Item Specifics Updates in June and July for Clothing, Shoes & Accessories

(Updated June 26, 2011 -- Color will not be required, but it is strongly recommended. Note that support for ID-based attributes in these categories has been extended to July 20, 2011. Also, GetCategorySpecifics returns required custom item specifics for applicable categories as of early June 2011.)

From April through July 2011, eBay is making changes in fashion categories for fashion enthusiasts. Here’s what developers need to know to support these changes. (These changes will affect eBay US and international sites.)

No ID-Based Attributes in Clothing, Shoes & Accessories

When we enabled custom item specifics for Clothing, Shoes & Accessories in 2009, we announced that the ID-based attributes in these categories would be deprecated in about a year. Support for ID-based attributes (Item.AttributeSetArray) is ending soon (late July) in Clothing, Shoes & Accessories. Use custom item specifics (Item.ItemSpecifics) in AddItem and related calls instead.  (All areas of Clothing, Shoes & Accessories have supported the new custom item specifics format for the past year or more.)

If you still had Clothing, Shoes & Accessories listings with ID-based attributes as of April 2011, eBay converted those existing listings to custom item specifics for you. However, as the item specifics have changed since April, these conversions will no longer occur.

Category Structure Changes in Clothing, Shoes & Accessories

A number of changes have been made to the Clothing, Shoes & Accessories category structure. Category structure changes eliminate redundancies, improve coverage, and meet buyers’ shopping experience expectations.  Your (or your sellers') listings falling under impacted categories may have been moved to new categories based on existing category ID and item specifics. The category structure updates were effective on April 5th. Please revise your GTC listings if you feel a different category is a better fit.

In addition to the category structure changes, we have tailored custom item specific values in Clothing, Shoes & Accessories.  The values were improved to meet sellers’ needs and to help with item specifics relevance. For example, some subcategories moved out of the Clothing, Shoes & Accessories category structure and into item specifics instead. (Some new categories are being added, as well.) 

GetCategorySpecifics identifies the available custom item specifics for leaf categories, as well as dependencies between item specifics. After the metadata changes are available in the system, see NameRecommendation.ValidationRules.MinValues to identify required item specifics, and NameRecommendation.ValidationRules.Relationship for any dependencies. GetItemRecommendations will also be updated.

Note: Although GetCategory2CS and GetAttributesCS may still return ID-based attribute data for these categories, avoid using these calls for Clothing, Shoes & Accessories. As a general rule, if GetCategoryFeatures shows that a category supports custom item specifics (ItemSpecificsEnabled) or a category has been converted from ID-based attributes to custom item specifics (AttributeConversionEnabled), you should use custom item specifics instead of ID-based attributes.

Required Item Specifics Coming in June and July in Clothing, Shoes & Accessories

Starting July 20, 2011 all new and revised listings in Clothing, Shoes & Accessories categories must include the following item specifics: Brand, Size Type, Size, and Style in the ItemSpecifics (name/value) format. Required item specifics may vary by category.

Color is not required (updated from original announcement, based on community feedback), but both Color and Shade help establish consistent color across categories. Sellers are highly encouraged to provide details on both aspects. Specifying Color will enable buyers find your items when searching for items by color.

As of the end of June 2011, eBay is giving more visibility to these refinements in Fashion categories, so we recommend that you start using custom item specifics now if you don't already.

These calls will fail for listings that are missing required item specifics:

  • AddItem and AddFixedPriceItem
  • RelistItem and RelistFixedPriceItem
  • ReviseItem and ReviseFixedPriceItem (even if your revision does not touch the item specifics)

The following cases will not be blocked for now. However, we recommend that sellers include the required item specifics in these listings in order to benefit from the new buyer experience:

  • ReviseInventoryStatus (for changing price and quantity) won't be blocked regardless of whether existing listings in Clothing, Shoes & Accessories categories have the required item specifics.
  • Good 'Til Canceled (GTC) listings that you don't revise; they will continue to renew automatically for the next several months even if they are missing required item specifics.

Early Access Info: Starting in June 2011, GetCategorySpecifics and GetItemRecommendations will identify the required item specifics for leaf categories, before they become mandated on July 20. (Alternatively, see the lookup table for developers (link below) to view the mandated item specifics).

In general, if ValidationRules.MinValues is set to 1, it means the item specific is required for that category. For Clothing, Shoes & Accessories categories, it means that the item specific will be required after July 20.

AddItem and related calls will not enforce these required item specifics in fashion categories until July 20. However, we encourage you to start using the required item specifics as early as possible.

Also note that if ValidationRules.SelectionMode is set to "SelectionOnly", it means you must choose from eBay's recommended values, instead of specifying you own custom value. (This occurs for Style, Occasion, and Color in some categories.) This requirement is already in effect. However, if your application does not yet support using SelectionOnly values in GetCategorySpecifics, you can omit the item specific entirely in the short term while you adjust your application. AddItem and related calls will not block fashion listings that omit item specifics, until July 20.

More Information On These Fashion Category Changes

Item Specifics Lookup Table (All Categories) for Developers

Site changes for Fashion Pages - April 2011

Item specifics required in Fashion categories

Required Item Specifics Lookup Table for Sellers

Review the category, catalog and item specific updates coming April and May


June 9, 2011 in Best Practices, Business News, Categories and Item Specifics, Certified Provider, Critical Notes from Tech Support, Documentation, Product News, Seller Releases, Trading API | Permalink

Finding API Migration

The Developers Program launched the Finding API in July 2009. Today Finding API is successfully serving over 130 millions of requests daily. We are ready for our next critical milestone – support all developers to fully migrate to Finding API to take advantage of the eBay’s next generation search technology used to power the eBay site search ; and deprecate Trading APIs: GetSearchResults and GetCategoryListings, and Shopping APIs: FindItemsAdvanced and FindItems. These APIs will stop working after October 2011.

To better support developers’ migration, asks and needs, we have been focusing on Finding API for new and enhanced features, as well as technical support. Meanwhile the deprecation of Trading and Shopping Search APIs has started since January 2011. Although those four API calls are still working till October, developers should have noticed that the deprecated API calls and related schema have been removed from the public WSDL and XSD files. Related documentation has also been removed. These calls are also being removed from SDKs.  For adoption of newer version SDKs after April 2011, the deprecated types will no longer be accessible. A warning message will be returned by these API calls after June 2011, indicating the API is scheduled to be removed. Your application might be broken if it doesn’t follow eBay requirements for error handling. The search capabilities provided by these calls are supported in the Finding API. If you're building new search applications, start with the Finding API. If you have applications that use these calls, please migrate your item search functions to the Finding API.


Why Finding API?

The Finding API leverages eBay’s next generation search technology and have been designed to provide greater flexibility, better performance and scalability. Increased search relevancy and parity with the eBay site search features are some of the highlights of the new API. The latest Best Match and Fitment algorithms are available in Finding API. A series of benchmark testing has been conducted that shows on par performance of Finding API to the Shopping API (FindItemsAdvanced & FindItems); and significant improvement over the Trading API (GetSearchResults & GetCategoryListings).

The following are the functionalities and features added by Finding API for item searches:

1.       Retrieve aspect histograms and filter by aspects and/or domains – supply data by item attributes which enables eBay site alike left navigation as well as search refinement by applying constraints aligned with eBay search classification.

2.       Support new search capabilities:

  • Item Condition histogram and filters
  • Restrict searches to as many as 3 categories at a time
  • Expedited Shipping filters
  • Top-Rated Sellers Only filter
  • Returns Accepted Only filter


3.       Image Search API (findItemsByImage): expend eBay’s capabilities in fashion to developers for the “More Like This” functionality.

4.       Three sizes of gallery image: 140x140, 96x96, 80x80 that users can choose to use based on their application’s needs.

As our commitment to the Developer Community, we are always working continuously and diligently to enable the latest, high performance, world-class eBay search technology and features to Finding API. Enhancements to picture URL, Multi-variations, LocatedIn etc. filters and more will be released in May.


How to Migrate to Finding API?

The following migration guides map input and output fields for GetSearchResults in the Trading API and FindItemsAdvanced in the Shopping API to the corresponding input and output fields in findItemsAdvanced in the Finding API:

Please contact us for questions or more information on Finding API or migration.



April 7, 2011 in Affiliates, Critical Notes from Tech Support, Developer Website, Documentation, Finding API, Shopping API, Trading API | Permalink

Upload properly formatted payload files for Large Merchant Services (LMS) jobs

LMS jobs would hang or take too long if the uploaded payload file contained the requests on very few lines. Such jobs also negatively impacted the execution times of other jobs that were being processed.

In order to avoid this situation, the LMS team has implemented a feature to proactively detect and reject payload files that do not have line breaks (>20000 chars on a single line). This feature will be turned on in production during the week of 4th of April 2011.

Call for action: Please ensure that you incorporate line breaks between requests to avoid this situation. Also make sure that individual requests are properly formatted and are not on a single line.

April 4, 2011 in Best Practices, Critical Notes from Tech Support, Large Merchant Services | Permalink

Major Change to Large Merchant Services: UTF-8 encoding is required starting Feb 14, 2011

Important Announcement

Beginning 2011-02-14, Large Merchant Services will require all input files to be UTF-8 encoded. Other encodings (e.g. ISO-8859-1) will not be rejected by the system, but some characters may not be rendered correctly on the View Item page.


Please make the required changes in your application.



eBay Developer Technical Support Team

February 2, 2011 in Best Practices, Business News, Critical Notes from Tech Support, Developer Community, Large Merchant Services | Permalink | Comments (0)

Rate Limit Changes to Shopping, Finding, and Merchandising API

To manage your call limits better, eBay is changing the basis for rate limiting API usage for the Shopping, Finding and Merchandising APIs. Starting March 1, 2011, call usage will be measured by application instead of IP address. The call counts will be aggregated for your application based on the AppID used to make the request, rather than the IP address from which the request is coming.

What does this mean to you?

If your application is making more than 5,000 calls a day, go through the compatible application check to get your call limits increased to prevent any disruption to your application.

January 7, 2011 in Best Practices, Critical Notes from Tech Support, Developer Community, Finding API, Merchandising API, Shopping API | Permalink

Mismatched CONTENT-TYPE Will Now Cause Call Failure

As of January 15, 2010, eBay evaluates the CONTENT-TYPE header against the request payload format. If the CONTENT-TYPE value is incorrect for the payload, the request will fail. Previously, eBay did not validate the CONTENT-TYPE header in requests.

This HTTP header is optional. If you do not submit the CONTENT-TYPE header with your request, eBay will determine the content type from the payload.

The following table lists the correct CONTENT-TYPE header values for HTTP POST request formats:

Request Payload Format

Content-Type Value






text/xml (in conjection with SOAPAction header being sent - value can be anything)

See File Transfer Service: Making An API Call for more information about the call format for the File Transfer API.

January 22, 2010 in Critical Notes from Tech Support, Finding API, Large Merchant Services | Permalink

eBay Update on Weekend Site Restoration – Lorrie Norrington, President, eBay

Update on yesterday's posting (copied from eBay Announcements) about the weekend site restoration:

"On Saturday we fixed a software issue that resulted in a disruption to our site.  Because this was an isolated incident and not systemic, we were able to correct the problem and resume normal operations. By Sunday, the site was performing well in stress tests, handling increased activity levels throughout the day.

While we’re confident that we remedied the software problem and that it won’t reoccur, we deeply regret the impact it had on the eBay community. To minimize the impact, we’re working to ensure that sellers and buyers whose transactions were affected by the disruptions will be made as whole as possible. This includes listing fee refunds and protection against negative or neutral buyer feedback as well as detailed seller ratings (DSRs) lower than 5 stars for impacted sellers, and coupons for buyers of items that were impacted by the disruption.  

To the eBay community, you have our most sincere apologies for the disruption and inconvenience caused by the software problem … and our commitment to continuing to provide the best marketplace for sellers and the best deals for buyers."

Lorrie Norrington
President, eBay

November 25, 2009 in Business News, Critical Notes from Tech Support, Developer Community | Permalink

Important Security Update:

This is Kumar Kandaswamy, and I manage the eBay Developers Program. I'd like you to read this important message about account safety.

The safety and security of the eBay Developers Program is a top priority. While we believe that people are basically good, we also must live with the reality that there are fraudsters out there who have made it their illicit "profession" to find ways to exploit others on the Internet.

Occasionally, fraudsters attempt to gain unauthorized access to the eBay Developers Program. eBay has recently identified a means by which someone could gain access to eBay Developers Program account information. This type of access DOES NOT allow the capture of financial or other sensitive information, such as credit card or bank account information or Social Security numbers.  Fortunately, we have not detected any unusual activity with any Developer account.

Out of an abundance of caution and to help ensure the security of the eBay Developers Program, we are requiring that all developers take the following steps:

  • Take advantage of our new, stricter password standards and change your eBay Developers Program ( passwords. It is not necessary to change eBay ( passwords.

If you believe you or your customers have been the victim of fraudulent activity, contact us immediately at

Kumar Kandaswamy

August 10, 2009 in Business News, Critical Notes from Tech Support, Developer Website | Permalink

Reminder: Breaking Change: GTC Listings must Include Return Policy and Handling Time Starting Mid-September

Just a reminder that we rolled out the requirement to specify Return Policy and Handling Time in two phases. The first phase, where they are required for new and relisted items, was enforced in June. The second phase, where they are required for Good Til Canceled (GTC) listings, will be enforced in mid-September.

In mid-September, when GTC listings are renewed, they will be checked for Return Policy and Handling Time. If they are not included, the listing will break.

It is likely that you have some customers that will break if they do not take any action. Please make sure that your application supports Return Policy and Handling Time in the structured data, and that your sellers are specifying it. If Return Policy and Handling Time is mentioned only in the Item Description and not the structured data, it will not count toward enforcement and the listing will break.

Also, if you have a lot of listings to update, make sure that you have left enough time to make the updates by the compliance deadline of mid-September. Your bandwidth constraints may limit you in how many revisions you can do in a day, so you may need to start your revisions as early as mid-August to make sure you have enough time to do all the revisions.

Note: Return Policy and Handling Time are not required in categories like Vehicles or Parts & Accessories.

For more information on how to specify Return Policy and Handling Time, see the API Documentation on Return Policy and Handling Time.

July 29, 2009 in Best Practices, Business News, Critical Notes from Tech Support, Product News, Trading API | Permalink

Reminder: Don't Lose your Recent Sales Score

It's important to manage your listings to maintain your Recent Sales score. Having strong Recent Sales can give you a promotion in Best Match.

Editing a Live Listing

There has been some confusion about how to avoid resetting a listing's Recent Sales score. These are the only edits that that will reset the Recent Sales score:

  • Increase price
  • Change title
  • Remove item condition
  • Change category

Updating Item Description, Quantity, and so on will NOT reset your Recent Sales score.

Relisting an Item

The ONLY way to maintain the Recent Sales score for a relisted item is to use RelistItem, and include the ItemID of the original item. Some developers use RelistItem only in cases where they know the seller will get a relist credit. You should use RelistItem in ALL cases, so you get the maximum benefit of recent sales on the item.

In addition, you should relist as soon as the original item ends, to take best advantage of the moving window for Recent Sales calculation.

Also, a multi-quantity listing has more impact on Recent Sales than a single-quantity item, so single-quantity listings should be combined when possible. You'll save on listing fees too!

For listings with multiple variations, RelistFixedPriceItem will help you carry over your Recent Sales score.

June 25, 2009 in Critical Notes from Tech Support, Product News | Permalink