The eBay Picture Policy has been largely ingnored by sellers for many years. eBay haven’t helped by chopping and changing their rules, for instance first announcing in 2017 that they would ban Watermarks and then back tracking but keeping the rule in place as ‘best practice’.
Sellers have in the main totally ignored the eBay picture policy rules and still today many image carry borders, flags, text, logos and other extraneous information an decorations. eBay don’t even go so far as to monitor the listings they heavily promote across the site such as Sponsored Listings and Daily Deals. These promoted listings carry images which routinely and flagrantly breach eBay’s picture standards.
eBay sellers are caught in a Catch 22 situation. They know that image decorations work and increase the likelihood of a buyer clicking on their listing – that is after all why sellers started adding decorations to their listings. Those who try to comply invariably end up wishing they hadn’t as they sell their competitors ignore the rules and know that eBay take zero notice and never enforce the policy.
There is however a more compelling reason why sellers may wish to comply with the eBay Picture Policy and it has nothing to do with eBay’s action or lack of action in enforcing the policy. There’s a more powerful force than eBay and that’s Google and other search engines. Pictured above is a screen shot of an eBay search page and the corresponding search performed on Google (in this case for a mundane ‘hammer’).
In the eBay search results it can be seen that many listings carry decorations and logos but Google refuses to display images that aren’t the simple product on a plain background. It’s worth noting that Google, even on image search, often display Google Shopping results at the top of search.
Sellers may wish to ignore the eBay Picture Policy and add decorations to their eBay images to attract more buyers. If that is you then you should, at least for your own website, maintain a corresponding set of images without watermarks and decorations if you wish to win visibility on search engines.
eBay Picture Policy
For the sake of clarity, the following practices are in theory banned under eBay’s current Picture Policy.
- Including pictures that don’t accurately represent the item for sale.
- Using placeholder images to convey messages, such as no image available or out of stock, or other marketing messages
- Including stock photos for used, damaged or defective items
- Adding borders to your photos
- Using a picture that is less than 500 pixels on the longest side
- Adding additional text, artwork or marketing to pictures
- Including watermarks