eBay wants sellers to help it police its new product catalog. On Monday, it issued a request to sellers asking them to help it improve the integrity of its product pages.
Product pages are a somewhat new concept
to eBay, which built its marketplace with listings rather than the catalog approach used by Amazon. eBay CEO Devin Wenig is betting heavily on its "Structured Data Initiative."
Like Amazon, eBay now displays product pages dedicated to a specific product (aka UPC or ASIN), and it displays sellers' listings it thinks are a match to that product. eBay is asking sellers to flag listings that appear on product pages if they don't match the product.
eBay used screenshots
to make its point, showing a product page for a specific Seiko watch; on the product page are various listings - one of them for a bracelet, not a watch.
Users can flag any of the listings to indicate they do not belong on that product page; so in this example, a seller would flag the bracelet. eBay explains, "Once removed, the item will still be available on the site for purchase, but will no longer be associated with this particular product."
There are many questions: how did the bracelet listing show up on the watch product page in the first place (did the seller enter the wrong UPC code)?
Will eBay manually review the flagged listings (will it be humans or machines checking the accuracy of the report)? Or, will eBay wait until there are a certain number of reports and then automatically remove the listing?
How good a job will eBay do in using user-generated feedback to clean up the catalog? And will some sellers try to abuse the system?
What do you think of the new catalog approach, and what do you think of sellers policing product pages?