EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1767 - April 11, 2008     1 of 4

Larry Phillips Discusses eBay's Best Match in New Podcast

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AuctionBytes interviewed eBay Platinum PowerSeller Larry Phillips to get his impressions of eBay's new search algorithm called Best Match. Phillips has been selling on eBay since 1999 (he operates Long Beach Philatelics and is a Board member of the Internet Merchants Association.

Phillips has spent a lot of time in the past few weeks studying eBay's new "Best Match," a search algorithm that is part of eBay's efforts to put more relevant listings in front of shoppers. He's spoken with numerous eBay executives about the new search and has studied ways to apply what he has learned to his own listings. One such strategy is to create "custom item specifics" in an effort to gain more visibility for his auctions. Phillips believes sellers' efforts to optimize their listings may improve the buyer experience, one of the goals of Best Match.

However, since conducting the interview earlier this week, Phillips wrote to AuctionBytes to discuss a potential problem with the way some sellers are trying to "game the system":

I did a search today for "Nintendo wii" with best match as the search preference. The average item that appeared at the top had the word "New" in it anywhere between two and six times. The first three items in the search had the word a total of 23 times! That means that sellers are giving up writing a good descriptive title in favor of keywords that get them at the top of search. Makes for a bad buyer experience and defeats the purpose of best match.

The full audio interview with Larry Phillips is available on Ecommerce Industry SoundBytes.

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

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