Keyword spam policy

Keyword spamming occurs when members place brand names or other inappropriate keywords in a title or description for the purpose of gaining attention or diverting members to a listing. Keyword spamming in listings is not permitted on eBay.

The searchable text sellers place in listings must be directly relevant to the item being sold.

Activity on eBay is required to:

  • Follow all applicable laws
  • Respect the rights of third parties
  • Follow the eBay User Agreement
  • Follow this eBay policy

If activity doesn’t meet these requirements, eBay may take action consistent with applicable laws and the eBay User Agreement, and may even be legally required to do so. Such actions may include, as an example only: administratively ending listings or cancelling transactions, hiding or lowering the placement of listings in search results, lowering seller rating, restricting buying or selling, forfeiture of fees, loss of buyer or seller protections, restricting access to member communication and rating tools, removing feedback, and account suspension.

Some Examples

Examples of keyword spamming that are not permitted:

  • Lists of words:
    • The inclusion of words as a means to attract viewers via eBay search engines that do not truly describe the actual item.
      Example not allowed: oil reproductions, art recreations, gallery, art gallery, impressionist, impressionism, oil paintings, reproduction, painting, recreation, copy, quality, reproductions, recreations, realistic, copies, paintings, old masters, replica, posters, prints, video...
    • The inclusion of words that are used to promote the seller’s other eBay listings.
      Example not allowed: "Please view my other eBay listings for Beanie Babies, vintage Barbies, Rolex watches and Chanel scarves."
      Example allowed: "Please view my other eBay listings."
  • Hidden HTML text: Sellers may include hidden text (for example "white on white") or source tags (meta or header tags). However, such text may not include any keywords or be used as a means of promoting the item. Keywords "hidden" within the title, description or through other means are not allowed.
  • Drop-down boxes: Because the search engine will pick up words listed within a drop-down box, this interferes with the search results, and is thus not permitted. As an alternative, sellers may include drop-down boxes on their About Me pages, as this would not interfere with the search engine.
  • Brand Name Misuse: Do not include any brand names or company logos in listings other than the specific brand name used by the company that manufactured or produced the item being listed. Certain uses of brand names may also constitute trademark infringement and could expose sellers to legal liability.
    Examples not allowed:
    • A homemade product that incorporates in its name another company's brand name (such as Beanie™ Box)
    • An Internet domain name that contains in it the brand name of another company (such as
  • Movie and Celebrity Names: Celebrities’ names and cartoon names are treated as brand names or keywords (think Cher or Madonna).
    Example not allowed: "Denim shorts Jessica Simpson Daisy Dukes" because Jessica Simpson does not have a clothing line called "Daisy Dukes".
    Example allowed: "Jessica Simpson Dessert Treats Lip Gloss" because Jessica Simpson is the sponsor for a line of makeup called "Dessert Treats".
    You can put the name of a movie or television show in your listing title or description if the item you are selling is directly related to the movie or television show.
    Example not allowed: "Brown Leather Jacket Fight Club (or Brad Pitt)"
    Example allowed: "Brown Leather Jacket"
    If the item you are selling has a picture or print depicting a particular celebrity, you can include the celebrity name in the listing title.
    Example not allowed: "Striped dress shirt as worn by Brad Pitt" because Brad Pitt is not directly relevant to the item being sold.
    Example allowed: "Kalifornia Brad Pitt Serial Killer Movie T-shirt Black"
  • Compatibility
    Brand made items
    Sellers who list accessory items that are intended to be compatible with specific brands and/or models may identify those brands or models in the listing title. However, sellers may not mislead buyers into believing they could be purchasing a product made by the same company that makes the brand or model with which compatibility is claimed. To help avoid confusion regarding who manufactured the accessory, sellers may want to include words such as "compatible" or "fits" preceding the brand/model names.
    It is the seller’s responsibility to write a title and description that ensures buyers are not confused over who is the maker of the products offered.
    Some Examples:
    Not allowed: "Colour printer cartridge comp. Epson Stylus printer" (Explanation: The use of "comp." is not sufficiently descriptive to indicate compatibility.)
    Allowed: "Colour printer cartridge compatible with Epson Stylus" (Explanation: It is clear that the printer cartridge is not manufactured by Epson, but is compatible with Epson printers.)
    Not allowed: "Headset Samsung i330 i500 i600 i700" (Explanation: It is unclear if the headset was manufactured by Samsung.)
    Allowed: "Headset made for Samsung i330 i500 i600 i700" (Explanation: This headset was manufactured to fit these Samsung models.)
    Not allowed: "Dedicated flash 4 Pentax cameras" (Explanation: The number "4" is not sufficiently descriptive to indicate compatibility.)
    Allowed: "Camera lens fits all Nikon 35 mm cameras" (Explanation: This camera lens has been manufactured to fit Nikon cameras.)
  • Comparisons: Sellers are not permitted to make comparisons between items in a listing title. In the description only, sellers are permitted to compare the item being offered to the functionality of one other similar product, so long as the listing is not misleading in any way as to which company made the item offered.
    Example not allowed: The titles "Leather Handbag, like Chanel","Leather Handbag, Chanel style", or "Leather handbag, not Chanel" are not permitted on eBay because they make comparisons between the appearance of the item being offered, a leather handbag, to a Chanel handbag.
    Example allowed: "This vacuum cleaner does a much better job at cleaning ground-in dirt than Acme brand vacuum cleaners."
  • Compilations and informational items: Listings that include compilations or informational content on any media are subject to the following restrictions:
    • Any listing that offers general wholesale items may not use any specific brand or keywords words in the title.
    • The listing description may not contain the excessive use of keywords to describe the contents of the compilation or informational media.
  • Bonuses and Gifts: Keywords describing bonus items cannot be included in the title of a listing.

Additional Information

Category Guidelines

All words used to describe an item, whether in the title or description of the item page or any other way that may be found using Search, must be strictly related to the item being listed and adhere to the guidelines below. eBay allows other non-relevant text to appear in listings as long as that text is not searchable, which could manipulate eBay’s search engine.

  • Motors: With vehicular compatible items (such as Xenon headlights for an automobile), three compatible brands/products may be included in the title, provided the title still accurately describes what is being listed. In the same scenario, reference to 25 compatible brands/products may be included in the description.
  • Books and other printed media: Books and other forms of printed media may use the necessary means to describe their contents. However, these items may not use excessive keywords to do so.
  • Catalogues: Catalogue titles and descriptions may not contain extensive lists of specific items included within the catalogue.
  • Filmographies, discographies and bibliographies: Specific names, locations, etc. may be included in a listing for a book, movie, or album. However excessive use of keywords will not be permitted.

Why does eBay have this policy?

Keyword spamming results in a poor shopping and finding experience for buyers since keyword spamming returns listings in which the buyer may have no interest. Keyword spamming also results in an unlevel playing field for sellers who do not keyword spam and may receive fewer potential buyers.

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