eBay.com Summer Seller Update Released

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The latest eBay.com seller update has been released and it includes something that sellers have been asking for for year – longer listing titles. There’s also an increase to seller protection, the end of off-site links and email addresses in listings, new return/refund policies and updates for the Tickets and GPS categories.

Longer listing titles

Starting in September sellers will get an extra 25 characters in titles increasing from the current 55 words to 80 words for eBay.com listings. eBay suggest using the additional space to include things like UPC part numbers or manufacturer part numbers to ensure your products are found. They also suggest including the most relevant keywords at the start of your title as in some instances the full title won’t be displayed on the site due to space limitations.

Increased Seller Protection

Cases opened by buyers who do not contact the seller first won’t be counted against seller performance from the 31st August for eBay.com and eBay.ca registered sellers. This is a great step to protecting sellers as far too often I hear the complaint that a case was opened with no prior communication. However it’s likely that “no contact with the seller” will be measured by “no message sent through eBay” – that works in the sellers favour, although of course we’d still recommend resolving cases as quickly as possible if a buyer contacts you via another method.

The end of off-site links and email addresses

From the 1st October sellers can no longer include email addresses or add website links to listings that “does not help a buyer safely transact on eBay”.

This is a big one as many sellers include customer support contact information in listings and link to sites with additional product specifications and information. You’ll need to remove all of these links and email addresses prior to October or your listings will fail when you try to submit them.

Return Policies

eBay are suggesting that sellers update their listings with longer return times and more options available for sellers such as “Money back,” “Money back or exchange,” or “no returns accepted”. Consider using the new “Money back or exchange” refund method option, when you have the depth of inventory to support an exchange for a different size, color, or undamaged unit. For sellers who have limited inventory in an item, but want to offer great customer service, select the “Money back” option.

Tickets and GPS

eBay are updating how Tickets and GPS devices are sold on eBay.com. The new Ticket Hub and listing against eBay catalogue will make it faster to list tickets and easier for buyers to find them. From mid September GPS devices listed on eBay.com also have to be matched to catalogue products.

For the first time on eBay in August a new tool for instantly adding your products to the catalog will be available for GPS sellers. This brings the eBay experience closer to Amazon as sellers will be able to create entirely new catalogue items if their product doesn’t already exist. An “Add product to our catalogue” link will appear in selling tools. Instead of Amazon ASIN the new term will be eBay EPID (which I guess stands for eBay Product ID).


Overall longer item titles and greater seller protection are likely to be the two changes most welcomed by sellers. However the most significant change for the long term is the increase in product catalogue usage and especially the ability for sellers to add new products to the eBay catalogue for the first time. Expect to see mandatory use of eBay catalogue in ever more categories, especially now uncatalogued items can be added by the seller.

N.B. As is normal this seller update applies to eBay.com and eBay.ca. We expect the eBay.co.uk seller update to be released shortly but the details are normally different so don’t count on everything from eBay.com to be replicated in the UK or other countries.

11 Responses

  1. If eBay do not allow 80 (character not word!) titles across all sites on the same date then .com listings will have a very definite advantage when searched.

    From August .com listings that specify International Shipping are already due to appear in default searches on .co.uk, .de and .au.

  2. EPIDs have existed for years. eBay doesn’t really make this well known but every single product in their catalog has an EPID and it has always been displayed on the product pages.

    I really don’t see any benefit to making titles 80 characters. This may have made sense years ago but today we have item specifics, best match penalizing for using unpopular words, and product ids (the very things they suggest we add to the titles) that are already being matched against in search.

  3. I’m concerned about the customer service impact of removing support email addresses from the listings. We publish a phone number and email address that people can use to resolve problems with transactions and they are used by buyers. The biggest frustration that we notice is if buyers aren’t able to communicate with the seller or feel that this communication is delayed.

    This update will make customer service worse for buyers.

    The eBay messaging system is rubbish for communications — it is probably only 90% effective at doing what you would expect it to do (send a message) — and the Resolution Centre is worse: setting up a strait-jacketed confrontation with your customer. The only safety valve is being able to pick up the phone and speak to the person you are trying to trade with, or being able to drop them a friendly email to lay out options.

    I’m pleased that the phone number won’t be taken off the listings (presumably because that’s technically harder for the CS bot to search for than an email address), but until eBay Messaging comes close to the reliability of standard email, this is bad for customer service of buyers.

  4. 80 Characters Fantastic. Often when listing a Book by its title I have run out of Characters. All we need now is for a search that correctly lists the title actually to find it and not just kick it up at the bottom because of a few words from the title. After all if the search has found several listings it is annoying if yours is at the end because of a few words from the title because the buyer is likely to have bought long before he(or she) gets to your listing.

  5. What the main problem with this is, is how sellers are getting screwed once again. Read about the return policy being favored by buyers. Ebay has stuck it to sellers for years and they are about to fall soon. In this economy they have raised fees and invited all the scam artists to screw over buyers with their ridiculous policies in favor of buyers. The new policy will not allow you to sell items as is. Look in the ebay forums. Sellers are irate! I am sick of ebay. I can’t wait until a new auction site comes along.

  6. If I have read correctly, you will still be able to have your website and email address on your ME page.

    Some how in the listings you could put a notice that all contact details for questions are on our ME page with a hyperlink embedded.

    Also noted that GTC listings don’t need to be amended for 1st October, but will need to change in early 2012. So maybe a time to list some GTC and take advantage.


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