eBay Temporarily Pulls Back on Watermark Removal Policy

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eBay posted announcements on its worldwide sites today that they will not be enforcing the Watermark policy on images starting March 1, 2018 as was originally stated in many of its global Fall Seller Updates.

Here is the full statement by eBay:

We know that buyers want to see products clearly before they make a purchase, and watermarks create a cluttered experience not consistent with retail standard. Watermarked images are also a primary reason Google rejects eBay-funded Google Shopping placements, meaning less visibility for your listings and decreased conversion.

As a result, we encourage you to remove watermarks from listings in order to enhance your reach and velocity on eBay.

However, we have received significant feedback about our upcoming enforcement and for this and other business reasons have decided that we will not enforce the removal of watermarks in March 2018 as originally planned. We know this is a crucial time of year, and we want you to be able to focus completely on selling.

Thank you to those who have already removed watermarks. We know in many cases this has been a significant effort. Because of those efforts, your listings will more likely be included in Google Shopping search, your products will be featured in our product-based shopping experience, and will be considered for our deals and seasonal promotions. And, eBay will even more delight buyers with a world-class retail experience.

We appreciate your efforts and always value your feedback.

However, the wording seems to indicate that they will eventually enforce the policy and they do state that listings without Watermarks have a much better chance of inclusion in Google Shopping searches.

Clean backgrounds (white backgrounds) and elimination of text is a major factor for many shopping aggregation sites.

It is the de facto standard in eCommerce today but watermarking still was very prevalent among eBay sellers.

It is good news that eBay did listen to sellers and realized that many would not be able to make a March deadline with holiday sales and usually busy season of after holiday sales in discounting of excess inventory.

But we do caution, expect this policy to become reality sooner than later and you should put a plan together to start removing watermarks on your listings. Of course, for any new images, just avoid them to begin with.

What do you think about eBay pulling back on Watermarking? Was this a good decision for now? Drop us a line in the comments section below.

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  1. “No watermarks” policy is against sellers. Nobody will invest into good pictures if everybody else can have them for free. Sellers won’t be able to differentiate themselves with good photos anymore:(

    • There is merit to that concern, but image search is going to become more important which means better images. Sellers with better images will end up getting better placement on search results due to the AI that is now used on eBay. It comes down to making a choice between protecting images and sales.


        • I guess the answer to that question is audience. Your eBay fees are basically your marketing spend, as you only pay the majority of your fees when an item sells. With your own store you would have to spend a hell of a lot more on marketing to drive traffic with no guarantee of a sale.

          A website should definitely be a part of your business strategy but eBay offers many eCommerce businesses quicker routes to market and results.

          I actually believe personally that product photos full of grafitti and text offer a worse user experience. The photo shouldn’t be used for words…that’s what the title and description are for. Most buyers want clear high resolution images from all angles showing the product clearly.


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