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eBay Search Algorithm Punishes Canadian Sellers

eBay confirmed Canadian sellers’ concerns about exposure on eBay.com search results. An eBay seller asked during a weekly chat session on the Canadian boards whether eBay favored U.S. sellers for searches conducted by U.S. buyers for Best Match searches. (Best Match is the default sort order that is based on various factors eBay determines increases relevancy.)

The Canadian seller wrote, “My question is: In all the criteria used to determine better position (higher placement) in Best Match is there not something favouring American sellers (closer proximity) when a search is made by an American buyer?”

And, he asked, “What can Canadian sellers do to level the playing field? Or should we simply accept the fact we are dealing with a handicap that cannot and will not be removed?”

eBay moderator Raphael provided the following response:

“There is definitely a distance criteria used by Best Match when evaluating the relevancy of an item for a buyer. However, the search algorithms are very complex and proximity alone cannot rank down Canadian items enough to say that the statement about a lower defect rate gives you better Best Match placement is not true.

“I won’t dispute that there is a tangible handicap for Canadian sellers selling on to US buyers. However it’s just the nature of the beast: the US eBay business is much larger than ours and we can’t blame them for implementing rules to make their business better, even if that a lot of times plays against our sellers a bit. We continue to work at enhancing the eBay.ca offering and hope that we get to reduce that handicap as much as we can.”

Raphael also said eBay was working on a new policy for Canadian buyers of U.S. goods purchased through the Global Shipping Program (GSP):

“The GSP team is working on a program enhancement specifically to allow US sellers to ship their GSP items to Canadians without charging the import tax and fees up front. The details of how this is going to work are still being figured out but we should see this implemented this year.”

Another question asked during the board chat covered sellers’ ongoing problems thanks to no shopping cart on eBay Canada (written about on the EcommerceBytes Blog in January). A seller said the problem was driving buyers into off-eBay transactions. An eBay moderator by the name of Rodney said the timing of a resolution to the problem was still to be determined.

eBay Canada provides moderators to answer questions from sellers each week, this week’s board hour can be found on this page of the eBay Canada discussion board.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.