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Tue July 17 2018 13:58:38

eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay is asking sellers to help it test functionality for creating and editing product information in its catalog, which is necessary as it transitions to a Product Based Shopping Experience. The request comes after eBay promised to review its testing and implementation practices after a spate of technical issues plagued the site.

In May eBay told sellers it would begin allowing them to add listings to its product catalog next month: "Starting mid-August 2018, you should create a new product in the catalog by using the add or suggest edits product functionality if the catalog does not include a product that exactly matches the item you want to sell."

And in June, eBay told sellers it would provide them with the "ability to create new products in the eBay catalog" beginning in August.

However, this week, it announced it would begin the transition with a beta test. It explained to would-be testers, "As a beta program participant, you will get early access to create and edit product functionality within the eBay catalog. You will also work closely with eBay employees to resolve any issues that you might discover." One requirement to being accepted into the test: participants must be willing to provide constructive feedback by email, phone or video to help identify and resolve any discovered issues.

Yesterday's solicitation of beta testers across multiple marketplaces (including US, Canada, UK, and Australia) indicate eBay is proceeding more carefully in the wake of embarrassing technical failures, including one involving its Product Based Shopping Experience.

On the application form, eBay said the public Beta would start August 1st and would focus on functionality that allows sellers to both update and create products in the eBay catalog. "The function will enable our community of experts to better manage content and represent items for sale in the best way possible."

The solicitation comes two days before eBay CEO Devin Wenig must face Wall Street analysts in its second-quarter post-earnings call.

You can find the invitation to US sellers on this page.




Comments (27) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog   eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog

by: lessthanthreerecords This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Jul 17 14:16:54 2018

And is eBay planning to pay me for building THEIR website?  I don't even like the idea of this catalog system given eBay's vast amount of false information paired with the question of how this will work for one-of-a-kind items.  And eBay thinks I'm going to do this for FREE?  They've never done anything for me for free.  Ina, are you sure you didn't source this from The Onion?!

Perminate Link for eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog   eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 17 14:38:10 2018

The more ebay thinks it's ready for Prime Time, the more mistaken it becomes.
Things worked fine on ebay at the beginning of the century.
People bought, people sold, and there there were no $5/hr Indian programmers.
Now it seems every sale has to be prefaced by bells and whistles...even for a pair of sox.
Simplicity is a virtue...ebay long ago became non-virtuous.

Perminate Link for eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog   eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 17 14:39:58 2018

"Uses Seller Hub as the primary listing tool to list and manage listings on eBay"

well I dont use seller hub - so Im out!  (its pure garbage - why does anyone use it?)

Perminate Link for eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog   eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog

by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 17 14:40:44 2018

I'll help them when Wenig and all his cronies are fired with the minimum legally binding payout, hopefully little to none.

Plus, the Board of Directors resign. Especially Pierre and any Bain associates of any type.

When all new intakes as employees or board members can prove to have never had any contact with or employment associated with Bain in any way.

Then, I might consider offering my help.  Maybe.

Perminate Link for eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog   eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog

by: extremetm This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 17 14:53:09 2018

Product based shopping on ebay and more specifically with used items is going to kill what's left of small to medium sellers if the glitches or lack of any seller protection doesn't do it first.

You think things are bad now. When this takes off, the boards are going to be lit up with pissed off sellers and buyers by the thousands.  

Perminate Link for eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog   eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog

by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 17 15:15:02 2018

Once again, the egos at Ebay cannot stand the fact that they are still the largest flea market in the world and are actually willing to shoot themselves in the foot and lose all of that revenue just so they can say they are like Amazon while watching Amazon take their lunch from them on a daily basis.

Once again Ebay wants the sellers to do all the work for them because they are to cheap to hire programmers who are capable of doing the work properly.  This is all about making it look like we are listening to the sellers when it is still all about getting what Wenig wants with no additional costs so that his bonus is not effected.  I cannot wait to see his reaction to 4th quarter results once they put this into play and the site completely flops, except for his Chinese partners and maybe a few Diamond Sellers.  

Can you say bye bye to a ton of your sellers and buyers EBay??  Cause you are chasing them off in droves between this beta test and now the request for beta testers for your being the payment intermediary.  

Everybody better watch their preferences in September when Ebay does not have enough volunteers for their program just like they did not with GD.

Perminate Link for eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog   eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog

by: grandlady This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 17 15:34:28 2018

eBay is making so many changes that as a seller, my head is spinning. I am no longer accepting returns, I don't do free shipping and I have a 3-day handling time.  I sell clothing, shoes, bags and travel items. My sales have tanked.
It would be wonderful to have a venue for selling that doesn't micromanage your business. What if eBay forged ahead with their Amazon knock-off, but had a spinoff that was the eBay of 15 years ago? Wouldn't that be grand?

Perminate Link for eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog   eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog

by: Grady This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 17 19:46:04 2018

If your product is not 99 cents with free shipping, free returns, nobody is going to see it in search.  

Perminate Link for eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog   eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 17 21:43:39 2018

A pinky toe into the pool of user 'partnership' in development and test.  Right idea, wrong pool.

The vaunted 'catalog', the pages of which haunt Uncle Griff's dreams, is an eBay product designed to benefit eBay at the expense of any who may not fit their little round holes.  One doesn't seek to enlist the uncompensated help of a 'partner' in such enterprise without expecting some pushback for all that, all implied altruism aside.  

And 'it will be great for you, trust me' is dead for you now, eBay.  That promise is more broken and unrepairable than the leaky rusted fume and bolt spitting jalopy of a venue for which this latest endless 'enhancement' is just another splat of Bondo.

Seems that much like the doctors who treat the terminally ill, sellers who may be roped into this, 'shared-effort for shared success' expect payment in advance.

Just like their 'partner'.

Perminate Link for eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog   eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog

by: Troy Stiffler This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 17 23:58:13 2018

Yikes. I always wonder if Ebay reads these comments.

Ebay is in way over their head on building a catalog. OEM dealers don't generally sell on there. They have obsolete products. Overstock, thrift, collectibles. Filing everything into a structured catalog IS a good idea ... if they can afford it. To realistically do that, they'd have to hire 1000's of employees and create a ''catalog department''. Complete with savants who actually understand the products they're cataloging.

Look at it like this... Even the biggest suppliers in my industry (ie Motion Industries, Grainger) have shoddy online catalog details. Accurate manufacturer names and part #'s. But it's mostly just a copy/paste of the title that the manufacturer provides (which is rarely descriptive). It's very complex.

Ebay sellers are typically awful at getting the part #, model #, and manufacturer written correctly. Bad details. Nothing is uniform. Tons of html templates from places like Channel Advisor. Thrift people often identify products incorrectly. It's garbage data.

That said, I just can't understand how Ebay would expect a real catalog to be built with anything less than an army of talented data entry people. And there's no way they can rely on sellers/users to curate their data properly.  

Perminate Link for eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog   eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog

by: BargainzBabylon This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 18 02:41:28 2018

Well...wait... Did eBay just say they had been going to start this catalog scheme WITHOUT beta testing the transition?  

Perminate Link for eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog   eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog

by: eastwestphoto This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Wed Jul 18 08:57:17 2018

Even if the Seller doing the change has done their homework, ie. research; the eBay search system is so obsolete as to be useless!  eBay categorizes its search parameters by Title, category and description. There in lies the problems! 99% of the ads I read on eBay are whole-fully gross in technical data accuracy! Even if your a kind person and write to the seller that the information is  missing or posted; is inaccurate, the response is either thanks or GTH! These are the sellers who are going to be writing the product catalog? Be sacred, be very scared!  

Perminate Link for eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog   eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog

by: spooky This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 18 09:47:24 2018

so my 19th century carved folk art eagle would be in a catalog??? For many sellers like myself (the kind that eBay was founded with) this is a complete waste of time and aggravation.  

Perminate Link for eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog   eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Wed Jul 18 09:53:29 2018

At least they are starting to Beta Test before foisting these changes on the entire site.

Perminate Link for eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog   eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog

by: Carol Is Here This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 18 13:04:21 2018

The catalog won't work.

It will just allow further domination of Ebay by the Chinese sellers. Goodbye American small and medium business.

Perminate Link for eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog   eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog

by: Troy Stiffler This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 18 14:57:25 2018

^ I don't see it that way. If you're competing with "Chinese Sellers", you are likely private labeling your products. This new system will consolidate and organize of the product being sold under identical UPC's.

For example, a Chinese seller is selling a "generic" flashlight under their UPC. You can be selling that exact same flashlight under your own UPC. It'll push all of the like-sellers selling the generic into one listing. And your private label will be in a separate listing.

And that's just "private label" junk products. You could claim that the enterprise of selling private labeled products is dead. But it's been dead for a few years now. I know of a lot more small and medium businesses in the thrift market (store returns, liquidations), than I know in the private label market. And the structured catalog is mostly good for the thrift market.

Also, on the subject of collectibles... I would be surprised (or not surprised, because it's dumb eBay), if the collectible and antique categories are mostly left alone. If you're selling a unique item that doesn't match any existing items (ie an original painting), you'll have your one-and-only product.

The structured catalog is good for one thing ... browsing. Go look up "tree frog black squash". See how there's approximately 250 results? There's probably only 10 or 15 unique products there. It'll be nice to have 10-15 results, one result per product, and then be able to find your product, and see a list of sellers selling that product (similar to Amazon).

That's also ignoring the fact that Ebay does not have the resources to building a competent catalog. And this is going to be a huge mess. So I don't know what their plan is there ... I don't think they have one.

Perminate Link for eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog   eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog

by: Troy Stiffler This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 18 15:06:27 2018

To me, this catalog project also compartmentalizes a lot of the new-dropshippers and similar businesses who are using Ebay as a multi-channel advertising tool.

In the case of someone like toolguy, it'll push all of those "junk" listings into much fewer browsable catalog listings. And allow his "lot of x tools" type listings to be more exposed to those browsing.

I remember back ... I want to say 2005 to 2010 ... when all the sudden we had the "data dump" sellers populate Ebay with tens of millions of junk listings. You used to be able to browse the "screwdriver" category, and see all these unique items. Maybe there were 2000 listings. Mostly legit deals, thrift, obsolete, etc. Then all the data dump sellers came in and polluted the market with their garbage products. And then the screwdriver category blew up from 2,000 listings to 100,000 listings (or something to that effect).

What this new catalog system does, is consolidates those 100,000 listings back down to 2,500 listings. And pushes all of those identical data dump listings into the structured catalog.

Also: it must be a GREAT day for those wholesale barcode sellers. Holy crap I wish I were in that business.

Perminate Link for eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog   eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 18 18:08:19 2018

If Columbo were real (and alive), I suspect he would ask this:
"As I understand things, you made...what...a gazillion dollars?...maybe two?...WITHOUT a catalog. Why do you need a catalog?"

Perminate Link for eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog   eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog

by: kazaly This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 18 21:51:25 2018

I don't think eBay are capable of ever setting up a catalogue by themselves, hence the request to sellers.
Books are a good example of how badly mismanaged catalogue implementation is when done in-house.
The expensive database eBay uses has correct publisher details and category assignments yet eBay programmers were incapable (or directed to ignore) publisher category recommendations.
Anything remotely instructional is classed as a textbook.
I've had fiction novels come up as atlases.
Many print titles are classed as audio books.
It's a thorough unmitigated mess of an implementation.
Yet it doesn't take a lot of talent to get right.
Anyone able to drive a simple crawler could extract the data already on file and get the categorization right.
eBay have a feature to let them know they got it wrong but there is no way to apply that correction to a listing at time of entry, or any automatic revisions, or any messaging that mis-categorization has been corrected.
It's a bloody disgrace bordering on a fiasco.
As far as I can tell, their much hyped drive towards a well categorized structure is a failure of epic proportions and a sad indictment of their ability as a tech company.

Perminate Link for eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog   eBay Proceeds More Carefully with Move to Catalog

by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 19 01:19:58 2018

Now they are actually asking sellers and buyers who are Experts on any of those areas to join their Product Experts Program Team  (PEP).  The first question was how much they were going to be paid for their expertise and Syeds reply was priceless:

''I think our expert sellers time is far too valuable to be compensated by some token financial gifts.

Instead we’re offering something something a lot more enticing: The ability to influence and shape the experience for your area of expertise.''

Of course they have done this in the past and even flown sellers into San Jose for meetings with the Staff and once it was all said and done, everything that was suggested by the Sellers was ignored as Ebay already knew what they planned on doing and were just trying to get the Sellers to come up with the same ideas so the could say You Spoke and We Listened: again.  

Ebay is in way over their heads and once again are trying to take the cheapest way possible to fix their problems so that Wenig and claim what a great leader he is and get another huge bonus.  Ebay just laid off another 300 employees and these were all in the main offices and Ebay claims they had told them at the end of June.  So Ebay has had 300 dead men walking working for them for the past 18 days who could do anything and everything to their data and/or programs as a payback for being let go.  I have never seen a company that keeps people working once they have been told they are being let go as it just kills the morale and creates situations of sabotage.  But of course Wenig has to get every penny of work out of these people even if it cost Ebay millions in damages to their site or database.

Way to go Ebay, another dumb move.  Are you sure you actually went to college and graduated, let alone have a real MBA Wenig??

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