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Technical overview

Using the Browse API, you can create a rich selection of items for your buyers to browse with keyword and category searches.

Browse API resources

The Browse API has the following resources:

  • item_summary:
    • Search for items. You can search by keyword, image ID (a Base64 string), category, product, GTIN, or charity ID.
    • Return refinements that enable you to create histograms.
    • Filter the result by field values, item aspects, and compatibility.
    • Search for an item or a group of items based on an image ID (a Base64 string) search.
  • item:
    • Retrieve the details of a specific item.
    • Retrieve the details of all the individual items in an item group (variations). An item group is an item that has various aspect differences, such as color, size, storage capacity, etc.
    • Check if the listing is available for purchase by reviewing the itemEndDate and estimatedAvailabilityStatus fields. If the item has an EndDate in the past, the listing should not be pulled in.
    • Check if a product is compatible with the specified item, such as if a specific car is compatible with a specific part.
    • Retrieve the available payment methods for an item, including the payment method types, brands, and instructions for the buyer.
    • Retrieve the RESTful API item ID using a legacy API item ID.

Business use cases

The Browse API is designed to be used together with the Buy APIs to create cohesive shopping, browsing, buying applications. For example, your buyers can have a seamless buying experience woven into a social application. This section outlines the high-level use cases for the Browse API. For details, see the Integration Guide.

Find eBay items using search

You can find exactly the items you want to show to your shoppers by searching for items by keyword, category, eBay product ID (EPID), GTIN, or image, and charity ID. You can also search for compatible item or check compatibility of an item.

Refine the search results

You can control what is returned by the search using the fieldgroups field. By default, search returns matching items. But in addition to or instead of returning items, you can choose to return the aspects (all the variations of an item such and color and size), buying options (fixed or auction), conditions, and categories of the items found. These are known as refinements. This information enables you to create histograms, which enables shoppers to drill down in each refinement narrowing the search results.

Filter the search results by item aspects

You can use the information returned in aspectDistributions to filter the results by specific aspects (aspect_filter), such as brand. You can also filter the results by items that are compatible with a specific product (compatibility_filter).

Filter the search results by field values

You can use field filters to refine the results based on the value returned in a field, such as listing format, item condition, price range, UPC value, listing end date, location, seller, and more. You can use multiple filters in a single method. For details about, see Buy API Field Filters.

Get the details of each item in a group or a specific item

When the item has variations, you can retrieve the details of the individual items in an item group. You can also retrieve the details of a specific item.

Get item details using a legacy item ID or SKU

You can use the item IDs returned by eBay legacy APIs, such as Shopping and Finding, to retrieve the details of the item and the RESTful item ID, which you can use with all the Buy API methods.

API restrictions

Please note the following constraints for the Browse API.

Identifier incompatibility

The Buy APIs identifiers for item and order do not match the identifiers used on the eBay site and in buyer emails. So you cannot use the Buy APIs identifiers with any of the eBay legacy APIs, such as Finding. But you can use the eBay legacy item identifiers in the Browse API getItemByLegacyId method to retrieve items. For details, see the Legacy API compatibility in the Buying Integration Guide.

Regional/site constraints

For a list of the supported eBay sites for all the Buy APIs, see Buy API Support by Marketplace.

To specify the site, set the X-EBAY-C-MARKETPLACE-ID request header to the site. For example:


Search method restrictions

The following restrictions apply to the search and searchByImage methods:

  • Only FIXED_PRICE (Buy It Now) items are returned by default. However, these methods do return items where both FIXED_PRICE and AUCTION are available as a buying option. After a bid has been placed, items become active auction items and are no longer returned by default, but they remain accessible by filtering for the AUCTION buying option.

  • The search methods can return a maximum of 10,000 items in a result set. A result set is the complete set of items returned by a method.
  • You cannot use a wildcard (*) in search method requests. For example, the following is not allowed:


eBay policies and rules

Although the eBay Buy APIs are available for anyone to use in eBay's sandbox environment, use of the APIs in production is restricted. Users must meet standard eligibility requirements, get approvals from eBay support organizations, and sign contracts with eBay to access the Buy APIs in production.

See Production eligibility requirements in the Buying Integration Guide for more information.

Rate limits

The Browse API limits the number of calls that can be made per day on behalf of your application. For the current application rate limits, see the eBay API Call Limits page.