How to comply with eBay's active content ban

How to comply with eBay's active content ban

Published in Marketplace listings

Last year, eBay announced that during 2017 they would be removing active content from all eBay listings, which will affect sellers with videos, image galleries and a number of other features that they’ve included in their product descriptions. To help you prepare for this update, we’ve taken a look at what active content is, how you might be using it in your eBay listings and what changes you need to start making.

What is active content?

Active content refers to any Javascript, Flash, plug-ins or form actions that you have used within the item description of your eBay listings. This is often used to add product videos, image galleries, or to create tabs within the product description.

Active content can increase the page load times for your listings, and it can be frustrating for shoppers using mobile devices if it doesn’t display correctly.

What’s changing on eBay?

eBay wants to remove all active content from eBay listings and shop pages. From June 2017, eBay will start to eliminate the use of active content in all listings across all devices. This means that the active content will not render - any videos, galleries or other features using active content will no longer load or they won’t be displayed as you intended. Later in 2017, this will be extended to your eBay Shop pages.

If you’re not sure whether your eBay listings contain active content, or how this change will affect them, you can view your listings with and without active content enabled. At the top of the description on your item page, you can select ‘preview’ to see how your listings look without active content and what changes you might need to make.

Removing active content from eBay warning

You can also check how mobile friendly your listings are by entering your eBay item number into this website: http://www.i-ways.net/mobile-friendly/en-us/.

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How to replace active content in your eBay listings

Active content is used in a range of different ways in eBay listings, and all of them will need to be updated to remove any Javascript, Flash, plug-ins or form actions. There are a number of features and settings that will offer a similar result already available in eBay’s listing process. Alternatively, you will be able to use HTML and CSS to create the same features in your listings.

Image galleries

If you have an additional picture gallery in your item description, it’s probably been created using active content. eBay’s own picture gallery appears at the very top of listings and allows you to add up to 12 photos, so in most cases this should be more than enough.

If you do want to have your own gallery you’ll need to create one using HTML and CSS. It’s best to include the main product images in eBay’s gallery, because not all shoppers will scroll down to the item description to see more images, and shoppers on mobile devices will have to click through to view the full description with your image gallery.

Product videos

Videos embedded from YouTube and other sources use Flash to display, so they will need to be replaced. eBay allows you to use an HTML5<video> tag in listings, so you need to upload and host an MP4 video, and then add the HTML into your listings.

eBay currently has no alternative way to use YouTube videos in listings, but has said that it’s “working on providing compatibility for popular video hosting sites”.

Tabs

Another popular use for active content is creating tabs within a listing description to organise product details, shipping information and returns policies. However, when you create a listing most of this information is already required in separate fields - for example, you’ll have to fill out the payment details, shipping information and returns policy field. Buyers usually expect to find this kind of information under the relevant sections of the listings, so tabs have a low number of clicks. If you still want to use tabs in your listings, you’ll need to create them using HTML and CSS. Find an example of HTML and CSS code that can be used to create tabs here.   

Related items

If you’re using active content to display thumbnails of related products with links to your eBay listings you can use the Promotions Manager tool to display relevant items from your eBay shop instead. You can also create coupons and shipping or combined purchase discounts through Promotions Manager and display these in your listings without using any active content. 

Using active content to display related items on eBay

eBay Shop search

To include a search bar for your eBay shop within your product listings you can use the Listing Frame feature. It will also allow you to have category links for your shop on the left hand side of your item descriptions.

Other uses for active content include: implementing tracking or analytics, specifying freight shipping rates, specifying parts compatibility and implementing a responsive design. Some sellers also use active content to embed buyer feedback, currency conversion widgets, social sharing icons and Iframes, which eBay recommends sellers should remove from their listings.

Summary: Complying with eBay’s active content ban

By the time that eBay’s removal of active content comes into effect in June, you will need to have removed all Javascript, Flash, plug-ins or form actions or recreated them using HTML and CSS. If you still have active content within your listings it will no longer load or it won’t appear as it’s meant to.

Find out more about how you should replace active content in your eBay listings here.

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About the author

Verity is a journalist and content producer at Zenstores.

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