One of the changes eBay announced at the end of last month means sellers might soon find their listing photos within the pages of eBay's product catalog.
On Sept. 1, eBay will begin selecting new images for its catalog at the site's discretion, the company reports. By default, all photos in eBay listings are fair game, unless sellers opt out of the program or the images are watermarked, eBay notes.
Buyers see the product catalog when they select "Matching Products" in search results. This gives them common information about products that have several listings, including a generic description and photo.
eBay won't notify sellers whose photos are selected for the catalog, but will credit them by displaying a link to their profiles and their user IDs each time their photo is used on a product's details page.
"Photos are a key element of the listing page, allowing sellers to help buyers make purchasing decisions," notes eBay spokesman Usher Lieberman. "eBay wants to ensure photos included in the product catalogue best represent the product. We are casting a wide net to find the greatest photos available."
In an eBay forum discussion, Jim "Griff" Griffith, eBay's dean of eBay Education and host of eBay Radio, noted the catalog credit "can give you extra exposure to a larger audience of shoppers."
Auctiva Product Analyst Rebecca Miller says the added exposure is great news and says this might help cut down on "image theft"—when sellers reuse images from others' listings without permission—since photos will be freely available in eBay's catalog.
Images can only be used by the contributing seller and in eBay's product catalog, Lieberman explains. However, if users notice others using their images, they are encouraged to report it to eBay's VeRO program.
While photos will display IDs crediting users, it could take weeks to assign proper attribution after a photo has been uploaded, according to eBay.
Sellers can opt out of the program, but if their images are added to the catalog before they opt out, their images will remain in the catalog, Lieberman says.
To opt out, sellers must do so before midnight on Aug. 31, 2009, by accessing their Account tab in their "My eBay" pages, then selecting the Site Preferences link and choosing Selling Preferences.
But eBay anticipates "most sellers will opt into this program as a way build their exposure and recognition amongst fellow sellers," Lieberman reports.
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Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.