eBay is a great platform on which to grow your business. But it also has strict rules and regulations in place that can significantly complicate matters for sellers.

Recently, eBay changed its rules on Active Content in listings, which has caused a few waves in the eBay community. Those of you that use Active Content on eBay will already have received a warning email from eBay, making you aware that some of your listings might not be displayed properly from June 2017 onwards because they contain active content.

Even though this can be simply annoying at the first glance, as it limits your creativity in listings and involves extra effort to change them, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Because we have summed up all you need to know together with useful links in the following paragraphs, to make sure your listings comply with Active Content rules now and in the future.

What is active content?

First of all, it is important to understand what Active Content is. What is allowed and what is not? The term generally covers any type of non-standard text that can be included in item descriptions to provide additional functionality.

This includes for example JavaScript, Flash, plug-ins and form actions, which can be used to include video players or cross-promotion modules. From June 2017, such content will not appear in listings anymore. It decreases the suitability of listings for mobile devices and can lead to abuse, which eBay wants to avoid. The platform has already announced that it will completely remove listings with Active Content later this year. So, it is highly recommended that you adjust your listings accordingly.

To find out which listings are affected, there is a useful tool provided by an eBay partner: the i-ways Checker. It is free and officially recommended by eBay. If you are using listing templates from a third-party supplier, you can also check them with this tool.

How can I make my listings compliant with the rules?

There are several alternatives to Active Content for eBay listings. For example, instead of using tabbed panes to organise information, simply use the standard listing fields that eBay provides. The same is true for images: if you use the standard gallery feature, you won’t need to worry. And to cross-promote items it is best to rely on eBay’s Promotions Manager.

However, the matter becomes more complicated if you want to include videos in your listings, as you will need to use the HTML5 <video> tag, which is not supported by all video hosting sites. eBay is currently working to improve this, but until then you will need to follow its Links policy as closely as possible. If you need help embedding videos in your eBay listings without Active Content, have a look at this Tamebay article, which contains several useful links as well.

It is also important to note that you should not include:

  • page view counters,
  • embedded buyer feedback,
  • currency conversion widgets or
  • social sharing icons

in your item descriptions. Instead, use the features provided by eBay for those tasks.

In addition, when adding hyperlinks to item descriptions using HTML, be sure to use the target=”_blank” attribute. If you don’t, your hyperlink will not work.

Probably the easiest way to comply with all the rules and still have nicely designed listings is to create your templates with eBay’s partner i-ways.net. You can use this tool for free, or sign up for a professional plan if you have more advanced requirements.

If, however, you want to develop your listing templates yourself, you should design them with HTML5. You also need to make sure they are fully responsive – for mobile users. eBay provides a full and detailed list on what is compliant after June 2017 and what is not on the very end of this page. We highly recommend reading that page carefully, if you are affected by the changes.

My listings are up-to-date – so what’s next?

Once you made sure your listings comply with the new Active Content rules, nothing will get in the way of building your successful eBay business anymore.

Nevertheless, you will soon feel the need to manage your orders more efficiently as your business grows. Khaos Control Cloud can help you with that. As a cloud-based ERP solution, it does not only help you manage your eBay orders, but your whole business for you – from anywhere at any time.

Not convinced? Simply try it for free and see for yourself!