Friday, 19 March 2010

Linking to Ebay from my website - How hard can it be?

You just need to find the right help page (via Google instead of Ebay's own as it's more effective), tick a few boxes, paste a bit of code...  And find you've actually linked yourself to the US Ebay site not the UK one.  Sigh.  Then when you eventually find the same facility in Ebay UK, it turns out the code generated doesn't work and you have to mess with it before it works.

Still for those who would like this facility, here are the links to the right pages in US Ebay - no fiddling required, it works straight away.

Linking to US EBAY from my website:
First Page - Use of Ebay Intellectual Property  Then in that page scroll down to the paragraph that says this

"Linking to eBay From Your Website - Drive internet users to your eBay store or listings using a special button we’ve created for you. If you’d like to create a link to eBay from your website, we can make it easier for you. Visit the Link Your Site to eBay page to learn more."
and use the link which should take you to this page called Link Your Site to Ebay: hyperlink takes you straight to it, but it's worth reading that first page to see what's possible & what isn't.  Tick both or one option(s) (one gives a button that takes you to Ebay homepage, the other gives a button that takes you to your own Ebay listings), paste in your website/ blog address, then all you need to do is follow the instructions and agree the license terms, and a new page comes up with the HTML code for both buttons to use in your blog/website the same way you'd use any of them.
Linking to UK EBAY from my website: Dealing with rubbish code:
However is not so easy to achieve this with UK Ebay, because you follow the same steps, but the HTML code provided is rubbish.  I fixed this by getting the UK code AND the US code and comparing it, and taking out the extra bits in the UK code that stopped it working. 

For the HTML to have a button that links directly to my Ebay listings I made the following alterations to the UK HTML rubbish code:
Rubbish code 1 in line 2:   after " dll? " remove " "
Rubbish code 2 in line 3: replace  " %26 " with ampersand " & " just before it says " username " etc.

Linking to UK Ebay from my website: Ebay page that gives wrong code:
So, if you fancy having this facility on your blog and don't mind messing with a bit of code (nothing to be frightened of, you can't break anything permanently, just keep a copy of the original so you can start again if you need to), pull up this Ebay UK page: Link your site to Ebay (again found via Google NOT Ebay help as it's really hard to navigate, but it's a genuine Ebay page).

As with the US Ebay, pick which/both buttons you want, add your website/ blog address and Agree their Terms & Conditions.

Geting the UK Ebay code to work:
As with the US site, agreeing the T&C takes you to a new page with HTML code for the buttons that unfortunately for me didn't work.  Try using it, and if it works great, if it doesn't work, then
1. Get both US and UK code on the same screen. Test them to see if they work
2. Compare them bit by bit and strip out the bits in the UK code that aren't in the US code, I suggest you paste the bits you strip out into the same screen a bit lower down so you don't lose them, AND work on a copy of the code so you have the originals if you get confused.  I didn't first time round and I think Agreed the T&C on both sites 3 times each!  I did all the fiddling around in the little HTML/Java Script box in BlogSpot and it worked fine, I just got it all working before I went back and deleted what I didn't want. (see above for the bits I stripped out).
3. See if it works, if not fiddle some more, or start again.
4. Make sure you send an email to Ebay UK help telling them this very useful facility isn't working properly so that they fix it for future users.

Finally, I have not actually posted the code here in this post, not because I want everyone to have difficulties and struggle, but because I am a fervent believer in Ebay's (or any other entity's) right to have license agreements with users.  So, please make sure you sign up to the Ebay user agreement as well as fiddling with the code to make it work.

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