eBay.com ban ME page website links

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As part of today’s policy changes, eBay.com have announced some major changes to the links policy. These will take effect from July, and have been announced for .com; when we know when and if they will affect sellers on other sites, we’ll let you know.

Likely to most affect sellers is the ban on About Me page links to a seller’s ecommerce website:

The new Links Policy prohibits linking from a seller’s listing or other content on eBay–including eBay Store pages, About Me pages, eBay Blogs, Reviews and Guides, and forums–to any site that offers a product or service for sale off eBay.

About Me pages have traditionally been the one place on eBay that sellers could legitimately link their website; eBay Blogs have – until now – been quite relaxed about the external links that were permitted.

Other links once permitted within listings have also been banned: pages which expand upon the item description or include terms and conditions not expressed on the listing page are no longer allowed. Sellers are permitted only the following links:

  • to third parties supplying solutions and services directly related to the listing (e.g. listing tools, hit counters, etc.)
  • up to five links to “eBay property” pages (i.e. eBay, PayPal, StubHub, Half.com etc.); quite where this leaves scrolling galleries of sellers’ other products, I wouldn’t like to guess
  • embedded links to videos, so long as the videos comply with eBay’s policies themselves
  • links to photos of the item for sale, “as long as the page displaying the photos doesn’t offer, or link to a site that offers a product or service for sale off eBay”.

Many sellers have, for years now, used eBay as a customer acquisition tool, directing prospective buyers to ecommerce websites by way of About Me pages and “further photographs” pages. This is going to be a very much more difficult process from now on, with eBay tightening up the opportunities for promoting off-eBay sales on-site. Sellers will perhaps have to accept that the first sale must be through eBay now, and work more on bringing returning happy customers back to their websites for subsequent purchases, rather than trying to funnel traffic from eBay to their own sites directly.

28 Responses

  1. I think Sellers who have products that attract repeat buyers will gain most from these changes.( Sue 🙂 ) or if they can add extra ‘back end sales’ e.g leaflets in packaging & fully utilise Ebay email marketing etc to drive to their sites ( I wonder if this will go next).

  2. Keith, I’m just wondering if I can put up a single listing for “packet of beads” and then a list of 2000 different types for buyers to choose from 😀

    I’d like to see them try and ban in-packaging advertising though 🙄 “ooh ooh ,eBay! Please sir, her packing slip said I could have free P&P on her website…” :mrgreen:

  3. not sure of types but
    ‘ multi colour choice beads x 200x 5mm – 2000 colours available’

    I wonder if Paypal will now develop a shopping cart or could Channel advisor do one as an add on. It’s going to get complicated.

  4. This could be interesting for me. I include a link to a “Grading Guide” page in every auction to get people onto my site. I have a drop down menu that links to an Amazon aStore and I think I have some AdSense ads on the page too. I guess these would be in violation of the new policy, but the way I read it I should be okay if I scrub those couple of things from that single page.

    If that’s the case I can live with this. If not I have a hell of a lot of revising to do to my auctions!

  5. Mmm.. so if we will not be allowed to link to our webby from our “me page” will ebay stop sponsored links appearing all over the site too?! Is it just me that thinks there is a double standard here?

  6. Looks like eBay have just lobbed another hand grenade into the power seller forum. 🙂

  7. @kiss the problem is that we are selling on THEIR platform, they can have whatever policy or condition they want. But it’s up to us if we carry on selling on eBay.I don’t think it’s double standards at all, If you have your own web site, would you allow traffic to be diverted away from your site, unless your were receiving a financial incentive (paid advertising) to do so?

    Maybe a better solution would be for eBay to charge a “per click” fee for certain links from pages such as about me pages, in a similar way to that other sites do. At least then we would have a choice if we wanted to try to divert traffic and eBay would get financial incentive for finding the customer, even if they make the purchase off ebay.

  8. Illogical when ebay expect sellers to advertise their postal addresses to all.

  9. @8 “If you have your own web site, would you allow traffic to be diverted away from your site”

    Sponsored links are on every search result page of eBay.

    I always thought links were supposed to appear if your search resulted in 0 results, anytime I have used search they are on every page?

  10. Whirly (#10) – the original justification for sponsored links was that they only appeared when there were no/few eBay results.

    Then they changed it so that the links appear on every search result. IIRC the justification now is that they don’t change browser behaviour, i.e. no sales are diverted off eBay because of them. If that is true, one would of course question what the point of the sponsored links is.

  11. It’s not a link but you can get your web address on every listing with eBay’s blessing. Indeed at eBay’s insistance.

  12. to be honest I often click the sponsored link, I dont always buy from them ,but I check them out, their specialist dealers in what I am looking for ,I would be daft not to,
    its easier than trawling thru a few hundred individual listings with a trillion postage options and conditions

  13. I am not sure I understand the bit about photos. Surely the majority of websites offer some sort of product or service. My intention was to use a hidden page on my website (when I finally get it up and running!) to host pictures of items. All that would show on ebay would be the item. On my website the picture would be hidden, as the assortment of house clearance items I am currently selling would look rather odd on a photography site. Would I still be able to do this?

  14. Am I right then in reading this that if I ask for help in a forum, that likes to be acknowledged in the listing if it has identified something for me, that I will no longer be able to acknowledge them in the form of a link?

    Will it be acceptable to show the url without linking it, do you think?

    I am a bit miffed about the extra info sites being outlawed – I like to send people to wiki or other info sites so they can learn more about what is on offer. If there are no commercial buying facilities on these sites how can they be a problem?

    Or have I got it all wrong again?

  15. Owen:
    “It’s not a link but you can get your web address on every listing with eBay’s blessing. Indeed at eBay’s insistance.”

    How oh how?!

  16. Hey Lynne, it’s going to affect me too – I’ll no longer be able to link to manufacturers sites for data sheets or even to point people towards where they can download drivers for the product they’re viewing 🙁

  17. Lynne, I think you could link those forums under “third party solutions and services”, but don’t take that as gospel til eBay have confirmed it.

  18. Well if they want your home address, you could put the address as your website address first instead of your name.

  19. Chris, I wonder if we will be able to link in Reviews and Guides?

    As Sue says, we shall have to wait and see, and hope that they get some active feedback from the US changes to fine tune these kinds of links.

  20. Should be able to link to reviews and guides as they’re eBay pages. However think about where you might link to in your auctions:

    Link to Reviews & Guides
    Link to About Me
    Link to Add to email marketing/subscribe to shop
    Link to your eBay blog
    Link to immediate purchase item from an auction
    Link to a shop category to offer similar items
    Link to complementary items you have for sale (eg memory, tripod, case and batteries for a camera)
    Link to Feedback
    Link to shop custom page
    Link to T’s and C’s page

    It’s going to be interesting trying to fit those links into just the five links per auction permitted under the new policy and yet they’re all valid reasons to link.


    Sounds great but I have one or two caveats…

    1. I read somewhere that it may not be allowed across all categories?

    2. How to handle it?

    If you have to match choices coming in from eBay and Paypal messages or email, with eBay sales records it could turn out to be a nightmare.

    Best answer would be for eBay to add some mechanism within the listing to collect choices and show them in all relevant documents including the downloadable csv files that some of us use to print invoices and labels.

    In the mean time I’m wondering if it would be legal to add some variables to the url of a listing which can be read by javascript. For instance, if you look at my shop (eshave) you will see it is highly customised, and already includes a custom link to each of my shop listings. It would be a simple matter to add a variable to the url containing the size information. Quite how javascript would handle this I have yet to research and so would welcome suggestions.

  22. Oops! just realised I my last post is on the wrong thread…

    Should have been under….

    eBay.com scrap choice and multiple listing policies


  23. As eBay has a new policy of setting procedure BEFORE policy, we’d recommend removing your outside links on the ABOUT ME page or you may well find yourself booted from eBay.

    Don’t believe us? eBay banned digital downloads March 24, 2008 and retroactively suspended sellers without notification. Hundreds of sellers went NARU (not a registered user). They’ve retroactively punished sellers in a number of other ways, too. Retroactively turned all neutrals into negatives May 19, 2008

    What else has eBay done?
    Closed Live Auctions, April 28, 2008
    Removed Mutual Feedback Withdrawal
    Removed the Square Trade mediation option
    Rumor has it that eBay Live is dead! Yup, eBAy has apparently cancelled eBay Live 2009: Source Skip McGrath and TameBay (eBay University is on the way out, too)

    eBay’s only constant is change.


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