eBay’s Commerce APIs provide access to core capabilities that are commonly used in conjunction with searching, buying, selling and other commerce activities.


Taxonomy API (Beta) for eBay Category Data

The Taxonomy API (beta) returns the category data for the specified eBay marketplace, to enable you to understand eBay’s listing category structure.

  • Sellers use the Taxonomy API to properly categorize their listings.
  • Buyers use the Taxonomy API to quickly discover the categories that their desired items belong to.

The Taxonomy API gives you a variety of integration options, such as:

  • View the taxonomy (names, IDs, hierarchy etc.) of each eBay category
  • View the relationships between parent and child categories in a nested structure that is easy to understand and traverse
  • Retrieve and cache the taxonomy for an entire category tree (per eBay marketplace), which is useful if you prefer to optimize your API call volume by storing eBay category data locally, and then manage subsequent lookups on your own servers (e.g., to support multiple sellers or buyers)
  • Retrieve and cache the taxonomy for category subtrees or specific categories, which is useful to reduce the amount of data you retrieve and store, and when your application only needs to list or search in a few categories
  • Make fast, real-time calls to retrieve the taxonomy for specific categories, which is useful when you prefer not to store the data locally, or to update your cache on demand only
  • Retrieve category suggestions by entering keywords or phrases while listing inventory or discovering categories to browse in

For an overview of the Taxonomy API, see the Taxonomy API documentation.


Catalog API (Beta) for eBay product information

The Catalog API (beta) returns product information. Use the Catalog API to assist sellers in finding the products in the eBay catalog that correspond to items the sellers want to offer for sale. Sellers can use the eBay product identifier (epid) for matching products to list items and eBay populates the listings with information from the eBay catalog. This simplifies the listing process for sellers and helps shape eBay's product-based shopping experience for buyers.

Before creating an eBay listing for an item, use the search call to find matching products. You can request refinement data, which includes histogram information for all aspects of a category that eBay recommends or that you specify. Present the histogram data to the seller to select aspect values that match their items, then use those values to filter the search results. You can narrow your choices by identifying one or more categories for the product, and keywords to search for in the product records, which will return candidate product summaries to present to the seller for confirmation.

If a seller cannot confirm a matching product for their item based on product summaries, use the getProduct call to retrieve all available details about individual products, and present those details to the seller to select a matching product. These details include the product's title and description, aspects and their values, associated images, applicable category IDs, and other standard product identifiers that apply to the product.

For an overview of the Catalog API, see the Catalog API documentation.

Traditional eBay Category Hierarchy APIs

The Trading and Shopping APIs contain older-style operations for retrieving category metadata.

  • Sellers use the Trading API category metadata calls to build a model of the eBay category hierarchy, to properly categorize their listings.
  • Buyers use GetCategoryInfo in the Shopping API to understand the categories where items are listed.

When you use the Trading API category metadata calls:

  • You download metadata using GetCategories, GetCategoryFeatures, GetCategorySpecifics, GetSuggestedCategories, and GetCategoryMappings. These calls separately define the entire category tree, the rules and policies for sets of categories, and certain types of recommendations.
  • You traverse and parse the data from the metadata calls, and build a model of the relationships within your own application, including:
    • The taxonomy (names, IDs, rules and policies, etc.) of each eBay category
    • The relationships between parent and child categories
  • You can either retrieve, cache, and build a composite view of the metadata for an entire category tree (per eBay site), or for specific categories or meta-categories (departments).
  • You can also leverage version control for some of the metadata calls, to reduce your API call volume.

For more information, see Applying Categories in the Trading API documentation.

Other Useful Category Resources

These eBay pages provide additional information about working with categories on eBay: