY MORE FROM EBAY!!!

    If they want to end our items, GOOD! We’ll put them on one of our other sites, where they will actually sell.

  • Paul
    1 week ago

    hi hope this helps,we had the same yday,even though we have 120 listings with exactly the same template design,only 40 of them came up as being none secure,even though ive previously checked them all of them on iways tool and all pass with flying colours.so i tried revising them all and still the same 40 are there,and they all have the secure padlock next to them as well when checking out the listings in question,but i noticed this morning the list has now gone down to 38 not 40,and it seems the 2 ones that have removed themselves are the two good till cancelled listings that renewed themselves last night.so in theory over the next week when my remaining listings renew themselves mine will be fine,but thats no good if ebay decide to remove them in the meantime,especially when theres nothing wrong with them!lol
    hope that helps and makes sense
    paul

  • Mark
    1 week ago

    We’ve had a number of reports of this problem throughout the community, such as listings being non-secure. Yet when checking, all show the green padlock correctly and there’s no non-secure resource in sight.

    I think the automation monitor eBay have in place is extremely flawed and this worries me because they’re likely to be penalising sellers who are in fact compliant.

    With the run up to Christmas, eBay are really picking a bad time to start enforcing new policies.

  • Sam
    1 week ago

    They couldn’t have chosen a better time to upset and distract sellers from concentrating and planning to get ready for peak period. Thats arrogance at its peak by ebay pen pushers. We have started work on our shopify store now as we will never be able to please this arrogant mob. Well done ebay you have successfully upset majority of the sellers.

  • 1 week ago

    Apparently 27 of my listings are non compliant. Its slightly confusing though as they are all text based listings with no links or anything else embedded.

    • Carl
      4 days ago

      I had many listings with security issues. I used the I-Ways tools site to find the faults and fixed them, 2 days later I received another message from eBay stating that nothing had changed. I have double checked with I-Ways and all faults are definitely fixed. eBay’s own faults page does not display the issues anymore but I am still receiving messages from eBay telling me to fix the issues. This is eBay for you…one of the most archaic and lazy websites on the internet, just let the ship sink and move on.

  • alan paterson
    1 week ago

    I have been assured by a “specialist” at Ebay that Ebay will not be proactive in removing any listings until early next year. Thats what I have been told but you know that sometimes you can get contradictory info from Ebay (but this was a specialist so I am happy with this info).

    However I feel that the listing should be fixed now as Google Chrome will not display the secure padlock (if you have active content) that many people look for. This will effect your conversion rate and give your listing less visibility as a result. My advice is to make the time to fix listings now.

  • Michael G
    1 week ago

    I have nearly 1000 listings which are non-compliant – all because of eBay’s own Turbo Lister logo. I’m having to go through each one individually to remove the offending hyperlink. It’ll take me weeks. Seriously unamused.

    • james
      1 week ago

      if you still have turbolister you can use that to find/replace in bulk.

      just copy the HTML code for the footer, search for it (remember to tick “search in HTML”) and replace with a space.

  • Paul
    1 week ago

    gosh thats strange,how can they say that on a text only ad!lol.thanks for that alan,gives us a little more peace of mind.i cant understand though, on the .com site it states they wont remove any listings for http,and then it says the ones that are secure they will create a small ‘see full item description’ button which you click on instead to prevent this,but the email we received seemed a lot more threatening.

    • alan paterson
      1 week ago

      It was not a nice email Paul, we have received several of these over the past few months and I felt the same way.

      If its any consolation Ebay apologised for the wording. I had the same problem with the Turbo Lister Logo. I spent a lot of time on the phone to Ebay. I felt they were very thorough. The specialist (I felt) knew what he was talking about when he said no action would be taken till early next year. The email is designed to make you take action and was scary lol. well, it scared the hell out of me!

  • Lee Graves
    1 week ago

    I have around 20,000 with the turbo lister logo. Surely ebay can remove it?? I have had no emails to say I am not compliant with the active content issue.

  • Tony
    1 week ago

    Ebay told me on the phone recently that an email I received from them regarding Active Content was potentially a Spam email and they asked me to forward it to their Spoof department, which I did. Spoof replied confirming that this received email was in fact not from Ebay and was Spam, but very cleverly written to think it was from Ebay. They also told me to always double check my messages from within my Ebay account if worried. A copy of all official messages sent by Ebay are shown in messages.

    They also told me that the Active Content Deadline had been postponed to March 2018

  • 1 week ago

    Took me ages to work it out

    IT IS THE EBAY SHOP BADGE

    that ebay put in to all listings

    remove that and it is now compliant

  • PAUL S
    1 week ago

    A few weeks ago ebay started putting tasks in the task section of my seller hub, all of which were content removal tasks. That was great, I just worked my way down the list and fixed them all. The task list was a great idea. Well done ebay. Hurrah!! BUT yesterday ebay sent me a message with a list of item numbers that needed fixing so I have to go backwards and forwards pasting them in. Why didn’t they use the task list THEY put there for this very eventuality!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! If it made them feel better they could have sent me a threatening message as well. What a bunch of wozzacks.

  • Mark
    1 week ago

    I had the same message about HTTP protocols and when i rang ebay i explained that the pictures in the description used to be a link to photobucket i had since changed that. But when you go into your description in HTML mode the wording is still all there with http.
    I rang them explaining that a customer cannot access or see this area and they said not to panic the issue raised is a google thing not ebay and items would not be removed however i have corrected them all (600 listings) in just 5 minutes.

    They just need to get their stories straight one email says one thing and a rep says another but its their threatening tone that grates.

    • austin
      1 week ago

      how on earth did you do this in 5 minutes?–I’ve got 1,500 and it will take me weeks

    • 1 week ago

      Austin, if you are using a content management program (linnworks for example), you can export all of your descriptions into an excel file, find & replace HTTP links. In our case, it was our logo images. So we just hosted them on a hosting site which uses HTTPS and bingo sorted.

  • Mark
    1 week ago

    Its quick to put the http to https on all your listings in minutes.
    I did it

  • Gary
    1 week ago

    How did you fo it Mark?

    Additionally I spent time, monry and effort uodating all of my lstings to find some had reverted to older versions!

    I think Amazon and EBay forget we’re the ones who pay their wages and if they keep peeing us off then we will go. Not the first time an Empire has collapsed.l

    • Mark
      1 week ago

      Hi how to do it simply is as follows.

      Go to bulk edit and select edit item description then in html mode select the middle option edit listings in bulk -find and replace.

      Then in the top write http and in the bottom write https

      update that and its job done. It finds each one in the listings and corrects it.

      Mark

  • Stephen
    1 week ago

    The issue is the Google blog post that they refer to as starting the HTTPS issue states that it is an “Eventually” not a from X date… Its also dated April but the email for HTTPS issues only hit us yesterday (8th November)

    https://blog.chromium.org/2017/04/next-steps-toward-more-connection.html

    Looks like ebay are either running scared of google after the EAN / UPC google shopping issues and over reacting to anything google posts or just didn’t look into the situation properly and are creating un-needed (at this time) work for sellers.

    We are updating our listings – but I’m sure most would rather have a firm date that google are going to start the change for all http pages rather than put a lot of work into something that might not come.

  • 1 week ago

    I did all my listings in bulk 2000 took about 5 min as it is the ebay / turbo lister logo

    bulk edit and use the find and replace function in item description

    find listing that is not compliant click on the HTP warning this brings up the link that’s the problem

    I copied this in to the find box left the replace box empty and then update all done and now compliant

  • None of this works properly and we are sick of this. The tool that is supposed to show listings with problems doesn’t work. Sometimes we click on the link and it brings up hundreds of listings, saying that we need to edit out phone numbers and email addresses. Sometimes it is just a few. When we try and use the bulk edit and replace tool, most of the time it doesn’t work and, when it does, these edited listings are note removed from the overall list. Most of the time, listings that are supposed to contain phone numbers and email addresses are absolutely fine when you go to edit them!

    How does ebay expect us to change thousands of listings without a working bulk-editing tool? I have talked to customer services on numerous occasions and have been told outright that this will not be fixed. Our only option apparently is to change them all one at a time. With over 5,500 listings, I can tell you now that this will not happen so eBay needs to sort itself out.

    And whilst I am nicely warmed up, by telling us to remove phone numbers and email addresses from listings, eBay has effectively accused all sellers of being thieves. When I asked customer services why they did this I was told that customers had been trying to chase up sales via eBay that had been performed off the platform. Therefore, they reasoned, sellers have been encouraging their customers to operate outside of eBay, doing them out of business.

    The reality is that buyers will use eBay but will also sometimes seek out a seller to deal directly. There are plenty of big brand names selling on Ebay that also have high street shops and websites of their own. So when a customer gets confused about where they bought something just accept that the customer has got confused about where they bought something, rather than go off half cocked and ban all phone numbers and email addresses from listings!

    A couple of weeks ago I was chatting with a competitor about something of mutual interest and suggested we have a chat. I had removed phone numbers from our address months ago but included my mobile number in the message. eBay immediately banned me from sending any messages for 7 days, including customers! We were receiving 20-30 emails a day from customers and could not reply! Customer services even said they could see the message and confirmed it wasn’t an attempt to deal off-site but still couldn’t do anything to lift the ban. Which lunatic is responsible for coming up with these rules?

    In the end we had to go into the paypal records, pull out the email addresses and make contact directly. The irony is that when we explained to customers why we had to do this, they reacted with such disgust that several offered to deal directly!!

    If you had asked me 2 years ago if I would recommend eBay as an avenue to new businesses I would have said yes but lately this has just become a farce with more and more ridiculous hoops to jump through and no regard for the implications.

    I started another business 18 months ago and I can tell you now I have absolutely no intentions of using eBay.

    Come on Messrs Branson, Musk, Bezos and Gates – eBay is ripe for the plucking. All it needs is a company with the resources to create what eBay should be and you would have sellers and buyers falling over themselves to come over!

  • 1 week ago

    We had an email from Ebay saying we had 102 non compliant listings, we went into all of them, which was time consuming, and found that non had any issues. After carrying out this check, making no revisions, 95 of them left the list! We are stuck with 7 which pass all eBay tests, but for some unknown reason are still flagged

    • Mark
      1 week ago

      Hi how to do it simply is as follows.

      Go to bulk edit and select edit item description then in html mode select the middle option edit listings in bulk -find and replace.

      Then in the top write http and in the bottom write https

      update that and its job done. It finds each one in the listings and corrects it.

      Mark

    • james
      1 week ago

      @Mark

      that works only if your current http:// link provider, also provides https://
      – if they don’t, that’s a quick way to ruin your store.
      might be best to check a couple first.

  • Jonah
    1 week ago

    We had the same message- I immediately withdrew the “offending” item and placed it on another sales website. I sold the item this morning. I’m talking about an item selling in the thousands of pounds- not pennies. Still, no eBay fee for eBay. The site is a joke, the support is appalling and the arrogance of the company beggars belief.

  • Gillian Frosdick
    1 week ago

    I had the same email last night, these were all checked by the I-ways tool and everyone of the listings were correct.

    18 weren’t supposedly, one had even eBay’s own variation question mark on mine. I had to work out why it wouldn’t except it.

    Everyday there appears in my inbox an email telling me to do this and change that. In the end there will be only the bigger companies on there such as currys or Argos.

  • Iggs
    1 week ago

    I’m constantly being reminded that 500+ of my listings are non https compliant.

    I know that all my listings are fully compliant. They all use exactly the same template and style sheets so God knows how only some of them can be dodgy.

    Hopped on live chat this morning to be told that all my listings are, surprise surprise, fully compliant.

    That being the case, I did ask why all my listing pages are still being flagged by chrome as not secure.

    Not a scooby was the answer.

    On closer inspection the non-https content on the pages seems to all be advertising bumpf.

    I remain none-the-wiser and awaiting a response from the relevant fleabay “experts” ha.

    • Mark
      1 week ago

      Hi how to do it simply is as follows.

      Go to bulk edit and select edit item description then in html mode select the middle option edit listings in bulk -find and replace.

      Then in the top write http and in the bottom write https

      update that and its job done. It finds each one in the listings and corrects it.

      Mark

  • Andy R
    1 week ago

    And now this, whenever you try to edit a listing:

    “The requested data is currently not available due to an eBay system error. Please try again later.”

    Sellers pay milions in fees to Ebay and they don’t even keep their ****ing site running.

    They must take showers in champagne at Ebay towers with all that money, because they don’t spend a bean on their I.T.

  • lizzy
    1 week ago

    How do you sort the problem out? I just list straight onto ebay, I don’t use a 3rd party anything yet 82 of my 130 listings are non-compliant. I am a basic computer user and have no idea how et around this. Everything I read about this violation is so confusing,

    • Mark
      1 week ago

      Hi how to do it simply is as follows.

      Go to bulk edit and select edit item description then in html mode select the middle option edit listings in bulk -find and replace.

      Then in the top write http and in the bottom write https

      update that and its job done. It finds each one in the listings and corrects it.

      Mark

  • Mark
    1 week ago

    Hi how to do it simply is as follows.

    Go to bulk edit and select edit item description then in html mode select the middle option edit listings in bulk -find and replace.

    Then in the top write http and in the bottom write https

    update that and its job done. It finds each one in the listings and corrects it.

    Mark

    • Andy R
      6 days ago

      No, this doesn’t work. We fell foul of all this with the Auctiva scrolling gallery, which many sellers used.

      The find and replace does not work and the items are still not compliant. We tested dozens and could not get this to work.

      The only way is to manually remove the auctiva html code, which is either at the bottom or the top of the description text.

      For some reason, manually removing individually does work, but is too time consuming so we gave it up.

      Even copying and pasting the relevant html code into the find and replace simply does not work, either because it fails to pick up symbols or due to some other unknown system bug.

      So when Ebay send their three-weekly COMPLY OR DIE message, we simply remove some more of the items and put them up elsewhere.

      Incidentally, if any Ebayers are wondering why they haven’t had an overseas sale since 11/11, take a look at the new Guaranteed Delivery schtick that ebay.com have launched.

      Maybe Tamebay can do a piece on this. It’s curtains for non-US sellers on ebay.com.

  • Hi Mark

    As far as I know, that will only solve the problem if the server where your images/templates are stored upgrades to become https compliant so people need to check first before doing this, otherwise it could break the links.

    Also, from our own personal experience, the bulk search and replace is not reliable. Sometimes it works and other times it doesn’t. Ebay knows about this and won’t fix it.

  • 1 week ago

    I got my 27 listings down to 3 by removing the Ebay “Powered by Seller Manager” (or close enough) badge from the listings. 3 are still non compliant. On one of them I removed everything, including the background HTML and rewrote it as text only, and its still non compliant!!!!

    EDIT – Checked again 5 mins ago and its now clear.

  • Trumpton
    4 days ago

    This is the best tool by far to test your Ebay listings in bulk. Not sure why Ebay arn’t promoting them instead of I-Ways

    Just add the name of your shop and the Marketplace in the Top left corner and scan. Will report on every single listing in seconds. These guys are genius.

    http://www.isdntek.com/ebaytools/ActiveContentScanner.htm

    • 4 days ago

      It looks like it would be a good tool if it worked but it is inaccurate for our listings.

      It’s telling us that listings have non eBay links (they don’t) and that we are not using HTTPS to serve our images (we do).

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