Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun June 5 2016 22:47:55

eBay Hides Product Attributes in Mystifying Move

By: Ina Steiner

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Product attributes are missing from some listings on eBay, but according to eBay's Griff (Jim Griffith), it's a deliberate test not a glitch - something that's absolutely mystifying. 

Item Specifics are fields that describe product attributes, as described on this page, which states: "Item specifics are shown at the top of your description, telling buyers exactly what you're selling. They make the basic facts about your item clear and accessible, helping buyers make a purchase decision."

Yet according to a post by Griff on Wednesday, "eBay is currently running a test of item specific display on listing pages. This is not a bug. Some listings may not display their item specifics during the duration of this test. These listings are still searchable by item specifics (search refinements) so that buyers can find them. There is no opt out for this test."

A seller wrote to us to let us know he was seeing the issue when viewing his listings in the media category. He's a big advocate of using UPCs when listing inventory: "This means that when I search any given UPC for a Widescreen, Extended, Director's Cut, Unrated, Multi-Disc version... it ONLY shows me THAT EXACT item to use for price comparison."

He went on to say, "By REMOVING all that data from my listings it means that any of them that have those special qualities are just jumbled in with ones that LACK any of those features."

He referred to eBay's all-important Structured Data initiative in which it is trying to move to a catalog similar to Amazon. "To on the one hand insist that Catalog Data is the Be-All End-All of eBay's future success, and then even as a TEST remove those all that data is just too stupid for words," he wrote.

A quick check of eBay this evening revealed I could not see any Item Specifics for DVDs (the listings look really odd by omitting this important information); while listings for clothing did have Item Specifics displayed.

Some sellers discussed the issue in a thread started on May 29th. Apparently it matters what browser you use and if you use desktop or mobile to view listings.

Can you think of a reason why eBay would deliberately want to prevent shoppers from seeing details about a listing?




Comments (33) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

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by: Disgruntled_Seller This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jun 5 23:03:52 2016

Test my butt, its probably broke

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by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 6 00:56:32 2016

They always look for ways to drive small sellers out. Its another smoking mirror by deadbay. No-one is looking anyway , thus DEADBAY !

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by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 6 05:30:38 2016

The answer is simple.  FUBAR cross-bred with SNAFU.  Oh, you want details? The inmates are running the asylum.  

This whole Nut-Job CONCEPT of HIDING INFORMATION from Buyers when first spoken aloud should have been greeted with Stunned Silence *pause for effect* and then greeted with GALES of LAUGHTER by anyone with an I.Q. above room temperature.  

Honestly this is even worse than reported. On USED DVD/Blu-Ray listings the Ebay-Required SELLER comments as to CONDITION are being abruptly cut short with *Read More* at the end. When the READ MORE is clicked the CUT SHORT comments are NOT THERE AT ALL.  Instead the SHOPPER is diverted to the DETAILS that the Seller MAY or MAY NOT have chosen  to put in.  

There is also a (new to me) Large Font clickable link / line near the bottom of many listings with the EBAY generated title for that particular UPC and the words like MORE  or MORE DETAILS.  Does clicking THAT line  take one to MORE Details and Catalog info about the item in question?  Nope.  Instead it goes to something more like a BUY BOX page with EBAY SELECTED BEST BUY for that exact same item. Often is is BRAND NEW vs. nice, used and it will be LOWER COST than the Seller's page from which it was diverted.  

Whosoever Green-Lit this FUBAR concept as even a TEST might not ACTUALLY have long ears and eat HAY, but he/she for sure IS a mouth-breathing, drooling, brain-dead, J8ck8ss.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Jun 6 06:42:50 2016

I like the 'inmates are running the asylum' comment above.

Put the data in, take the data  out, put the data in and you shake it all about.  eBay hokey pokey.

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by: StevenM This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 6 08:10:50 2016

Testing for the all sacred first page ''real estate''.  eBay uses the product identifiers behind the scenes and they want to see if it is really read by buyer. If not, they get some ''real estate'' to use for something else.

Just an opinion of course. :-)

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by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 6 08:51:24 2016

OMG!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Mon Jun 6 08:59:53 2016

Yet according to a post by Griff on Wednesday, "eBay is currently running a test of item specific display on listing pages. This is not a bug. Some listings may not display their item specifics during the duration of this test. These listings are still searchable by item specifics (search refinements) so that buyers can find them. There is no opt out for this test."


So, let's get this straight..... For the past few years eBay has been harassing sellers to create their listings with item specifics only to change course and intentionally hide those exact details from buyers.

eBay wonders why they can't grow sales unless carriers increase postage rates.

Bottom line... eBay was demoted in Google search due to the lack of item specifics.  eBay required sellers to begin including item specifics in order to improve search visibility.

Now, as sellers are beginning to include these all important item specifics, eBay decides they are going to hide the information.

Typically schizophrenic eBay executives strike again as they generate more chaos in the marketplace than they do to create stability.

As usual, the move by eBay defies all logic, and is reflective of a company run by executives who do not have the first clue with regard to the negative impact on sales their hair brained schemes will have.

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

Mon Jun 6 10:17:35 2016

Griff's logic reminds me of the scene in Pee Wee Herman's "Great Adventure" when he hits the curb while doing stunts on his bicycle. As he picks himself up off the ground he says: "I meant to do that." And the other boys laugh "Oh sure you did, Pee Wee."  

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon Jun 6 10:18:20 2016

I wonder if we're going to see Amazon ads in that space where our identifiers used to be?

It could happen. . .

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Jun 6 10:40:20 2016

Ric, eBay are clearly making more money on real estate (per StevenM's comment) than they are on marketplaces sales.

You know when they trot Griff out with any sort of news it isn't going to be good news.  eBay's Seller's Obfuscate.

Before long you'll need an electron microscope to actually see sellers' listing descriptions.

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by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 6 11:13:55 2016


I am stuck in the current test. It is horrible. In spite of the grifter saying it has no effects on sales, he lies. (No surprise)

2015 was my best year on sleazebay.
Jan., Feb., and March of 2016 was great. April started out great, then sales died. May stunk, so far June is horrible.

Little Devil Weenie must be taking his advice from the HO. Disruptive innovation, sellers are just noise.  

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by: rhawk This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 6 12:21:54 2016

  I am getting off the ebay crazy train.

Do this....Do that,   then they dont show what you just were asked to do...

It never ends with ebay.

Wenig and crew don't have a clue as to what they are doing.

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

Tue Jun 7 10:23:08 2016

Presumably Ebay is trying to get rid of buyers with the same enthusiasm as it has showed in getting rid of buyers.

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This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Tue Jun 7 12:28:44 2016

@RL15
I'd have to check my numbers for 2015 but generally speaking my eBay sales have gone up year over year.  However, month to month has increasingly been feast or famine like you've described.  I had a completely barren first quarter that has finally started to trickle in here or there.  The trouble is, all it takes is for a dry spell to hit at a critical time and the year can't recover.  The strong period for toys seems to be right after tax refunds and right before Christmas...and this year saw a really weak tax refund period.  Unfortunately, that's a double whammy as I don't deal in kids' toys anymore (not much available at the impossibly low prices that people want to pay).

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by: meci This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 7 16:49:44 2016

Been fixing listings for seems like months to get in line with the item specific requirement.  

This not only ruins sales but spits in the sellers face once again.  Jump through this hoop and conform to our new standards, then we can secretly remove them and not tell anyone.  How pathetic.

Need a wackamole game to play with eBay exec's heads on this brilliant idea.

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by: ignatz This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 8 10:49:26 2016

Let's face facts. The people who run ebay are clueless imbeciles. Period.

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This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Wed Jun 8 11:16:11 2016

Maybe eBay is looking for an easier and cheaper way to hide small sellers listings. What better way to do this testing on their seller rats than in the hot days of summer. Of course, this would mean they really, really do not want us.

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 8 11:46:41 2016

... my 2 cents (literally when it comes to eBay)

I think these 2 things are 2 entirely separate issues.

eBay mandating sellers put details in their listings is 1 game, while listing aberrations is another.

Issue 1 is eBay and its pig headed "BITE ME GOOGLE" attitude - the same attitude it has to sellers.  Instead of having a conference with Google, they are having one with sellers, which as anyone whos not in a coma knows, will produce NOTHING. (unless GRIFF is in a dunk tank)(almost worth it for that).

With out sellers doing the work eBay itself should be doing (via places like ICECAT) eBay items wont show up in Google, since eBay refuses to play ball Googles way.

eBay, being the cheap SOBs they are wont pay to get items lited, catalog fixed etc - its always easier to FORCE your sellers to do it. "Dont list it our way, we wont list your items (AGAIN))".

In the "working with people" category, eBay scores an F.

A for not showing details - all eBay needed from those specifics was a way to use them in search - theirs or Googles. Once the customer has been brought into eBay, the sloppy 3rd rate programmers who cant produce a decent app - jockey with marketing guys for screen space - and they "assume" that the buyer will actually READ the listing and therefore the specifics are no longer needed.

Of course it makes no sense - but this is eBay, so there you go.

BTW - never ask Griff anything - its like volunteering to go to the dentist .... besides - hes as bright as a box of rocks ....!

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Wed Jun 8 12:05:23 2016

@pace306

If you go to Google looking for a blue blouse you won't find any ebay items.

If you go to Google and look for a Huck Rivet Gun you'll find it, if you look for Brunson Level it's there. It all depends on what you are looking for.

One shoe doesn't fit all, most of my ebay items show up in a Google search. . .

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Wed Jun 8 12:06:59 2016

Ina, thanks for the pop up ad for Vangoe.com

Never knew about the site and I might give it a try.

I registered this morning, hope to list something sometime today.

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