Product Identifiers are now Mandatory on eBay

By Chris Dawson March 6, 2016 - 9:01 pm

eBay’s Product Identifier requirement has now gone live. This means that you may find ‘Good til Cancelled listings’ are failing to renew if you’ve not already updated them. You also won’t be able to list new products without adding the required details. eBay have a available.

Product Identifiers may include a GTIN (EAN, UPC, ISBN), Brand and Manufacturer’s part number (MPN).

“Does not apply” ruse

One simply way around the new Product Identifier requirement appears to be to simply bulk list all of your items to set “Does not apply” for each attribute.

Why “Does not apply” is a bad strategy

Does Not Apply eBay Product Identifier

Whilst we have every possible sympathy with sellers who have too many listings and simply don’t have the time to set real attributes, it’s worth pointing out that simply selecting “Does not apply” is likely to hurt you in the long run.

One of the reasons eBay is so keen to get catalogue information on your products is so that they can better compare products in search results and surface your products when possible. They are much more likely to prefer products with completed data than those which are effectively blank.

Another consideration is that Google have started to insist on at least a GTIN in their product feeds. If you’re hoping that the fees you pay to eBay will be used to drive traffic to your items, taking the lazy way out won’t work. eBay can’t upload your products to Google if you don’t give them the required information.

Check your failed GTC relists

Inevitably you’re likely to find the odd listings which doesn’t renew due to a missing Product Identifier so make sure you keep an eye out for unexpectedly ended items.

We’ve also heard (but been unable to reliably duplicate) that some sellers are adding Product Identifiers to all of their listings, only for reports to then state a few listings still need to be edited. It’s worth running your report to make sure that no listings have mysteriously added themselves to the list of those needing Product Identifiers adding. Of course again you’ll find any failed listings in your ended items.

  • Lee Pearce
    2 years ago

    We use a 3rd party software to create/control our ebay listings and whilst new listings are created in the software and uploaded to ebay, with all the product identifiers, originally, all our listings were imported from ebay into the 3rd party software, so were missing some of the product identifiers.

    We have used the reports from ebay to add the information to our 3rd party software then revise the listing to get the information onto ebay and on the whole, this has worked ok, but we have had some that would not update or would re-appear on the list.

    We now just end the listing and then re-list via the software which does seem to sort his out, luckily its not been many and we are currently showing that none of our 6185 listings need product identifiers adding and long may that continue.

    Once again we have done what ebay have asked us to do and look forward too reaping the rewards, just like all the other tasks set to us by ebay, Picture Standards, Free shipping & the 1st batch of product identifiers, now where’s that emoji indicating “Tongue in Cheek”


  • elvis
    2 years ago

    Just remembr that does not apply wording is case sensitive and different for MPN , Brand and EAN. For MPN and Brand it must be spelt “Does Not Apply” whilst for EAN is it “Does not apply”

    ebay like to make things difficult for us lol

  • Robert C
    2 years ago

    I remember searching on eBay using EANs a few years back and it would return a list of products with those EANs.
    Now it seems to be 1 out of 10 will return search results and the rest gives you “This listing (xxxxxxxxxx) has been removed, or this item isn’t available.”.

  • Steve
    2 years ago

    So we all put the EANs on all our products as per eBay’s request and if I search eBay for a EAN number as a buyer may it just says

    This listing (4710xxxxx1253) has been removed, or this item isn’t available.

    You would think they would make it a searchable option now listing have made in a requirement to list

    • elvis
      2 years ago

      I get this a lot as well Steve, even for products which are in ebays catalogue. I just hope having EAN’s may help with google in some way

  • CJ
    2 years ago

    Of any of the EAN’s that I have tried to search they have all been successful

    The does not apply shortcut is not going to benefit anyone in the long run as in reality your competitors will do it, its a case of either putting the work in and doing it or falling behind the curve in both eBay search results and Google shop results

  • Tony E
    2 years ago

    To date, none of my GTC listings “without” product identifiers have been binned in my unsold list by Ebay.

    Too much revenue to lose, as I predicted, if this is worldwide. Just like the pictures fiasco which was never implemented.

    • Robert C
      2 years ago

      I have several GTC listings which I didn’t change out of pure laziness, they should have been removed. Nothing yet though.

  • 2 years ago

    Has anyone done this successfully with file exchange? whenever we try to update the EAN we get an error code which isn’t on the list of error codes. so really useful.

    • james
      2 years ago

      tried with varying success.
      ebay in their infinite wisdom decide to refuse any EAN update unless every other minute detail is spot-on, with whatever recent nonsensical changes they made.
      – roundabout the same time they demanded EAN’s, they decided most of my products can only be made of one material, and are only suitable for one room, with regard to item specifics, so i cant update with file exchange without first manually updating thousands of listings.

      its obvious ebay dont really want sellers at all, they’d do better on their own without anyone selling on the platform to ruin it for them.

    • CJ
      2 years ago

      Should of probably used multi variations to begin with to save yourself the hassle 🙂

      File exchange works fine for updating EAN’s with multi variations listings, the variations being Different materials different sizes, rooms etc. No problem at all

    • james
      2 years ago

      except those arent the variations in my multi-variation listings, and i’m not talking about the name of variations, which can be (almost) anything, i’m talking about the ebay pre-filled item specifics.

      for example.
      I sell full bedroom sets (wardrobe, bed, bedsides, drawers), you can buy each individually, or as a set.
      -according to ebay, this entire set and everything in it, must now be made of one thing and one thing only, I cant possibly have a wood-and-mirror wardrobe. the bed cant be wood-and-metal.
      (changing this to variation: room, makes no sense at all, they’re all for the bedroom, the variation is which item you want, not which room you keep your bed in).

      I sell lighting, most are suitable for every room. according to ebay, one light must be suitable for one room, and one room only. if i say a light is for a living room, it must not be suitable for the hallway. i cant put two rooms in the item specifics for one light.

      I sell watches. they used to be
      Men & boys.
      Ladies & Girls,
      Unixes (all the above).
      now they can be for Ladies OR Girls, men OR boys. not both.
      as soon as you turn 18 you have to throw away your old watch and get a new one, by ebay logic.

      this was not the case before, otherwise my listings wouldnt all have on the specifics every room they’re correctly suited for, they’d have started wtih one room and one room only, despite the stupidity of that logic.

      now ebay decides, i must manually update every one of these listing, now, to make them less accurate and less helpful for customers, or they wont accept my barcodes, and if i dont do the barcodes, they’re going to delete my listings.

    • CJ
      2 years ago

      Thats correct you cannot put two specifics for two rooms in the one listing but what you should be doing is a multi variation listing because that will facilitate what you are saying eBay cannot do. When it comes to item specifics there is also a remove option beside ones that you feel like do not apply to the listing

    • james
      2 years ago

      a multi-variation listing is still one listing, with one set of specifics, you cant have different specifics for two items in one listing.
      most of my listings are multi-variation and that doesnt help this issue at all.
      yes removing them is easier, but then anyone who narrows down search results, doesnt find any of my listings, so thats hardly the ideal solution.

      – have you actually, succesfully, used file exchange to update EAN’s on listing which have NOT ACCEPTED item specifics already applied to them?

  • Joe
    2 years ago

    I can’t see how eBay want identifiers to help with catalogue items because they seem to have pretty much wiped out the catalogue. Try listing a CD or DVD or game console and the chances are eBay will tell you the item isn’t in the catalogue.

    I reckon they’re changing to a new provider or something but in the meantime they better not penalise sellers for not listing against a catalogue item when the catalogue isn’t there.

  • 2 years ago

    Heres my personal NIGHTMARE with this absurd policy
    Product Identifiers nightmare
    1st Off can we understand what a Phonograph Record (Album/ LP) is? (I’ve yet to find one ebay rep. in the Philippines who even knows what a Phonograph Record is. (This makes for a frustrating phone call right off the bat) and unfortunately I always get a rep in… you guessed it… Philippines

    Many Records were manufactured from 1920’s thru to today. As of 1980 Barcodes came into existence. I sell records from BEFORE 1980.
    Hence NO Barcode, Hence No UPC Product Identifiers. Hence NO Love from the new fangled “I have a brilliant Idea” Youngsters incorporating Rules and regulations at ebay headquarters. (My guess is 99% of the hot young geniuses couldn’t possibly undertstand that this new rule will effectively kill off businesses like mine. (I sell Records)

    so whats the problem?
    Each and every day my listings that have been marked GOOD TILL CANCELLED are removed from my ebay store. And I receive this message
    Your listings have been removed: Required product identifiers

    Now when I originally listed these items.. I checked the box DOES NOT APPLY when asked about the UPC Code Product Identifier. And ebays system did in fact accept and list my items for 30 days.
    Only to BOOT it off my store 30 days later instead of auto relisting.

    hence the NIGHTMARE as I’ve thousands of records listed and am now swimming uphill on a daily basis re- re listing these same items.
    To add Fury to the fire I’ve been contacting ebay reps all week and NOT One of them (understands what I’m selling) Nor can solve the problem of why this is even happening,.
    I was told on the 19th (yesterday) it is a “random protocol and I’m guaranteed that after the 19th it will no longer happen again)
    Today is March 20th.. I just had several more records taken down this morning.

    Get your **bleep** together EBAY. Care about small businesses. WE ARE YOUR BACK BONE. meantime If all record sellers and prospective Record buyers could just have an alternative vehicle to sell (Like Discogs.) with enough power. (**bleep** near impossible) then this would not be so important.

    Record Sellers, Used Stamp, Book, Coin Dealers we should unite and BOYCOTT ebay and get the word out that ebay NO LONGER SELLS these items. Maybe then they will give a **bleep** about us.


    • john
      2 years ago

      I agree complete and utter joke.

      no way to bulk edit ean’s
      bulk relist does not work if you attempt to relist over 100 at a time.
      1000’s upon 1000’s of peoples ended listings being left unlisted for hours or days.

      but it is ebay nothing is ever integrated seamlessly.

    • chrissieboy
      2 years ago

      Fredrick, forget ebay, go to discogs and list, fast becoming “the” marketplace for music media sellers, less fee (inc. free listing – only pay when you sell), quick and easy to list, less scammers, although as there are no hoops to jump through you will need to find another form of exercise. Ebay is dying, it’s been slow but the end is approaching faster now.

  • Bj
    1 year ago

    So dumb- I never search by UPC. Loss for eBay, sellers and buyers for lack of inventory.

    • james
      1 year ago


      eBay could so easily have awarded a boost to those that CAN provide EAN’s easily, rather than just ban everyone who can’t.

      “buyers would rather find an item by its barcode, or not have it at all”, is the essential eBay line.
      complete guff.

      then again, if i worked at eBay, and really really wanted to lose millions of pounds of stock off the site with one fell swoop (who knows why?), this may be rather an effective approach. especially if you couple it with the rest of eBay’s constant seller-bashing.
      – in fact this is about the only way half of ebays decisions make any sense at all.

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