Selling Digital Products on eBay

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Selling digital goods—information, software, templates, recordings, art, and the like—is an obvious business opportunity. But before you sell digital goods on eBay, there are a few essential things you need to know. For instance, sales of things like software or photos are treated differently than sales of physical items, and eBay has specific rules that sellers must adhere to.

Selling Digital Goods on eBay

eBay considers any content that can be downloaded via a website or received via email as a "digital good." To sell digital goods on eBay, you must list digital items under the Information Products header in the "Everything Else" category.

Your listing must also be in a classified ad format. Within your listing, you must state clearly that you are the legal owner of the content or intellectual property, or that you are authorized to sell it on the owner's behalf.

The rules may seem strict, but they are in place for good reason. eBay's stated goal with these guidelines is twofold: protecting intellectual property owners' rights and protecting buyers from purchasing pirated (use/reproduction of someone else's work without permission) or unauthorized items.

The Exception to eBay's Listing Rules

Sizable digital goods retailers that already have a thriving business outside of eBay can apply for an exception to the rule for how digital goods must be listed. Sellers must apply for this status, and comply with eBay's requests for additional information and documentation if needed.

But be warned: Unless you already do significant volume on your web store in digital goods, there is little hope of you being granted an exception.

Not Allowed When Selling Digital Goods

Please be sure to keep in mind that eBay also has prohibited products when it comes to selling in the digital space, and selling any of these products can lead to your listing being removed or suspended.

First and foremost, pornographic content is not allowed nor is software that could be used to damage someone's computer or infect it with spyware. You also cannot sell digital content that violates other's copyrights (i.e., selling a song you bought from a streaming service).

Sellers of digital content also have to be verified by PayPal to confirm their identity, in contrast, if you created the digital content yourself and it does not fall into one of the prohibited categories, you can sell it on eBay.

Think Outside the Box

Whether you're an existing or new eBay seller thinking about moving into information products, you may want to consider expanding your focus to include other alternatives in addition to eBay. Overall, digital sales are not likely to be a lucrative option on eBay, especially if you're just getting started.

There are plenty of other online retail platforms that are more user-friendly than eBay to sell digital goods; for example, Amazon for eBooks and Fiverr for songwriters and composers. But the guidelines that eBay has in place are an excellent example to follow. You need to be careful about selling digital content that doesn't belong to you. This is easily a recipe for disaster no matter what platform you're using.