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

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Mon Jul 6 11:45:41 2015

toolguy writes: "But [the eBay collapse] is probably 20-30 years away from today!"

eBay, in just ten years, went from a vibrant, thriving site, to a "venue" where most sellers hate it, buyers are scammers, and the executives only care about the size of their bonus checks. Besides the fact that eBay will not last another five years in its current state, in 20 years (if there's any humans left) the technology will be so advanced that no one will need eBay or any other marketplace.

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 11:52:48 2015

" Besides the fact that eBay will not last another five years in its current state"

And the sky is FALLING ~ 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: meci This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 6 11:59:56 2015

Link to Grifs Listing

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Timberland-Mens-Olive-Green-Nub
uck-Canvas-Camo-Boots-Size-12-M-31582-4640-/141699356558

Strangely
enough, he himself doesn't provide UPC's.  Guess its to much work for him to do ?  Yet he calls on us to do this. It's the old do what I say, not what I do approach to business.

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

by: Dr Bev This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 6 12:32:30 2015

@LightWing,
I also went to Griff's site.  He currently has 187 items listed, all men's shirts and shoes.
Scanning through those 187 items, I found 10 items clearly identified as NEW, and, therefore, presumably eligible for UPCs.
In other words, he is suggesting that the rest of us spend time on these UPCs.
Of his 10 NEW items, 4 now have UPCs.
Perhaps those four were listed after you checked.  Or otherwise prehaps he has been feverishly working to rescue ebay for us all by adding FOUR UPCs.
Hallelujah!  We are saved.

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

by: ebaighsucks This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 6 13:24:36 2015

This is a JOKE, Right?
Griff asking for help or ebay won't survive?!

Prior (1999) to being employed by ebay, Griff lived in Maine, sold items on ebay and frequently was communicating with other sellers in any of the various chat rooms, diligently worked at communicating in a positive approach. He actually DID help sellers!
Fast Forward.....
eBay employs Griff (Jim Griffith) luring him with a lucrative contract and salary.... Is his position now on the line?

When Griff started selling on ebay, listing fees were 10¢, final value fees floated... under $25 your fee was 5% of the sale price.
$25.01 to $100 was 2.5%
$100.01 to $999.99 was 1.25% and over $1000 was 1%.

eBay greed has consumed their employees. The only constant in all those years:
Ina Steiner with her Blog! First challenging ebay with paypal holds.
I am very surprised ebay has not offered Ina a 'buyout'' job.

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

by: forrosebud This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 6 14:00:46 2015

@ toolguy... Your comments are just a bit too defensive and a bit smug. Clearly sounds like you've got all your tools in one ebay basket. That's scary and foolish. Yup, the sky IS falling.

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

Mon Jul 6 15:50:56 2015

I would love to ask Griff......"are you saying that JD's disruptive innovation didn't work"?

My guess is that the only reason that they are building a catalog is so that they can add value for a sale of eBay.  Yep, help them build it and then quickly following that you will hear adios!

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

by: KeepItPositive This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 6 16:14:27 2015

The facts are that Google isn't willing to accept eBay's old feed format, once provided for years. Google (the internet tyrant that it is) stopped accepting our eBay listing titles, because they have their other retailers and Amazon saying, "hey I give you a specific format and ebay doesn't so why are you sorting eBay keywords for them and not me?"  Googles solution cut-off eBay and set new keyword format feeds requirements. So, to me eBay is helping us all by getting us to use a catalog. The eBay catalog will help my listings be properly presented to Google so that my listings are seen through Google searches.  Although many of my old product listings don't have UPC or GITN, (BTW UPC has been around for 41 years!) I can still see some UPC codes missing due to product not boxed or label removed by previous owner.  Still, the use of UPC or GITN's should have been a eBay initiative years ago and I for one am glad to see it now.  

As for you non-eBay trolls, please go hide under your bridge before the sky falls on you.  

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

Mon Jul 6 18:52:15 2015

@tool,

“PayPal Shares Seen Valued at $32 Each. The eBay shares representing the Marketplaces are valued at $22 each, based on a new sum-of-the-parts valuation.”—Barron’s

http://online.barrons.com/articles/paypal-shares-seen-valued-at-32
-each-1435640396


That’s a total of $54. The ratio is about right, but the whole is still overvalued …

So, Barron’s estimate for eBay, post split, is $22; compare that to Amazon currently at ~$440.

Do explain to us once again how, in your opinion, eBay is not collapsing …

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

by: VintageLady This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 6 23:12:54 2015

Forgive my ignorance but...

1) how exactly is a UPC relevant to a search? Who searches for an item (on eBay or the wider web) using an UPC or any other code? Is Google reinventing the global search relevance? Or is everyone caught in the crossfires between Google and eBay in which eBay is supposed to be penalized (or demoted, or call it what you wish).

2) what happens to the ''used'' and ''vintage'' items (at least 50% of the merchandise sold through eBay )? Will they be dropped like a sack of potatoes from searches?

3) and who exactly are the Sellers who are supposed to help eBay out of the gutter? The millions that were abused, minimized, ridiculed and finally  driven away by eBay's abusive practices? Or the very few Sellers from the '' good ol'guard'' who reached a point of no return as well? Or the ''newly minted'' Sellers from distant shores who seem to be doing just fine...and multiplying?

Too many questions, not many answers, too little action and much 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

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon Jul 6 23:40:25 2015

@Philip Cohen

Amazon is so overvalued it's beyond silliness

eBay on the other hand is so undervalued it's a shame

Wall Street doesn't have to play fair in this world.

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

Tue Jul 7 00:22:57 2015

@toolguy,

And who do you think puts that value on Amazon shares? Indeed, who puts the value on both eBay and Amazon? The “smart money” on Wall Street, that's who, or are you going to tell us all that “Wall Street” has no idea of what it is doing; don’t kid yourself the “smart money” on Wall Street recognise smoke and mirrors when they see it, even if you can’t; and as a matter of interest ...

“PayPal shares started trading on Nasdaq on a "when issued" basis this morning and after an early pop, they have settled at about $36.40 apiece, Stephen Foley reports.

“That means PayPal accounts for about 60 per cent of eBay's market capitalisation. Shares in eBay are available in two flavours from today, with or without the rights to PayPal; eBay's holders will be given one PayPal share for each eBay share when the split officially happens on July 20.

“At 12.30pm in New York, "full" eBay is down 0.7 per cent at $61.40; "ex-PayPal" eBay is at $25.10.”

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: toolguy

Tue Jul 7 00:46:37 2015

@ PHILIP

I really DON'T care about Amazon or eBay stock.

What I do care about is where I can sell the items I have and that's eBay, it has always been and it always will be eBay.

I'm sorry YOU don't like eBay!

I happen to think eBay's better then sliced bread.

Where else on the internet could a laid off aerospace worker make a living out of the garage for 15 years.

I LOVE MY JOB!

PS: I've only bought 1 item on Amazon in my life and that was back in 2001. Whatever I need I can find on eBay. . .

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

by: SparklyEyes7 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 7 01:07:24 2015

@vintage lady

I asked about UPC codes the other day and was told that is for all the people who do the online searches when they are at a store,checking out better prices elsewhere.

A sell mostly vintage  but do find NOS that was before UPC days.

She said she'd pass that comment along.

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

Tue Jul 7 02:30:56 2015

@SparklyEyes7,

Yeah, that would be right; eBay wants UPC codes so that consumers can go into a B&M store, read the bar code on any given item and see if the item is cheaper elsewhere, with eBay hoping that item will come up cheapest on eBay, but don’t forget to factor in the freight cost; then, that’s why eBay wants everyone to include “free” freight in the cost of an item, to simplify the comparison.

And to think that eBay is trying to entice national brand B&M merchants to get into bed with them while at the same time eBay is now attempting to pick their pockets …

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

by: justsaying This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 7 09:54:54 2015

Hi, All:
Google Shopping requires UPC's and other identifiers in order to upload your product feed to Google Shopping search. Google is very strict in what they require. Also, their catalogue and categories suck!  I often wonder who is creating these--eBay's categories were by far the greatest on the internet! But, saying that, my eBay sales have also tanked since Cassini, and it's impossible to grow sales on eBay the way I'm striving to.  I would love eBay to can Cassini search, and let all of us sell, unhampered and unmanipulated--as soon as eBay lets my stuff be seen, it sells!  I sell antiques and collectibles on eBay, etsy (new), and my own website through Shopify.  Etsy and Shopify are great about getting my stuff seen in Google Shopping. On my Shopify website, my Google Shopping app needs to be updated every time I list a new item, and every time I sell an item--I don't mess around because Google will slap you if you ignore their policies or warnings.
I want eBay to improve for us small sellers, and I truly think that they are trying to get us back into the loop with Google by requiring these UPC's, because Google requires it. But as most say here, and that which I also question is: If I fill in all required fields that eBay is striving for, is my work going to pay off?  The answer is no!  Not until eBay quits throttling our sales and hiding our listings!  So, it's a double-edged sword...you do need to provide the UPCs, which all new products should have, and all used items, the Google Shopping app allows for you to check a box that the item is ''used'', or ''custom'' and that GTIN is not required, and Google will still show that item--eBay just needs to be feeding the feed properly to Google per Google's policies.  The other end of the stick is:  Will eBay let us sell, unmanipulated?  And let the market for our products be determined freely, and according to demand, buyer's true choice, yada, yada, yada.  Or will it be more of the same?????  Ebay needs to come right out and tell us that they will not restrict our sales in any way, and until then, helping them out with Google and their catalogue will probably not help our own individual sales.  Sad, but true.

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

Tue Jul 7 10:54:16 2015

@justsaying

I have an item on Google shopping that does NOT have a UPC and it's listed on eBay.

Fischer Isoscope Mp2  

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

by: justsaying This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 7 11:25:06 2015

Here is the Google Categories as of Feb. 2015, called Google Product Taxonomy...not the greatest.
http://www.google.com/basepages/producttype/taxonomy.en-U
S.txt

Here
are the Google Shopping product feed specifications; sort of complicated, but states everything here:
https://support.google.com/merchants/answer/188494?hl=en
<
BR>I
rely on my ecommerce venue to get the proper info from me in order to upload properly to Google Shopping (ie--the venue provides the proper fields in my listing templates so that all Google required info is gathered when I create my listings; and the venue sends Google the feed.

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

by: The Grey Fox This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 7 15:55:45 2015

I don't have a big problem with eBay building a catalog for new items that have identifiable codes, like ISBNs. That really could help sellers in the end with faster listings, particularly. The problem I've found is that eBay can't tell a modern item from an old one. Specifically, I sell vintage classical LPs, records that were produced before ISBNs. The only identifier for them is the record number itself. The only problem with that is that when record companies put out new CDs, the use the same record number and an ISBN. So when I try to list the vintage LP, I'm hounded to add an ISBN that doesn't exist. Had to give up on one because the system wouldn't let me list it without an ISBN. It appears now that there is an option for "does not apply" but I've had trouble with that too. Same think with vintage books that have been reprinted. The system assumes there is a product identifier and hounds you for it, adding to listing time. It already takes five times longer to prepare a listing than it did even 5-6 years ago, and now there is more time. Need to have some sort of check-box at the beginning, like up around the title, that says "This item does not have product identifiers."

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

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 9 01:13:20 2015

it takes balls to come and ask those that you've consistently screwed for help, sending griff to do it is just a slap in the face.

upc's didn't really get chugging before 1990 or so when most stores had scanners, before then it was major chains and grocerys.

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