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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1740 - March 04, 2008 - ISSN 1539-5065    2 of 3

eBay Rolls Out Best Match as Default

By Ina Steiner
March 04, 2008

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eBay announced on the General Announcement Board on Monday that it is making Best Match the default sort order for search results site-wide. eBay called Best Match sort "an important Finding innovation that helps buyers find relevant items quickly and easily" and said it is already the default sort in France and Germany. Some sellers had a chance to ask eBay directly about Best Match at a conference of top sellers taking place this week.

Best Match sorts listings in search results based on relevance, in part based on past successful buyer behavior for similar items. It also factors in seller performance as part of the new seller rewards and standards eBay announced in January.

eBay executive Jim Ambach gave a keynote presentation on Monday afternoon at the Internet Merchants Association conference and addressed Best Match. Ambach said sellers who receive greater than 5% buyer dissatisfaction in the previous 30 days or receive below average DSRs for S&H charges over the last 30 days will receive less exposure. (He said eBay is starting at a DSR of less than or equal to a 4.2 DSR rating in S&H.)

Sellers who maintain DSRs of 4.6 or higher in the previous 30 days receive increased exposure in eBay Best Match search results but, according to eBay's announcement, this change is "coming soon."

Ambach showed a slide that outlined the factors that go into the Best Match algorithm:

First, Demand Factors. These include the listing title, category, and Item Specifics.

Secondly, Listing Factors. This could include time ending soonest (in certain categories), price and format.

And thirdly, Seller Performance Factors. These include DSRs and PowerSeller Status.

Ambach indicated that eBay will "reset the bars as appropriate."

eBay sellers attending the IMA keynote asked Ambach many questions about Best Match and about how DSRs would affect their rankings. One seller asked what eBay is doing to educate buyers, and a lively debate ensued. Ambach said, "We're taking broader steps to educate buyers when (the feedback changes) roll out in May."

Another question tackled the anonymity of DSR ratings - sellers don't necessarily know who leaves them individual DSR ratings. In the past, eBay has said that buyers were afraid to leave feedback in fear of receiving a retaliatory rating in return. But as someone pointed out, eBay is taking away sellers' ability to leave buyers negatives or neutrals, so, they asked, why continue to make the ratings anonymous? Ambach said eBay frequently debates this issue internally.

A seller raised the issue of sellers who post items in the wrong category, making relative DSRs, price and S&H comparisons unfair to sellers listing in the correct category.

Ambach said that when the Seller Dashboard launches, eBay will provide DSR ratings to two decimal points. He also said that eBay is taking action to help avoid getting negatives: eBay is increasing monitoring and taking action based on seller reporting of buyers violating policy and is working with Customer Service programs internally.

Sellers will have another chance to ask questions about Best Match sort on Tuesday at a session called "State of eBay 2008 (Finding 2.0)."


About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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