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eBay Wants You to Know It Uses Artificial Intelligence

eBay Wants You to Know It Uses Artificial Intelligence

eBay wants you to know it uses artificial intelligence (AI). In a post this week, its Chief Architect and Vice President of eBay AI and Platforms Sanjeev Katariya said AI is woven into all aspects of its platform and touches every experience within eBay.

“We have over two decades of data and customer insights that we use to train our algorithms and make our AI smarter,” Katariya said. “Every time a user interacts with the marketplace, the AI learns and provides feedback so we can create a better experience.The advances have been accelerated by developments in deep learning that allows us — and others — to make longer strides in how we process data.”

Of particular interest to sellers: eBay is using artificial intelligence in search, personalization, recommendation systems, and insights and discovery – as well as computer vision, machine translation, and natural language processing.

“AI has become the key to understanding buyer behavior and removing friction to ensure we’re serving up the best experiences,” Katariya said.

In addition to helping buyers, eBay uses the technology to help sellers:

“eBay is building a stronger relationship with our sellers through AI and investing in technology so they don’t have to. We level the playing field for sellers who may not have access to cutting-edge AI-powered tools. That way, sellers can focus on sourcing, fulfilling sales and growing their businesses. Our platform manages data, metrics and analytics that we then surface to our sellers to help them succeed.”

Read the full post on the eBay corporate blog.

Related story: Can Etsy Fix Search with Machine Learning?

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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/.

10 thoughts on “eBay Wants You to Know It Uses Artificial Intelligence”

  1. Yet, sales are at an all time low.

    If it doesn’t work, trash it and do something else.

    Well, sales for china are probably up high as the AI has been programmed to give them the best placement.

    Lets hope for the postal increase.

  2. I would prefer that eBay apply real intelligence. I don’t see the benefit of using AI to learn from corrupted searches. In the Stamps category buyers may search by the Scott catalog number, or some other catalog if a foreign buyer. Unfortunately, eBay confuses catalog numbers with prices or even user inventory ID numbers buried in the title. Frustrated buyers often resort to category browsing or they give up totally and search in category filtered by country and by price, or ending soonest, and possibly filtered by catalog number. A search for a United States type 1a Scott 500 could return mostly false positives. For various reasons, I set search default to be highest price + shipping. The search from Scott 500 returned 0 hits in the first 200 results returned. Most hits were from prices like $7,500. I tried “best match” and got 24 hits in the first 200 results, plus 4 hits on stamps misidentified as Scott 500. I don’t see enough correlation between the search and valid results for anyone or any AI system to be able to validate a search algorithm. I hope AI is not being used to fish for correlations. I would guess that garbage in garbage out (GIGO) still applies.

  3. I just got off the phone with a rep who admitted that the algorithm may be overloaded and maybe since they are getting so many complaints that eBay might do something about it! Four out of 18 months were successful, well some sales. I wouldn’t say I was selling a bunch. I don’t think ANYONE has a clue how to fix their ongoing, multiplying problems. When the algorithm crashes, which I believe it will, there will be a lot of people fleeing. I would recommend to everyone to get a separate place to list your products. It is unlikely this will be fixed anytime soon.

    I ALSO HAVE A QUESTION: Isn’t it an anti-trust issue if buyers on eBay or others alike are NOT getting the lowest prices because the best prices are hidden? I think this should be a subject in and of itself.

  4. Obviously, their AI needs to be learning from something else. A couple of weeks ago I bought some magazines all on the same topic of cardmaking. This weekend I bought some more, same category. Both times the things they thought I might be interested in was a total joke, yeah I want a wrestling magazine or Topps baseball cards, and this time Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition with Christie Brinkley. I can only assume that someone that bought the SI was given a few cardmaking magazines as something they might be interested in. Why aren’t customers being shown items in the same category that they were buying in? That should increase sales big time. I won’t even mention the trouble I had checking out with two BIN items. That place is a mess!

  5. eBay’s intelligence is suspect, whether AI or human. 2 weeks ago I had a ‘Variations’ listing of 17 shirts deleted and given a week’s suspension (listing and editing). It was not VERO. It was eBay and was called a trademark violation. I looked through the listing’s clone in the completed listings and couldn’t see anything wrong so I called. I was told I could appeal but it was a different department that I couldn’t talk to directly, but she would appeal on my behalf and call me back withing 72 hours, which never happened.

    I know the shirts are genuine and there are 89,000 of the exact shirts on ebay as we speak so I really wanted to know the reason. I used the suspension time to give ETSY a try, something I’ve been putting off for a long time, so for a start I listed these 17 vintage shirts there, For variation listings of shirts, I generally use 4 or 5 pictures for each shirt, so to make it easy, I copied my own pix from the ebay’s completed listing back to my computer, one at a time. That’s when I found the likely “violation.” One pink shirt had an extra picture of the neck label of a different brand pink shirt immediately following the neck label pix of the shirt offered. It was a legal shirt which I had for sale in it’s own listing. An obvious goof on my part while creating the listing.

    It was clear to me that this picture was out of place, but I got to thinking about several things. Did a computer AI find this error by scanning pix? I think not. Vero didn’t do it either, as confirmed by the notice I got and confirmed by CS. Somebody ‘reported’ this. Why would they? Perhaps someone I blacklisted for making an unsolicited offer? How would they know I would be so harshly punished? Why was I so harshly punished? Why not just give me a notice to tell me I have a picture in an ad that doesn’t belong there?

    Anyways, the suspension is over, and I now have 46 items listed on ETSY, with 71 ‘views,’ 50 ‘visits,’ and zero sales. There’s a reason I’m still using ebay and that’s why.

  6. Google dictionary definition for the word Artificial:

    2. insincere or affected.
    synonyms: feigned, insincere, false, affected, mannered, unnatural, stilted, contrived, pretended, put-on, exaggerated, overdone, overripe, forced, labored, strained, hollow, spurious. . . .


  7. So THAT’S why eBay sent me a targeted ad for a Coffee Mug with Adolf Hitler’s face on it!

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