Making Sense of the eBay UK Updates for August 2012

This is probably the most comprehensive guide there is to the eBay UK updates that is being released this morning that covers the impact of the updates to you and your business.

Pop the kettle on, as this one requires your complete attention. If you’re on the move there is a treat for you with a special mobile version of this guide especially for you.

It’s that time of year again and eBay have loads pre-Christmas treats lined up for you in the August 2012 seller release and one thing for sure, eBay is on your side for the busiest season ever.

There are stellar changes lined up for us and there is a lot for us to cover, however unlike the eBay updates we had in May, I’m not going to be using a scoring mechanism for the updates, because as a general rule the updates are all positive, with the exception of two epic changes that is….

More on those two epic updates later, once you’ve been through this comprehensive guide to the eBay autumn updates, I’d love to hear from you and what your thoughts are on this round of eBay updates, how they impact you and what your Christmas trade is going to be like because of them. You can let me know in the comments box at the bottom of this page.

Downloadable Edition Available!

Ebay-Updates-Ipad-Edition-2012This guide is a monster of over 5,500 words taking you through each update step by step.

That’s quite a lot to take in and because of this, I’ve created you a special downloadable version in PDF format that you can use on you iPhone, iPad or Android device.

To view this version on your mobile device:


And open in iBooks or your favourite PDF reader.

eBay to Change in 7 Days?

Before we dig into the eBay Autumn 2012 updates, I’d like to share a quick story with you from a meeting earlier this year.

Until the ChannelAdvisor Catalyst event, I hadn’t realised how much effort the team at eBay had put into organising these updates and the communications around them. Half way through the meeting, a question was asked to the audience on the premise that what would we do if we could change a specific factor and have it rolled out live in 7 days.

A nice thought, a change made in 7 days…. after basking in the idea for a few moments and I’m sure several parties taking them seriously that it was possible, the reality had hit home. Just before the meeting had started and while the delegates were just beginning to enter the room, the eBay the team huddled together.

“Right guys we know we might take a rap from some of the sellers here today, we should expect that, everything is not perfect, but we’re trying out best, lets not forget that”

To release major updates like the ones that are about to follow is not a straightforward process. There is a mountain of code to break, sorry edit :D, almost endless groups to work through, testing and re-testing and what about the buyers? Every single one of these changes, don’t just impact us as a community of sellers on eBay, they directly impact the community of buyers and they’ll need an education program as much as the sellers do!

Seven days to make a massive or even a minor change to a site with how many million users globally? Pfft not likely, twice a year is enough for me and hopefully you too.

There is a lot to cover with perhaps the most in-depth there is on the changes for this Autumn, grab a coffee and let’s dig in.

Reporting of Bad Buyers Being Introduced

eBay Report a BuyerWoooooohoooooooooooo!

Once you’ve sat back your chair after falling off while cheering, eBay have hit a home run on this one. Well, that is IF they actually action in the information they are fed from sellers.

We are going to be able to rate buyers again, but unlike before with the old “negging”, sorry “feedback” system, this process is designed to highlight “Unreasonable Behaviour” by buyers through a new form.

This form is available after the purchase has been made via the feedback page and through a set of different set options than before, leave feedback about the buyer which is forwarded directly to eBay for them to process.

“We all know that a small number of buyers on eBay have been playing the system”

Let’s be frank here, we all know that a small number of buyers on eBay have been playing the system since the ability to leave negative feedback for them was taken away from sellers some time ago.

I covered one dynamic of this around the frequency of “lost orders” when comparing eBay & Amazon a week or so ago and the feedback in the comments from business owners who also use both marketplaces was compelling (also very constructive too, see the comments around the use of a barcode for a “suggested” tracking method on untracked orders to lower the “lost” rate).

Update: This is an important note around the reporting of buyers from John in the comments at the bottom of this article:

John says:
I was concerned that reporting a buyer wouldn’t be possible if auto feedback was enabled but eBay tell me that it will be possible to still report dodgy buyers.

A video from the James Stewart, director of eBay’s EU seller team is below where he explains this part up of the update in detail:

The amount of time and money being wasted by eBay businesses due to buyers playing the game must be reaching scary amounts now and while thankfully it remains the few, it’s started to us hurt more and more as time has gone on. Time will tell if eBay stand by the statement of:

eBay UK says:
Based on your report and additional information that eBay has about the buyer, we’ll investigate if there’s a pattern of unreasonable behaviour. If so, we’ll take appropriate actions, including buying restrictions or even suspension of a buyer’s account.”

How to Report a Buyer that Exhibits Bad Behaviour

When the process is put live it will be really straight forwards to notify eBay of a bad buyer and it is important to note that this can only be done through the eBay website and cannot be automated using the eBay API.

Note: It has been confirmed that there is no intention currently to allow this to be available in the eBay API (the interface that 3rd party tools use to talk with eBay), as that could undermine the new process through automation tools and that’s the last thing we need. Phew!

Step #1 – Select the “Report a Buyer” Option

After a item has been purchased, on the Leave Feedback page here a new option will appear called “Report a Buyer” where the eBay account is the seller for one or more transactions.

Select Report a Buyer on eBay

Step #2 – Select a Reason

Next you’ll be able to select from one of five options, these are:

  1. Buyer has made unreasonable demands
  2. Buyer has left inappropriate feedback
  3. Buyer abused the buyer protection program
  4. Buyer misused returns
  5. Other problems

And there is an appropriate link to solve unpaid items through the eBay resolution centre.

Report an eBay Buyer Step 2

Step #3 – Submit Report

After making your selection, you then submit the report, noting the text in the confirmation notice “Bad Buyer”.

eBay Confirm Bad Buyer

Surely you agree that it has to be a positive system to introduce? I know I have missed a feedback process like this for some time now. What do you think? Let me know in the comments at the bottom.

eBay Buyer Communication Updates

Buyers are now going to be required to contact you through eBay first before they are allowed to start the resolution process for an order and state that it was not received or significantly not as described.

eBay Resolution Centre - Contact Seller First

eBay’s allowed a hefty time frame of 8 days for you to respond to such a request before being allowed to escalate it to eBay. 8 days does seem a lot, but remember we are dealing with a a very broad range of business types and tracking for some goods may not be possible immediately and also this does account for the time to resolve the issue between the buyer and seller.

There are also two important parts to this section of the eBay updates, these are:

  1. Only queries referred to eBay and found in favour of the buyer will be included in your seller performance evaluation
  2. If a buyer asks ‘When am I likely to receive my item?’ before the delivery date has passed, we’ll display a message reminding them of the date.

Both of those are very welcomed, saving both time in customer services demand and making it fairer for you for when you’ve been playing ball.

I was sold on the first line where the buyers are forced to contact the seller, the two extra parts of this update for the validated feedback and better communication of delivery times sealed it for me. What do you think? Let me know in the comments at the bottom.

eBay Gallery View Redesigned Including Colour Swatches!

Images speak a million words, we know that and they are second in the importance list of attributes that effective eBay businesses need to get right on eBay, right after the listing title to allow the potential buyer to find the listing that is.

eBay are known for their split testing across the site, it’s why you see one thing when signed in as one account and something different when signed in as another account when it comes to different parts of the structure of eBay when they’re testing.

eBay UK says: 
“Our trials have shown that previous increases in item image size, have resulted in a significant* increase in sales. And we’re anticipating a similar response to this update.”

No eBay USA Gallery Requirements!
Before we dig into those changes, I know for many of you that you have been concerned that we might have been seeing the same gallery requirements update that the eBay USA site had.

eBay US Gallery Image requirements

eBay USA banned extra text, forced image minimum sizes, disallowed borders in gallery images, gave suggestions on watermarks and generally floored a very useful selling strategy for gallery images (it was quite horrific). The good news is that it is NOT in this update!

The eBay UK Changes
We’re going to be seeing much larger thumbnail images on listings in the gallery view and also a neat little feature where the title will expand to the full title once the title/image area is activated.

This is much better than relying upon the “Alternative text” message that the web-browser gives you and there is more!

eBay Extended Gallery View

We’re going to be seeing the introduction of swatch images for multi variation listings.

This is… sick!

If you’ve not heard of swatches before, these are generally the little colour images that you see on product pages, that help the buyers make the decision on product attribute like colour through instant image recognition because its an image, rather than having to read text from a list of options.

Swatch Examples
To explain this as clearly as possible, let’s use two examples of the extremes from (who have had this feature for years *coff*).

The first example in the image below shows us a dress on Amazon (click to view) where the swatches only have text labels. This means that you have to read the options to make a selection and we know how disastrous that can be when we need buyers to read :D

Amazon Swatch Example - No Swatches

This second example (click to view) has actual colour images for the different variations that the dress is available in. So if you want the red dress, locating it is so much faster for the buyer.

Amazon Swatch Example - With Swatches

eBay variations and Pricing UpdatedIn eBay multi-variation listings buyers are now going to be able to clearly see that there are variations in your listing. You’ve got to agree that the “More Options” that we have currently is not clear to buyers and I know from personal experience, most people do not know what that link does when in the gallery view.

The price range annoyance is being fixed. It’s a feature that has been in dire need of for ages, as before the update if you have a product in a variation listing that ranges from £9.99 to £129.99 the highest price is being shown to buyers.

In this update we’ll be seeing “£9.99 – £129.99” instead, much better, yay.

Gallery Image Swap based Upon Search Terms
And it gets better too! If the variation option is a colour and matches the search criteria the buyer has made, then the image attached to the colour variation in the listing will be shown instead of the main gallery image.

Intelligent searches will show the corresponding variation images

So if you search for a “Pink Shirt” and there is a “Pink” variation for colour, in an eBay listing that has a “pink image” attached, eBay will show this image instead of the main gallery image.

eBay Variation Options With Set Images

Important Notes On This Update
While this is a super cool feature, it does now mean that instead of just working manually on the main listing image that is used in the gallery, the first sub image for each colour variant is going to be just as important, as this image could be your gallery image instead.

The first variation image is going to be as important as the main gallery picture

Also if you look closely in the image above and in the image below, notice the “Colors” attribute. This is being shown as a shade of a colour, just like how Amazon use shades for their colour mapping, so expect some data work to match your items to pending new item specifics and attribute sets.

eBay Variation Colour Shades

Note: Amazon uses colour mapping to group together colours so that it they are able to make better filters on the site, for example you may have a garment that is “burgundy-red”, so the nearest mapping for colour is red. This is very similar to what you can see above.

eBay Checkout Comments Toggle

eBay Checkout Add Message to SellerAt the beginning of this article we had a little story from the CA Catalyst event, in that meeting it was revealed that sellers will now be able to turn off the buyer’s comment box during the checkout process.

I can see how for some businesses (like the ones that use CA who do not support it) would find it most useful, however it would have been better to have the reverse of this option, which is to force the buyer comments box on, so that for customised goods, buyers have to fill the box out.

Not an exciting update for what it could have been, I’m sure some businesses will find it useful and there will be a new toggle option to show/hide this, probably in site preferences.

eBay Fast

eBay Fast and Free ExampleA really sweet edition, that we’re already seeing variations of on eCommerce websites is coming to eBay in October, ready for Christmas we’ll be seeing a new logo under our items called “Fast ‘n’ Free”.

This will appear on listings that have an estimated delivery of 3 days or less. So that means if you have a handling time of 1 day and first class or a courier of 24hrs or 48hrs with the same handling time.

Google Base Requirement Updates

Google Product Identifiers ExampleIt’s been a requirement for sometime now for items to be included in Google Base to include unique identifiers. For those without a clue of what these are, it’s easy, it’s the barcode of the product.

That means you’ll need to be adding an EAN, UPC, JAB, ISBN or GTIN as customer item specific to your listings (if you have no idea on what those are, see this article that explains them all in a handy 5 minute video).

Huge Tip: Remember to use the custom items specific called MPN for the “Manufacturer Part Number”. An excellent example of this in action on Google Product Search is here as shown in the image above.

Duplicate Listing Policy Extended

Prior to this update coming into effect we are able to run 1 fixed price listing and up to 14 auctions that may or may not have a BIN price on them.

eBay UK says:
“In 2011 we reduced duplicate fixed price listings and saw a sales increase across European eBay sites. Fewer duplicates mean more sales for more sellers.”

Post this update we are only going to be able to have one fixed price listing, like before and up to 14 auctions running at the same time, but none of the auctions are allowed to have a “Buy It Now” price on them as eBay are to be considering these as duplicates.

I don’t believe this to be a bad update per-say, rather that if it is viable for your business to lay-down 14 sub auctions, you’ll have to do it without BIN being offered.

Unit Prices Introduced

I’m sure you have seen this before, this has been in the supermarket shelves for some time now. If you add a weight as grams or kilograms to a listing as an item specific, it eBay will soon display and price per weight unit below the item price.

eBay UK says:
“This will help you to better comply with European laws on how the price of certain goods should be displayed”

eBay Unit Prices Shown in Update

A nice update, gotta love the EU at times, but this is not yet supported by the one place you’re likely to see a weight difference, multi-variation listings.

eBay My Messages Enhancements

eBay My Messages Being UpdatedRight this one caused some confusion across the pond, so let’s be super clear here.

eBay are not going to be reading your personal email

Instead, if you are using the reply button in you email application, say Gmail or Outlook rather than using “eBay My Messages” to make replies to queries, then when you hit reply and send a message, your “eBay My Messages” will update so that you know that the message you just replied to in say Gmail, has been replied to in eBay My Messages.

It’s as simple as that, handy eh?

Manufacturer Warranties For New Products

eBay UK says:eBay requires Manufacturer Warranty period to be added
“An increasing number of buyers look for the manufacturer warranty in a listing for extra confidence and reassurance in their purchase. Including these details in your listings can help lead to an increase in sales, especially for higher value items”


Is this really a bad thing?  Hardly, this is a super update for buyers.

They’ll know clearly what a warranty is included with their purchase and how long for.

It’ll be a requirement for all business sellers  in late September to fill in the “Manufacturer warranty” eBay item specific.

If you’re using a third party tool, make sure you add this ASAP and update your products before the requirement time is enforced.

Category, item specifics changes & eBay Catalogues Extended

At the time of writing this article, I am not 100% sure which categories are being updated for structure and item specifics, but as soon as I am fully aware I’ll add them here.

Generally all category and item specific updates are a nightmare, especially when it comes to moving data round. This time there will be a few fee increases and odd decrease as categories move entire trees, one of the downsides for having category based fee structures I guess.

Update: The categories that are changing are vast, these are as follows:

  • Art
  • Business, Office & Industrial
  • Cameras & Photography
  • Clothes, Shoes & Accessories
  • Computer/Tablets & Networking
  • DVDs, Films & TV
  • Home & Garden
  • Jewellery & Beauty
  • Music
  • Musical Instruments
  • Vehicle Parts & Accessories
  • Video Games & Consoles
  • Wholesale & Job Lots
  • Everything Else

You can download all the category changes for September 2012 as a PDF and what the new category structure will look like after the structure also as a PDF.

The eBay Catalogue is being extended, but not as widely as it was in the previous update in May, into four categories, these being:

  • CPUs/Processors (category id 164)
  • Server CPUs/Processors (category id 56088)
  • Motherboards (category id 1244)
  • PC Desktops & All-in-Ones (category id 179)

We’ve seen this path developing as the eBay catalogue becomes bigger and as a reality check, it has always been around in the media category with Muse. It’s pretty obvious that given enough time, eBay is migrating to a catalogue structure that we know and love (*coff* hate at times too) similar to Amazon’s, how much impact seller data is going to play in this, is not entirely sure just yet.

Is it a bad update at present? Nope, as long as sellers can retain their uniqueness, rather than just being on a race-to-the-bottom Amazon styled listing format.

Motors Tyre Label for EU Requirement

If you’re listing tyres on eBay UK, you’ll be required to display tyre performance information in lists for tyres manufactured on or after the 1st of July 2012.

Later this season we’ll be seeing eBay enforcing these requirements by making the item specifics compulsory when listing these products on eBay.

eBay Tyre Label Requirements

Customised Item Condition for Non New Items

This is a sweet update if you sell used or refurbished goods, as you’ll be able to add and explain any extra details about the condition of non-new items listed on eBay with a text area, which is going to support around a whopping 1000 characters.

eBay item Condition Note for Non New Items

As eBay are going to be making this custom message more apparent to buyers, they’re suggesting to remove any notes you have on the condition of a product to this field, however we all know what buyers are like and I strongly suggest you put the items condition description in the new field AND in the description area.

Featured First is GONE!

The two stunners in this update, I have saved for last. You better hold on as I was shell-shocked when I found out about this.

eBay’s highest ticket feature upgrade is going in September 2012.

For those who have not heard or used “Featured First”, for £44.95 a week or £134.95 a month, you were (were almost being the right tense) able to promote your items are the very top of the eBay search for matching keywords and thus items with featured first on them would generally make a lot more transactions than a listing without this feature upgrade.

The ability to add such a feature has pretty much always been on the eBay I have known from the days when there was such a thing as homepage featured, to today where featured first is still available.

The playing field is going to be levelled.

I know a large number of businesses that use eBay’s featured first to accelerate the performance of newly listed products. Products that are both new to eBay and new to the sellers and without this boost of activity, the length of time needed for such products to gain traction is going to be significant.

But it’s retired and that is going to be putting a hell of a lot of weight on to getting eBay’s best match working for your eBay listings and while I can see why I can see this as being a good update for buyers, like many of the updates we’ve been through above, this update is scary for sellers as you’re unable to essentially pay to be featured and now the playing field is going to be levelled.

What do you think about Feature First going? Let me know in the comments box at the bottom of the page.

Upgraded eBay International Selling

This isn’t just one update, this is a combination of updates that are going to make selling internationally more easier & more cost effective and there is an epic feature being lined up for 2013.

Postage Prices Per Country
The first part is to allow eBay UK businesses to specify postage costs per country, this feature alone I know many businesses to have been crying out for.

There is always the odd little island like Malta that breaks all the rules for despatch costs and grouping Europe up into one option hasn’t helped with the price differences for couriers across Europe, this part of the update solves this pain and as you can see in the image below, you can now add postage rates per country!

eBay Postage Prices Per Country

Listing Exposure & Translations
The second part of the international selling updates is the change for international buyers to only see listings from,, and that will post to their country.

Also to help buyers with translations of product descriptions, eBay will also be including translate button using “Translate” to swap languages to the buyers native language.

New Single Monthly XXL Subscription
The third part of the update for international selling is that eBay are releasing a new single monthly store subscription to allow a single eBay trading ID to listing internationally for one monthly fee.

eBay goes XXL, fries with that sir?

You will be able to list to all the eBay European sites and at no extra cost for the same price of an anchor eBay UK store subscription at £349.99.

By my reckoning, this is the following EU sites for free:

  • eBay Australia
  • eBay Austria
  • eBay Belgium (French & Dutch)
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Netherlands
  • Poland
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • And of course the UK

Note: See the global list of eBay sites here.

The XXL subscription will give you the following:

  • Zero insertion fees for 30-day and Good ‘Til Cancelled fixed price listings on domestic, European and Australian sites
  • $0.03 insertion fee for 30-day and Good ‘Til Cancelled fixed price listings on
  • Final value fees charged according to the site that you list the item on. (You’ll also be charged relevant feature fees.)

And get this, this is in preparation for 2013, eBay are going to be allowing you to create eBay Shop for each site you list on.

I can see some third party software tools falling over with ability to support so many sites, both technically (as that is one complicated inventory structure when you account for ~14 eBay sites) and also instructing how users can leverage so many sites at the same time through a single eBay account and software backend.

I’m also not sure how eBay’s own tools are going to cope with this either, does that really mean you would need to log into ~14 sites to collect sales off each of them or is the backend of eBay going to change to facilitate this somehow.

An eBay account manager had given them an anchor store to help with their “international visibility”.

About 2 months ago, a Bristol based company I spotted had a anchor eBay store. It didn’t make sense as that’s £350 and they had around 200 listings. The threshold is exactly 6,000 listings to warrant am anchor store.

After an email or two, it was revealed that an eBay account manager had given them an anchor store to help with their international visibility. As I had pointed out at the time, that was pointless as it made no difference. Now the logic makes sense, it did not then and the account manager was a little eager maybe? After this update, it will do.

There are a lot of questions unanswered on this topic for the next update in 2013. but £349.99 for listing to so many sites, if you can get around the data requirements, then this could be lethal for the larger businesses on eBay right now.

Autumn 2012 Updates Summary

The Autumn updates are jam-packed with some super updates for both buyers and sellers alike, but I cannot believe “Featured First” is going from eBay UK.

The importance of having “quality” listings has and will never have been so great.

This is going to make it soooo hard for some businesses that use this to expedite sales of products that are new to them, new to eBay or need the competitive advantage against long standing listings that have become welded to the top of search.

The importance of having “quality” listings has and will never have been so great when this update goes live, we have new gallery image sizes, variation listing updates that will need you to work hard to make them become sticky in the search results.

We can work as a community to tackle the scum

Finally we can work as a community to tackle the scum that have been causing us so much trouble with fake loses and abusing the feedback system to their advantage. Even in eBay terms they’re calling them “Bad Buyers”, “problem buyers” might have been less harsh, but either way I as you don’t mind, that is IF eBay deliver on this one and carry through the reports we make as a community.

What do you make of the ability to report buyers, is it enough, do you see it working in the long term? The comments box is below, let me know.

Also where buyers are concerned, they’re being stopped from creating cases where they have not contacted the seller previously and then the seller is given 8 days to respond and deal with the query effectively before they can escalate the case to eBay, that is certainly another welcomed change.

eBay variations and Pricing Updated

The annoying bug with variations is being fixed, so we can see the range of prices and we’re seeing the long awaited introduction of swatch images to variations and the gallery images as a whole will be increased too.

The entire shopping experience for buyers will be better on eBay this Christmas with a easier list of items to view and also clearer messaging for businesses that use expedited delivery options with the inclusion of the “Fast’n’Free” logo appearing on listings that meet the 3 days or less delivery window.

Getting your products into Google Shopping results by including the EAN or identifier is now a requirement and also don’t forget the tip earlier about using MPN to include the manufacturers part number to also help in Google searches.

Did I mention that I cannot believe Featured First is going? Still not over that one, are you?

The link between external email applications so that your My Messages section is now updated when you reply to messages outside of eBay using the respond button is going to help you if you’re using a mixture of the my messages section and email, before you could only really use one without shouting across the office to see which ones were answered.

Besides the above and featured first going, the next largest part of this update is around international selling. No surprise really as it’s been pushed hard over the past few months and finally now we have some tools at our disposal that we can leverage to take advantage of the changes.

A Single fee for all the eBay EU sites AND eBay Australia

I did not expect to seeing that the eBay stores are going to be unified, this was a suggestion we made over a year or more ago, I guess they listen after all. I also did not expect that we would be seeing a one fee to list everywhere and in the detail above, that’s 14 eBay sites by my maths, but the devil will be in the detail and we’ll know fully as more communications from eBay surface on this.

With a single fee for all the eBay EU sites and eBay Australia, the Australian’s are going to be well pissed off with this update. As far as I can see, if you want to expand your UK business, why bother with translation’s, just open up, its far more easier.

We must not forget that this update also includes $0.03 listing fees for the core site as well and I am very curious what is going to happen with the unified eBay shops, even with sub shops as well when it comes to the eBay USA site and listing insertions.

“All in All” an excellent update, no fee increases are always welcomed.

“All in All” an excellent update, no fee increases are always welcomed and we’ve also scored with value back from eBay with the single store subscription fee. For those of you with anchor store subscriptions, it was am exact threshold of 6,000 listings over the period of a month to warrant having an eBay shop.

Now over to you, what do you make of the updates and how do you feel they are going to impact your business over Christmas?

Let me know in the comments box below.



If the above was the most comprehensive guide you have ever seen to an update by eBay ever, I believe you need consider registering for access to the free forums where we work together with any questions you may have about this or any other eCommerce related subject.

58 replies
  1. Valerie Brooks
    Valerie Brooks says:

    Tracking small items in Ebay has made it impossible to sell abroad as the tracking price is more expensive than the item. As a result of this many sellers have lost their Top Rated Seller status in the U.S. To track a £4 postcard would cost about £7 without packaging. Comments would be welcome.

    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:

      Howdy Valerie,

      I saw this kicking off on the US PS boards a while back, a lot of sellers have lost eTRS before of it because as you say £7 or a £4 just doesn’t work as it needs to be 90% of your orders that are tracked (is that right?).

      Not sure what to say to be honest, as it’s quite ugly!


  2. nick talley
    nick talley says:

    “The price range annoyance is being fixed. It’s a feature that has been in dire need of for ages, as before the update if you have a product in a variation listing that ranges from £9.99 to £129.99 the highest price is being shown to buyers.

    In this update we’ll be seeing “£9.99 – £129.99″ instead, much better, yay.”

    Does anyone have an update on when eBay are likely to fix the variation price issue? Any word Matt?

  3. Darrell Price
    Darrell Price says:

    Loosing the ‘Featured First’ is i think BRILLIANT, maybe now the playing field has been levelled and smaller sellers can get a more even chance of selling their products without the sheer frustration (from personal experience!!!!) of being priced out of a decent listing position, they may actually get to the top of the listing without having to shell out shed loads of ££££’s

  4. Stewart Hoad
    Stewart Hoad says:

    Hi Matt, superb breakdown and analysis of the Seller Update. Do you have any idea if the Gallery Image requirements for the UK are likely to be in the next update?

    I think this one change is going to create a lot of rework for most sellers. Resizing, logo removal etc.

    Best Regards.


    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:

      Howdy Stewart,

      Thank you.

      That’s an excellent question and one I asked too. The unofficial reply was “It’s not included in this update have no current intention of following the eBay US site”, accompanied by a note that each of the sites are separate and it would be up to local eBay sites to determine if they wished to follow suit with the gallery requirements.

      There are two angles to this argument though:

      Sellers Perspective
      For the sellers this would be an “absolute bastard” to work to and I as you would feel that a unique USP would have been washed away, not to mention the sheer amount of work to go back through and edit potentially hundreds of thousands of listings, quite nasty indeed.

      Buyers Perspective
      However for the buyers this would clean a lot of of the tatty looking gallery images up and give a cleaner appearance, which Amazon generally sports (with a few minor exceptions).

      Myself as a buyer, would prefer a cleaner eBay when it comes to the gallery images, but from a seller’s perspective, hell no and I’d scream the house down and throw every toy going to keep them, because one of the major USP’s that are highlighted in the gallery artwork is showing that the item being located in the United Kingdom via flag or wording, which is not the default search location for searches made by buyers.

      The longer this one is avoided, the better,a s I’m sure you would agree :)


  5. tony
    tony says:

    Thanks for your detailed interpretation of new 2012 Fall eBay seller update. The eBay UK update contains more changes than eBay US update. In the US market, I noticed a major shift of both U.S. sellers and buyers from eBay to Amazon. One of the major reasons is high shipping cost that the eBay buyers and sellers have to deal with. In order to be competitive, eBay sellers cannot increase the price a lot although the rising fee from shipping company. As a result, the profit margin is being eaten up gradually.

    In future eBay updates, I am hoping to see that eBay can come up with UPS the same shipping discount as Amazon and offer to individual eBay sellers. Then, the shipping and handling fee can be standardized for each eBay item. The buyers will be more focus on picking the right item without being distracted by various shipping fees charged from different sellers.

    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:

      Howdy Tony,

      That is an interesting point, hows this for another angle.

      eBay is an aggregator, it joins thousands of sellers together, what if those sellers were joined together in a single shipping program (or multiple as in the UK we have RM and numerous other couriers, similar to the US), I’m pretty sure the discounts that would be given to sellers because as a collective of shifting NNN million pounds worth of kit each month would make Amazon’s 60p for “Royal Mail Tracked” seem really expensive!


  6. choice.dvd
    choice.dvd says:

    “By my reckoning, this is the following EU sites for free:

    eBay Australia
    eBay Austria
    eBay Belgium (French & Dutch)
    And of course the UK”

    Are and not in Europe?

    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:


      Ah they don’t have separate site ID’s so are not classed as separate “sites” which you can “list” to, rather that they are holding pages that have items from neighbouring sites.

      Confusing eh?


      • Ben@choice
        Ben@choice says:

        Yep, just a little lol. In regards to Belgium, you put French and Dutch. Do you mean there’s 2 sites in Belgium or just 1 site which which I would need to list to but havea description in both Dutch and French?

  7. choice.dvd
    choice.dvd says:

    i’m waiting for the “possible” fee increases that “May” come with the changes in ebay categories. There is bound to be some fee increases in there.

    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:


      They did say there was going to be some fee increases, but this was where a leaf category at the very bottom was being moved to another category tree and the two categories had different fee structures.

      I’ve not looked at what they are yet as they were apparently minor, but updated the article to include the PDF files, will check on them later this morning :)

      What did you make of the other changes?


      • choice.dvd
        choice.dvd says:

        All in All a positive update Matt.

        Do you know roughly, what date this is all going live?

        “Google Shopping results by including the EAN or identifier is now a requirement” Does the EAN need to be included in the item specifics or in the listing description?

        “New Single Monthly XXL Subscription” – Will I need to register on each individual ebay site?
        If I got anchor ebay uk shop and ship worldwide, will it automatically list my items to these sites for free or do I need to list to each site individually?

        If it is all pretty much automated, will esellerpro still automatically bring in these orders to my sales orders page?

      • Matthew Ogborne
        Matthew Ogborne says:


        “Google Shopping results by including the EAN or identifier is now a requirement” Does the EAN need to be included in the item specifics or in the listing description?

        It needs to be in the item specifics, having it in the description is rarely needed (and I’d strong advise against it too).

        “New Single Monthly XXL Subscription” – Will I need to register on each individual ebay site?
        If I got anchor ebay uk shop and ship worldwide, will it automatically list my items to these sites for free or do I need to list to each site individually?

        Ah I am guessing as the communications are not great with the finer detail is that you will not need to register on each of the sites (hence a unified account), but you’ll need to list on to those sites locally.

        As you’re a eSellerPro user, ask them to enable ALL European the eBay sites in your eBay settings (the setting is eBaySitesinUSe from memory) and then over night the category structures, eBay templates and other details will appear for each of the sites enabled.

        The problem that you’ll run into is that you cannot do multi-language email notices and documents, so you’ll need to nudge them on that for it to be added, before multiple eBay sites was always best handled by multiple eBay accounts, thus getting around this was easy.

        As for go-live dates, they’re mixed and spread over the next few months, see

        Hope that helps :)


      • choice.dvd
        choice.dvd says:

        “As you’re a eSellerPro user, ask them to enable ALL European the eBay sites”

        It looks like the Euro free listing doesn’t kick in until November so do you think I should ask esllerpro now to enable all euro sites, or wait until November?

        Basically if I do it now will my items be automatically listed to all these euro sites at a cost, or would it just be enabled in esp so I could tweak templates etc in time for November and tehn update my channel profile when it goes live?

    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:


      do you think I should ask esllerpro now to enable all euro sites, or wait until November?

      lol, yes ask them now that gives them a few months to process the ticket :D

      On a more serious tone, the sooner the better so you can prepare the inventory structure to do that, as it will get deep really quickly for the sites for example for a single product now you may have just this:

      [Master] This is a product

      But after the update for the fees (as you can actually do this now, lets just make that clear), you would have an inventory structure like this:

      M = Master SKU
      L = Listing SKU

      [M] – This is a product
      [L] – eBay Australia – This is a product
      [L] – eBay Austria – This is a product
      [L] – eBay Belgium (French & Dutch) – This is a product
      [L] – France – This is a product
      [L] – Germany – This is a product
      [L] – Italy – This is a product
      [L] – Netherlands – This is a product
      [L] – Poland – This is a product
      [L] – Spain – This is a product
      [L] – Sweden – This is a product
      [L] – Switzerland – This is a product

      As you can see this would get quite deep very quickly and I don’t see a way around this as many of the EU sites have different languages, thus you would need a “German” description for, a “French” description for and so on…

      You’d also want to set up postage templates for each eBay site. This could just be one template for each site, but if you have complex inventory then you may need more than one and also eBay templates too, as it is in the eBay template that the country is set and that’s what gets carried through to the listing.

      As for item specifics, this get’s scary because of the language differences, so you’ll need to build a structure for each eBay site if you’re category needs them, if it’s DVD’s then it’s easy you can ignore it, if you’re in say Fashion, it’s going to get expensive in time and money to make that happen.

      I did set up some auto-translation and auto-mapping of data for the foreign eBay sites for My1stWish. It did get complex very quickly and I didn’t entirely know if it was entirely possible when I started it, but by the end, it was translating everything bar the listing titles and the lookup tables were amazing (and my VBA skills were pretty good too by the end too).

      If you’re dealing with simple products or catalogue, then yea, all the eBay Sites are going to be wickedly easy to leverage, anything else, such as fashion then, I’m cringing as the data requirements & processing are huge to do it well.

      So in a long way round to answer your question, yes the sooner the better!!!!


      PS. If you are reading this and have complex inventory (that is variations or are listing in categories that need custom eBay item specifics, do not bother with the EU sites, go straight to either (but preferably both) and as they’re both in English.

      • choice.dvd
        choice.dvd says:

        Hi Matt, thanks again for such detailed info and advice. I sell DVDs so good news that I don’t have variations or custom item specifc requirements. As our DVDs are region 2 it’s not really viable to be selling on ebay US as they are region 1.

        From what you’ve said, I should be able to list DVDs to the euro sites pretty easily. The main barrier is just getting the language conversions sorted?

      • Matthew Ogborne
        Matthew Ogborne says:

        Howdy Ben,

        Yea, just the listing titles if at all, as eBay suggests the listing title based upon EAN as you can get away with a light description area for most media items.

        Daft question.suggestion, Might want to confirm that the listings are for English spoken products and hopefully that they have DE subtitles too?


  8. simon brown
    simon brown says:

    Great article.

    Do you know if the pricing for variation listings with different priced variants is going to be changed too ? One of the little known pricing quirks of ebay is that the final value fee for variation listings is levied based on the most expensive item in the variations. We have products of the same general type that we would love to list in a variation, but as the price range is wide then this becomes infeasible.

  9. Rik Powell
    Rik Powell says:

    Hey Matt, when did you put this article together??!! It really is very in-depth – congrats.

    You mention we should state the EAN and MPN in the custom item specifics. Do you know what the exact “name” of these specifics are called please so I can implement? (I use ESP custom fields). Would I be correct to assume MPN is stated on eBay IS as MPN or would that be too easy?!

    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:

      Hola Rik,

      I type really and not a single spelling mistake either ;-)

      Hehehheheeh it is the obvious ones, “MPN” and “EAN”, you can also add UPC too as most Google items have that on them twice like in the image below.

      Unless you’re in the car parts category and then “Part Number” is also useful.

      Have a look around some of the top performing listings in your categories and see what what others are using and what you’re not for item specifics?


  10. John
    John says:

    Well done Matt. Thanks for this comprehensive report.

    Looks like mostly good news for sellers who take their time with good listings. Especially good for sellers using professional listing tools as it sounds like the Item Specifics are becoming virtually vital to success.

    I was concerned that reporting a buyer wouldn’t be possible if auto feedback was enabled but eBay tell me that it will be possible to still report dodgy buyers.


  11. James
    James says:

    You mention the importance of barcodes for google base, are they possible with variations? All of my products are variations at the moment & I haven’t found a way to add barcodes.

    Lots of positives in the rest of the update. Nice one!



    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:

      Howdy James,

      Oh yea lots of good updates. But variations only got half updates as you’re right there isn’t a way of adding barcodes to a variation listing that I know of.

      However if you’re willing to try it on one listing to test with, add in a custom item specific called EAN and enter the EAN’s with comma’s, for example: 5024763040764,5024763040765,5024763040766 and see if that works after a day or two in Google product searches.


  12. Fishing Geek
    Fishing Geek says:

    I welcome the new additions with the report a buyer probably the most significant for my business.

    I don’t however think that it goes far enough and that we should be able to make a log of the number of times the buyer has reported lost post. If this was held as a feedback score similar to how we are judged on delivery times and cost, etc

    The genuine lost post would be minimal in comparison to the scammers who would rise quickly to the top.

    For reference since I last posted on your article regarding Amazon vs eBay losses (14 days), I have had no Amazon lost but 4 on eBay (with similar sales). This is with the new Tracking Barcode added as per your comments.

    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:


      thanks for the feedback,

      I think logging is probably a bit too far, maybe blocking buyers with N number of complaints would work, similar to what we have in the site preferences for blocking buyers on other requirements.

      We do need to see how eBay are going to be handling them, I suspect the most prolific of them will get found out quickly enough though (YAY!).

      Bummer on the barcode not having an effect or maybe it did and you only lost 4 out of 8 ;-)



Trackbacks & Pingbacks

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  5. @paulfeakins says:

    Making Sense of the eBay UK Updates for August 2012:

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  7. If you missed the #eBay UK 2012 updates, the full guide to them are here

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  9. #eBay Why NOT to be considering Cross Border Trade into the #European sites

  10. @iwoca says:

    RT @lastdropofink: The Full breakdown of #eBay’s Autumn #Seller Updates & how they impact your #business

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    RT @matthewogborne: #eBay “Feature First” is GOING! <= The full break down of #seller updates that affect you

  15. […] Details of all the changes are available from the Business Seller News section on TameBay have provided a great summary of the changes here and The Last Drop of Ink offer a full breakdown here. […]

  16. RT @lastdropofink: Making Sense of the eBay UK Updates for August 2012: This is probably the most comprehensive guide there is … #in

  17. RT @ebay_uk: Great overview The Full breakdown of #eBay’s Autumn #Seller Updates & how they impact your #business

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  20. @day2dayebay says:

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  22. The mobile version is uploaded and the guide to the #eBay 2012 seller update is now live

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