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Description guidelines

Product descriptions help buyers make purchasing decisions by providing them with detailed information and insights about the products being described by the catalog entry.

A good description offers a high-level summary of the product and it answers the most common questions that buyers have about the product. Because description space is limited, your product descriptions must be concise, accurate, and to the point.

Description requirements

General description requirements are listed here while requirements related to the wording of your catalog descriptions are given in the section that follows:

  • Descriptions can have a maximum of 4000 characters.
  • Descriptions must be 100% factual, you cannot declare anything that cannot be proven true.
  • Descriptions must be unique to the specific product being described and they must contain information that is related only to that product.
  • Descriptions must be written by you, unless a third party explicitly gave you permission to use its description. For example, you cannot copy a description from the manufacturer or brand without getting its permission to use the description on eBay.
  • Descriptions should be worded in a familiar tone that uses proper, and not offensive, language.
  • Descriptions should not include information that is irrelevant to the description of the product itself.

    For example, descriptions must not include information on pricing, discounts, deals, individual seller information, item conditions, shipping options, packaging, and warranty details.

  • Descriptions should highlight the benefits of using the product features and must not contain just a list of product features (such as a list of values separated by commas, or simply a bullet list of product features).
  • Descriptions should not contain any negative comments.
  • Descriptions must not contain any descriptive language that might bring into question the legality of the product by either governmental or eBay standards.
  • Descriptions must not contain prohibited, banned, illegal, outlawed, or restricted content.

Content requirements for descriptions

The following guidelines address the wording and phrasing of your catalog entry descriptions:

  • Descriptions must not include special formatting such as bullet lists, bold and italic character styling, all caps, multiple fonts and font colors, hyphenated cut-offs, and so on.
  • Descriptions must not include HTML such as HTML links, website addresses, email addresses, phone numbers, hyphenated cut-offs, and extra white spaces.
  • Descriptions must not contain embedded pictures.
  • Descriptions must not include information about the manufacturer, company, or brand. For example, do not include information about where the company is located, which year it was founded, and so on.
  • Descriptions should contain complete sentences that use correct spelling and grammar.
  • Descriptions should be worded in the second person or third person (for example, "You can ..." or "They can ...").
  • Descriptions should not include special, foreign, or gimmicky characters, unless the symbol is a part of the factual data for the product. For example, do not use exclamation marks (!), trademark symbols (™), or other special characters (such as (*, ^, $, @, #) to emphasize an attribute of the product.
  • Descriptions should not contain foreign language words unless they are common and well understood, or are a part of the product name (based on the targeted country). For example, “Versace Pour Homme” can be used since this is the product name.
  • Descriptions should not include superlative adjectives (for example, "finest," "best," and "greatest"). Such adjectives can be used only if they are considered as awards and the product did in fact win this award; for example, "Best Seller."
  • Descriptions should not include time-sensitive adjectives such as "latest," "new," "next-generation," "most advanced," and so on.
  • Descriptions should not contain any personal opinions or comparisons.
  • Descriptions must not contain profane or obscene language.
  • Descriptions must not include promotional text or irrelevant search keywords.
  • Descriptions must not mention competitor sites such as Best Buy or Amazon.

Additional description requirements

Additional guidelines are defined below for bundles and multi-packs. For more information on these types of products, see About bundles and multi-packs

Important! When creating new entries for the product catalog, only create entries for the multi-packs and bundles produced by a brand manufacturer.

You should not create catalog entries for bundles or multi-packs that contain items that are not produced by the same manufacturer that produces the bundle or multi-pack. Also, you should not create catalog entries for bundles or multi-packs that are modified versions of any bundle or multi-pack produced by a manufacturer.

Bundle guidelines

  • The description for a bundled product should include information about all the products and accessories in the bundle. Details about all the accessories and items that are not normally sold with the base product(s) should be included in the bundle's description.
  • The description for a bundled product should include the dimensions of the box if the bundled product comes in a box.

Multi-pack guidelines

  • The description for a multi-pack should include information about the lot size.
  • The description for a multi-pack should not include details about the number of multi-packs that a seller may have for sale.

Best practices for creating descriptions

Use following best practices to create effective catalog descriptions:

  • Descriptions should be concise and should help the reader come to a purchasing decision.
  • Descriptions should be informative, objective, consumer-friendly, and engaging.
  • Descriptions should inform the reader about the product’s functionality using information like size, shape, color, age, and any notable features or markings.
  • Descriptions should not be repetitive in wording or in meaning.

Example descriptions

The examples below describe both a good and a poor product description.

Example poor product description

The example below presents a poor product description because it is just a product-features list that is concatenated into a grammatically incorrect sentence. The description does not mention the advantages of the features listed, and it does not provide extra information that would help the buyer make a decision about purchasing the product.

Multi-Touch 7 1920x1200 Display Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro 1.5GHz Quad-Core CPU 2GB RAM & 32GB Flash Storage Android 4.3 Jelly Bean With a stunning 1080p Full HD display, 5 MP rear camera, and built-in dual stereo speakers Nexus 7 brings you a premium entertainment experience.

Example good product description

The description below is a good descriptive because it is objective and unique, and it is presented in grammatically-correct sentences. It describes the product features in a way that informs the reader about the product functionality, which can help them make a buying decision.

Carry along your favorite music tracks wherever you go with this 4th Generation Apple iPod Touch 16 GB media player. Boasting a 3.5-inch multi-touch display, this Apple iPod enhances your entertainment experience by providing sharp and lifelike video output. The white-bodied media player gives you the liberty to enjoy interrupted music for up to 40 hours on a single charge and you can store your favorite movies, videos, and podcasts with its 16 GB of memory. You will find this iPod versatile; it supports a wide range of audio and video formats (such as HE-AAC, Protected AAC, AVI, M4V, and MJPEG). And, thanks to its USB port, you can quickly transfer songs and other digital media from your PC to the iPod.