eBay delay Product Identifier roll out

By Chris Dawson September 1, 2015 - 7:42 am

Product Identifiers hmIf you’ve been worrying about how you’ll add product identifiers (GTIN – EAN/UPC/JAN/ISBN) to your multi variation listings you can stop now. eBay have scrapped the roll out intended for the 1st of September and say that they’ll delay implementation until some time next year.

In all likelihood the reason for the delay is not a lack of will, it’s probably that technically eBay simply aren’t ready. Whilst you can add a product identifier to single item listings, currently only the parent of a variation can be assigned a product identifier. It’s not possible to add them to child listings. eBay acknowledged this saying “This is in response to some technical issues our sellers have highlighted when trying to add this information. We’re looking into the issues and apologise to those affected for any inconvenience caused“.

Insisting sellers do something that’s not possible would of course be ridiculous, just as ridiculous as going ahead and fudging the issue by forcing sellers to assign one GTIN to all variations of a product when each different size or colour should have their own unique GTIN.

This is of course something eBay should have realised long ago, and it’s not something that’s not been highlighted multiple times. We’re guessing that at some point in the future the technical weenies will do what needs to be done so that GTINs can be uploaded to all child listings on eBay.

In the mean time this will of course put a dent in eBay’s plan for a more catalogued approach which they’ve said is vital to drive traffic from search engines. Google for instance isn’t interested in product feeds with Product Identifiers missing, so sadly it might be some time before your products start appearing in search across the web.

Edited to add

For an update from eBay with more background information now read Insights from eBay on Product Identifier delays

  • Mark
    2 years ago

    Utterly shambolic. eBay are so far behind the curve with this, they deserve to be lagging behind the eCommerce growth rate, and significantly behind Amazon. This should have been done 7 or 8 years ago.

    I personally think that it’s an almost perfect example of the difference between Amazon and eBay management. For the last 10 years eBay have been running around like headless chickens while Amazon took a strategic, planned approach and left eBay way behind.

    • Ian A
      2 years ago

      Agree. The time to make this decision was 5-8 years ago and I was stunned when they announced it now. Just seems a knee-jerk reaction and desperate attempt to fix their seo issues.
      More inconvenience and work for sellers without any guarantee of reward.

      Mixed messages again as they say the focus is on unique items? So items that probably don’t have barcodes? I tihnk search is a bigger issue . Awaiting the quarterly results with interest…

    • Mark
      2 years ago

      I don’t understand why they chose not to enforce this so long ago.

      Structured data is just that – structured – meaning you can do so much more with it. For products that have identifiers, they should have had them since day one. Instead they arrogantly decided that they could match up similar and identical products based on titles and item specifics alone, something which they fail miserably to do.

  • Maciej Wiankowski
    2 years ago

    This is not entirely true. EANs can be added to each of the variants now via UI. I’m suspecting eBay might have troubles with larger volume merchants who might not be able to add this data via API/other means.

  • 2 years ago

    I had this problem two months ago (had to remove children identifiers) but there errors are not appearing now.

    • dan
      2 years ago

      you removed your children identifiers!

      that must make life at home unusual! :P

    • 2 years ago


  • Lee Pearce
    2 years ago

    I have been trying to add the correct bar codes to listings for a while now and just cracked it this weekend!!

    The problem was that the file that ebay suggest you use in file exchange didn’t do the job as it appears that there are several places (DB Table within ebay) to add a bar code and therefore the uploaded file didn’t put the barcodes in the right place.

    I found this out when trying to find out which of my 6000+ listings didn’t have barcodes, by creating a new turbolister DB and downloading all the current listings then exporting them from turbolister into an excel file which showed that there were 4 columns (2 x UPC & 2 x EAN) that could be populated with barcodes, which i have since found out are in different tables, one being the item specifics table and the other being a product information table.

    The company we use to control our online listings & sales orders, have adjusted their code to put the correct information in the correct place and we have just finished completing the uploads.

    Well at least we are ready when they do implement it.

    We have broken the listings down into 3 categories (all our items have barcodes):

    The ones that have to have their barcodes in place now and are compulsory (Toys and Games Cats)

    Items that have a place on the SYI form to add a barcode but is not compulsory but will be in the future

    Items that do not have a place to add a barcode on the SYI form but as we have them, we would like to add them.

    All good fun


    • Matt
      2 years ago

      Which company are you using to control your online listings if you don’t mind telling us?

    • Lee Pearce
      2 years ago

      We use etailsystems.

      Like most companies they will have functionality that we do not utilise but we use them for our own website and as an online database of all our ebay listings, its also the Central place for all our online orders, own web, ebay, Amazon, flubit & we use for our telephone orders in the shop, so it adjusts the stock levels across all channels when orders come in.


  • james
    2 years ago

    i attempted to use file exchange to upload all the available barcodes i have.

    coincidentally ebay thought this would be a great time to decide items can only have one entry in several fields, which used to be multiple entry – e.g glass and chrome tables, can now be glass OR chrome, not both.

    if the item had multilpe values in any of these fields, you cant edit it through file exchange, so i need to do 1,000+ manual edits. i think not.

  • 2 years ago

    Did I speak too soon?

    “The Item Specific value ‘MPN’ was dropped because the child values vary and the item specific cannot be submitted as a variation.”

  • 2 years ago

    If you use the bulk edit tool on the desktop site there is a place to enter in the product identifiers for each child item.

Recent Comments

4 hours ago
Andy R: We buy most of our stock at auction and frequently see signs stating 3% or...
11 hours ago
Francesca: Views & sales have PLUMMETED, must return to orginial format, ASAP!!!...
12 hours ago
Dan Wilson: Welcome onboard Paul. :o)...
12 hours ago
Dan Wilson: Bras....