Following eBay’s announcement that they’d be prohibiting sellers from publishing their contact details on eBay listings and their eBay shop there were many concerns aired from sellers of custom made items that they wouldn’t be able to receive images to print or send proofs to their eBay customers.
The issue is that eBay compress images to an unusable size when sent through eBay messages and there is no alternative mechanism in place to transmit images. We did a test by sending an image (of my cat, Stripes) through eBay messages to see what would come out the other end and you can see the result on last week’s post – it’s massively compressed to less than 0.9% of the original size.
This week we’ve done some further investigation – is this just an eBay problem or does it affect other marketplaces and what happens if you get a retailer of custom made products to actually print the picture?
What you get from eBay Messages
We asked Invite Designs to actually print the picture of my cat, both the original and once it had been sent to them through eBay messages. As you can see from the image above, the original prints just fine, but the second image is just way too small when scaled to the same size.
eBay delete contact details
Another issue with eBay’s insistence on eradicating contact details has also been raised. It’s not just compressing images, but eBay are stripping out telephone numbers and email addresses. If you’re buying some party invitations or business stationary it’s usual to want your contact information on the printed product or what’s the point of having it. Has anyone worked out how a buyer can send their telephone number and email address to the seller so that they can print it?
How do Amazon perform?
Amazon don’t appear to have any problem at all forwarding original images to sellers without compressing them until they’re unusable. If you sell custom made items on Amazon you should have on problem trading.
How do Etsy perform?
Having checked out how eBay and Amazon handle images, I couldn’t resist a test with the other big selling venue that handles custom made items – Etsy.
The results from Etsy are interesting, the image is compressed but it’s not resized. The image size was retained at 5312 x 2988 pixels. The DPI remained at 72 but the file size reduced from 4.32MB to 2.55MB. This is a lossy compression, where some information in the file has been deleted and so the picture isn’t quite as sharp as the original. However due to the original file size I couldn’t detect any difference on a computer screen – it may make a difference if you’re ordering a five foot poster print, but for most purposes it’s safe to say that images sent through Etsy are perfectly usable.
What do sellers need from eBay?
Sellers of custom made items aren’t asking for a lot – just two things really:
- Either send images through eBay messages uncompressed or allow seller to use email.
- Enable sellers to receive contact information when a buyer wants a phone or email address printed onto a product.
Sellers aren’t asking for a lot, just to be able to serve their customers. But in trying to eradicate fraud and off eBay sales, eBay are about to kill off custom made items and prevent them being sold on their marketplace.