Can You Watermark Your Photos for eBay?

If you’re a seller on eBay, you need to take photos of your items. And if you just took the perfect picture, the last thing you want is for someone to steal it. The obvious choice to deter stolen images is to watermark them. This will lead you to wonder, “Can I watermark my photos on eBay?

Unfortunately, eBay strictly prohibits the use of watermarks for photos on their website. While some users risk it and add watermarked photos to the end of their listing, most sellers will state it’s not worth it. Using watermarked images on eBay can result in canceled or demoted listings, lowered seller ratings, restrictions, and suspension.

Are you curious about Ebay’s stance on watermarks? Then keep reading. This article details whether or not you can watermark photos on eBay, why you should avoid uploading watermarked photos, and why eBay has such a strict policy regarding these types of images.

Can You Watermark Your Photos for eBay?

Unfortunately, Ebay’s picture policy guidelines state the following: Watermarks of any type, including those used for ownership attributions,” are not allowed. This policy was implemented on March 1st, 2018, and has remained a policy since.

That said, you might want to think twice before uploading an image that contains a watermark.

What Happens if You Upload a Watermarked Image to eBay?

If you think it’s OK to be nonchalant about Ebay’s picture policy guidelines regarding watermarked images, think again. While you might be able to slip a watermarked image into the roundup of photographs, it’s not worth the risk. 

Some of the things that can occur from uploading a watermarked image on eBay include:

  • Administratively ending listings
  • Administratively canceling listings
  • Hiding all listings
  • Demoting all listings from eBay search results
  • Lowering of seller ratings
  • Buying restrictions
  • Selling restrictions
  • Account suspensions

The worst part is that accounts will not be refunded or paid should they be administratively removed due to misconduct. With that in mind, if you want your seller rating to remain high and make a profit, it’s recommended to avoid uploading watermarked images.

Why Doesn’t eBay Allow Watermarked Images?

At this point, you’re likely wondering why eBay is so remarkably strict when it comes to watermarked images. There are actually a few main reasons why eBay does not allow watermarks on photos.

1. eBay Promotes Product Using Google Shopping Engine

When you search for any product on Google, you can select the “shopping” tab at the top of the browser. Then, you will be met with many products that match your search, making it a cinch to find exactly what you need.

This is a very handy feature from Google, but the results don’t happen by choice. They’re generated using the “Google Shopping Engine,” which eBay utilizes to promote products on their website.

The Google Shopping Engine requires clear photos in order to promote the item. If your images have watermarks, they can’t be used to promote the products.

2. eBay Uses Product Photos for Online Advertisements

eBay also uses product photos for advertising online. Much like the Google Shopping Engine, only clear and “normal” photos can be used. If your image contains a watermark, it can’t be used for online advertisements, which is not beneficial for eBay.

3. Watermarks Can Make the Image Unclear

While the above two reasons are more valuable to eBay rather than the eBay seller, this reason is geared solely toward the seller.

Watermarked images can sometimes make the image more difficult to see, especially if it’s large or covers specific details of the product being sold. In a situation such as this, a buyer is less likely to purchase as they are unaware of what the product really looks like.

So, ditching the watermark and letting your product “do the talking” is also beneficial to you and can generate more sales.

4. Watermarks Aren’t Usually Necessary

Watermarks can do more harm than good, even when it comes to the seller. As mentioned above, they can add chaos to a photo, which deters buyers. And, honestly, they aren’t necessary for most sellers unless you’re trying to create a “brand” with multiple items.

eBay’s Old Watermark Guidelines

The latest watermark guidelines, which state that watermarks cannot be used on images under any circumstances, weren’t always the rule for eBay sellers. Before, sellers could add watermarks to their images as long as:

  • They were less than 5% of the total image area
  • Had an opacity of 50% or less
  • Were placed outside of the primary visual
  • Contained your eBay user ID and copyright symbol, and
  • Did not contain any other links or texts

The critical thing to remember is that these guidelines no longer exist. As of March 1st, 2018, eBay sellers are not allowed to apply any watermarks to their images – even if they follow the old guidelines listed above.

However, if you have images on eBay that were placed before the March 2018 updated policies, they do not have to be removed.

How to Protect Photos on eBay

Since watermarks are not allowed on eBay, many sellers are concerned that their images will be stolen – something that can and does happen. If your pictures have been stolen, there are a few things you can do:

  • Contact the seller or eBay customer service: Sometimes, the best way to stop something is to go directly to the source. Contact the seller and kindly ask them to stop using your photos. If that doesn’t work, take it up with the eBay customer service team.
  • Change the images: This only works if the thief is using your image on your server rather than copying it and using it on their server. Change the image to something not allowed by eBay, such as asking people to purchase the item on another site. Then, report the account, and it will be removed.

Watermarks Are Not Allowed on eBay and are Not Worth the Risk

Watermarks are no longer allowed on eBay as of March 1st, 2018. Any watermarked images uploaded prior to this date will not be removed. However, uploading new images with watermarks can result in many adverse effects, such as listings being demoted or removed and account suspensions.