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Will eBay Picture Standards ever be enforced?

By Chris Dawson November 27, 2018 - 10:00 am

It’s been a busy weekend for buyers and sellers alike on eBay with thousands of deals over the Black Friday and Cyber Monday weekend marking the start of the Christmas shopping season. Having been tracking eBay’s Black Friday deals, it’s been an eye opener to see just how many of the listings on eBay deals fail to meet the eBay Picture Standards.

The eBay Picture Standards are pretty clear, as set out in the eBay Picture Policy. Sellers are not allowed to add borders, additional text, artwork or marketing to pictures and this includes not adding watermarks. Images should be a minimum of 500 pixels on the longest side but ideally a 1600 pixels square image is desirable.

For and against graffiti on eBay images

There are a myriad of reasons why the eBay Picture Standards make sense, not least of which because in theory it should help sales and it means you can reuse the same images on other marketplaces and across the web. It also assists artificial intelligence to compare images for image search which means your listings are more likely to be surfaced in search. More importantly from eBay’s perspective, as they start to roll out their new catalogue to more categories they need a hero image for each set of compressed listings and they can’t use images if they have graffiti on them.

The problem, as sellers well know, is that some marketing messages in images result in a significant uplift in sales. Today, it’s nigh on impossible to search eBay for UK sellers with UK stock (or even Chinese sellers who actually have stock in the UK and aren’t blatantly telling lies and shipping from China). Having a ‘UK Seller’ badge on images makes a huge difference in some categories giving buyers confidence that they are actually buying from someone who has stock in the UK. The other big advantage of decorations on images is that it stops other sellers from stealing your beautiful images and using them on their listings saving them time and money.

In reality, the arguments for and against decorations and marketing messages on images should be irrelevant. There are eBay Picture Standards so, for the playing field to be level, they should be enforced for all sellers and that appears to be the problem. eBay have never really enforced their image standards which benefits those breaking the eBay Picture Standards and disadvantages those who obey the rules.

Graffiti on eBay Deals images

Graffiti on eBay images breaking eBay picture standardsThis brings me back to the Black Friday Cyber Monday weekend eBay deals – anyone who’s perused the deals over the past few days might be surprised to see just how many listings eBay allow onto their deals program that blatantly break the eBay Picture Standards.

eBay even went so far as to highlight one small business on the prestigious Picadilly lights on Cyber Monday. Fantastic news for the small business that was promoted, but sadly even they have been seduced by graffiti and the listing that was so heavily promoted breaks eBay Picture Standards.



Surely eBay’s flagship listings promoted to millions of buyers and massively increasing the exposure of participating sellers should comply with at least the basics of fair play and following eBay’s rules? Why does eBay promote such a high proportion of listings that break their own picture standards?

  • Jay
    6 months ago

    Because no “human” actually checks them. The entire process is practically automated from start to finish.

    It’s either that, OR the marketing department at eBay don’t pay the blindest bit of notice to the Trust & Safety team who enforce the rules.

    You can bet if the Trust & Safety team were consulted on the selection of marketing content, we wouldn’t have seen listings that break the rules being promoted.

  • 6 months ago

    As jay said & because… They have far more important issues to deal with than one stupid rule that many can not see the point of.

  • RatsoRestorations
    6 months ago

    Somewhat like asking why Ebay dont enforce the blatant identical listings from many of it`s bigger sellers…..

    If you are a big seller the rules just dont apply!

  • Joe
    6 months ago

    Picture standards should be abolished without delay!

    eBay lost a very valuable resource when it introduced uniform images.

    The marketplace suffers erosion of its uniqueness. Sellers suffer the inability to leverage the important value of their individual brands and viable marketing messages.

    It is a pedestrian approach to prohibit all ability for tasteful and professional branding and marketing on images because the uneducated or inexperienced are incapable of managing abuse. Graffiti is a condition that occurs in the absence of meaningful control. The level playing field refers to equal opportunity not sanitation.

  • Jonah
    6 months ago

    ebay- I just don’t understand why this company works so hard to stunt it’s own growth. Some of its decisions, lack of clarity and ability to shoot itself in the foot are at times breathtaking.

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