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Wed Jan 9 2008 11:30:39

eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?

By: Ina Steiner

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Comments welcome on whether you are seeing a change in the default search order when you do searches. I've been hearing that eBay has begun testing it on eBay.com to show results by "Best Match" instead of by "Time ending soonest."

We've been talking about this since the summer - the Tamebay blog said eBay was testing this very thing in France in three categories.

The current default orders are very objective ("Time ending soonest" for search results and "Newly listed" for browse results). With Best Match, eBay is favoring sellers based on PowerSeller status and seller performance (most likely, Detailed Seller Ratings).

Whether you think this is unfair to sellers or a better experience for buyers, users have complained about not being able to find what they are looking at with the Best Match sort. Of course, user can always use the pull-down box to change the sort order, but this is not something all shoppers would do, and adds an extra step.




Comments (22) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?   eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?

by: steve jay

Wed Jan 9 11:50:45 2008

yes they are I have been looking for items on ebay and can not find them. it seems like everytime I do a search the website displays differently. Alot of times i just get the pay for clicks ads and links to ebay stores are no longer displaying all the time. needless to say i can not find anything on there or everybody has left.

eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?   eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?

by: Randy T

Wed Jan 9 17:30:21 2008

We have begun seeing ''best match'' as the default search arising in ebay searches, instead of ''ending soonest''.

This has been happening only randomly, just this week, but we can't yet tell if it is to do with a potential change in ebay ''cookies'' that are saved on our computers after an ebay session, and/or something to do with the latest version of the Windows operating system we are using. (I spent a few hours on the UK site last week, so I'm wondering if that has created a change inside our computer's ''cookies''....)

It's definitely unusual, as I spend a couple hours a day, doing these kinds of searches within my ebay workday. In the past, it has always reverted back to ending soonest as the default, with all of the same variables I'm curently using....

I've cleared the cache on my primary computer and after several reboots, it still opens up searches as best match (whether signed in or not signed in to ebay).

Hard to say? It would certainly make sense for ebay to do some kind of beta testing on the US site before rolling out the search changes we know are coming this month....

eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?   eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?

by: donnellwells

Thu Jan 10 02:20:56 2008

WHILE I AM AN EXPERIENCED EBAY SELLER-
I AM UNDER INFORMED AS TO WHAT OR WHY THE THINGS THEY DO HAPPEN AT EBAY -HOWEVER, THERE IS A VERY DEFINITE CHANGE IN MY INFORMATION GIVEN WHEN I AM BROWSING MY CATEGORIES OF INTEREST LATELY - I AM VERY, VERY UNHAPPY WITH THEIR MANIPULATION OF MY INTERESTS- I CAN TYPE! GIVE ME WHAT I ASK FOR!
WHEN WILL THEY GET IT RIGHT????
SIGN ME
DISGUSTED IN DALLAS

eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?   eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?

by: firemeg

Thu Jan 10 06:44:02 2008

More unpaid, unsolicited beta testing by unwitting consumers on eBay.  Over the past two weeks I've seen the search results change half a dozen times.  One day the result order (and the whole look of the site) changed THREE times in the course of ONE day when using only one ID.

Luckily, the most garbled results (which  never actually showed any real products, just an endless loop of links to categories) had a line about new site format at the top with a link to "opt out."

eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?   eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?

by: Juli

Thu Jan 10 10:34:00 2008

I'm a powerseller, and would probably benefit from the new search.  But who knows?  Everything seems to random with ebay.  I don't think it's fair.

As a buyer, I would rather make the choices that come from a simple listing rather than have an algorithm  tell me what I might like.  I am looking for different things at different times.

Ebay is wonderful at shooting itself in its own foot.

eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?   eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?

by: auctionwally

Thu Jan 10 10:53:31 2008

I'm a silver Powerseller and I'm very irritated to hear of eBay making more software changes while continuing to ignore the elephant in the room that is eBay seller frustation.

I've never  noticed an eBay search problem before.

That certainly doesn't mean there aren't any, but here are questions and issues that in my mind, have been big problems for eBay in the last few years.

Why not listen to the sellers institute a few changes that we've been asking for for years?

How about putting a few million dollars into customer support, so we can get answer to issues from people who are knowledgable on policy.

How about looking into some policy changes to better protect reputable sellers from unwarrented negative feedback.

I recently got a neg for an item not sent, and when I explained that I sent the item with a tracking # to the seller right away, the seller left a reply to her original feedback apologizing, stating I was not at fault.

After almost an hour on the phone with eBay, all  I got was that I could fork over $20.00 to Square Trade to look into removing the FB or deal with the buyer. (Whom by the way had 4 feedbacks and was brand new to eBay and not well versed on how things work.)

After going back and forth with this paticular feedback issue, I think the buyer got worn out from the process and never followed through with mutual feedback removal, and will most likely not remain an active eBay buyer.Now who benefits from that, not eBay, the buyer, nor me, as far as I can see.

I can't understand why eBay continually throws it's seller's under the bus, and if they don't see it this way, then why is there such a huge perception among eBay sellers that this is the case?

How about hiring more people for lead positions, that are not just corporate number crunchers, but have experience in the business.

Does eBay even have a licensed auctioneer on it's board? It certainly doesn't seem like it.

In other related feedback issues, in the last few months I've been subject to feedback extortion and people that want me to change my shipping policy AFTER the auction closed. A policy that is very fair, and clearly stated in my listings mind you.

Sorry to rant here, but it sickens me to see the company I love so much, and have a vested interst in, continually pour foolish money into things that people have little interest in, while at the same time, doing so little in the area of customer support and communication.

C'mon eBay, you can fix these issues, and while it may not make money in the short run, having a customer support team that is top notch will keep any potential competition marginalized.

I understand that a lot of what eBay is going through is due to growing pains from the explosive growth they've acheived, and that not all issues can be fixed with a wave of a magic wand, but I do believe it has the budget and ability to institue some of the changes that I've proposed and that those changes are what I hear people asking for more often than any other.

There's an old saying, 'give the people what they want' eBay was founded on this basis.

eBay sellers & eBay have been giving buyers what they want since the beginning of eBay, how about throwing the sellers a bone.

Thanks for reading,

Auctionwally

eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?   eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?

by: Kilgore

Thu Jan 10 20:25:43 2008

If you don't test on a production site to see how Best Match affects users, how else are you going to know how to tweak the algorithm. Google is constantly "improving" their search engine - eBay needs to do the same. I'm a Powerseller with 20k feedback. eBay doesn't need to address seller issues - I just want them to bring me buyers.

eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?   eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?

This user has validated their user name. by: permacrisis

Thu Jan 10 21:25:45 2008

Hmm. Guess ebay doesn't want to be in the collectibles business anymore. Fine by me... that's what BluJay is for, I guess

eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?   eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?

by: bgnagn1

Thu Jan 10 22:24:09 2008

I don't think ebay even thinks.  I left almost 2 years ago and can say eCrater has been good to me in the Collectibles area and everywhere else.  Even Google Checkout is working great.  Sorry ebay (no not really)

eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?   eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?

by: KATHY

Thu Jan 10 22:50:52 2008

I just finished reading Scot Wingo's blog, and did the test on best match regarding Apple Ipod.

My search default is Newly listed.

eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?   eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?

by: S. Gaskins

Fri Jan 11 14:28:59 2008

To Kilgore: Ebay is 50% buyers and 50% sellers.  "Ebay doesn't need to address sellers" is about the craziest statement I have read lately.  Ebay would not be in existence without sellers.

eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?   eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?

by: Tony P.

Fri Jan 11 16:53:37 2008

A Test? Hardly! The testing was done last summer to early fall. This particular incarnation is here to stay.

If you care to wade through the Finding 2.0 discussion thread's 2340+ posts, you'll see many reports of the Best Match as default, with the user's actual default settings being overridden.

Here's a link to a thread with two very knowledgable users' comments on the issue, as of Jul-23-07:

http://forums.ebay.com/db1/thread.jspa?messageID=100
9700909&forumID=80&x#1009700909

eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?   eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?

by: Laura

Sat Jan 12 14:52:24 2008

Best Match is my default (unwanted) search box for the day and it doesn't make me want to search for anything.  I can't choose ANYTHING else other than best match.  No time listed, no higher or lower price, nothing.

I try searching within the jumbled mess of results and quit.  

eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?   eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?

by: Chris

Mon Jan 14 04:43:20 2008

Best Match isn't the right thing to call it. To me a best match is the cheapest price with the cheapest shipping and a good feedback rating. I did a search for one of my own items that many other sellers also sell. My item was about 10th on the list with many sellers above me - priced higher with a higher shipping price. My feedback is 100% - Stars are 4.9, 4.8, 4.8, 4.6 - Many of the people above me in the sort had slightly lower feedback (like 99.9) and the stars were the same, if not slightly worse. The only difference I could see is that they sell more items than I do. How is that best match for me? It is obvious that ebay does not listen to their sellers or stupid things like this would not be put into place. Why not just post the sellers feedback right next to the items when you do a search and let the buyers be smart enough to choose who to do business with?!

eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?   eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?

by: QUEENY

Tue Jan 15 23:27:41 2008

FOR YOUR INFORMATION, THE PULL DOWN BOX DOES NOT LET YOU CHANGE IT. IT STAYS "BEST MATCH" NO MATTER HOW MANY TIMES I TRY.  LETS FACE IT, THERE IS NO BEST MATCH.
IF EBAY IS HAVING A PROBLEM WITH THEIR SOFTWARE THEN THEY SHOULD SPEND SOME MONEY AND FIX IT, AND NOT AGGRAVATE THEIR BUYERS. I SPEND A LOT OF TIME SEARCHING I WILL NOT INVEST ANY MORE OF MY VALUABLE TIME.  SINCE THIS CHANGE I HAVE FOUND 9 MORE HOURS I WOULDN'T HAVE HAD IF EBAY HADN'T MADE THIS SHORT SIGHTED CHANGE.  I MAY NEVER GO BACK.  THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME, AND MINE.

eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?   eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?

by: Patricia

Fri Jan 18 12:59:19 2008

Talk about "ebay-speak" - they have been testing this for months and not only in the categories listed.  I personally had to drop cookies twice in the past few months to get rid of Best Match in the ARTS categories.  Who are they kidding?  I think part of their decline may lie right there - in not being honest with the users of the site!

eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?   eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?

by: James

Sat Jan 19 11:07:24 2008

Best Match is a horrific idea.  Buyers are complaining it is hard to find items so eBay decides to confuse them further?  Horrible idea, I have seen the biggest drop in sales and sale prices in years, this last week has been so bad if it continues I will need to find a new career.

eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?   eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?

by: Lyn

Sat Jan 19 15:56:55 2008

The last I checked (this morning), ebay seems to have dropped the Best Match sorting. I think the media attention and loud, numerous complaints from both buyers and sellers must have been heard, for a very rare and refreshing change. Let's hope that someone at ebay who has this kind of clout continues to tune in and take action on some of the ridiculous stunts being pulled at ebay. I am a "half in, half out" seller there, now diversifying as fast and furiously as I possibly can, but still addicted to the proposition that there will be at least one bidder on whatever I list. And sadly enough, that is about what is happening...one bid on my items, where there used to be a regular bidding war for them. I don't think this is all a reflection of the economy, either, because although I have had increasingly more buyers outside the US, the real story is in the number of viewers of my items, which has plunged since last summer from triple digits to double and sometimes single digits. That is just purely a reflection of fewer and fewer buyers coming to ebay and being able to find the kind of things I sell l(unique, one of a kind, ecclectic mixture of Stuff). It's not as though I'm a bad seller, either...I've been there 8 years, have 5 digits worth of feedback, and a 100% seller rating, with all of the DSR (star) ratings at 4.7 and higher. People just aren't finding my things because ebay thinks they want to be Amazon.com, not the famously and infamously successful and dynamic haven for people looking for and selling everything under the sun (not just electronics imported from China). People don't want to shop at WalMart online, they want to go to a big online flea market, and ebay is flushing their wonderful, wildly successful, original concept down the toilet. There are others out there picking up my business as a seller, and it is just no surpise at all to me that the buyers are finding me and the unique things I have for sale! Bye bye, ebay, you are a day late and a dollar short on trying to rescue yourself!

eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?   eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?

by: Pat

Sun Jan 20 13:36:53 2008

I just found out about this test in Toys and Hobbies.  I tried to pull all my auctions, but there was less than 12 hours, so on-line support refused to do it.  I figure I lost about $125 on two auctions.  I can't imagine what this cost some large sellers.  I saved my online chat, although they said that they would mail it to me, which they have not done.  I hope there is a class action lawsuit over this.  I am most likely done using Ebay for sales.  The fees have gotten outrageous too.  This is just the last straw.

I told my buyers what was going on.  I sent one item and I am holding back the other just so that I can get Ebay's attention.  Ebay is hurting their sellers and buyers.  

I'm looking for another site to sell on.  I do a lot of buy it now anyway.  Craig's list?

eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?   eBay Testing Best Match as Default Search Order?

by: richard

Tue Jan 22 18:22:54 2008

hi

a -

my perception is that with a better search results, a buyer can zoom in, get EXACTLY what they want, and zoom out of the site presto, if the search results are no conclusive, this client will go elsewhere right away.

And if he found what he was looking for, why bother  windowshoping for no reason. they know they can always come back and possibly find what theyre looking for, because they know for sure BEST MATCH will help them.

Two ways that BEST SEARCH could  disable "stickiness behavior"

b - I am also afraid this will also favor only _very_ popular items, so ebay will be even more like a mall, with appeal-to-the-dumbest content because it might become way too hard to sell hard to categorise quirky things.

Remember that 30000$ fishing lure story from a few years back ? Whats a best search for that ?

Richard

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