Google Chrome Browser Security Change Prompts Action by eBay

Image: Adobe Stock | You are doing what?
Image: Adobe Stock | You are doing what?

A few days ago, Google sent out this notice to website owners to inform them of a change in security behavior starting with Chrome Version 62.

To owner of domain.com,
Starting October 2017, Chrome (version 62) will show a “NOT SECURE” warning when users enter text in a form on an HTTP page, and for all HTTP pages in Incognito mode.
The following URLs on your site include text input fields (such as < input type=”text” > or < input type=”email” >) that will trigger the new Chrome warning. Review these examples to see where these warnings will appear, so that you can take action to help protect users’ data. This list is not exhaustive.

Google email dated August 17, 2017

The email further provided links to content on the recipient’s server that is accessible as non-secure HTTP links. Furthermore, the company also provided a link to a Google article explaining HTTPS and how to secure the site.

EBAY RESPONDS

Starting in October 2017, Google Chrome—the browser used by almost half of all eBay buyers—will begin displaying the message “Not Secure” in the address window when users visit standard HTTP pages, and HTTPS pages that include nonsecure HTTP content. eBay believes that the “Not Secure” message may deter shoppers from buying and impact your conversion rate. eBay is taking steps to make sure that your buyers won’t see this message and can access your listings securely.

To prevent the “Not Secure” message from deterring buyers, here’s how we are changing the experience:

  • If your listings contain HTTP content and your buyer is on a desktop, buyers will see a snippet of the description and a link to click for the full description. If you want your listings to show the complete item description, you will need to remove HTTP content from your listings.
  • The experience is unchanged for mobile buyers.

How do you know if your listings contain HTTP content?

  • You can use the i-ways tool to identify listings that contain HTTP.
  • eBay will email sellers who have listings that contain HTTP, starting August 28th. If you do not get an email from eBay on this topic, no action is needed.

Sellers who have non-secure content in their listings should reference the HTTP page within Seller Celler for detailed guidance on how to update their listings.

Additionally, eBay has been working with third-party providers to ensure they’re ready for this change. Many of them will provide bulk editing options to remove HTTP from your listings; see a list of providers here.

A few reminders of some Listing Policy updates we announced in our 2017 Summer Update: (Part 1 and Part 2)

  • eBay will begin using the HTTPS communications protocol for all listings starting in October. In the future, eBay will move all eBay store pages to HTTPS.
  • Be sure to keep your listings updated so they comply with eBay listings policies:
    • Include product identifiers, especially Brand, Size, Color, Condition and UPC codes
    • Do not include contact info and links to off-eBay websites.

EBAY HAS A LEGITIMATE CONCERN ABOUT GOOGLE’S TIMING

eBay states in the response above that they are concerned about this change impacting conversion and sales.

While there is probably never a good time to make such a major change without impacting sellers and websites, the fact Google is pushing for this in October is a bit strange.

Typically in the last quarter of the year, eCommerce companies, payment processors, etc. do not roll out major changes that can impact sales. Even a small outage or unintended feature (bug) can have a disastrous impact on sales.

We applaud eBay coming front and center with this potential problem. All eBay sellers should take the time now to double and triple check their listings will work with the new security standard set by Google.

We like to hear your thoughts on this Google change and timing. Let us know in the comments section below.

6 COMMENTS

  1. I expect disaster for eBay sellers when Google rolls out the change. eBay cannot even get their own new releases to work properly – I had several problems with Sellers Hub when it first came out. They have since been fixed but seems to happen every time eBay rolls out a major new release.

    I dumped the source code for one of my listings. It is loaded with http references that sellers have no control over. The i-ways utility is showing that most of my listings will fail the security check. And it has nothing to do with my content. One error that repeats has something to do with the eBay search engine – again nothing sellers have any control over.

    • Hey John,

      Absolutely understand where you are coming from. I still think it was good of eBay to bring this to sellers attention, does show that they were at least somewhat on the ball.

      I would like to think that anything that is showing http that is outside of your control, will be addressed by eBay in time for the new change from Chrome. Otherwise asking you to get your listings in order would be totally pointless.

      This will be a priority for eBay as the bounce rate as soon as that warning pops up, I suspect will be incredibly high, and eBay cannot afford for that to happen in their busiest sales period.

      As long as your listings don’t contain any http content that you have put there then you have done everything you can, and we will hope eBay are on the ball as well.

      Dave

  2. We sell one-of-a kind items on ebay and since we started 3 years ago, our monthly sales have increased approx 25% each month, and approx 100% from the same period/month a year ago. We consistently have about 1700 listings at any given time, and continually add new listings each day. 45 days ago, our sales started decreasing from an average of $10,000 per month, to about $6200-in 1 month (which is 38% below the prior months sales and lower than the same period a year earlier). My page views and sales conversions also dramatically dropped. We contacted ebay and they said that they get so many new sellers each day that it was just competition and we should probably get use to it. I told them that that logic implies that I should no longer rely on just ebay for my sales and should look for other alternatives. They had no response to that challenge to their ridiculous explanation. My sales continue to be a pittance of what they were-even after I asked them to investigate. They said the investigation may or may not reveal if there is something wrong, and in any event, they probably would not tell me anyway. I did get a call today from a representative reading from a script saying that some of my listing were showing up as not secure to purchasers in google chrome searches of ebay (because of actions by google) and that I needed to correct them. (I asked them why they were just telling me now and they said they sent me notice of it 2 weeks ago-and which I never got). When I checked, I had 10 listings out of 1700 that fell in that category. Something is going on between chrome and ebay that is affecting chrome searches by potential ebay buyers and thus, sales of sellers. I can only guess that the personal call I got telling me that was an attempt to try and give ebay cover for not fixing it and an excuse for the dramatic drop in sales of many long time, experienced and exponentially profitable sellers-like us. We are in the peak sales season for us and our merchandise, and still with no explanation or help from ebay as to why our sales have dropped so dramatically.

    • Hey Mark,

      I have seen eBay links on descriptions which are still on http not https so eBay themselves are still not fully covered by this new policy.

      My advice would always be to spread the risk. Don’t rely your whole business on someone elses platform. Always have your own corner of the web i.e a website that no-one could ever kick you off or interfere with.

      Dave

  3. I greatly appreciate all of the security in Chrome. I also feel it is why it has the market share that it does. All of my listing pass with flying colors.

    Why does everyone complain when they do something to make the browser more secure and complain when there is a problem that makes it less secure. I guess it goes back to what I was taught…spramed if you do and spramed if you don’t.

    • I guess people just don’t like being inconvenienced, even if it is for the greater good. I totally agree with you, if it makes an experience better / safer then it is a good thing

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