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Search and browse manipulation policy

Policy overview

For a satisfying and fun experience on eBay, sellers should list their items in the most effective ways possible. As general rules, sellers should:

  • Select a category that matches the item for sale

  • Provide a clear, honest and accurate description about the item

  • Not engage in tactics like keyword spamming because it makes it hard for buyers to find what they're looking for

  • When you list an item in fixed price format, don't create separate listings to sell multiple identical items at the same time. This violates our duplicate listings policy. Be sure to follow the policy guidelines when you list items in fixed price format.

  • You can have more than one auction-style listing for identical items. However, only one duplicate auction-style listing without bids will appear on eBay at a time. Learn more about listing duplicate auction-style listings.

In addition to our tips on creating effective listings, the detailed guidelines below provide more info on how you can create listings that follow the rules, and we've also described common things that you need to avoid in your listings.

It's against our policies to do anything that manipulates the search or browse experience. This applies to all parts of a listing (see our HTML and JavaScript policy for more information). For example, the use of superscript, subscript, or other special characters (e.g.,™, ♥, ½) in the title, subtitle, item specifics, or other fields is not allowed. If a seller uses tactics that can inappropriately divert bidders and buyers to a listing, we'll take action.

Only use item specifics to describe the item you're selling. Item specifics and other fields should only contain the information that the field is intended for. Don't use item specifics to include other information such as your terms of sale or postage details. For more information on using item specifics, view our Providing item specifics article.

Make sure your listings follow our guidelines. If they don't, some or all of your listings may be ended or not displayed in eBay search results. You may also be subject to a range of actions, including limits on your buying and selling privileges and suspension of your account. If a listing is in the wrong category, we may move it to a more appropriate one (the listing fee may be different), or the listing may be ended.

What are the guidelines?

You can describe an item by its brand, designer, model, product or its celebrity endorsement in a listing, as long as the information accurately describes what you're selling. Making a comparison or reference to a brand that is not the actual brand of the item you are selling makes it difficult for buyers to find what they're looking for (see also keyword spamming).

Allowed

  • A brand name can be mentioned in a listing, as long as the item is authentically branded with that brand or product name

  • A celebrity name can be included in a listing, as long as the celebrity created, officially endorsed, owned or signed the item. You can also mention celebrities if they're depicted in the item for sale, such as on posters or photos

  • For homemade items, be sure to:

    • Use the words 'made with' to describe a brand-name product that you used in creating your item
      For example, if you're offering curtains made from Laura Ashley fabric, you can describe them as 'homemade curtains made with Laura Ashley fabric'.

    • Use the words 'made for' or 'fits' to describe how your item is used for a brand-name product
      For example, if you're selling homemade clothes for Barbie dolls, you can describe them as 'clothes made for Barbie dolls'.

  • Multiple brand names can be used, as long as there are items by each of those brands in the listing. You can specify various designer names only if you're selling more than one item (known as 'lots') made by those designers in a single listing

  • Multiple brand names in the title when they describe a product line of a company
    For example, 'Miu Miu by Prada' would be allowed.

Restricted

For accessories that are functionally compatible with certain brand-name products, ensure you:

  • Verify that compatibility is for function rather than appearance. If you're not sure of this, fully explain the functionality. The Not allowed section below provides more detail

  • Use the words 'compatible with', 'fits', or 'for' before the brand-name of the compatible product

  • Spell out the word 'for'. Using the number 4 isn't allowed, such as 'this charger is 4 Nintendo 3DS'

  • When listing accessories that are made to fit a specific brand-name product, follow our intellectual property policies, including our trademark and compliant listings policies

Not allowed

  • Brand names, celebrities or other product details can't be specified in a listing if you're not selling an item by those brands
    For example, if you're selling a Coach handbag, you can't mention Gucci or other brand-name handbags.

  • Using the words 'compatible with', 'fits' or 'for' before a brand name in the title of your listing to describe items that are universally compatible or that are compatible with an entire product class

  • Using parts compatibility with universally compatible items.

  • Using the words 'fits', 'for' or 'compatible with' before the brand name of jewellery and clothing items or accessories

  • Comparing the item you're selling to a popular product
    For example, you can't say 'this MP3 player is just like the iPod'.

  • Hiding unrelated brand names in a listing by using white-on-white text, tiny fonts or special HTML or JavaScript code

  • Misspelling brand names to try to circumvent the rules
    For example, using a dollar sign '$' instead of the letter 'S' isn't allowed.

  • Promoting your other listings and naming brands in those listings
    For example, you can't say things like 'Check out my other listings for Adidas, New Balance, Nike, and Puma shoes'.

  • Using a question mark '?' when you're not sure about the brand
    For example, you can't describe an item as 'McCoy? cookie jar'.

  • Including multiple brand names in a title when they describe a subsidiary of a parent company
    For example, you may not say 'Old Navy by Gap' in your title.

  • Providing details such as MPN or UPC that don't match the item you're listing.

  • Using inaccurate or misleading information for required product details (such as "Does not apply" or "N/A") when describing required product identifiers (such as brand, UPC, or MPN) or information other than what the manufacturer provided, if the manufacturer has provided that information about your product.

  • Describing a compatible item as 'comp'

Be sure to select a category that matches the item for sale so buyers can find your listing. If it's in the wrong or inappropriate category, we may move the listing to another category (which may have a different listing fee), or the listing may be removed from our website to avoid confusion.

Allowed

  • Select a category that matches the item for sale
    For example, an iPod Nano should be listed in the MP3 Players category.

  • Select an applicable secondary category
    For example, you can list a real diamond ring in the Fine Jewellery Ring category for Diamonds and for Wedding/Engagement.

  • Select the Other category when there isn't one that exactly matches your item

Not allowed

  • Brand new items can't be listed in categories for antique or vintage items

  • Informational products can't be listed in a category for physical goods
    For example, a user guide for Wii games can't be listed in the Systems category. It can only be listed in the Everything Else, Information Products category.

  • Selecting a category that doesn't match the item in order to include details for a different product isn't allowed
    For example, if you sell a generic MP3 player, you can't list it in the Mobile Phones category just to add information about an iPhone.

  • Selecting a secondary category that doesn't match the item isn't allowed
    For example, if you sell a case for the iPod Nano, you can't select the MP3 Players category.

  • Selecting a similar category that doesn't match the item
    For example, listing a superhero comic book in a toy category isn't allowed; it should be listed in the Books category.

  • You can't list an item outside of a fixed fee category when it actually belongs there
    For example, listing a car in the Vehicle Parts and Accessories category instead of the appropriate car category on eBay Motors isn't allowed.

  • If the item you're listing matches an item in our product catalogue, be sure to list it in the main category for the item and not in Other or less specific categories.

Providing clear and accurate details about your item helps people make informed buying decisions - and they'll know what to expect when they receive your product. So be truthful and provide complete details.

Allowed

  • Describe only the item you have in hand and are selling

Not allowed

  • Selecting product details from our catalogue that aren’t an exact match for what you're listing
    For example:

    • If you sell a paperback book, don't provide information for the hardcover version

    • If you sell a video game controller, don’t provide product details for a video game console

  • Selecting product details that are similar to but don’t exactly match the item for sale
    For example, if you list an Android phone, don't include information about the iPhone.

  • Choosing an item that doesn't match your item description, such as  'New' item condition for an item that has been used.

  • Providing details such as MPN or UPC that don’t match the item you’re listing.

  • Contradicting  your item condition in item specifics with pictures or your item description.

  • Including terms in the wrong field of your listing, such as including postage terms in the Condition description field.

  • Including extra or unrelated keywords or brands in your item specifics.

  • Including information that is not specific to that field, such as colour in the manufacturer part number or the brand of your item in the item specific for size.

  • Using inaccurate information such as “Does not apply” or “N/A” for required product information (such as brand, UPC, or MPN) when the manufacturer has provided that information for your product.

Keyword spamming is when people use words or details (such as brands, item condition, model names, pop culture terms, product names, style and type) that have nothing to do with their items so that their listings will show up in search results. Since this clutters eBay and makes buying and selling more difficult, we don't allow keyword spamming (see also brand names).

Allowed

  • All the words in your listing have to be completely true and refer only to the item for sale

  • For lot listings, you can specify all the different items in the lot
    For example: 'This lot includes 2 pairs of shoes, 2 shirts, 1 pair of pants, 3 pairs of shorts and a jacket'.

  • You can use synonyms to describe an item
    For example, a handbag can be called a purse.

Not allowed

  • Calling out similarities
    For example, when selling a DVD, don't talk about Blu-ray discs.

  • Comparisons between products aren't allowed
    For example, you can't say 'shirt not pants' or 'video not Nano'.

  • Descriptions that promote items in other listings
    For example, a listing for shoes can't say things like 'Check out my other listings for hats, shirts, pants, coats, gloves and underwear'.

  • Hiding unrelated keywords in a listing by using white-on-white text, tiny fonts or HTML or JavaScript code

  • Keywords in any part of a listing that aren't related to the item you're selling
    For example:

    • If you're selling a shirt, the title can't say 'Nike shirt size M - shoes, hat, shorts'

    • If you're selling a synthetic stone such as a cubic zirconia (CZ), the title can't include the word 'diamond'

    • If you're selling an MP3 player, the listing description can't have keywords like 'purse, shoes, baseball hat, DVD, toys, cell phone, etc'

  • Words with question marks (such as 'carved wood dresser - antique?'). If you're not sure about a detail, don't mention it at all. Doing so can be misleading

  • Describing items that are used as 'Like New' or 'As New' in the title because using such terms can affect the search results for buyers looking for new items. If you want to make it clear in the listing title that your item is in excellent condition, you can use alternative wording such as 'mint condition'

Including pictures in your listings helps buyers decide whether to purchase your item. Always provide clear and detailed pictures that truly represent your item so there's no confusion about what you're selling.
And remember: Never copy or use someone else's pictures or logos without their permission (see the Images and text policy).

Allowed

  • Pictures clearly showing the item for sale

Not allowed

  • Including unrelated pictures to try to get people to look at the listing

  • Picture of an item that isn't for sale
    For example, selling a generic MP3 player but showing a picture of an iPod isn't allowed.

  • Pictures that don't represent your item

When you create a listing, make sure all your text and other information are complete and consistent throughout. For example, you can't say one thing in the title and then describe it differently in the description.

Allowed

  • Be specific about your terms and conditions and make sure those details are consistent throughout your listing

  • Provide clear, accurate and consistent information throughout a listing

Not allowed

  • Conflicting information
    For example, the title says the item is 'new', but the description says it 'was used'.

  • Inconsistent details throughout your listing (titles, descriptions, product details, postage & packaging, payment information and so on)

  • Inconsistent or unclear terms and conditions
    For example, you can't select free postage and packaging when you list your item if the buyer has to meet conditions to make it free, such as 'free P&P applies only if you choose the Buy it now option'.

  • Incorrect or incomplete information

  • Misrepresenting the item for sale

Keep listing titles and subtitles clear and 100% accurate. Being honest about what you're selling helps buyers find exactly what they're looking for. Avoid giving false details just to attract people to your listing. Remember that inaccurate or misleading titles aren't allowed on eBay.

Allowed

  • If you list multiple, different items in a listing (known as a 'lot'), you can describe each item in the title or subtitle

  • To be clear to buyers, you may want to state:

    • the brand name associated with the item

    • the quantity of items for sale

    • the type of item for sale

    • whether the item is new or used

Not allowed

  • Confusing or unclear titles or subtitles

  • Incorrect or inconsistent information
    For example:

    • Saying 'quantity 5' in the title, but saying 1 item is for sale in the listing description

    • Selling a book about yoga and dieting, but using the title 'I lost 30 pounds in 3 months'

  • Misrepresenting an item in the title or subtitle
    For example:

    • The title 'Louis Vuitton Handbag, Cartier' is not allowed (even if a Cartier item is included as a bonus gift with purchase of the handbag) because it is unclear whether you are offering 1 or 2 items

    • If you list an item simply as 'Apple iPod', you must be selling an actual Apple iPod, not accessories to an Apple iPod or items related to or unrelated to an Apple iPod

  • Keywords describing bonus items cannot be included in the title

We want your buying and selling experience on eBay to be easy and fun. Our guidelines help you to create listings that won't break the rules or infringe upon other people's trademarks. When a listing has information that could mislead people or gives one seller an unfair advantage over another, we do take action. Misusing item specifics or the item description can make it more difficult for buyers to find information about items they are shopping for. Make sure you follow our guidelines when you create your listings.

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