eBay Dumping Specific Phone And Game Categories (But Don’t Panic)

Latest odd change from the world of eBay: from August 22, it will be cutting back on its categories to “make it easier for international buyers to find items”. The three big areas where this might potentially impact Lifehacker readers are in mobile phones, modems and games. However, while the changes appear to offer less choices, there’s not really any need to panic.

As part of the category changes, eBay will be getting rid of individual categories for mobile phone brands (such as Apple, HTC or Nokia) and merging them all into a general “mobile phones” category. In the same way, it will be dumping individual categories for games consoles and games themselves, and getting rid of brand-specific categories for 3G modems (such as iBurst and Unwired models) and general modems (with ADSL2+ disappearing as a category).

That change would seem to hint at a universe where sellers will find their auctions drowning in a sea of other unrelated entries and consumers won’t be able to find the items they want. However, I just chatted to eBay’s local operation and was told that even though the categories will be disappearing, buyers will still be able to filter their selection by brand or platform. In other words, you’ll still be able to go to the mobile phones category and then ask to see just iPhones; eBay will just work that out from the item description rather than the overall category.

In theory, that should also mean less work for sellers, as they won’t have to drill so deep into the category structure when listing. That said, we won’t really know how effective the change is until August 22. Does it seem like a good move to you?


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