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Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Oct 14 2012 22:25:35

Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search

By: Ina Steiner
Sponsored Link
Monday's EcommerceBytes Newsflash includes an article about some of the tools eBay has been testing as part of its new Cassini search engine scheduled to be officially rolled out side-wide next year. As we wrote, the changes eBay will be implementing have the potential to be very disruptive to sellers. To be prepared, here are 10 things you should know about the changes that may be coming to eBay in 2013:

1) Right now, when you search for an item on eBay, you may get tens of thousands of results. eBay will be limiting search results to a fraction (hundreds) of what it returns today.

2) eBay will mine the text in item descriptions to gather additional product attributes to enrich its catalog and to help it bring back more relevant search results.

3) eBay will use behavioral data to make assumptions about product listings and about shoppers to filter and rank search results unique to each buyer.

4) eBay will let buyers personalize search results, by adjusting four factors - Trust, Value, Diversity and Relevance - and how important each one is to them.

5) eBay is mining the text of feedback comments to try and get a more accurate picture of buyer satisfaction and a seller's trustworthiness and performance. It will use such data in its search algorithm and risk models.

6) DSRs may still play a role in determining seller performance, but will not be used in the same form that you know them today.



7) eBay may implement Price ranges in buyer search, and place a listing's category tree directly in individual search results.

8) While today's Best Match algorithm uses 10s of factors to help it match listings to searches, Cassini's relevancy algorithm will use 100s of factors.

9) Personalization in search will include shoppers' past buying behavior.

10) eBay will move to a free listing model in most categories.

Monday's Newsflash newsletter has more about eBay's "TVS Beacon," which offers searchers more control over certain factors while still using its relevancy algorithm to rank results, and also includes perspective from a seller, Ty Neil, who's been using such features on eBay's testing ground.

How do you feel about eBay limiting search results? What do you think about eBay making search a more customizable experience? What do you think of a free listing model? Is extracting relevant information from feedback a more accurate representation of how good a sellers is than DSRs?

We know this is a lot to wrap your head around, but the impact will be significant for sellers! Take a look at today's articles, and let us know what you think of features such as the TVS Beacon and buyer sentiment tools. Which sellers would benefit, and how do you plan on coping with eBay's new search engine?




Comments (63) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search
by: mazelgirl This user has validated their user name.
       
Sun Oct 14 22:47:26 2012
What's wrong with just listing items in the order they are ending?
Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search
by: TeddyElectron This user has validated their user name.
       
Sun Oct 14 23:07:20 2012
If you think buyers can't find your listings now, just wait until this monstrosity comes out. Search engine optimization turns into search engine manipulation. You may want to hold off you listings the week ebay rolls this out. I anticipate many bugs and downtime.  The additional search variables will require more computing power and I doubt they will successfully anticipate the extra resources required at their end.
Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search
by: BobNJ This user has validated their user name.
       
Sun Oct 14 23:08:39 2012
I don't use search at all so as long as I can continue to list the items in my category with the latest added items first I'm good. All I want to know is what's been added today!
Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search
by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.
       
Sun Oct 14 23:14:48 2012
mazelgirl, that is irrelevant for fixed price best offer listings.

If I list something in an auction it ends in 7 days.  

If I list something fixed price it can sell right now, or not for three months.  If I have 200 of something to sell I don't want to sell one a week- it'd take too long.  I'd like to sell them all today.  

Auctions are a waste of time anymore IMHO. Especially if you have lots of that item.  
Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search
by: comet This user has validated their user name.
       
Sun Oct 14 23:54:27 2012
Auctions are THE way to sell (with the BIN feature added in) for sellers who DON'T have hundreds of the SAME item to sell.  Either because they sell used one- of- a kind -to -them -items or TRUE OOAK item (custom orders etc).

So I can see this "format" being a HUGE DISASTER.

And as the search is NOW I can go and use a single word--Let's say "Fossil"--to discover interesting items like--a REAL FOSSIL SHELL or in this case what I was looking for--a FOSSIL handbag.  And I did not have a specific design in mind---what ever struck my fancy.  Using this Cassini model I doubt that I will be ABLE to search like this---and I and many other ebay users LOVE to search for things this way.  It's how MOST of us came to love ebay in the FIRST place.

I own a rare motorcycle and sometimes when I have the time I "run" the ENTIRE 2000-3000 item listings.  Gets me to see what is really selling;  new ideas of what to buy;  prices;  who stocks what.  Will I be ABLE to do this????

But the Ho's dedication to ripping the guts out of ebay and leaving it torn and bloody on the shore seems to have resulted in---this.  

As a seller I can see where it will become extremely HARD for buyers to --say-- put in a search for "Ski Suit size 14 womens" and get the hundreds of ideas for what to buy as they can today.  And I believe it will discriminate between sellers.  I seriously mis-trust the odd DSR descriptions---Trust?  Whose trust?  Of WHAT?   Just another way to PUNISH sellers who can't or wont give in to ebays insane belief that the "Buyer is always right even when they are wrong or lie or steal".  

Trust no one.  Especially ebay.  
Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search
This user has validated their user name. by: Ric
       
Mon Oct 15 00:16:58 2012
So the MBA's  (Masters of Business Assassination)are at it again.

Buyers will need an engineering degree just to understand HOW to search on eBay. Surely this will more than frustrate buyers, it will finish the job of driving scores of buyers away.

Sellers will be faced with this latest destructive innovation and once again have to face having the rug pulled out from underneath them.

The only ones benefiting from this will of course be eBay. Sellers will have to list, re list and re list again as manipulated search will perform differently on a buyer to buyer basis.

The millions of dollars eBay has expended on this as yet unreleased disaster should have instead been invested in getting existing systems and processes working correctly with a goal of being glitch free. If they really want to innovate, they could implement a process that ends non paying bidders and unpaid items once and for.

Unfortunately, that is obviously expecting too much from a company that would rather spend on the newest shiny thing to impress their Wall Street masters.

We are approaching year 6 of John Donahoe's 3 year turn around plan. Thus far all sellers have seen that has been turned around is their once tremendous success.




Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search
by: Charlie B This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Oct 15 00:25:42 2012
Cassini search? More like Casino search. Or better yet, Assini search. Disruptive innovation at its finest yet again.
Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search
by: Duke This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Oct 15 00:55:14 2012
As a buyer, I'm angry that eBay will be limiting the number of items I see, especially in collectibles.  It means that I could miss out on rare or completer pieces for my collection.  
Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search
by: bitbybit This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Oct 15 01:07:42 2012
As much as I despise Best Match and I REALLY despise it .. Cassini I fear will be hell on earth for small sellers.  
Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search
by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Oct 15 02:19:26 2012
this is going to be a disaster...  when i search as a buyer i want to see ALL results for my search terms.  if i can't rely on that happening the search results become totally useless and there isn't much point in even trying.
Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search
by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Oct 15 02:37:36 2012
This will be a disaster of epic proportion.
Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search
by: blaumann This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Oct 15 02:42:16 2012
100s of terms considered? This will be a cluster of un imaginable proportions. Ebay can't manage simple stuff, when they get complex they will totally fail.
Oh for ending soonest as the default search. It worked so well, gave every seller an even shot. Ebay truly stinks. They dig their own grave every day.
Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search
This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
       Web Site
Mon Oct 15 02:42:55 2012
“eBay will be limiting search results to a fraction (hundreds) of what it returns today.”

So, then we will only get to see product from the diamonds and the national brands …

“Trust, Value, Diversity and Relevance”

What have they got to do with finding what you are looking for …

“… and get a more accurate picture of buyer satisfaction and a seller's trustworthiness and performance.”

Another dose of DSR-like idiocy, I suppose. The sellers, those that are affected by DSRs, are going to love that; then, diamond and national brands aren’t affected by DSRs so I suppose it does not really matter in the mind of the eBafia Don …

The water is lapping at the gunnels; the old tub simply has to be close to foundering, so, does anyone really care any more what eBay does …

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking
Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search
This user has validated their user name. by: Marie
       
Mon Oct 15 02:44:11 2012
What a hot mess.  Just the other night I was trying to find something for my daughter. It was an item that would be a little rare.  So my search brought back only 5 listings.  BUT I could only see one of the.  No matter what I did I could not get the other 4 to show up.  Now I'm a seasoned Ebay and I found this frustrating.  Imagine for the new members.  I think many would say bye bye pretty quick and take their business elsewhere.

And what the heck are they going to mine out of my emails with OTHER buyers. What business is that of any other member other than the one I was communicating with.  Ebay better rethink that one really quick as they will get into privacy matters that will bite them in the butt.

This overly complicated search is just too over the top.  Lots of good sellers will be forced out of business.  Sellers of all sizes with the exception of possibly a diamond seller.  It's just a HOT MESS !!
Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search
by: surferbayarea This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Oct 15 04:24:34 2012
1) Right now, when you search for an item on eBay, you may get tens of thousands of results. eBay will be limiting search results to a fraction (hundreds) of what it returns today.
=> whether you return 10000 pages or 100 doesn't matter because most users don't go beyond the second page anyway. So the goal should be to find the most relevant items to show on first page. Just reducing the page count doesn't achieve anything.

2) eBay will mine the text in item descriptions to gather additional product attributes to enrich its catalog and to help it bring back more relevant search results.
=> This is already being done. eBay supports description search and uses it to generate the catalogs.

3) eBay will use behavioral data to make assumptions about product listings and about shoppers to filter and rank search results unique to each buyer.
=> personalization in search has not really worked for anyone(in web search or ecommerce context). So this is a tough nut to crack. Will believe once ebay is able to solve it and not just brag about it.

4) eBay will let buyers personalize search results, by adjusting four factors - Trust, Value, Diversity and Relevance - and how important each one is to them.
=> No buyer would ever care about customizing ranking factors before they search. This is something which should be auto-derived based on a buyer's buying/viewing history.

5) eBay is mining the text of feedback comments to try and get a more accurate picture of buyer satisfaction and a seller's trustworthiness and performance. It will use such data in its search algorithm and risk models.
=> again, involves solving and combining 2 very hard problems: NLP and Machine Learning.  Will believe when they actually have even one solved.

6) DSRs may still play a role in determining seller performance, but will not be used in the same form that you know them today.
=> ebay has been tinkering with the DSR stuff for a while. Frankly it doesn't matter if a seller has 98.5 or 99% rating. eBay needs to guarantee stuff a 100%


7) eBay may implement Price ranges in buyer search, and place a listing's category tree directly in individual search results.
=> using price range is a hack to hide the sucky quality of the catalog/product classification algorithm(which they are boasting about in point 2.

8) While today's Best Match algorithm uses 10s of factors to help it match listings to searches, Cassini's relevancy algorithm will use 100s of factors.
=> ebay will find out that the incremental gain if any going from 10->100 will be zero(or negative). They will roll it back after 2 years.

9) Personalization in search will include shoppers' past buying behavior.
=> Very hard problem to solve. And ebay doesn't have any people who have worked on this before, so low probability of success.

10) eBay will move to a free listing model in most categories.
=> of course they have to. As the current generation changes, ebay is fading out. Have you heard of any teenagers using ebay?
Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search
by: surferbayarea This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Oct 15 04:33:38 2012
Relax people, cassini shall never see the light of day. It is already 2 years late. You have nothing to fear! Have faith in the ''smart'' people working on it! haha
Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search
This user has validated their user name. by: eBankrupted
       
Mon Oct 15 05:13:24 2012
I guess I'm the only one so far who sees this artificial intelligence 'thing' as satanic. By creating this all-knowing freakish God program they must believe it can read buyer's minds and manipulate market patterns to favor their insiders.

Next year your item visibility will be determined by a robot who judges you, punishes you, rewards you, and can starve you as it sees fit. This Cassini Frankenstein is nothing short of an Orwellian-style demon.

Ebay will be worshiping it's beastly idol while sellers' children starve. Prepare for the worst, and run as fast as you can from this horrific cult.
Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search
by: truehandmade This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Oct 15 05:29:19 2012
Agree with the prediction that this search will do just what Etsy does - it favors favorite products and edits the searcher's results based on a history of fixed rankings.  Etsy is even better at this than eBay is and each time they tweak their search, which is several times a year, they are using the data they have manipulated from the start with their editorial promotions and bias in support of less than 1% of all items listed.  This now dominates all searches on Etsy old and new- buyer beware! It isn't search it's just another method for promoting the same products.   It's a viscous circle.  It wouldn't be so bad if they admitted it.  For feebay today that means big branded products.
Personalized search (which equals tracking your every keystroke on every device with much more intensity) is just the newest buzzword from the same self-perpetuating mob that keeps forcing ''social'' down every small sellers's throat without any proof that is has any real value.
Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search
by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Oct 15 05:59:25 2012
I see three things that are major problems. Two are and will affect buyers. First being limited to 200 items is a joke. Secondly right now each time you try and search for something, Ebay cuts your word off and subtitutes it with something that is completely out of whack with what you are trying to search for. Very frustrating and I imagine there will be lots of buyers going somewhere else that is easier to find what they are looking for.
As for the average small seller, I recommend you don't invest very heavy in any new merchandise until you see whether anyone even sees your pages. You might find you have to pay Google to get someone to shop your pages and that could get expensive. Also it may do you no good to pay Google, since Ebay might grab the potential buyer and take them somewhere else before they can look at what you have for sale. I have an idea that the new Cassini search engine will probably tweak me out.
Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search
This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie
       
Mon Oct 15 07:40:23 2012
It kinda reminds me of an axiom that I've heard for years.

''We offer the BEST PRICE... the HIGHEST QUALITY... and the FASTEST SERVICE. -- PICK TWO!''
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