Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Feb 9 2020 20:04:21

eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem

By: Ina Steiner

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Some eBay sellers continue to struggle with issues resulting from product attribute changes eBay rolled out in mid-October in the Clothing, Shoes & Accessories (CSA) category. 

The problems began on October 15, 2019, when eBay rolled out changes that it said were designed to make it easier for buyers to find items and to give sellers guidance about Item Specifics (product attributes, also called aspects).

On February 2, a seller explained in a post on the eBay boards how the rollout continued to cause problems:

"We STILL don't have an option in the required size Item specific for the following: 0X, 1X, 2X, 3X, 4X, 5X, 6X

"The above choices are retail industry standard sizing for womens plus size and has been for DECADES. They are size selections plus size buyers search with. The CORRECT options have been missing since your supposed fix last October. When do you plan to fix this, eBay?

"You do have 2XL, 3XL, 4XL etc but those aren't the same thing. Those are used in missy, junior and mens sizing. NOT WOMENS PLUS SIZING."

On February 7th, a seller who is also a buyer provided further insight into the problems users continue to face, submitting it as a post to be considered for eBay's February 25th Town Hall event:

"The item specifics in the Fashion category continue to be incomplete and the taxonomy at times inappropriate - for instance, plus sizes (1X 2X 3X, etc.) are STILL not in the drop down. Common types of fabrics are missing (rayon) but obscure options (elastomultiester) remain. Tops, blouses, jackets, coats, etc., need more appropriate type specifics. The entire listing process is riddled with inappropriate choices (adult theme clothing?), and is both repetitive and inadequate. Please - this really needs an overhaul into something more sane and simple. The problem is not resolved from the mess in mid-October. I speak as both a seller and a buyer. Thank you."

While eBay hasn't posted an update since November, eBay executive Harry Temkin provided an explanation of what had gone wrong during a presentation to New York sellers that was posted to the eBay podcast index on January 14th. eBay made changes to Item Specifics while also making some of them required fields, which created a lot of havoc, he said.

Temkin said the problem stemmed from eBay's attempt to "normalize" Item Specifics. As eBay explained after the October rollout:

"We have been migrating categories into three types of item specifics - required, recommended and additional. As we roll out these changes, item specifics in certain categories may change, be added or removed, so that we can create better descriptors, which help to further index the listing in search and provide better visibility to buyers. 

"For example, the various item specifics that represent size in the sub-categories of clothing, shoes and accessories (ie: Size (women's), Size (men's)) were updated and consolidated into one normalized item specific - size."

Temkin told attendees at the New York event, "We have spent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (since October 15th) going back, making sure all those (fields) are mapped correctly," he said. "We're going to copy the data for you, actually, from the old size field to the new. And based on your feedback, we're going to go back and put women's size back, and men's size back. We recognize we didn't do a good job on that one in that Structured Data release. And we're going to do way better next time, because we really learned from this one."

Temkin continued, "Based on your feedback, we're going through and reupdating a lot of the CS&A categories for you to make it work better. A lot of the aspect values were co-mingled - men's and women's - those are getting fixed as well. So when you're listing something in women's, it'll only show aspects relevant for a woman, versus a man. Because today, they're together. And I know a lot of you provided that feedback."

The idea that eBay didn't understand gender differences in product attributes in its catalog is remarkable, especially given the fact eBay had made structured data a priority back in 2015.

While the CSA attribute debacle is concerning to sellers in fashion, all sellers may be left wondering what eBay is doing to better understand retail, especially those who remember that eBay was soliciting volunteers to help it through the "eBay Product Experts Program" (PEP) introduced in 2018. 
 
In his presentation that was posted last month, Temkin didn't say when eBay would rollout changes and reverse the commingling of product attributes in the Clothing, Shoes & Accessories categories, but it would seem sellers should be prepared.



Comments (17) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem   eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem

by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 10 00:04:17 2020

Jeeez, why didn't they just ask their female employees, mothers, wives, daughters, girl friends and mistresses? The whole d... thing would have been solved in a week..

Or if that was too easy, all they had to do was go to any major mall and take notes.

Perminate Link for eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem   eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem

This user has validated their user name. by: cfrphoto

Mon Feb 10 00:11:39 2020

Changes in the Stamps category are no better. The taxonomy is wrong and eBay search doesn't seem able to match the taxonomy in the Scott catalog or abbreviations commonly used by stamp dealers, but not eBay. In some cases, coin terminology was comingled with philatelic terminology. Worst of all is that common eBay searches like catalog number relies on title string matching.

Perminate Link for eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem   eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 10 02:26:34 2020

“”And we're going to do way better next time, because we really learned from this one."”

eBay’s proclivity of arrogantly shooting from the hip before bothering to first aim straight and verify their target - the result being massive ‘collateral damage’ for which they don’t even bother to apologize much less recompense - is the real lesson they need to ‘learn’. This particular fluster cluck is just one glaring example of this endemic disease of their corporate culture.

And it’s been “remarkable” for much longer than 2015. Almost a decade and a half now of dismissing the “noise”.


Perminate Link for eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem   eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem

by: Paul W This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 10 03:00:37 2020

Additionally for stamps, ''Certification'' is now a required attribute, even though 99.99% or more of stamps on eBay are not certified.  Also, ''Grade'' is misused on many listings, ''Grade'' refers ONLY to the centering of the design, not at all to condition of the stamp, yet some horribly centered stamps are described as ''Superb'' by sellers who fail to understand the terminology.  Both of these attributes should be made optional, as ''certification'' is nearly useless, and ''grade'' can be determined simply by looking at the stamp.

Perminate Link for eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem   eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem

by: lancecorp This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 10 04:04:25 2020

So now once the institute these changes are we going to have to go back and redo all our listings as the size will once again be left empty? Every change they have made has affected both sellers and search negatively.

I'd like to know exactly how many programmers are actually working on making these fixes because as reported when these changes first came about many of the programmers had been moved to work on Managed Payments so they could get that rolled out leaving the other depts. with skeleton staffs.

Perminate Link for eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem   eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem

by: hawk This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 10 04:58:45 2020

if ebay would just spend a little of their precious money and hire a real programmer , maybe they could get some of this c**p fixed.

Perminate Link for eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem   eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem

by: GreenEye This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 10 06:33:11 2020

Whoever was in charge of the Item Specifics CHAOS should be fired again and again. YES! It's still a MESS. Why does a tablecloth need to be women's, men's or children's? I see errors everyday still when I relist items now required to avoid stagnant listings from the earlier useless Good Till Cancelled MESS.

Perminate Link for eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem   eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem

by: wellspring This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 10 06:54:24 2020

Hey ebay, look at Poshmark’s size chart. It’s perfect!  

Perminate Link for eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem   eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem

by: Evenger This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 10 07:32:25 2020

Another strange eBay category choice: Vintage clothes are now in a subcategory under CSA:Specialty:Vintage  Then you can select from more: Womens Vintage Clothing, Mens Vintage Clothing, etc.  This change was slipped in and makes organic searches very difficult as many people would not even think to narrow the search on the side by clicking Specialty.  

Perminate Link for eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem   eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem

by: ebayisscrewed This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 10 09:49:30 2020

There has been no updates to the Men's CSA categories since November/December,   Basic shirt styles are still listing female styles.   New categories they created still only have about 20% of the specifics listed.   Our sales dropped nearly 70% since the October 15th issue.    

Perminate Link for eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem   eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem

This user has validated their user name. by: NoMoreEbay

Mon Feb 10 09:53:17 2020

"Temkin told attendees at the New York event, "We have spent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week (since October 15th) going back, making sure all those (fields) are mapped correctly."

Per Temkin, to date ebay programmers have spent TWO THOUSAND, EIGHT HUNDRED, FORTY ONE hours and 53 minutes on a single page of data.

It only took 72 hours to reach the moon.
Israel and Syria had an all out war that lasted only 144 hours.
The longest marathon in history, 3100 miles was completed in 960 hours
A man walked across Antarctica, 921 miles in only 1272 hours.

And ebay can't enter a simple group of size numbers in almost 3000 hours and counting. If anyone doesn't understand why ebay DOESN'T communicate, this should put that question to rest. Who on earth would want such and embarrassing inept group of people becoming public.

Perminate Link for eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem   eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem

by: ddigler This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 10 09:57:45 2020

This is not an error, it is a feature. eBay board of directors has been methodically sabotaging the system for a decade now.  

Perminate Link for eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem   eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem

by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 10 13:03:47 2020

Ebay continues to use their offshore programmers who cannot even get host holidays programmed correctly, what makes them think they can get AMERICAN sizes and other information done correctly.  As long they Ebay continues to do everything on the cheap by sending it offshore to save their money for more and more Stock Buybacks in the vain attempt to keep their stock price higher than it really should be, this company will continue to implode and become more and more irrelevant.  

Either the members of the BOD have absolutely no idea at all about how to run a business, or they are deliberately sabotaging the company so they can cash in on their golden parachutes and be done with Ebay.  Even with the new board members and the original letter from an activist Stockholder, now another shareholder has had to do the exact same thing stating almost the exact same information.  These BOD members either are beyond stupid, or they have every intention of deliberately ruining this company.  I hope that if they succeed in getting their golden parachutes and leave the shareholders hanging that EACH and EVERY ONE of them GETS SUED INDIVIDUALLY for every penny they have.  Not sure if its possible, but I would love to see all of them squirm like they have cause all of those that helped build Ebay into what it was squirm while they have done all they can to steal every penny back from them.

Perminate Link for eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem   eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem

This user has validated their user name. by: CanBrit

Mon Feb 10 13:29:11 2020

eBay running a hospital.

Boss....we need a new psychiatrist.
Employee...no problem I'll get you a podiatrist.

Perminate Link for eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem   eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem

by: DevilishlySarky This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 10 17:33:09 2020

Whch years ?


There  have been so very many................
 

Perminate Link for eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem   eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem

by: thriftyone This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 10 20:16:36 2020

Interestingly enough, when I read the earnings call transcript and the Q&A for the 4th qtr, I do not recall this being mentioned. I believe it was conveniently left out when discussing their lower GMV....that debacle had a HUGE impact on many sellers for weeks and I am sure it contributed to it. According to some sellers in various facebook groups, their sales still have not rebounded from this debacle. Also, God help us all when they have proclaimed this "finished"....we probably will not be able to find anything in "search".

Perminate Link for eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem   eBay Is Still Working to Fix October Catalog Problem

by: abfab This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 11 06:15:02 2020

and ebay continues to follow their faulty Item Specifics schedule announced in the Fall updates...even though they have NOT fixed what they already implemented 10/15/19. they should just stop that so called Schedule until they fix what they already broke...just piling on more garbage on top of unfixed garbage.



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