I went about my normal eBaying life until I got another email on March 22nd that another one of my eBay items had been shut down for illegal links. Now, I was getting worried. I had visions of my 5,000 auction and store items all being shut down overnight. What a nightmare!
If you have never had an eBay auction shut down, just know that everything will disappear. Your item number will pull up nothing--nada. You will have lost all your hard work--unless of course you use my I Sell system or another system that will store your data. It is not a good thing.
I immediately called the eBay Gold Power Seller's hotline and was redirected to the Trust and Safety department. They reviewed my account and some of my auctions and phoned me back.
I was told that even though it is not posted on the eBay site, they do have an internal policy now that states you can NOT mention anyone else's user id. How would I possibly know about that? How would anyone? They explained to me that if it is not clearly stated as an allowable link--then I must (and everyone else must) assume that it is not allowed. Yikes!
I explained to Trust and Safety that it would take at least 80 man-hours to take that sentence out of all of my 5,000 listings. Figuring 1 minute per auction multiplied by 5,000 auctions would be 83.3 hours. I didn't understand why it was against policy because I was driving traffic to other eBay sellers. I also asked for at least 60 days to accomplish this and to please not shut down any more of my auctions.
Trust and Safety said that their hands were tied and there was nothing they could do. I asked to speak to a supervisor and that was not an option either. I was freaking out. Please finish reading this article to find out what happened to me!
In the meantime, Here is a link to eBay's published Links policy.
I highly recommend that you check out the above link. But, here is a quick list of what IS allowed:
One link to a page that further describes the item being sold in that listing
One link to your email address that opens an email client for potential buyers to ask questions about the item in that listing
Links to photos of the item for sale
Links to your eBay Store or Half.com listings
Links to your Store newsletter and mailing list names are permitted, provided that your inclusion of the mailing list names does not constitute keyword spamming or violate any other eBay policy
Links to your "Add to My Favorite Sellers and Stores" page
Links to your About Me page (in addition to the About Me icon already provided by eBay)
Links to an eBay Wiki article(s)
Links to your eBay Blog page
Links to your eBay My World page
Links that provide credits to third parties
One link to your listing terms and conditions (providing that the most relevant information is within the listing itself and that this page does not include any links off of the eBay Web site)
The short list of what IS NOT allowed:
Links to websites or pages that offer to trade, sell or purchase goods or services outside of eBay. This applies whether it is a static URL or an active link.
Links to sites that solicit eBay User IDs, passwords or email addresses from buyers
Links that encourage buyers to place their eBay bids through a site other than eBay
Links or other connections to live chat systems
Links to subscribe to newsletters or mailing lists hosted outside-of-eBay
So, it was never clearly stated why I couldn't recommend my family's auctions. I was really worried. I was finally able to get a supervisor on the phone. George was awesome! He explained to me that although I was referring people to my family's auctions, some people would use that same option to refer their customers to competitor's auction with malicious intent. Now, that made sense.
Unscrupulous eBayers could say, "Check out these eBay stores to see what a great deal my item is." And eBay would not be able to police every auction fairly because how would they know who was referring to good stores vs. bad stores.
Now I understood! I told George I had no problem taking out that sentence, but I would need time. They gave me some extra time and I am so relieved! Thank you, eBay. We have already taken it out of about 200 auctions/store items and will be diligently working on this in the next while.
Be very careful about what you say or link to in your eBay auctions. Your business depends upon it.
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