eBay Watermark Removal Policy scrapped

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We know that the eBay watermark removal policy has had sellers complaining about the number of images that they have to edit to remove watermarks. In some cases it’s 10s of thousands and across eBay’s billion listings there are a large proportion that eBay themselves watermarked on behalf of sellers when they were uploaded.

Today there is good news, Rob Hattrell, eBay UK VP has listened and having heard from a ton of sellers, including those who don’t want their work copied by others, and got the policy reversed. Today he is emailing all sellers to let them know the good news.

If you have already edited you image then this is still a good thing – it’s required by search engines if you want your products to be displayed on them. Image standards across the web are rising and any superfluous decorations or watermarks won’t do you any favours. If you have yet edited your images to remove watermarks it’s probably a good idea to do so and to leave them off any images that you do upload, however if you feel it’s vital for you to protect your intellectual property then you can still do so.

Good news, it’s not often we applaud a U-Turn from eBay but in this case we know a lot of you will appreciate it. At least now you can concentrate on Q4 and not spend your Christmas break editing images or reshooting product shots.

Email from Rob to eBay sellers

I know that this has been an important topic and I want to thank those of you who took the time to contact me directly to explain the challenges you had with it.

We encourage you to have clean images because when watermarks are in place, we cannot typically promote your listings on platforms outside eBay, such as Google and Bing.

We’ve also heard from customers directly in focus groups that they are more likely to buy from us when product photography is on a white background and uncluttered.

But having listened to your views on this, we recognise that you as the seller should be able to make the choice. So I wanted to let you know today that I have asked the team not to enforce this policy, but to keep it in place as guidance only.

Thank you again for your feedback, which made a real difference on this. The views of the people who sell with us are absolutely essential we continue to evolve eBay for buyers and sellers. We are listening.

I hope that you have a great Christmas trading season.


21 Responses

  1. Good news I guess, but I’ll be honest, I was never going to do it anyway. No point, eBay rarely enforce other rules like text and graphics on images anyway.

  2. What a shocker!

    It was obvious this would never have been enforced. Very few sellers would have taken the time to replace all their images, so come 1st March eBay would have had to block all non compliant listings, which would mean 90% of listings disappearing overnight. It would have killed eBay sales.

    I feel sorry for the few sellers who have spent the last 2 months and hundreds of hours re-photographing, and updating thousands of listings. What a waste of time.

  3. Absolute disgrace after money has been spent preparing for this. Now all of our images are being stolen by other sellers and then watermarked by them.

    eBay search looks like an online car boot sale with tacky stickers and logos everywhere.

    Is eBay using a pin the tail on the donkey approach to choosing what to do next? And is the Donkey selecting the options.


  4. Just got the email as well. Great news and better still that Ebay, on this issue at least, have listened and done the right thing. Emailed Rob Hattrell twice with decent replies from his office staff, so was hopeful something might happen.

    Nobody argues with the need for items to appear prominently on search engines, but for many categories, it is impossible to prevent theft and re-use of images or intellectual property, without the protection of watermarks.

    One particular seller on Ebay was copying and pasting images of our items and flogging them, until we started watermarking.

    So, Merry Xmas, Rob Hattrell and thanks for listening.

    Now, about the other 99 issues we need addressing….

  5. Now that the combined might of the eBay Executive Team has been freed up by this overdue decision, perhaps the could turn their gaze on people who steal our images and re-use them on eBay. Sure you can report copyright infringement, but eBay does nothing about it. Another unenforced rule.

  6. Great news for the users that haven’t yet invested massive amounts of time and money into re exporting their photography inventory without a watermark… not so good for those who have. Will Ebay be compensating them for this? I doubt it.

    A lesson learnt for the future, always wait to see if Ebay back track on a new policy before spending £xxx on abiding by it

  7. Although I haven’t bothered watermarking (yet… but I might now) this is good news. Try and be more ‘glass half full’ some of you!

    If ebay had thought logically about this from the start, they wouldn’t need to backtrack. But at least they’ve been big enough to admit they made a mistake and hit reverse.

  8. Perhaps they should have consulted before making the original decision? We have taken the time and resource to make the change already. Money down the drain.

  9. Whoever is making these BIG ridiculous decisions at ebay should be fired period. Everything just seems to be ‘ lets copy Amazon and see if it works’ if not we can revert back.

  10. Excellent news for us, we have spent the last 12months creating nicely set images and spent a small fortune doing so, we have had hundreds of images ripped off by rogue sellers but Ebay have removed them in fairness as our watermark is clearly visible, removing our watermark would mean we had no control and essentially allow anybody to steal with no repercussion. Very good news indeed, glad to see ebay listening for a change.

  11. I keep saying it but someone has to replace ebay, How is there not a competition when ebay are so bad?

    I made no effort at all to remove watermarks and was waiting to see if it was enforced at which point i would just finish selling on ebay.

    Anyone want to take bets on the next rediculous requirement ebay will ask for?

  12. It’s an industry standard, Amazon have been doing it for years with white backgrounds and no watermarks. eBay are following this requirement by search engines, why on earth does everyone say they’re copying Amazon?

    EBay are not and will never be Amazon as eBay don’t sell anything for a start. Apples and pears, totally different marketplaces and amazon are more expensive too so as a buyer I’m starting to buy from ebay more to save money.

    Amazon follow the industry standards, eBay are now giving you a choice whether to be shown on Google and in eBay’s new image search.

    Damned if they do, damned if they don’t. Personally I think it shows they’re listening and it will give businesses the choice. I’ve said before that eBay often make sweeping changes that don’t fit all businesses so at least you have that choice to make now according to your business model.

    I also appreciated the email wording and tone.

    Plus one for eBay

  13. Excellent news and proof that ebay DO listen. This was not a popular policy change for us and one of the very few changes that i have complained about. Its good to see a U turn on this one.

  14. I think people are missing the point. eBay is not going to enforce it but will recommend it. Now we all know that eBays numbers are declining massively and they do rely heavily on google shopping to drive traffic to the site. Google is actively stopping watermarked images begin used so eBay will not be able to use your listing in google shopping which will dramatically impact your traffic as eBays generic numbers have dropped so much.

    If you are relying on eBay search for people to find your products then you are limiting your audience.

  15. Good news, they’ve taken on board the feedback from sellers and reversed this wrong move before it happened, it would have resulted in poorer images on eBay but now we will continue to make our products look pretty on eBay. Just look at shared listings on Amazon, most are a mess from sellers putting up duff images, wrong descriptions, etc.
    Much prefer eBay seller focussed approach.


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