Has eBay Changed Marketing Program Terms For Promoted Listings Ads?

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


UPDATE 2-2-24

This update announcement that may not really be an update announcement is now reigniting controversy from 2022 regarding language in the Marketing Terms that some sellers had previously speculated could mean eBay would be able to increase ad rates or opt items into Promoted Listings ads without the seller's consent.

However, this was not true back in 2022 and it still isn't true today.

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That controversy was specifically about the section on managed marketing services, which has been in the eBay Marketing Program Terms since early 2022.

Managed Marketing Services

We may make available certain features or services through which we may help you optimize your participation in the Marketing Services, for example, by creating or modifying campaigns, setting or modifying ad rates and/or budgets, and adding or removing keywords or other targeting parameters.

If you elect to use those features or services (by informing us in writing or opting in via the Marketing Services), you agree that we may manage your campaigns and take such actions on your behalf without your prior consent, as may be further described by us in writing or in the Marketing Services.

The meaning of that section was debated ad nauseum, with many sellers concerned it gave eBay carte blanche to make adjustments at any time with no notice, egged on by some less than accurate information being shared across social media and YouTube at that time.

eBay finally put those concerns to rest on May 4, 2022.

Re: You lose all control over your Promoted Listings to Ebay in June, but retain full responsibility
Hi everyone! I received this from the Promoted Listings team to share with you all: We understand there has been a lot of discussion surrounding the recently announced updates to our Marketing Program Terms. We appreciate the feedback and want to take this time to clarify. Some sellers have exp…

Hi everyone! I received this from the Promoted Listings team to share with you all:

We understand there has been a lot of discussion surrounding the recently announced updates to our Marketing Program Terms. We appreciate the feedback and want to take this time to clarify. Some sellers have expressed concerns about provisions relating to a Promoted Listings account optimization program we introduced last year.

Specifically, those terms are intended to help us manage sellers’ Promoted Listings accounts, but only when a seller has asked us to do so. Currently, we only offer the service through our account managers, and no seller has been or will ever be opted in by default.

That section has not changed and has been part of the terms since 2022.

Here is an archived version of the US version:

eBay Marketing Program Terms | eBay.com
These Marketing Program Terms (the “Marketing Program Terms”) describe the terms pursuant to which eBay offers you access to our marketing services, which help you promote your products on and off eBay, and all related services, applications and tools (collectively, the “Marketing Services”).

And the UK version:

eBay Marketing Program Terms | eBay.co.uk

If it has not been a problem for sellers in the almost 2 years since then, it likely is not a problem for them now.

However, we are still waiting for confirmation from eBay about whether this most recent banner announcement in Seller Hub indicates there are really changes to the policy coming soon or if it is simply a display error.

eBay sellers are perplexed by a new banner being shown in Seller Hub advising "We’ve made some updates to the eBay Marketing Program Terms, but have the terms really changed or is the warning a glitch?

The announcement offers a link to "take a look" but that link simply takes sellers to the existing eBay Marketing Program Terms page that states "These Marketing Program Terms are effective as of March 30, 2023."

eBay Marketing Program Terms
Terms and conditions of marketing services at eBay

eBay did change those terms effective March 30, 2023 to include "halo attribution" for Promoted Listings Standard and other changes to eBay's advertising and marketing offerings.

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We've run the current (as of January 27, 2024) contents of the eBay Marketing Program Terms page through an automated difference checker to compare against an archived version of the page from April 1, 2023 and were unable to identify any changes in the text - so why are sellers receiving this notice in Seller Hub now?

It's possible this could simply be a technical "display" error where no changes have been made or are forthcoming but somehow eBay programming is incorrectly showing this Seller Hub banner in error.

eBay announced a mass layoff this week of ~1,000 employees with ~130 software engineers in California alone impacted, which could certainly cause some chaos or allow unintended display errors to slip through into production.

But it's also possible this could signal changes "coming soon" to Promoted Listings ad products that will require an update to the marketing terms and someone may have just inadvertently pulled the trigger on publicly displaying the banner notice too soon.

In years when eBay has released a Winter Seller Update, it's typically around the first week of February, so the timing could certainly fit.

Seller Updates also usually come with reports of glitches and tests for several weeks ahead of time - and we've certainly been seeing a lot of glitches, tests, and unannounced changes in the last few weeks.

One big test stirring up a lot of buzz includes changes to the payment process for Offers and Auctions - buyers and sellers have tons of questions about what they are seeing happening live on the site, but so far eBay has not provided any public answers.

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We're also seeing changes related to shipping, with combined shipping being introduced for eBay International Shipping, a glitch changing sellers' working days & cutoff times without their knowledge and a stealth USPS shipping increase.

eBay has quietly unveiled the finalized first phase of the new View Item Page, which may have lead to an interesting bug that moved the placement of sellers' return policy information.

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Changes to Feedback continue to rollout as well, with pictures left in feedback now publicly visible to buyers.

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eBay Offsite Ads beta has been expanding, with fee discount promotions to try to entice sellers to try it out.

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The social sharing tool has recently been updated with AI caption capability and auto-posting.

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And the Price Guide and Collections tool for trading cards has also recently gotten a major update.

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We've reached out to eBay to try to get clarification on this eBay Marketing Program Terms announcement banner and will update as soon as we have more information.

Let us know in the comments below if you're seeing the banner in your Seller Hub overview page!

eBayAdsSeller Updates

Liz Morton Twitter Facebook LinkedIn

Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of online marketplace sales experience, providing commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Shopify & more at Value Added Resource!