Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu July 2 2015 22:37:19

Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative

By: Ina Steiner

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Everything is riding on eBay's new catalog strategy, according to longtime employee Jim "Griff" Griffith - in fact, it's make or break for eBay, he said. On Monday, June 29th, the marketplace began requiring sellers to add Product Identifiers to their listings, such as UPC codes and ISBN numbers, in order for eBay to build out its product catalog and get more exposure in Google.

After explaining the requirements and then listing the advantages of adding identifiers in a post on Wednesday, Griff wrote, "All of these points are why I believe that this is the most important project we have launched in years. Its success is critical to our being able to compete. And we cannot do it without you! Your contribution in providing this information - Brands, MPNs, and GTINs when you list - will determine whether or not we continue as a major marketplace in the world. THAT is why we have launched Product Identifiers."

He called the project "literally, make or break," and asked sellers to pitch in by adding as many Product Identifiers as they could to their new and existing inventory.

Incoming CEO Devin Wenig had told Wall Street analysts in April that adding a structured data catalog would give eBay persistence and link equity in search engines like Google, making sellers' inventory more discoverable, both on and off eBay. "We'll move toward becoming the world's first online global marketplace to use structured catalog data at scale for all listings," Wenig said at the time.

Sellers discussed Griff' plea for them to help eBay create a catalog on an eBay discussion board.

"Sounds like Griff is saying the writing is on the wall for the end of eBay and the product identifiers are the last hope to salvage this sinking ship," wrote one seller.

"eBay is building a catalog that they are going to make money off of and they are asking their indentured servant-uh sellers to do all the work for them. And are dangling the carrot promise of better sales to motivate us," wrote another.

Another seller said Griff's explanation made it sound as though eBay wanted to focus more on new items and distance themselves even more from older items, "even though they've been talking a bit like they want to rebuild the old eBay. It's rather ominous actually."

Tomorrow's Newsflash (available now) has more information, and let us know what you think.

Comments (130) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative   Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 3 13:28:38 2015

The UPC code will allow ebay to manipulate search between the small seller and their favoured sellers,, like never seen before, a title or description becomes meaningless, unless you're ebay's preferred sellers, expect your UPC items to be buried even more deeper then hell, expect less sales, expect more intermittent sales, expect no sales, when your items are identified by UPC, ebay will be the judge of what sells, the favoured ebay seller will win every time,

UPC has will have very little do with google, if ebay is controlling the data, ebay will determine what sellers go to google search.

Our website outputs perfect structured data for ALL our products for google , WITHOUT UPC codes, that's because we are in FULL control of what we want google to index or not to index.

We are enjoying much success without ebay, just the savings in ebay FVF on shipping is a dream come true, let alone not paying the FVF on the actual sale, we cannot believe how much money went out the door every month to ebay, the savings on ebay fee's are now allowing us to expand our business, in ways we never thought possible a year ago,  ebay was like a ball and chain tied to us,




Perminate Link for Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative   Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative

This user has validated their user name. by: Shop and Ship

Fri Jul 3 13:53:52 2015

Thanks, pace306, for the ''Icecat.biz'' reminder which of course begs the question: Why does eBay continually try to reinvent the wheel - like shipping terms, credit worthiness, item descriptions??

And I agree with Frank F: What's the deal with deleting UPC numbers when a listing is uploaded? And what's the point of issuing ''Policy Warnings'' for using catalog data when the UPC match differs in minor particulars, like DVD inserts, or CD artwork? What's the point of entering Item Specifics while eBay is limiting the quantity and length of those specifics? Some manufacturer identifiers are longer than the eBay allowed character lengths. And hiding the ''Item Description'' that does contain that data is self-defeating.

Ironically, when searching for a replacement part for a Kitchenaid Stand Mixer attachment the ''parts'' listings are now indistinguishable ''above the fold'' from the complete Heavy Duty 5-Quart Mixer. So now I can claim ISNAD when I thought I was buying a new Kitchenaid Artisan Stand Mixer and all I received was a mixing bowl because the Seller ''hid'' the listing description??  

Perminate Link for Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative   Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Fri Jul 3 14:19:34 2015

Jim Griffith is a LIAR : (Personal experience).
DO NOT ASSIST Ebay.
If no one submits stuff to the catalog, then Ebay would have no choice but to rip off the images, then you SUE Ebay BIG TIME !

Perminate Link for Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative   Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Fri Jul 3 14:25:36 2015

Like most of the posters here I have ebay problems too.

I just try to work with what I got.

A buyer had a bad address, package came back.

I asked buyer for correct address, have to pay an addition $5 to reship the item.

I take the loss, ebay & the customer are happy!

I avoided the late shipping by shipping on a USPS account.

Now if the customer claims they didn't get it I'll have a real mess on my hands.

But the chances of that happening are very small.

I've been thru this more then a few times over the past 15 years.

It's a loss I've learned to live with.

Perminate Link for Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative   Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative

This user has validated their user name. by: Shop and Ship

Fri Jul 3 14:34:26 2015

I agree with Gizmo: something doesn't add up when the claim is made that over a Million Dollars in sales have been shipped in the past 10 years using USPS First Class and Priority mail but most of the merchandise is over 50 years old and has no UPC. 2 local dealers specialize in such items and (a) those items don't fit in a USPS Priority Box, and (b) no one person has a million dollars worth of that old stuff sitting around in their warehouse.  

Perminate Link for Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative   Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative

by: serioussellers This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 3 14:38:48 2015

The big global venue joke & con continues.  It is so sad, just as it is infuriating. This is just the UPC chapter of the novel.  All of the commenters on this site have proposed a variety of very plausible & likely final ''chapters''.

As the ship sinks, the worsening manipulation & throttling of sellers emboldens fraudster buyers to make bottom feeder offers on BIN (free shipping) items that don't even cover the shipping costs. When there are virtually no sales, why would any seller send ''gifts'' to thieves - just to make believe that they are really running an online business?

Not only are we & other remaining honest sellers not ''playing'' this game, but (to at least put them politely on notice) we also send friendly (pre-purchase) notes asking if they have read the complete description & viewed all of the photos.

We know that we won't be selling anything to them (why would we sell them a $300 painting for $10 when the shipping is much more than that??), but we also know that they are not going to confirm/document in an eBay message that they reviewed the listing (since their endgame after a purchase is to get a refund & keep the item).

The newest game is for fraudster/alleged newbie buyers to insist that local pick up items need to be shipped at the seller's expense (& they demand a refund while still apparently expecting the item to be shipped by the seller who they presume is so worried about the almighty negative feedback that he/she will do anything the manipulative buyer wants).

The input on this site from sellers about their experiences beyond eBay is very helpful & hopeful, so please keep the info coming - with specifics about what types of items/categories are best suited for various alternative sites.

Perminate Link for Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative   Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 3 14:55:43 2015

Its not cataloging that will save Ebay.  This is so far over their heads they'll never understand.  From the beginning they had to play FAIR with sellers....and they never did.  One stupid change after another all pointing to placing the blame on sellers.  Most of the best sellers left and never came back.  They are buying and/or selling on other sites and ebay, in its smugness, continues its ham fisted changes.  Go ahead dear Ebay...the cliff is not far ahead of you now!

Perminate Link for Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative   Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative

by: moto-science This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 3 15:04:34 2015

Yes, Ebay and Ebay companies have such
consistently rotten customer service and
unfair screw the small seller schemes.
We do more 8x business on our web site
than on F*ckbay now.

Ebay is the new Sears Roebuck....

Perminate Link for Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative   Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 3 15:09:04 2015

Best place for the Ebay catalog is in the outhouse out back....

Perminate Link for Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative   Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Fri Jul 3 15:57:59 2015

"Toolguy" reminds me somewhat of the lone bugler signalling Remembrance Day ...

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid … http://bit.ly/11F2eas  

Perminate Link for Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative   Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative

This user has validated their user name. by: LDS Brother

Fri Jul 3 16:22:07 2015

Who does Griff think he is to call on us sellers ?

That guy has a set ! Let me tell you !

Where were you Griff when us Sellers called on you to be our Seller Advocate you claimed to be ?

Nowhere ! You were John Donahoes Cheerleader !

Screw you Griff and eBay ! Close it down, it isn't going to revive ! Donahoe destroyed it !

We little sellers no longer want to keep eBay propped up with our time, talents and money and merchandise for you to funnel the little traffic eBay does get to your favorite Big Box and Chinese sellers !

Sellers, out there, there is life outside of eBay I promise ! Go find it, it is out there, your have the skills, you do not need eBay !

They can have my $15.00 a week ! I won;t miss it when they euthanize this ugly rabid beast known as eBay !

Perminate Link for Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative   Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Fri Jul 3 16:24:25 2015

My two middle fingers have been twitching uncontrollably since this morning when I first read this article.

Perminate Link for Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative   Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative

by: Harriet This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 3 16:35:51 2015

There's a lot more wrong with eBay than just UPCs. Adding those isn't going to correct many years of horrible decisions. It's like putting lipstick on a pig.

How about doing something about all the scamming buyers that eBay loves to protect and coddle. I'm not talking about the good buyers, I'm talking about the dishonest buyers. They should not be protected by eBay. They are not buyers, they are just plain ordinary thieves who should actually be arrested. eBay, do something about those bottom feeders, take them out of eBay, and leave the good buyers, so your sellers can have some confidence and feel free to list their things.  No one wants to risk selling valuable items in this climate. Sellers are holding back, and with good reason.

Perminate Link for Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative   Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 3 17:20:37 2015

No worries Toolguy, no need to explain yourself, everyone's entitled to an opinion, for 15 years we were one of eBay's biggest cheerleaders too, ebay paid our way, ebay was our life, then all of a sudden, our business, our life was turned upside down, similar to when a tornado, wipes everything you worked for away, we weren't prepared, we didn't see it coming, and as yourself we certainly didn't think it would happen to us,  but it did, our ebay business was finished in a blink of an eye, and there was nothing we could do,

 

Some may not be as lucky, but we have been fortunate to pickup the pieces, and go on to do better on our own then even our best years at ebay, and only now realize how much opportunity we missed sticking with ebay as long as we did.

if I can help even one single person to understand and to not fall in this same trap, I will have done my job here,
   

Perminate Link for Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative   Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative

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

Fri Jul 3 17:54:47 2015

Reaching out to sellers?  Reality check, Ebay: YOUR SELLERS HATE YOU.  

The only reason small businesses use Ebay is because they do not know how to create a business outside of it (or don't have the financing to do so).  

Ebay never treated us like friends nor partners.  We're revenue.  We're hosts to their  parasitic fees.  When they want, they'll squash you, blacklist your identity, and then go to lunch and never think about you again (like maxmad).

The reason big businesses (like Zoro Tools) use Ebay is because the process is automated, and it brings in some extra revenue.  No big business is going to "invest" in doing something that Ebay should be doing for them.

So on top of siphoning off 10% of my Ebay revenue, you're asking me to generate professional catalog listings for your system?  Create them yourself!  I find it offensive that they'd ask the customers to spend time building a catalog.

Another thing to remember, is that most of what drives Ebay is "second hand" stuff.  People sell "one of this and one of that", and may never sell that item again.  People selling "retail new" products really should not be "investing in Ebay".  They should be investing in getting their own websites traffic - which saves 10% revenue (which is HUGE).

Perminate Link for Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative   Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative

by: AgendaSwallowsAll This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 3 18:07:53 2015

Just one more "We're not responsible for the position we or you are in, the Sellers are responsible".

Could they possibly be more ignorant-myopic or is this in reality just part of a Master Plan created long long ago as part of an exit strategy.

Perminate Link for Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative   Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Fri Jul 3 18:08:00 2015

That's it - blame the sellers for not supporting eBay.

Great logic.

Instead of working with the sellers to make UPC implementation as seamless as possible, with primers, checklists, suggestions and perhaps programming Turbo-Lister to easily accommodate the changes, eBay is now pleading with their major source of cash to help them when the opposite should be true.

eBay should be making it profitable to list which means having merchandise visible at all times to all viewers so then can sell, sell, sell.

Folks, the eBay cash cow is now drying up. Please remember, all of the cash went with PayPal and all of the debt went with eBay.

The Harvard whizz kidds are now going to have to figure out how to run the company like a Swabian Housewife (see Angela Merkel vs Greece).

And finally, my question to the denizens of this forum is:

Is Bain finally done with eBay (not done in eBay) or did they leave moles?

Perminate Link for Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative   Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative

by: Russ This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 3 18:08:29 2015

lllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll

Griff --  Above is the UPC for a big set of brass ones!  Catalog that!  You can single-handedly SAVE EBAY, you ''seller advocate,'' you!

Perminate Link for Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative   Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative

by: Lamprey This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 3 19:40:10 2015

See - it was you sellers who saved eBay...it wasn't about hidden listings like all those conspiracy nutjobs kept repeating.
Yep, sure

Perminate Link for Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative   Griff Calls on Sellers to Save eBay with Catalog Initiative

by: Orwellwasright This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 3 20:22:51 2015


tHE PURPOSE OF BUILDING THIS CATALOG IS TO ADD VALUE FOR THE EVENTUAL DUMPING/Sale OF THE SITE

every iota of information will add to the parachute packages of the new management team, who can't wait to fail and bail

I seriously doubt that anybody reading this blog believes for a second they will be rewarded for their work

For over a decade sellers such as myself helped to build ebays reputation and bulk up their customer list, only to be betrayed when ebay used the information and the site we helped to build to make secret deals with Chinese junk dumpers, then spending six years conducting a massacre of their original sellers

Ebay will be sold and the soulless leeches who destroyed the site will live like kings for the rest of their lives

Catalog or no catalog



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