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What are Item Specifics?
Item Specifics are typical aspects of items in a category. Item Specifics enable you to classify items by presenting descriptive details in a structured way. eBay currently supports two underlying models for Item Specifics.
1. Custom Item Specifics/Seller tags: This model is based on name/value pairs (simple strings). Sellers choose from a list of the most popular field names and values defined by other users, and/or define their own field names and values. API call: GetCategorySpecifics
2. ID-Based Attributes: This is a numeric ID-based model. Sellers choose from a list of pre-defined field names and values defined by eBay and they can occasionally fill in their own value in an "Other" field.
API calls: GetCategory2CS, GetAttributeCS
eBay is beginning to convert some categories that previously supported ID-based attributes to only support custom Item Specifics instead. Examples of converted categories on the US eBay site (site ID 0)
* 60188 (Wigs, AttributeSetID 1250)
* 2993 (Men's Belts, AttributeSetID 21)
* 45515 (Curtains, AttributeSetID 2202)
How will I know if a category has been converted?
Make a call to GetCategoryFeatures. If it returns ItemSpecificsEnabled as Enabled, it means that the category has custom item specifics enabled. You can then make a call to GetCategorySpecifics (use version >= 609) to retrieve the recommended item specifics. (*NOTE: Be sure you are looking for ItemSpecificsEnabled in the Category container and NOT the SiteDefaults container)
How do these changes affect my listings?
If a category has been converted, it enters into a transition period where you can pass either ID-based attributes (Item.AttributeSetArray) or custom Item Specifics (Item.ItemSpecifics) in the AddItem family of calls. You can not pass both formats in the same AddItem request. For the converted categories, if you pass in ID-based attributes in AddItem, eBay will convert them to custom Item Specifics during transition. Once this transition period has ended, AddItem requests with ID-based attributes will fail.
How do I know if the transition period has ended?
Make a call to GetCategoryFeatures. If it returns AttributeConversionEnabled as "Disabled", then this category will no longer support ID-based attributes and all AddItem call to that category with ID-based attributes will fail.
I have a buying application and I use the GetItem call to read Item Specifics data. What do I need to do to keep my application upto date?
You might want to check for both Item.ItemSpecifics and Item.AttributeSetArray in the response. Make sure you send in IncludeItemSpecifics when you make the call to GetItem. Here is what you can expect -
i) If the category supports ID-based Attributes, then GetItem will return Item.AttributeSetArray.
ii) If the item is listed in two categories, where one category supports custom Item Specifics and the other is Attribute-enabled, then GetItem could return both Item.ItemSpecifics and Item.AttributeSetArray, regardless of the request version.
iii) If the category supports custom Item Specifics, then GetItem normally only returns Item.ItemSpecifics for that category, although it may also return the Item Condition in Item.AttributeSetArray. However, two edge cases may occur when an item was listed while the category was Attribute-enabled, and the category was subsequently converted:
a) With request version >= 609, GetItem may return both Item.ItemSpecifics and Item.AttributeSetArray
b) With request version < 609, GetItem may only return Item.AttributeSetArray.
*NOTE: ID-based Attributes will be completely deprecated for the US and eBayMotors site Q3 2012