question

tapdevelop avatar image
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tapdevelop asked

Search in categories (category_ids) - Does not work since 2022-01-14 22:20 UTC

Since 2022-01-14 22:20 UTC we are getting inconclusive results for queries within categories (category_ids) and we had to (hopefully temporarily) suspend our service.

API:

/buy/browse/v1/item_summary/search

Example:

/buy/browse/v1/item_summary/search?q=casio&limit=100&category_ids=281&sort=newlyListed&filter=buyingOptions:{AUCTION|BEST_OFFER|FIXED_PRICE}

Problem:
The above search also returns items that are in different categories than 281, which wasn't the case before 2022-01-14 22:20 UTC.

Question:
Did you experience the same problem? Is there a possible fix or is it a problem on eBay's side?

buyapiitem_summary searchbrowse
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progressconcepts avatar image progressconcepts commented ·

I am seeing the same issue. It seems sporadic, in that upon some requests I am seeing expected data, but other occasions return data from any category (when using same API request).

Looking at the response data, it seems that whenever it works, within each instance of itemSummaries there is an array of categories, but when the response contains items from any category, there is no categories array within the response.

I have actually seen this occurring a few times over the past week or so, but has just become a frequent issue in the past 24 hours.

Really feel this issue is on eBay's side.

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wemakeitallwork avatar image
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wemakeitallwork answered

Same issue. eBay returning listings outside specified category. Sometimes outside of search term too. Happens frequently, however, not all the time. How does one report the issue to eBay?

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progressconcepts answered

As mentioned earlier:

I am seeing the same issue. It seems sporadic, in that upon some requests I am seeing expected data, but other occasions return data from any category (when using same API request).

Looking at the response data, it seems that whenever it works, within each instance of itemSummaries there is an array of categories, but when the response contains items from any category, there is no categories array within the response.

I have actually seen this occurring a few times over the past week or so, but has just become a frequent issue in the past 24 hours.

I can also see (when a category is set on the search) the sporadic return of a warning 'errorId = 12009; message = "The 'category_ids' query parameter is invalid.";'

The url being called on the API is the same each time though.

Every time I get the error, the categories element from each item is missing in the response.

If I run a search without a category filter I generally get the categories element back on each item, but on around the same frequency as the other calls fail I will see the categories element missing. In this scenario there is no warning though (as there is no category_ids parameter).

Really feel this issue is on eBay's side. Likely some issue with selected API endpoints having either odd category code, or perhaps no category data?

There is a reporting option on the developer site. I intend to raise a ticket there, but that will be a job for tomorrow, as they only work pacific time Mon - Fri.

In the meantime, I have patched my code to work around this malformed data.

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tapdevelop answered

Thanks for your feedback @progressconcepts and @wemakeitallwork. The problem still persists.

@progressconcepts where exactly is the reporting option located? The only way I know so far is via premium support.

In addition to the remarks of @progressconcepts:
Some of the items returned by /item_summary/search don't have categories, whereas /item/get_item_by_legacy_id shows that they are indeed assigned to at least one category (the response only shows one category although there might be several!).
In our case, it doesn't matter whether a search with /item_summary/search contains a category or not. The response can contain items without categories with either method.

In addition to the randomly missing categories: This also applies to other values such as price or seller. The API is inconsistent and each field must be checked for existence!

Just a random remark: Why does 65 KB of data have to be transferred per item if, for example, you are only interested in the end date? A concept like GraphQL might be a solution here.

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wemakeitallwork avatar image
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wemakeitallwork answered

Yes, how does one report issues without paying for premium support?

About six months ago, I detected an issue with currency conversion and I didn't know how to report it. Maybe it's been resolved, however, I haven't confirmed recently.

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progressconcepts answered

The only way I know of raising an issue is via premium support (which is what I have used).

Yes, I also see the get_item return a category. To me, it looks like there is an issue is related to the search side of the API.

I am finding I either see all entries contain categories element, or none contain categories element, and each time it is in line with the issue occurring (or not).

I haven't looked for the missing price or seller... I will try and look at this later. Do you see this tie in with the missing categories?

@tapdevelop @wemakeitallwork

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tapdevelop answered

I cannot confirm that there is a direct correlation between the missing values and the missing categories. It happened regularly before the problem with searching in categories appeared.

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progressconcepts answered

Interesting. I guess I will let this ticket run and then can consider this later.


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wemakeitallwork avatar image
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wemakeitallwork answered

When testing using the API Explorer against the Production environment, I see the following:

This API call intermittently generates a "warning":

https://api.ebay.com/buy/browse/v1/item_summary/search?q=moffa&category_ids=619

"warnings": [

{

"errorId": 12009,

"domain": "API_BROWSE",

"category": "REQUEST",

"message": "The 'category_ids' query parameter is invalid."

}

]

In this case, the returned listings do contain the search term "moffa", however they DO NOT CONTAIN categoryId 619. I have verified: eBay listings associated with the category I requested were excluded from the returned results! Very odd.

-

If I repeatedly "execute" the API call, it will work correctly most of the time (>90%), and the returned listings will all contain "categoryId": "619". However, eventually, it will generate the warning and return incorrect listings.

-
Something else: this behavior occurs only with certain search terms. For example, If I use the search term "ibanez", the API call always works. In fact, in my app, the vast majority of search terms used do not cause this issue. Why would certain search terms cause this issue?


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tapdevelop answered

Based on our experience and the experience of other users, we can conclude that the problem is caused by eBay. The problem has existed since January 14, 2022 and has not yet been resolved.

Despite workarounds on our part, the result of the search is unsatisfactory and unpredictable in the current state.


Interestingly, a Browse API entry on the API Status page (https://developer.ebay.com/support/api-status) was made at pretty much the same time the category issues started appearing:
2021-01-15 00:54:34 GMT+0100 "RESOLVED- eBay APIs returning 404 error intermittently"

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progressconcepts answered

I have just submitted different examples of this to support, along with success and failure of each, as they were unable to replicate.

I can confirm as @wemakeitallwork mentioned, that this issue occurs in the API explorer too. Indeed I did a search using the sample 'Using Keyword Category ID' and that also experienced the same issue.

Further to @tapdevelop comments, I actually saw this start around 10th or 11th January 2022, although it seemed to become much more problematic between 14th & 15th January 2022.

Also, the ref you made to the Browse API status page seems to be from January 2021, and looks to be the last entry for the Browse API when I am looking. Or am I not seeing the full status history?

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