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Mon July 19 2021 10:30:55

eBay Seller Tries to Keep up with Ever Changing Requirements

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
Topic: Repeated Changes to eBay Required Item Specifics as Late as July 8!

I'm an Australian eBay seller of approximately 14 years. I currently have around 1500 items listed in my store. 

To enable prospective customers to locate and discover information about my items, I have always ensured that my listings are as discoverable as I can make them and as detailed as possible to enable potential buyers to make informed choices. 

Without exception I have always completed the required item specifics, the recommended item specifics as well as adding as many additional item specifics as I considered to be potentially beneficial.

Within each listing in my selling category, there is one Required Item Specific, on the Listing Form, which is the Brand of the item. 

Following this, there are four Recommended Item Specifics, which are

- Type
- Age Group
- Gender
- Vintage Yes/No

After this come Additional Item Specifics in which according to the listing form "Buyers may also be interested". These are:

- Features (Plus Size, Petite Size, Special Needs)
- MPN
- Decade
- Cut/Uncut
- Modified Item

Finally, there is also an option to add Custom Item Specifics

As I have mentioned, all of my listings include all of the applicable Item Specifics in all categories.

I was surprised, therefore, to receive the following menacing message from eBay on 11 June 2021,

"You have listings that need to be updated with required Item Specifics before 12 July. If you don't update these listings, you will not be able to create, revise and publish these listings"

After reading this message, I wondered what other item specifics I could possibly add to my listings. Quite confused, I contacted an eBay representative via Chat, as this is the only Help communication option currently available here in Australia. Despite explaining that I was unable to add any additional Item Specifics, I was told that my listings did not contain all of the Required Item Specifics. Moreover, I was advised that:

"If the required item specifics are not added then it might be possible that you could not revise the listing later or the listing might end afterwards. Please do not worry, your seller account would not be discontinued at all due to this. You would still be able to list the items afterwards also".

When I checked my listings, I discovered that eBay had selected four Item Specifics from within the three categories I listed above and elevated them to the status of Required Item Specifics, although there is still only one listed on Listing Form. eBay selected the following four for this elevated status. They refer to them Mandatory Fields. These fields are;

- Type
- Age Group
- Gender
- Features - Plus Size o Petite Size o

Although I had satisfied the requirements for the first three fields, I discovered that I hadn't filled in the Features requirement for most of my listings. The reason for this is that only a few of the items I sell qualify for this category and any information regarding size is already recorded in the listing title.

I contacted eBay for a second time and advised the representative that adding size information other than Plus Size and Petite Size was superfluous as it was already recorded in the listing title. Despite this, I was advised for the second time to complete the purportedly missing information.

I subsequently begrudgingly spent many hours over the last few weeks adding this duplicated information, finally finishing yesterday evening.

To my absolute horror, when I checked eBay early this morning, I was totally shocked and unprepared to find that many of my listings had again been identified by eBay as needing more Item Specifics to be added!! This list has been added to sporadically throughout the day!

Upon checking, I discovered that eBay had changed one of their 4 Mandatory Fields!

Instead of the earlier Features - Plus Size o Petite Size o, it was now Vintage Y/N !! not applicable to most of my listings.

I'm sure that you can sense my exasperation and dis-belief that such a major change could have been coerced four days before the deadline of July 12th!

Given that eBay is a virtual monopoly, if I'm to continue to trade I don't have much choice.

From Coby, an Australian eBay Seller



Comments (6) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Tries to Keep up with Ever Changing Re   eBay Seller Tries to Keep up with Ever Changing Re

by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 19 13:11:53 2021

“ Given that eBay is a virtual monopoly, if I'm to continue to trade I don't have much choice.”

Think so? Seems like you’ve already ‘adapted’ to so much, particularly in eBay’s ongoing operation: coerced cataloging. Which is really doing nothing more than attempting to virtually ‘barcode’ enough data fields in an inventory data base so to be able to match everybody else’s search engines - which by trend analysis (brought to you by the most ‘enthusiastic’ analysis interns who ever exclamation pointed corporate spin), keeps ‘changing’. Gotta react ya know, and damn the torpedoes they’re apparently fine with being clueless about.

Anyway, whether you do it for eBay, and pay them for the privilege, or do it for yourself, as you already are accustomed to, and will be somewhat ‘required’ by business evolution anyway [ya’ll do see that coming right?], the end result will be the same. Except for the way cheaper for you part.

Actually, given eBay’s disgustitude level, and by much anecdotal account here and elsewhere, envisioning one’s very own shingle is looking a lot shinier these days.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Tries to Keep up with Ever Changing Re   eBay Seller Tries to Keep up with Ever Changing Re

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 20 08:21:03 2021

Required Item Specifics is a game eBay came up with a few years back that aimed to try and solve things that didnt need solving .....

1) it makes eBay "look" less like a flea market and "more like Amazon because we have structured data" (makes eBay feel like big boys...

2) it takes away the individuality of each listing. Be it a difference in pictures, a difference in description, like the army that eBay would love to run (of sellers), each one does the same thing at the same time and the "we dont get in the way of our sellers" goes right out the window with all of eBays OTHER promises

3) it lets eBay cheap out on spending money for creating a REAL catalog (should we agree ones needed)(which we dont). There are MANY places to go to get all the data eBays pea brains could ever use, but why pay for something when you can press your sellers into doing it FREE! The food and drink @ Walkers doesnt pay for itself, neither do the 100s of free perks eBay hands out to its employees. SOMEONE has to pay for it and theres no way on GODS green earth that eBay will take it out of profits.

4) the accumulated data is / then can be sold to companies who mine data. Want to know what brands are "trending/hot" ? eBay will tell you - for a fee - they can even tell you sizes and colors - because SELLERS must put all that data (and more) in to each listing.

Funny how Poshmark and Mercari can do just fine with OUT all that data ......

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Tries to Keep up with Ever Changing Re   eBay Seller Tries to Keep up with Ever Changing Re

by: OnlyPollyPocket This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 20 15:29:03 2021

Under another ID I sell books.  One of my Item Specifics is the title of the book.  I think I am smarter than a turnip and include the title of the book in my title and description.  

So I guess we are just free labor for ebay to build a catalogue...to what purpose?  What are they doing with this catalogue?  Is it just to provide autofill for those too lazy to write their own descriptions?

Call me puzzled.  

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Tries to Keep up with Ever Changing Re   eBay Seller Tries to Keep up with Ever Changing Re

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 22 00:49:44 2021

Between Amazon and Ebay, I don't know which is trying to "out-do" the other with the item specifics.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Tries to Keep up with Ever Changing Re   eBay Seller Tries to Keep up with Ever Changing Re

by: kazaly This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 23 01:08:26 2021

Similarly with the Books category, eBay have had a reasonable 3rd party catalogue for a good while now and, while no book catalogue can ever be complete, it does serve.
While all the relevant metadata for included books is available, eBay have never bothered to write software to extract that data and auto-fill listing item specifics - they still require the seller to laboriously fill out the listing fields, often by copy & paste from the catalogue data!
Hence, one could accuse them of being lazy.
Similarly, while manual listing of item specifics for non-catalogue items is required, apparently this data is not being written to an accessible data base or it would only require a few sellers to enter data for it to then be available to others.
Hence laziness plus lack of forethought.
Then there's the input web form to be considered, which like most of eBay's I/O operations, does not restrict itself to anything like a coherent standard. The amount of rewriting this oversight leads to is simply frustrating.
Hence laziness + lack of forethought + bungled application = incompetence (at least to my way of thinking).
Please don't get me started on taxonomy or we'll be here forever.

Perminate Link for eBay Seller Tries to Keep up with Ever Changing Re   eBay Seller Tries to Keep up with Ever Changing Re

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 23 17:28:10 2021

what i find interesting about the current "required" item specifics in books, is that ISBN is no longer required.  a few years ago ISBNs in ebays eyes they were going to fix everything that was wrong.

only effect i have seen in the book cat since this went into effect is my sales dropped 70% in june



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