eBay active content

Is eBay going to ban HTML in listings?

* updated on August 10th, 2017
The short answer – eBay is perfectly fine with HTML in listings and has no plans of banning it.

We’ve just returned from the 2nd eBay Open annual conference at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

This year, I lectured at the eBay workshops about how constantly changing your listings can increase the conversion to sales.

Just like last year, the CrazyLister team and I were bombarded with questions about eBay active content and HTML policy.

Unfortunately, the confusion around HTML in listings is still a big pain for sellers, and so this post, which was originally written a year ago, is still very relevant today.

CrazyLister CEO, Victor Levitin interviewed during eBay open 2016

CrazyLister CEO, Victor Levitin interviewed during eBay open 2016

We spent three days talking to hundreds of eBay sellers, meetup group organizers, solution providers, eBay employees and leaders.

This post is dedicated to a common confusion I noticed lot’s of sellers have about eBay’s HTML policy in listings.

Here is the detailed answer…

Why do some sellers believe HTML will be banned?

Below are the sources that ignited the wrong rumors, followed by an explanation of the actual state of things.

Ban of eBay active content

In April 2016, eBay announced the ban of “active content” beginning with the 2017 Spring Seller Update. I have written about it in a dedicated post – eBay Active Content Ban – What Does it Mean For You?

This led some sellers to believe that HTML was being banned altogether.

This is not the case – Starting from June 2017, eBay banned very specific elements, such as JavaScript widgets that are not “mobile-friendly” and pose security risks to the marketplace.

Listings with active content stay live, while the active content elements became unavailable.

eBay actually recommends using HTML and CSS to create mobile responsive listings –

eBay Best practices for replacing active content in eBay listings

eBay Best practices for replacing active content in eBay listings

For CrazyLister users –  The “mobile responsive” design code is already built into your templates, so you don’t need to add any code (Your shoppers will automatically see the “desktop view” on large screens and “mobile view” on mobile devices.)

More on mobile friendly listings in this post – 55% of eBay Transactions are Touched by Mobile, Are Your Listings eBay mobile friendly?

View item description summary for the mobile app

eBay introduced the “View Item description summary” for it’s mobile app – which is limited to 800 characters.

This led some sellers to believe that the FULL item description will be limited to 800 characters.

Here is what this actually means –

eBay View Item description summary

eBay View Item description summary

The part that is limited to 800 characters is the “Summary” of the description only. When you click on it, you get to the actual description, which is not limited –

Mobile optimized ebay description

Mobile optimized ebay description


Try CrazyLister for free! Easily create professional, mobile-optimized eBay listings

Why eBay won’t ban HTML in listings?

1. eBay is all about unique, incredible deals

During the conference, eBay’s CEO Devin Wenig repeated eBay’s strategic vision “Find your perfect”.

He talks about eBay offering the world’s largest variety of items in all conditions, to suit everybody’s version of perfect.

He gave an example for shoppers looking for a mobile phone – for some it might be the newest iPhone 6, for others it may be a used Samsung 4 or a refurbished iPhone 5. Each and every shopper has their own version of the perfect item he’s looking for, and eBay aims to fulfill everybody’s wishes.

When offering unique, used, refurbished, vintage items – sellers can’t use a catalog (Amazon style) listing only. They need to showcase their items with visuals, add tabs, videos, image galleries and more to help the shopper really get the look and feel of the items – and these all require HTML.

2. eBay doesn’t want to be another version of Amazon

I recently covered an interview with eBay’s CEO Devin Wenig in which he revealed eBay’s future plans (including important insights for sellers).

Devin Wenig said:

“I don’t have to be like Amazon, I don’t need to be like anyone else. The world doesn’t need an almost-as-good Amazon; it needs a better eBay… I’d rather have a billion unique items that arrive in 3 days than a billion commodity items that arrive in one day.”

eBay is a marketplace built by unique sellers who offer unique products – the ability to differentiate yourself, and make your listings look and feel like you want them to (with HTML), is a core difference eBay offers versus Amazon.

3. Last but not least – eBay says so

Last but not least – during the conference, eBay representatives were asked directly about the future of HTML in listings, the answer was – HTML is OK!


  1. Some sellers are confused about eBay’s plans to ban HTML in listings
  2. The source of the rumors are the recent announcements about the upcoming ban of “Active content” and the introduction of the “View item description summary” for mobile.
  3. eBay is not going to ban HTML in listings

Feel free to share your questions and insights in the comments section!

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