3 min article

Search and browse manipulation policy

Manipulating eBay's search and browse experience by adding popular keywords in your listings that don't have any relation to your items, or using other tactics that could mislead buyers, is not allowed.

To create an effective listing that attracts buyers and complies with our policies, be sure to follow these guidelines:

  • Select a category that matches the item you're selling.
  • Provide a clear, honest, and accurate description of your item.
  • Don't engage in tactics like keyword spamming, because this makes it hard for people to find what they're looking for.
  • When you list an item in fixed price format, don't create separate listings to sell multiple identical items at the same time. This violates our duplicate listings policy. Be sure to follow the policy guidelines when you list items in fixed price format.
  • You can have more than one auction-style listing for identical items. However, only one duplicate auction-style listing without bids will appear on eBay at a time.

In addition to our tips for creating effective listings, use the guidelines and examples below to learn how to create listings that comply with our policies.

It's against our policies to do anything that manipulates the search or browse experience. This applies to all parts of a listing (see our HTML and JavaScript policy for more information). For example, the use of superscript, subscript, or other special characters (e.g., ™, ♥, ½) in the title, subtitle, item specifics, or other fields is not allowed. If a seller uses tactics that can inappropriately direct bidders and buyers to a listing, we'll take action.

If you list several related items as a bundle, please make sure you select the appropriate category for the main product included in the bundle. You should also include the word "bundle" in the title and provide item specifics for the additional items. This will help ensure that buyers can find your bundle listing when they search and browse on eBay. Get more guidelines and learn how to improve your performance by bundling items.

Only use item specifics to describe the item you are selling. Item specifics and other fields should only contain the information that the field was intended for. Don't use item specifics to include other information such as your terms of sale or shipping details.

Activity on eBay is required to follow this policy, the eBay User Agreement and all applicable laws, as well as respect the rights of third parties. If it doesn’t, 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: Removing the listing or other content, issuing a warning, restricting activity or account suspension.

What are the guidelines?

Brand names

You can describe an item by its brand, designer, model, product, style name, or its celebrity endorsement in a listing, as long as the information accurately describes what you're selling. Don't make a comparison or reference a brand that isn't the same brand you're selling. This can confuse buyers and make it hard for them to find what they're looking for. See keyword spamming for more information.

Allowed Allowed
  • A brand name can be mentioned in a listing, as long as the item is authentically branded with that brand name.
  • A celebrity name can be included in a listing, as long as the celebrity created, officially endorsed, owned, or signed the item. You can also mention celebrities if they're depicted in the item for sale, such as on posters or photos.
  • For homemade items, be sure to:
    • Use the words "made with" to describe a brand-name product that you used in creating your item. For example, if you're offering curtains made from Pottery Barn fabric, you can describe them as "homemade curtains made with Pottery Barn fabric."
    • Use the words "made for" or "fits" to describe how your item is used for a brand-name product. For example, if you're selling homemade clothes for Barbie dolls, you can describe them as "clothes made for Barbie dolls."
  • Multiple brand names can be used, as long as there are items by each of those brands in the listing. If you're selling multiple items in a single listing (known as a "lot"), you can specify various brand names as long as the lot includes items made by those brands.
Restricted Restricted

For accessories that are functionally compatible with certain brand-name products, be sure to:

  • Verify the compatibility is for function, rather than appearance. If you're not sure of this, fully explain the functionality compatibility. The Not allowed section below provides more detail.
  • Use the words "compatible with," "fits," or "for" before the brand name of the compatible product.
  • Spell out the word "for." Using the number "4" isn't allowed. Here's an example: "This charger is for Nintendo 3DS"
  • Follow our intellectual property policies, including our trademark and legally compliant listings policies, when listing accessories that are made to fit a specific brand-name product.
Not allowed Not allowed
  • Brand names, celebrities, or other product details can't be specified in a listing if you're not selling an item by those brands. For example, if you're selling a Coach handbag, you can't mention Gucci or other brand-name handbags.
  • Using "compatible with," "fits," or "for" before a brand name in the title of your listing to describe items that are universally compatible or that are compatible with an entire product class.
  • Using parts compatibility with universally compatible items.
  • Including multiple brand names in a title when they describe a subsidiary of a parent company. For example, you can't say "Old Navy by Gap" in your title.
  • Using "fits," "for," or "compatible with," before the brand name of jewelry and clothing items or accessories.
  • Comparing the item you're selling to a popular product. For example, you can't say "this MP3 player is just like the iPod."
  • Hiding unrelated brand names in a listing by using white-on-white text, tiny fonts, or special HTML or JavaScript code.
  • Misspelling brand names to try to circumvent the rules. For example, using a dollar sign "$" instead of the letter "S."
  • Promoting your other listings and naming brands in those listings. For example, you can't say things like "Check out my other listings for Adidas, New Balance, Nike, and Puma shoes."
  • Using a question mark "?" when you're not sure about the brand. For example, you can't describe an item as "McCoy? cookie jar."


Be sure to select a category that matches the item for sale so buyers can find your listing. If it's in the wrong or inappropriate category, we may move the listing to another category (which may have a different listing fee) or the listing may be removed from our website to avoid confusion.

Allowed Allowed
  • Select a category that matches the item for sale. For example, an iPod Nano should be listed in the iPod & MP3 Players category.
  • Select an applicable secondary category. For example, you can list a real diamond ring in the Fine Jewelry category and the Engagement Rings category.
  • Select the Other category when there isn't one that exactly matches your item.
Not allowed Not allowed
  • Brand new items can't be listed in categories for antique or vintage items.
  • Informational products (or other digitally delivered goods) can't be listed in a category for physical goods. For example, a user guide for Wii games can't be listed in the Systems category.
  • Selecting a category that doesn't match the item in order to include details for a different product isn't allowed. For example, if you're selling a generic MP3 player, you can't list it in the Cell Phones & Accessories category just to add info about an iPhone.
  • Selecting a secondary category that doesn't match the item isn't allowed. For example, if you're selling a case for the iPod Nano, you can't select the iPod & MP3 Players category.
  • Selecting a similar category that doesn't match the item—for example, listing a superhero comic book in a toy category—isn't allowed. (It should be listed in the Collectibles > Comics category.)
  • You can't list an item outside of a fixed fee category when it actually belongs there (for example, listing a car outside of the appropriate car category on eBay Motors).
  • If the item you're listing matches an item in our product catalog, then be sure to list it in the main category for the item, and not in an 'Other' or less specific category.

Item condition, specifics, and details

Providing clear and accurate details about your item helps people make informed buying decisions—and they'll know what to expect when they receive your item. So be truthful and provide complete details.

Allowed Allowed
  • Describe only the item you're actually selling.
Not allowed Not allowed
  • Selecting product details from our catalog that aren't an exact match with what you're listing isn't allowed. Here are a couple of examples:
    • If you're selling a paperback book, don't provide info for the hardcover version.
    • If you're selling a video game controller, don't provide product details for a video game console.
  • Selecting product details that are similar to—but don't exactly match—the item for sale isn't allowed. For example, if you list an Android phone, don't include info about the iPhone.
  • Choosing an item condition that does not match your item, such as a "New" item condition for an item that has been used.
  • Providing details such as MPN or UPC that don't match the item you're listing.
  • Contradicting your item condition in item specifics with photos or your item description.
  • Including terms in the wrong field of your listing, such as including shipping terms in the Condition description field of the item.
  • Including extra or unrelated keywords or brands in your item specifics.
  • Including information that is not specific to that field, such as a color in the manufacturer part number or the brand of your item in the item specific for size.
  • Using inaccurate or misleading information for required product details (such as "Does not apply" or "N/A") when describing required product identifiers (such as brand, UPC, or MPN), or information other than what the manufacturer provided, if the manufacturer has provided that information for your product.

Keyword spamming

Keyword spamming is when people use words or details (such as brands, item condition, model names, pop culture terms, product names, style, and type) that have nothing to do with their items so that their listings will show up in search results. Since this clutters eBay and makes buying and selling more difficult, we don't allow keyword spamming (see also brand names).

Allowed Allowed
  • All the words in your listing have to be accurate and refer only to the item for sale.
  • For lot listings, you can specify all the different items in the lot. For example, "This lot includes 2 pairs of shoes, 2 shirts, 1 pair of pants, 3 pairs of shorts, and a jacket."
  • You can use synonyms to describe an item. For example, you can call a handbag a purse.
Not allowed Not allowed
  • Calling out similarities—for example, when selling a DVD, don't talk about Blu-ray discs.
  • Comparisons between products aren't allowed. For example, you can't say things like "shirt not pants" or "video not Nano."
  • Descriptions that promote items in other listings. For example, a listing for shoes can't say things like, "Check out my other listings for hats, shirts, pants, coats, gloves, and underwear."
  • Hiding unrelated keywords in a listing by using white-on-white text, tiny fonts, or HTML or JavaScript code.
  • Keywords in any part of a listing that aren't related to the item you're selling. Here are some examples:
    • If you're selling a shirt, the title can't say "Nike shirt size M – shoes, hat, shorts."
    • If you're selling an MP3 player, the listing description can't have keywords like "purse, shoes, baseball hat, DVD, toys, cell phone," etc.
  • Words with question marks (such as "carved wood dresser – antique?"). If you're not sure about a detail, don't call it out at all because doing so can be misleading.


Including pictures in your listings helps buyers decide whether to purchase your item. Always provide clear and detailed pictures that truly represent your item so there's no confusion about what you're selling.

And remember: Never copy or use someone else's pictures or logos without their permission (see the images and text policy).

Allowed Allowed
  • Pictures clearly showing the item for sale
Not allowed Not allowed
  • Including unrelated pictures to try to get people to look at the listing
  • Picture of an item that isn't for sale. For example, selling a generic MP3 player but showing a picture of an iPod
  • Pictures that don't represent your item

Text and other information

When you create a listing, make sure all your text and other information are complete and consistent throughout. For example, you can't say one thing in the title and then describe it differently in the description.

Allowed Allowed
  • Be specific about your terms and conditions and make sure those details are consistent throughout your listing.
  • Provide clear, accurate, and consistent information throughout a listing.
Not allowed Not allowed
  • Conflicting information—for example, the title says the item is "new," but the description says it "was used"
  • Inconsistent details throughout your listing (titles, descriptions, product details, shipping, payment information, and so on)
  • Inconsistent or unclear terms and conditions. For example, you can't select free shipping when you list your item if the buyer has to meet conditions to make it free, such as "free shipping applies only if you choose the Buy It Now option."
  • Incorrect or incomplete information
  • Misrepresenting the item for sale


Keep listing titles and subtitles clear and 100% accurate. Being honest about what you're selling helps buyers find exactly what they're looking for. Avoid giving false details just to attract people to your listing. Remember that inaccurate or misleading titles aren't allowed on eBay.

Allowed Allowed
  • If you list multiple, different items in a listing (known as a "lot"), you can describe each item in the title or subtitle.
  • To be clear for buyers, you may want to state:
    • the brand name associated with the item
    • the quantity of items for sale
    • the type of item for sale
    • whether the item is new or used
Not allowed Not allowed
  • Confusing or unclear titles or subtitles
  • Incorrect or inconsistent information, for example:
    • Saying "quantity 5" in the title, but saying 1 item is for sale in the listing description
    • Selling a book about yoga and dieting, but using the title "I lost 30 pounds in 3 months"
  • Misrepresenting an item in the title or subtitle
  • Using subscript, superscript, or other special characters (e.g., ™, ♥, ½) in the listing title, subtitle, item specifics, or other fields is not allowed.
    Symbols must be replaced by words that buyers can search for (e.g., Use "Copyright" instead of © and "degrees" instead of ° ).
    For example, the following titles are not allowed on eBay:
    • New ◆³™¹TOMS¹ ◆³™ Black Crochet Women's Classics 9
    • New ARMANI™ Men's Watch
    • Levis ® Golf Shoes Size 8½
    • Cobra F-Speed DRIVER 12.5° R-FLEX

Why does eBay have this policy?

We want your buying and selling experience on eBay to be easy and fun. Our guidelines help sellers create listings that won't break the rules or infringe upon other people's trademarks. When a listing has information that could mislead people or gives one seller an unfair advantage over others, we do take action. We also want to avoid having a seller dominate search results with duplicate listings if the seller doesn't have a solid history of selling these identical items. Misusing item specifics or the item description can make it more difficult for buyers to find information about items they are shopping for. Be sure to follow our guidelines when you create your listings.

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