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.
"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.