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Mon Jan 8 2018 09:19:01

Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
I visited your 2009 article on miscategorization in eBay listings. In the intervening years, the problem has gotten worse, frustrating sellers and buyers and diminishing sales. 

Potential customers have expressed their dismay when perusing the listings in my category, Theatre Memorabilia, to find that they have to plough through misplaced Movie Memorabilia items, among other wayward listings, to find what they want. Many have simply thrown in the towel. 

I believe that this happens largely owing to ignorance rather than deliberate misplacement. One lister with whom I corresponded used the logic that movies are shown in theatres; therefore, her movie posters are in the theatre category. 

Reporting these misplacements to eBay is now well nigh impossible. I contend that the misplacers are losing sales because of such misplacement and that those who list correctly are losing sales because of the plethora of incorrectly placed listings.

As an aside, the top seller in the eBay Theatre Memorabilia category has begun listing concurrently on Amazon. This seller has the most and best merchandise in the category, has been at the top of the eBay heap for years, but has been feeling the pinch on eBay of late. I had been considering doing the same, and his decision has emboldened me to at least give it a shot. 

With all of the managerial and technical problems on eBay, it is clearly wise to move some eggs to another basket.

I always enjoy your blog and have learned a lot. Thanks for being here.
George




Comments (20) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers   Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 8 11:03:59 2018

Who searches by catagory.....One would think if your title was correct you wouldn't even need a catagory...

After almost 19 years on Fleecebay we have never search by catagory. Realized long ago that most people list in the wrong catagory anyways. If you search by catagory one would miss those items that were listed wrong.

Catagories could be eliminated. Period.

Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers   Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers

by: DingDong This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 8 11:29:10 2018

I often wonder, too, about the categories.
I go and check some of the other crafters and such and when I search and find the category, I don't get it.

I will search handmade "ornies" primitive.
Why are they under ANTIQUES: PRIMITIVES.
I would think they should be under CRAFTS: FINISHED PIECES.

They are recently handmade items.

Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers   Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Mon Jan 8 12:06:50 2018

@George - I, too, at first thought the category was memorabilia related to movie theaters (one-sheets, lobby cards, and the like). Perhaps you could point out this confusion to eBay and suggest they clarify the category by stating "Theater - On and Off Broadway" or something similar.

Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers   Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers

by: geoffreymason This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 8 12:47:26 2018

@Froggy

Frog, in my category, at least, collectors browse through the category looking for unusual items, hoping to find items that they have not thought about or heard of before, They often do this several times daily, going through newly-listed, looking for unanticipated plums. I do it myself. Yesterday, I found a broadside advertising a 19th-century actress named Maggie Mitchell, who was the paramour of John Wilkes Booth (he was even carrying her CDV in his wallet when he was killed), I would never have thought to look for this particular outstanding collectible, but I found it by browsing the general category; now, I own this wonderful piece. So categories are important. Maybe if one sells lawn mowers, simply typing in the make and model is  sufficient, but not for many collectibles. You can be such a contrarian!

Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers   Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers

by: geoffreymason This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 8 12:51:26 2018

@heartjacksparrow

Jack, I've tried this. It would help if the phrase "live stage performance" or something similar were used, it might help. Ebay is not interested.

Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers   Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers

by: I Must be Crazy This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jan 8 14:15:01 2018

''As an aside, the top seller in the eBay Theatre Memorabilia category has begun listing concurrently on Amazon. This seller has the most and best merchandise in the category, has been at the top of the eBay heap for years, but has been feeling the pinch on eBay of late. I had been considering doing the same, and his decision has emboldened me to at least give it a shot.''

This is why I believe 2018 will be the year of reckoning for eBay as more large, established, successful sellers find that selling on eBay is no longer worth the time and effort. As these sellers have seen their incomes from sales on eBay become a smaller and smaller share of their overall sales, their focus will be on growing through other channels. Maintaining processes for fulfilling and servicing customers while meeting guidelines for selling on eBay will not be worth the effort and investment.

Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers   Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Mon Jan 8 17:18:35 2018

@FeelingFroggy
Categories do serve a purpose, especially with a weakened search engine.  It means I don't have to waste 14 characters out of 80 adding " action figure" to differentiate between a Hasbro Star Wars Black Series 40th ANH A New Hope Han Solo reissue MISB action figure and a Hasbro Star Wars Black Series 40th ANH A New Hope Han Solo reissue MISB doll.  eBay broke partial matches years ago so every GoBot listing has to have GoBots in plural too so title space is at a premium.

Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers   Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 9 01:38:25 2018

''After almost 19 years on Fleecebay we have never search by catagory.''

That's exactly what eBay does too.  If THEY don't see the need to act, or not act, or fix, or not fix, etc., then there can't possibly be such need.

Even if the CUSTOMER's preference for having as many options as possible (that work) differs.  

Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers   Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Jan 9 12:45:11 2018

I Must Be Crazy says "As these sellers have seen their incomes from sales on eBay become a smaller and smaller share of their overall sales, their focus will be on growing through other channels."

I've actually been doing this over the last two years and I could not be happier with the outcome.  It is incredibly satisfying to see that other sites do not hold you back. The harder you work, the bigger the payout.  Just the opposite of modern day, listing hiding, sales limiting, ecoystem destroying, customer unfriendly eBay.

Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers   Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Wed Jan 10 00:00:37 2018

Yes, it is frustrating to have sellers miscategorize, however, eBay still has a superior search engine than Amazon and other websites that block search operators. eBay has more versatility in winnowing out exactly what you are looking for.  

Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers   Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Wed Jan 10 00:05:51 2018

*GTFO

Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers   Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Wed Jan 10 00:07:01 2018

*acronym above meant for another post.  

Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers   Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 10 01:19:24 2018

"Who searches by catagory."
^^ Amazon is the only place I search using the category.  I rarely use category w/ EB because there are so many of them compared to AMZ.
There's just to much to complain and talk about with Ebay which is running its website like it's still in 1990.  The website needs a major major overhaul -- major -- to make it more user/seller/buyer friendly.  I pray that somewhere in EB there's a lab set up where they are testing new designs and will launch in a few months.  Until then we suffer.

Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers   Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 10 01:42:33 2018

ebay doesn't care because ebay often miscategorizes things with their catalog.  i have had books tossed in categories that i would never put them, even by mistake.

Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers   Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers

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

Wed Jan 10 02:17:56 2018

Amazon has its own problems as well. I had one of the new auto-returns. The reason he claimed that the product listing was incorrect. He bought a sewing pattern and thought he was buying pajamas. If he had used the category to search for pajamas he would have never seen my pattern at it was under the sewing pattern category. According to him most people would not have understood that they were getting a pattern! So he is a in a pattern category and then apparently only read what he wanted to from the listing. At this point even though I gave him a partial refund Amazon came along today and took all the rest of his purchase price under the fact that according to them I hadn't refunded him within 48 hours. No I refunded him in about 3-4 hours.  Amazon keeps coming up with more and more ways to get into our pockets and makes us their lackeys instead of independent business people. I wish I could use eCRATER exclusively, but with the changes Google has made over the last few years it is no longer possible where prior to their changes it was doable.

Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers   Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers

by: epuise This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 10 09:43:11 2018

Search... stinks...
type in dog food... they show you CAT food...
ridiculous

Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers   Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers

by: spooky This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 10 10:49:23 2018

20 years ago when I started on eBay I searched by category but have not done so in well over 15 years and I am sure I am not alone. Categories are near meaningless

Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers   Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers

by: geoffreymason This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 10 14:21:02 2018

Spooky: While I reognize that categorization is horrifically screwed up on ebay, categories are not only useful in many categories but nearly mandatory. See my reply to Froggy, above, to understand this. I'm not selling tools or lawn mowers or electronics, but collectibles that require browsing on the part of collectors. Just because something is not useful to you doesn't mean that is useless to others as well.

Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers   Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers

by: donald This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 10 14:23:45 2018



George,  

I'm sure that the Chinese miscategorize more do to deliberate then ignorance and the fact that is going on forever means eBay simply doesn't care. A person or a company that doesn't care is worthless to me.

Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers   Miscategorizing Items Hurts Buyers and Sellers

by: VeryGoodVintage This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 11 08:54:11 2018

I'm chiming in late here but miscategoizing does hurt in the Vintage Jewelry categories. Many of the top sellers intentionally list in the incorrect categories if they know it will expose the item more in the "see what other people looked at" at the bottom of the page. For instance "Fine" sterling silver designer pieces are more than often listed in "Costume" with many other miscats that I won't go into. This is particularly irritating for a seller who does list in the correct cat. eBay cracks down on everything but turns a blind eye to listing fine in costume. But you know hardly and of this will matter as the only thing starting to show up at the bottom of such searches will eventually just be the "sponsored" items. People aren't stupid; "sponsored" to a buyer means the seller is paying more, so the buyer is paying more.



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