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: brokeseller This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 4 12:31:46 2015

Somehow I think it will be hard for ebay to generate much empathy, that's why they say UPCs are "required" when they are not, as you can just write "does not apply" in that space, and there are no violations for not using UPCs according to Griff.
However most sellers who never visit here, the seller's forum, or read the weakly chat will not know that, and will think they have to provide UPCs because ebay tells them it's "required". Just one more shining example of ebay's honesty when it comes to  it's customers (the sellers)

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

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 4 13:33:08 2015

I loved Meg Whitman- she made us a success leaving things alone.

EVERYTHING sold every week and I was able to buy a home.

Very consistent and predictable back then- NO COMPARISON to donahoe so STOP trying to PULL that folks- it is not true and you all know it.
MH

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

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 4 13:36:11 2015

A brand new invention by Donahoe to rob sellers.

Getting a golden parachute and not even leaving a company- just transfer over to the same companies other division!

23 million just to shift jobs to another division!!!

(Bain at its FINEST)!

MH

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

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 4 13:41:53 2015

Statement from Griff:

"In all disputes I have seen each and every time it was the fault of the SELLER".

(That is our "advocate").
MH

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

by: ZZ This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 4 14:42:31 2015

If eBay wants to compete with Amazon for new items, and have all the listings for a specific item listed the Amazon way, they need to change their code a lot. Seems to me they would lose that war anyways.
Does anybody know what percentage of listed items on eBay even have these product identifiers?

I think eBay just hasn't figured out their place in the world. They are number one in used items and many sellers, myself included, are very picky about selling top quality and without defects. Perhaps the problem is they let everybody clean out their closets and list stuff that's defective, stained, etc. Their defect system eventually weeds out these sellers but along with them they sweep out many good ones too because their algorithms are so primitive. And a new crop of bad sellers come along to replace the rejected ones.

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: askalice59

Sat Jul 4 16:51:52 2015

H E L L O? EBAY? Anybody home? (echo)...turns out the light...

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.

Sun Jul 5 00:07:06 2015

I urge anyone who is thinking about integrating Ebay-to-Google to NOT do it.  

Ebay wants to stay a 'major contender in the global marketplace'.  But they're worried that, as more and more people create their own identities on their own websites, that traffic is being diverted thru Google.  And now, Google doesn't even favor them.  

If you're the sort of person who is adept enough to help Ebay build their catalog, you should be focusing on your own identity, and treating Ebay as a secondary channel to throw your product on for extra exposure.  If you give in and help Ebay build their catalog, you're diverting traffic away from your website and that hurts your identity.

As Ebay sellers, you are giving SO MUCH to Ebay already.  They control your business practices.  We have taken Ebay so far, only to be treated like dirt in return.

This should motivate people to get away from Ebay (and Amazon).  When you read this, if you haven't already, look into Volusion or BigCommerce (or one of the others) and build your own website.  Take control of your business by establishing your identity outside of Ebay.  Take time to integrate to Google Shopping.  Then, when someone Googles ''vintage toaster'' (or whatever you're selling), they'll see your product and buy it straight from your website.

Establish your own website, and then treat Ebay the way they've treated their users for the past five years ... they're just an expendable resource.  And, if you can build your website identity, you might just find yourself turning off the Ebay feed (which is what they fear).

On another note (to agree with Griff) ...  Remember, when selling online (or anywhere): the customer is always right.  I know a lot of you guys don't like that.  But it's true.  Though Google can never ''shut you down'', you can get a bad rating through Google's review system.  No matter what happens, or how much it costs, you have to make the customer happy.  Escalating and disputing problems with a buyer will never help your business.  One angry review can cause a lot of problems.  Even if the customer is lying.  If a guy takes a part out of the box and ships it back, there's nothing you can do.  You have to eat it.  Call it fraud.  Whatever you want.  It's a loss.

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: Rexford

Sun Jul 5 05:54:37 2015

Wow, they're bringing Griff out with a "save the company" message? Could there be anything more pathetic?  As if anyone would listen to this "seller advocate".

With all this emphasis on a catalog, I can help but wonder if Amazon is a potential buyer of eBay.

And as usual, JD's handyman has come out to crow about how wonderful eBay is and how well his business is doing while other folks are suffering. The height of crass. I wonder if this guy walks down the street and tells homeless people who great his life is.

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

by: Jo This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 5 14:54:13 2015

I've seen on the forums in Amazon that everything listed there has to have UPCs.  So sellers buy groups of UPCs and then assign them to items.  

Now my question is: If I list something today (whether on Az or ebay) with my purchased UPC, and tomorrow you decide to list that item (whether on Az or ebay) and see no UPC, so you assign your purchased UPC to that same item (and someone else does it tomorrow)..... etc .....

How can that be anything but a mess because everyone is assigning a different UPC to the same item?  Just so it has a number?

Doesn't make sense to me.  I sell old stuff so I see this ''catalog'' being a real problem.  

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.

Sun Jul 5 15:54:09 2015

I guess if we don't help Griff he will simply blame ebays downfall on the sellers (again) LOL.....

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

by: Owen This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 5 15:58:06 2015

You are right, it could be a terrible mess. And that leads to legit UPCs being rejected. So, how this is all going to work successfully is anybody's guess.

On eCrater, some sellers who have entered legit UPCs and had them rejected, had to have eCrater plead for acceptance, by providing an actual photo of the box with the correct UPC. Google didn't always immediately accept this. It took sometimes, several tries to get the legit UPC accepted. And some never got accepted.

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

by: ebayisscrewed This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 5 16:56:56 2015

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7IrjRGW1wNk&feature=youtu.be

Th
is
guys says it all - lol - he seems pissed off.  

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

by: Owen This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 5 18:37:35 2015

Great video!!! He is right on with how eBay sellers feel and have felt since JD started his inane disruption. Disruption is the correct word, it disrupted eBay, broke it and smashed into little pieces. Nothing can save eBay unless they roll back most of the changes that have happened since 2008.

It will be interesting to see what JD will be doing to PayPal. PayPal is a very viable company now, we'll see what happens in the years to come. Perhaps the PayPal board can rein in JD, and he will be powerless. I hope so. Why doesn't he take all his money and slink off to Belize?

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

by: blaumann This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 6 00:55:16 2015

Griff is a disgusting excuse for a human being. This is ma new low for him. I guess people like me whi sell all stuff with no numbers will not be welcome soon?

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

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 6 01:51:21 2015

By far the FUNNIEST bunch of comments I have ever read here.  

Sad that we are joking about this.

That said---

@blaumann and many others---using the "does not apply"  works for the things I have listed that I got a "specifics"  box for--HOWEVER these are items that don't in fact HAVE a UPC because either they are my own items sold for a specific useage OR they are USED items--which get a "pass"  at least when listing.  Have not listed a NEW-new item yet altho I do have something to list with tags tomorrow--so we shall see HOW this works.  Fingers crossed.  

AND--who among us has EVER searched FOR something using these UPC's???   I am lucky if I can get the "Item specifics"  on a handbag etc--and THOSE have been "required"  for YEARS.  

However---I have had absolutly DISMAL sales for several MONTHS----even worse than the past couple of years which I really did not think possible.

ebay is as usual WASTING their time on bu!!sugarhoneyicetea instead of actually doing what they know WORKS--leaving the sellers to RUN THEIR OWN DAMN BUSINESS'.  

I know that IF my items were being SHOWN to potential buyers they would SELL--after all these same sorts of things have SOLD on ebay for the past 14 YEARS for me.  

I do agree tho that asking US to build something FOR ebay--under the guise of SAVING the sinking ship is--rich.  This is like the captain of the ship blaming the RATS for sinking it.  

And then they trot out Ol' Unk' Grief---that pathetic excuse for a human being who has DESTROYED more sellers with the collusion and coercion of The Ho---disgusting.  

I'd ask if we any of us thought that these cretins had a CONSCIENCE--but I am pretty sure that is a laughable question.  

AS a very small seller--altho for awhile there I was moving right along and thinking of seriously expanding my searches for items to sell---glad in a way I did NOT as I would have lost a bunch---I see the changes and the loss of sales very up close.  

I really DO wish tho that this TOOLGUY would put up or shut up and SHOW us his ebay UN so we could all go see what HE is doing to be sooooooo successful---maybe we could learn something!  Or maybe the emperor rally does NOT have any clothes.  

Some how I just don't think he will "rise"  to the challenge.

So yes TOOL--after the power company comes and shuts off the lights--please leave the building.   You can turn in your pom-poms and the little skirt and saddle shoes at the unemployment office.  

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

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

Mon Jul 6 08:32:23 2015

Whether eBay lives or dies is nothing to me. I sell on other venues that also want many of those same catalog details. With a newer item produced in the last 40 years, you might have a UPC and even earlier an ISBN or SBN, but the big problem comes in when dirtbags that are listing have no clue what their new item's UPC is so they make one up and if lucky they hit on one that will work but that means they have just taken away a UPC from a the product that has that UPC but no one had listed it yet! None of these venues asking for this info have set ups for what to do when you don't have a UPC. I have tried listing items on Amazon and even though supposedly if you have other info it should be enough, if you don't have that all powerful UPC you can't list it (at least in the products that I list in). Thankfully I can list those items on eCRATER, because even though Google wants them on our eCRATER listings, they aren't required to list the actual product at eCRATER. Perhaps venues like eCRATER will ultimately survive and grow for the vintage and antique sellers because you can still list without UPC/ISBNs.

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

by: Will This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 6 08:36:04 2015

Even if Mr. Griffith was telling the truth, it's still hard to believe him or eBay. Too late.

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

by: Runs.With.Scissors This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 6 10:04:08 2015

"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," he said. "Its success is critical to our being able to compete"

HA HA HA HA HA ROTFL ...

ebay talking points ...
Setting up for the sellers to take the blame
for ebay's years of mis-management under JD,
. . as the inevitable collapse looms nearer each day.

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

Mon Jul 6 10:14:59 2015

"as the inevitable collapse looms nearer each day."

Yep, and I've heard the same story here on this forum for the past 10 years.

But the fact is the collapse is one day closer then yesterday.

But that day is probably 20-30 years away from today!

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

by: Leesantiques This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 6 10:55:11 2015

10 years ago, Griff was the ultimate in brownnosing corporate cheerleaders.  In the time since then - nothing has changed.

Seriously, Griff - you want us sellers to do your work for you?  Why should we?  

Who's fact checking at Ebay in order to make sure that the information entered is accurate?  And what are they fact checking against?  Sounds to me like nobody and nothing - so, as the programming adage goes "Garbage In = Garbage Out".

I deal in vintage and antique items - no identifiers exist for them.  At least, not the type Ebay is asking for.  What are Ebay's plans for these categories and types of items?  I shudder to think....

Lee

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