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eBay Sellers Identify Problem with Search

Searching eBay for certain product attributes in “Item Specifics” fields comes up empty for some listings. It’s a critical problem since sellers are paying for exposure on eBay, but buyers won’t be able to find their listings when searching certain fields – eBay says 80% of buyers use the search functionality on eBay to find listings.

A seller emailed EcommerceBytes explaining the problem. “I have just found out the eBay seems have removed the item specifics from search. Seems this change is done for listings created after May 1st or done revised after May 1st.”

He found results return for older listings, but not for newer listings, and he pointed to two threads on the eBay discussion boards that described the same problem.

The problem is being reported by sellers on eBay Motors Parts & Accessories, though we don’t know if it’s isolated to that part of eBay. eBay did confirm the problem, telling EcommerceBytes it traced the technical issue to a recent product update rollout – it is being currently being addressed and should be resolved within the next day.

eBay did announce changes to Motors Parts & Accessories on Wednesday, it’s not clear if it’s related to the glitch sellers are reporting. eBay added fitment to SEO concept pages (landing pages for new users who arrive via Google and other search engines), and it added more Motors keywords for buyers using “finders” to search for car and truck parts and tires

On this eBay thread, a user wrote, “Noticed this as of a day or two ago. I generally search for part numbers on eBay, which allows me to find parts that specify the part number under “Item specifics” such as “Manufacturer Parts Number” and “Interchange Part Number.” As of a few days ago, the results have dropped to a fraction of what would come up. After manually finding parts that have those numbers in the “Item specifics”, I notice that you can’t find those by using the part number alone. This doesn’t appear to be the case for all items. Some search through the Item specifics just fine. Whereas others do not.”

Another seller who had started a different thread responded, “THANK YOU!!! I have called ebay three times now and they act like im the only one who is noticing this. It is a HUGE deal. I feel I can list or relist because I will just have to relist everything again once it is fixed. That is double or triple the fees. It is only happening to new, relisted, or autorelisted items as of 5/1 PM. If enough people call they may see that it is not just me acting crazy. With the amount of sellers here you would think people would be going nuts as it in actuality is affecting the entire site, not just ebay motors. Please call and complain / point it out if you can.”

You can indicate whether you are experiencing this problem by leaving a thumbs up or thumbs down on the Ecommerce EKG 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/.