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15 October category and item specifics final update as work to fix continues

By Chris Dawson November 19, 2019 - 1:53 pm

eBay have posted an official announcement board post on eBay.com wrapping up their final steps to correct the 15 October category and item specifics update that went wrong. They have confirmed what Harry Temkin said that eBay will never again roll out new aspects and mandate them at the same time.

This will apparently be eBay’s last update on the 15 October category and item specifics update, although they are still in the process of copying additional item specifics into the required fields and removing irrelevant values (such as women’s and children’s sizes from Men’s clothing).

This means that it may still be some time until you can finally straighten out your Item Specifics as, if this was eBay’s last update, we won’t know when they’ve finished copying values across to the mandatory fields.

The biggest issue that we see is one that wasn’t actually addressed. eBay promised to give a minimum of eight week’s notice of any mandatory Item Specifics changes and this they did. What eBay failed to do was notify sellers that they would be changing the names of some Item Specifics such moving from ‘Waist Size’ to ‘Size’ making ‘Size’ consistent across all categories.

Another change was renaming ‘Inside Leg’ to ‘Inseam’. However for sellers this is a disaster as their spreadsheets, tools and entire workflow suddenly failed. Whilst, if you use the Sell Your Item form, this on the face of it was a trivial change, eBay screwed their largest sellers who haven’t looked at the Sell Your Item form in decades. Sellers use tools to list and if you change an attribute’s name (especially if you gave notice that it was the old name that was to be mandated), sellers need to know and in future it is essential that these massive site changes are fully documented in the eight week advance notification.

Finally, and there can be no excuse for this, never roll out significant site changes in Q4. Even if nothing had gone wrong, breaking seller’s tools by changing names in Q4 is too much work to expect sellers to handle at the busiest time of the year. Do it in January or February when the peak selling season is over.

The full eBay Announcement on the 15 October category and item specifics update

We have reproduced the full eBay announcement below:

“We’d like to thank you for your patience and understanding as we resolve the final issues from the 15 October category and item specifics update. We apologize for the frustration and disruption caused to sellers. From the moment your experience was disrupted, we’ve listened to your feedback and worked quickly to address the issues.

Final status update

Left hand navigation filters – The left-hand navigation filters are now working again and this issue is fully resolved.
 
Missing values – We are continuing to copy the Additional item specifics you previously provided into the Required item specifics fields. We expect the exercise to be complete in the coming weeks.
 
Irrelevant item specifics values – The consolidation of irrelevant values is in progress and you’ll start seeing only appropriate values in the drop-down menus by the end of this week. Sellers will notice marked improvements already.
 

Actions for sellers:

While we finalize these, we’d like to remind sellers that you should still update listings in Toys, Fashion, Home & Garden, Collectibles, and Media & Gift Cards categories:

  • For existing listings: provide required item specifics when you revise existing listings.
  • New listings: follow the prompts and include all required item specifics, plus as many recommended specifics as you see fit.
  • We recommend utilizing Optiseller Aspect Finder Tool to help you quickly identify and correct your existing listings that are missing key item specifics.

What happened?

This year we’ve introduced several item specifics changes to approximately 70% of Home & Garden and 80% of Consumer Electronics listings worldwide with little to no disruption. Knowing this, we made Category and Classification changes to other categories, including the fashion category on October 15th. However, while making these changes, we also made some item specifics “Required.” These two changes together had an unforeseen, temporary impact on the ability to edit existing listings in the fashion category. Although editing of existing listings was temporarily blocked, listing data was accessible, and listings were visible in search results. We were able to restore editing of listings within a short period of time.

What have we, at eBay, learned from this?

We do not take these interruptions lightly and we’re committed to working harder for you and your business.
 
When asking sellers to update their listings, as part of a Seller Update, we will not make multiple updates and item specifics requirements simultaneously. We will instead make changes gradually so the flow on effect is not felt all at once by our sellers. We will not be making any further planned changes in 2019 so our sellers can focus on holiday.
 
Our efforts in updating our marketplace, and optimizing search for our buyers will continue. We will be in touch again late January with information on additional updates for 2020.
 
Until then, thank you for your continued partnership and for selling on eBay.”

– eBay

  • Rob
    3 weeks ago

    For anyone who doesn’t have time to read eBay’s full statement above, let me give you a brief summery:

    eBay acknowledge that they have made a huge mess of changing the item specifics on 15th October.

    5 weeks on, eBay are still running around like headless chickens trying to fix the mess they have created and although they are slowly making progress, things are still broken.

    eBay will not be giving any further progress updates to let you know how they are getting on with resolving this embarrassing mess and they don’t say when the matter will be resolved.

    eBay have more of these “improvements” planned for 2020 and they will be in touch with sellers about this in late January.

  • Tom
    3 weeks ago

    It’s very worrying that they’re under the illusion everything is fixed. Spend a few minutes checking the item specifics in the clothing categories – There are still huge numbers of listings with not specified entries. If you try searching for jeans by waist size its very difficult. Waist circumference and size are at the bottom of the item specifics list and size still doesn’t have refined values.

  • Dav
    3 weeks ago

    Nothing’s fixed, nothing’s changed. If eBay were even capable of resolving this shouldn’t it be done by now? Their programming/IT people are outsourced and totally incompetent, as are the executives and management down through “customer service”. eBay won’t pay for better. They would rather let the company and site deteriorate and save money for themselves while they’re scheming to steal money from it’s users. This company makes a complete mess and disaster of virtually everything they do. Watch for future “updates” and “improvements” to continue making a clusterf*ck of everything. eBay is going down the toilet, and fast.

  • Erwyn
    3 weeks ago

    Currently 20% down on last year. Earlier in the month I was 40% down on last year. I’ve been able to recover some by putting everything on SALE as well as increasing Promoted Listings %-age. I’ve been trading on Ebay for years, with stable sales, trending at 10% up on last year in September. As I’m having to give away margin to recover my sales, I can’t pay myself anything this month. THANK YOU EBAY!

    • BFT
      3 weeks ago

      Exactly the same here.

  • Disgruntled Ebay Seller
    3 weeks ago

    Ebay have well & truly fecked up Q4 sales for many sellers. What are they going to do to recompense sellers for this almighty cock up? Free fvf for a month? (with the way sales are that wouldn’t cost them much). How about free shop fees for a month? Nah, it’s up yours, lump it and nothing as usual.

  • Don
    3 weeks ago

    Ebay traffic has been going down for years while online retail and second hand markets are going up. Ebay had a huge headstart but is now losing the game and they will keep losing the game if they dont shift focus:

    Make ebay attractive for buyers and sellers.

    Promoted listings is not attractive for buyers, it messes up relevant search results. Item specifics is not attractive for sellers. It makes listing items more difficult, hence less items will be listed, not attrative for buyers.

    Also…

    Pushing down older listings is not attractive for buyers if you want buyers who are searching for the odd items. It is also not attractive for sellers who are willing to sell these items. The current algorithms push out longtail and unique items, is this not what ebay initially was about?

    Ebay, please find your way again. Focus on the right things, you still have a headstart but you are headed the wrong way.

  • robin
    3 weeks ago

    There is one big thing missing from this letter – names of the idiots responsible for this mess – they should be fired on the spot – and confirmation that refund on shop subscription for the whole Q4 is on the way for ALL business sellers..

    • Dav
      3 weeks ago

      Harry Temkin is eBay’s VP of Seller Experience. Quite an “experience” which eBay continues to dump on everyone eh? It will continue as long as incompetence is accepted among executives and management. So that means nothing will ever change.

  • Rob
    3 weeks ago

    Don’t worry the next big thing coming from ebay will be managed payments when they are fully responsible for all sellers money. What could go wrong!!!

    • robin
      3 weeks ago

      Managed payments … by eBay … sh!t will hit turbine …

  • Jonah
    3 weeks ago

    Our policy will be to Hold off on managed payments until you really have to accept them- then take a holiday. Because given ebays awful history of tinkering and site glitches you just know there will be problems. If sellers don’t get paid, and buyers can’t pay then there will be meltdown.

    • 3 weeks ago

      I know it’s ebay, but really, there shouldn’t be any problems.

      Unlike the recent fiasco of item specific changes that they implemented without any forethought, this should be well tested before hitting everybody with a fully working version.

      It’s been over a year since they started rolling it out and aside from the issues it will surely have caused early adopters, such as not being able to accept paypal payments or use the GSP (which I bet = lost sales) I’ve not read of any other flaws.

      By the time we get forced into it, GSP will be working with it and Paypal will be accepted. So basically, it’s just changing from Paypal to Adyen. We won’t be able to have a slush fund sitting in the paypal account anymore, but a separate and specific bank account can serve exactly the same purpose.

      I can’t see how they can mess it up, so fingers crossed.

  • Jim
    3 weeks ago

    If ebay is so knackered and there is so many better options available
    Why worry???????

  • 3 weeks ago

    “…aside from the issues it will surely have caused early adopters, such as not being able to accept paypal payments or use the GSP…ɪ’ᴠᴇ ɴᴏᴛ ʀᴇᴀᴅ ᴏꜰ ᴀɴʏ ᴏᴛʜᴇʀ ꜰʟᴀᴡꜱ.”

    There appears to have been a significant spike of buyer payments issues regarding inability to pay/checkout on eBay the past few months (most appear to be PayPal related).

    It’s unclear whether this is a result of eBay’s PayPal “decoupling” as the primary processor, or as a result of other aspects of Managed Payments implementation (or some combination).

    Here are just a few examples of reports tagged while scanning for issues:

    👉 https://twitter.com/i/moments/1191641102350274562

    • 3 weeks ago

      Buyers being unable to complete a purchase is sadly nothing new.

      I had one just the other day, where a buyer got in touch to say they wanted to buy an item but couldn’t complete the purchase, because an ebay pop up was telling them “seller doesn’t ship to your address”. They only lived about half an hour away, so thought it was odd and queried it with me. I suggested if they were using the app, to try through the browser instead. That worked and they made the purchase, but it makes you wonder how many people get similar glitches, shrug their shoulders and go elsewhere.

      Glitches like this go back well before the introduction of managed payments, so it could be the same situation now, just crappy programming, rather than specifically the fault of managed payments.

  • james
    5 days ago

    eBay still continuing to screw this up months later.
    Today i have 30 NEW missing item specifics in a message from ebay.
    haven’t added 30 new listings, they were all fully compliant yesterday.
    Today ebay have taken the MPN, and for some reason changed the format for this specific to a tick box.
    the MPN is still there, just as a tick box rather than usual text box format.
    can’t really edit it. either tick or untick.
    unticking, saving, then re-ticking and saving, convinves eBay this is actually the MPN and everything is fine.
    except i need to do that 30 times today for no reason. probably more again tomorrow.
    half of these they’ve also lost/changed some of the other item specifics.
    items that had width, depth & height in cm yesterday, as they should, today have width & height in cm, with a mandatory requirement for “length” in inches having appeared, with depth still being there in cm completely ignored.
    Bravo ebay. Bravo.

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