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AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Thu Sept 19 2013 22:07:20

Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search

By: Julia Wilkinson
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Some eBay sellers are lamenting that with both the influx of new auction-style listings from the "million-item" promotion and also with eBay's recent notice about no promises being made that your item will ever actually show up in search results, their sales are down from where they usually are. And, of course, the question is begged, how might they get them back up?

There are no easy answers, but I was looking over info on the various ways Cassini works - Ina wrote "Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search"
last October, for example; and Terapeak has an interesting article under "Terapeak How-To: Crucial Factors in eBay Search for the New Cassini Platform," and it made me realize (and remember) some things. One of the things Cassini looks at is how fast you turn things over. So while in the past it may not have mattered if you had 5000 things listed, but only a small percentage of them selling regularly, these days those stale listings can drag you down.

Here are a few things you can try:

- Try ending, then relisting or doing a "Sell Similar" on an item that's stale.

How long until an item is stale? That depends on a lot of things, but one rule of thumb that was thrown out was a year, so an item can be exposed to all four seasons.

- Send out a mailing to your customers. If you don't have a mailing  list, think about creating one.

There's eBay's Store newsletter, sure, but if you get people interested in your types of products to opt-in to listening to what you have to say, you can communicate with them directly without worrying whether Cassini sees your stuff or not. If you don't have your own mailing list yet, try creating a simple blog about your niche, and make it fun and info-filled so it's not just a sales pitch. Include a link on the blog to your newsletter.

- Try the Markdown Manager. No one said you had to slash prices 50%; even a small cut may make a difference. While I do not know exactly how Cassini reacts to Markdown Manager sales, I know it usually helps my own sales.

- List more items. Duh, right? But the key is to make them items that will likely sell soon, and without losing money or breaking even on them.

- Add a "Best Offer" to any fixed-price listings that don't have it, if you have the margin.

I've personally seen an uptick in offers on my high-end items, and they're even not insultingly low! But for the listings I have now, I refuse to consider them "stale" until we get through the holiday season.

What strategies work for you? Have you noticed a sales slowdown since the "million-item" promotion? Or, are you starting to see the beginning of a holiday pick up? Post a comment here!
Reading AuctionBytes Blog: Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search
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Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search   Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search
This user has validated their user name. by: Ric
       
Sat Sep 21 15:05:48 2013
@ Basset who said: Strangely, before Cassini took over, it seemed like the less inventory I kept listed, the better my sales. Doesn't make sense, but I experienced a better sell through rate with less. I'm not sure if this applies with Cassini.



OOAK items require a slightly different thought process while trying to achieve the same goal for sell through rate.


When you had fewer items listed you found you sold more.

Sell through rate is calculated as items sold divided by the number of items ended for the period.

This should still work with Cassini. 100 items listed with 10 sales is a 10% sell through rate.

List fewer items, say 40, and sell 10, then your sell through rate climbs to 25%.


Subscribe to eBay's sales report and set it up so you receive a weekly report. Your sell through rate will be shown in the report to make it easier to see your progress.



While it is not always easy to to know in advance if an OOAK item will sell, it is much easier to know what did not sell. Managing items that did not sell is important.

So, when items end without a sale, do not relist it right away, let it fall out of index for a while so Cassini forgets it did not sell and try listing a different item with a freshly reworked title and description instead.

When you have a couple of good sell through weeks, add a few more slower selling items to your live listings to take advantage of the visibility bump you will likely receive, again making sure you have fresh titles, description, and pricing.


Another theory to try with slow selling OOAK items.

Remember that Cassini has a one size fits all mentality with regard to "free shipping". Cassini is biased against items with calculated shipping and they will rank lower in search.

With a slow moving OOAK item, instead of reducing the price to sell it off, apply the markdown against the cost of shipping, then reprice the item to include shipping to the farthest destination. Even though your item will have a slightly higher price, it will likely get a visibility boost because of the favoritism Cassini applies to items listed with "free shipping".

If your item then sells to a closer destination, you have the option to give the buyer a partial refund ( which will delight your buyer), or accept the higher profit.
Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search   Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search
by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.
       
Sat Sep 21 16:07:23 2013
Scratch ads- re-do your ads from scratch folks and you will get much better exposure.
MH
Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search   Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search
by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.
       
Sat Sep 21 16:26:17 2013
The only TRUUE way to avoid being invisible is to LIST ON OTHER SITES.
MH
Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search   Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search
by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.
       
Sat Sep 21 17:07:09 2013
I list on Ebay once a month for sure.  That listing is for our Nibblefest Art Contest - a contest open to all and run by Ebay artists for the past 10 years.  Starting price is always 99 cents with no reserve.  Generally, to see all the entries one just puts NFAC in search and it brings up the entries.  This month....sometimes it brings them up and sometimes it doesn't.  Just sayin...
Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search   Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search
This user has validated their user name. by: Map
       
Sat Sep 21 17:09:59 2013
@ Massachusets Howler

Sir you are probably correct.

Ebay says Sell similar. But I think the CSR agents know either so they say sell similr because that's what they heard to say.

Have a question that you may know more about with this topic of sell similar VRS scratch listing.

Could you check this info. Turbo Lister keeps records of your listings from the time of creating them till the time they end. During the life of that listing all edits, and history of GTC relist are kept. Also any policy violations with in that listing are kept in the life span record of that listing.

On the sellers computer are turbo lister files called .TDB

In those files are the programming code for each active and sold listing going back 90 days.

Code is not something i know much about. I was able to observe description which were made when the listing was created and i knew it was an history record being kept because i had edited my descriptions and knew right away ebay was keeping detailed record in the .TDB files.

I tested to see if the files were isolated to my copy of turbo lister or if the record was being kept at ebay.

I then uninstalled turbo lister and deleted all associated files with the program. then re installed turbo lister and synchronized and downloaded all my listings from ebay. The records were all the same. Long history of every active listing from the time it was created along with record of edits.

I uninstalled TL and deleted all files 3 more times to see if i got the same results and i did.

What do you think?
Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search   Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search
by: nsc This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Sun Sep 22 02:35:56 2013
Mass Howler is right. Both Sell Similar and Relist create listings with a back-pointer to the originating listing, making it easier for Cassini to treat the listings differently. I use a third-party lister to create NEW listings from unsold OOAK listings. I find they definitely get a bump in views when they are first listed, showing that ebay doesn't realize they have been listed before.
Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search   Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search
This user has validated their user name. by: Marie
       
Sun Sep 22 03:05:25 2013
I don't think there is any way to avoid being invisible for the searches.  When it is your time, it is just your time.  Period.  

I do most everything Ebay suggest.  TRS, one day handling, good return policy, free shipping on the majority of my listings, good keywords, etc.  

In July my sales were a lot lower than normal for July.

In August they were a lot higher. This is a month that is normally my worst of the year, but this year it will turn out to be one of my highest.

Now September.  It's a sad sad state of affairs.  Lower than I've ever seen for a September.

This has been happening for months now.  One or two really bad months, then a really good one.  Then it starts all over again.

So while they tell you all the things they want you doing for a boost in the searches, IMHO you only get those boosts every now and again.  Most of the time buyers probably won't even know you exist.
Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search   Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search
This user has validated their user name. by: Basset
       
Sun Sep 22 09:24:12 2013
I see what Ric is sayin on the inventory. I may start holding some back.

I re-list older stuff a few at a time as a new listing. If I re-take & refresh the photos its just as easy to redo the whole listing.  Some sell right away. But I have also been selling some of my older items (6 mo = older) without refreshing them. It goes in spurts.

The ''free'' ship Cassini boost may not work the same for everyone, tho. It SHOULD but when I tried it on one account, sales plummeted. Back to separate & sales went up. But then my separated ship cost is not that high.

A few others on here mention the same experience while others have the opposite.  I was also reading another blog  where the eBay seller tried the same experiment I did, only more recently. Same results - sales plummeted. Back to separate shipping & sales back up.

If you ship first class you are not talking about a huge bump in price if you go to ''free'' ship & include shipping in price.  So either any boost is applied unevenly, or it changes by category, but it appears not everyone gets it.

I do have some ''free'' ship items on a different account in a different category. I can't tell any difference in views & so far I have not sold any ''free'' shipping items, only separated. For me, the value of ''free'' is questionable. My eBay sales dance muumuu is just as effective.


Marie is probably spot on - if it is your time to be invisible, then it is your time.

Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search   Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search
This user has validated their user name. by: Map
       
Sun Sep 22 10:04:31 2013
Also on the same topic.

One of my competitors that i watch does incredibly well and i have never figured out what he is doing to get seen in search.

This seller is not TRS nor does he offer free shipping on most listings.

The key thing that always sticks out is that he does not have a store subscription.

So he is paying full price for listings.

By looking at his feed back score it does not appear that he was affected by loss of sales & visibility a year ago unlike so many other sellers are reporting.

On Friday i quizzed a ebay CSR agent about dropping my store subscription and pay full price for listings. The agent stumbled on the question and gave me the answer not to do it. I Got the impression by his response that would be loss of revenue for ebay verses the well being of my sales.
Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search   Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search
by: OldCrabapple This user has validated their user name.
       
Sun Sep 22 12:01:49 2013
I have tweaked til my tweaker is sore, makes no difference.
If cassini has covered you with the cloak of invisibility, there is no remedy, no workaround.  
Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search   Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search
by: midcenturygallery This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Sun Sep 22 12:52:47 2013
We have tried just about everything as well to fix traffic/ sales. I am soo sick of it. We even created a new account to test that but I think ebay linked the accounts so sales were the same there. Funny thing is my fiance has an account she hasn't had very long and no top rated seller or anything else and her visibility/ sales seems to be fine. So the fix may be to go out find someone to sell your stuff just make sure they create the account from a different household/ business address.
Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search   Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search
by: subsonic17 This user has validated their user name.
       
Sun Sep 22 13:35:22 2013
*spit* in one hand. put a million free invisible listings in the other. see which one fills up faster...

cassini = cantseeme = cansleazeme

p'toohie
Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search   Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search
This user has validated their user name. by: Map
       
Sun Sep 22 14:14:27 2013
@midcenturygallery

linked accounts is a very serious thing. I have been round and round with ebay about linked accounts. My mom moved in with us and her account became linked to our account. Her account is good but in our many tweeking attempts we closed her account and sales got slightly better.

Over the 4 years that I have had employees working for me, some of these employees logged into their ebay accounts while at my shop. Their accounts are now linked to my account.

Now many of those former employees of mine if their account falls below standard that it will harm my account. Ebay has told me that is a fact but they will not tell me who's accounts are linked to mine so i must guess. They tell me the total count but not the names.

This is a security threat to my account that i should have full access to the information.

Ebay does not have any warning or publish information about linked accounts or any information about how linked accounts may affect your selling limits, that I have found.

So Back to my theory of global Socialism!

Your household can only make so much because the new ebay has made a "level playing field"

Diamond sellers get to make big sales because that is the level playing field for their class, not your class the "small seller" class.

What we get in sales as a small seller ebay thinks is totally fair and just.

That is why selling limits were fully enforced to all accounts last year.

New accounts have selling limits of 10 items per month and $1000 total.

Some one have fun starting a business from scratch today on ebay. it is impossible.
Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search   Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search
by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.
       
Sun Sep 22 15:22:16 2013
@Map. ''the new ebay has made a ''level playing field'' You're absolutely wrong. It's not a level playing field. It's gamed for a particular group of sellers at the top. You're ''Global Socialism'' theory couldn't be more off-base.
Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search   Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search
This user has validated their user name. by: Basset
       
Sun Sep 22 16:09:50 2013
@Map

I experience the same as you. Multiple accounts have about the same total monthly sales (added together) as the original account did when it was the sole account.

Someone else had commented on having this experience several months ago, so when I added extra accounts to fit different categories - I was prepared for sales to stay the same.
Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search   Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search
by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.
       
Sun Sep 22 16:24:09 2013
It all goes back to the old extensive experiments I ran about 6 months ago.
Relist gave less exposure each time, relist doesn't do it either. The only thing to improve visability in cassini is to re-do the listing from scratch- this is a HELLUVA lot of work to be seen each week and it will KILL YOU, but you will get sales.

Let us PLEASE not re-visit this as we have already covered it, with cassini at full tilt now the experiments are as valuable as ever.

We know that relist and sell similar do not work.
We know that free shipping can ACTUALLY make your listing LESS visable so it is not worth doing.

Scratch ads only, long tail gets hidden more and more.

Free insertion to cover ebays tails over hidden listings.

All real business now steered to GSI (aka: ''Ebay enterprises'') as they make much more this way and they live off of and bonus their execs with fees for our items which they try not to show.

Then they ISOLATE THEMSELVES from pressure and critisms with offshore csr's.

We know whats going on JD!

MH
Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search   Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search
by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.
       
Sun Sep 22 16:26:48 2013
The way to be SEEN is to never re-list unsolds- DELETE THEM and relist them from scratch again, then they get re-indexed in search. Also, if you use TL, use only ads that sold well as templates for new ads while at the same time deleting items that did not sell well. Only save items that SOLD in your tl database.
MH
Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search   Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search
This user has validated their user name. by: Map
       
Sun Sep 22 17:51:19 2013
@ Bloggo

You are not paying attention to what I am saying.

First go onto the ebay site and read their words. Ebay has used the words to "create a level playing field". This wording came out with the new ebay logo.

If i am wrong then why in 2012 did ebay force selling limits upon all accounts?

Why are sales being rationed? Why are page views being limited? Why are listings not being shown?

Account limits and visibility go hand in hand.

A good survey by Ina would be "Did your account limit stop you from selling". The highest percentage answer would be NO.

Those who say YES would be the newest sellers with accounts that have the lowest selling limits.

I never come close to touching my monthly limit and i bet many of you have not either because that is their way to cover their tracks saying you have a higher selling limit to shake off the complaints that sellers listings have not been shown up in search.

This year have gone from Gold Level to Silver and i expect next spring to be back at bronze. My Page views are trending the disaster of last fall.

Small sellers have been limited to what is fair income sales for individual households while diamond sellers are getting all the traffic & sales because that is cash flow they need to run their business on ebay.

It's their words "level playing field".

It's their Policy to impose selling limits that ration customer traffic and sales amongst the small sellers & individuals.

They are saying small sellers have have been dealt a fair hand by saying we have been given a level playing field and now be happy with your income per household capita based upon how many ebay account holders are in your house based upon your customer service experience per your DSR scores.

It's Global Socialism.
Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search   Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search
by: nsc This user has validated their user name.
       Web Site
Mon Sep 23 00:12:04 2013
masshowler, in your experiments, how did you list? from ebay syi, from TurboLister, or from 3rd party? If 3rd party, which one?
Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search   Ways to Avoid Being Invisible in eBay Cassini Search
by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Sep 23 06:10:12 2013
Don't care about search on ebay anymore. When you stop selling there you don't have a problem.
By ebays own admission now, you really have no control of visability.
Sorry, Julia, but you can do all kinds of changes, maneuvering, anything, ebay has said and shown they make no sense and do whatever they want at any given time.
Most likely have better odds going to vegas and the crap table as a way of making a few bucks.
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