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eBay Plans to Overhaul Its Platform, CTO Reveals

We’ve been hearing a lot about eBay’s Structured Data initiative, but on Thursday, eBay Chief Technology Officer Steve Fisher wrote about a bigger plan to “replatform” the marketplace.

“We have embarked on an ambitious, multi-year evolution of our shopping platform at eBay that aims to deliver relevant, persistent and personalized experiences for consumers,” he wrote in a post on the eBay corporate blog.

“This replatforming will manifest itself in the form of powerful, new ways for consumers to shop, moving well beyond the listing-based approaches that have typified the past. And, this new approach will reduce reliance on search as the only path to discovery.”

For some it may bring back fears of former CEO John Donahoe’s campaign of “disruptive innovation,” which included an attempt to build a better search engine called Cassini that proved wildly unpopular with many sellers. Critics had called Donahoe’s campaign change for the sake of change, and some believed it was part of his strategy to dazzle Wall Street.

One of the key strategies Fisher revealed on Thursday relies on “machine learning,” which many in the tech world are buzzing about this year. To demonstrate its commitment to the technology, eBay acquired Expertmaker in May, and last week it acquired SalesPredict, an Israeli company that “leverages advanced analytics to predict customer buying behavior and sales conversion.”

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Some sellers are resistant to “smarter” search engines and personalized experiences. Wrote one EcommerceBytes reader in a comment on the AuctionBytes Blog, “eBay still pushing the “we know what buyers want” instead of just letting buyers search for what they want.”

Take a look at Fisher’s explanation of eBay’s latest overhaul, and let us know what you think.

Comment on the AuctionBytes Blog.

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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). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.