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Sat Oct 25 2008 17:09:17

eBay Search Having Problems with Some Plurals

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay's new search engine is supposed to include a feature that brings back results relevant to searches even if the seller hasn't included the keyword search terms in their listing. I wrote about this in June using the example of "birthstone for January," which is supposed to bring back listings for garnet rings, even if the word birthstone or January is not in the listing.

So with such an advanced search feature, I was surprised when someone wrote me to tell me about a problem the discovered with plurals, a really basic feature. I tested a few words - the results are the same even if I opt out of the new search experience:

11 items found for: skeleton costumes

540 items found for: skeleton costume

215 items found for: avon perfume bottles

215 items found for: avon perfume bottle

The eBay search engine takes some words and treats their plurals as equivalents, but not so for other words. The seller who wrote me felt the problem was adversely affecting sales for two of her items (that's how she found the problem).




Comments (11) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Search Having Problems with Some Plurals   eBay Search Having Problems with Some Plurals

by: otto

Sat Oct 25 19:37:55 2008

Use crappy programmers, get crappy results. What else is new?

eBay Search Having Problems with Some Plurals   eBay Search Having Problems with Some Plurals

by: Tired

Sat Oct 25 21:18:16 2008

I am sure that problem is just scratching the surface.  Things change minute to minute on eBay.  They couldn't work a pencil sharpener even if their life depended on it!

eBay Search Having Problems with Some Plurals   eBay Search Having Problems with Some Plurals

by: o.c.d.collectibles

Sat Oct 25 21:53:48 2008

I'm not sure that plurals work for every search anyway? I was doing a completed search for wilton pan and wilton pans,(highest price first) and they are sometimes sold in "lots" so it's common to see the same number of search results in those 2 terms, pan and pans. I haven't seen it look any different today when I was looking. It might depend on the category. If someone was looking for clothing they would not necessarily be interested in multiples of one item.Whereas on cake pans, people DO like to buy more than one more often than not.

eBay Search Having Problems with Some Plurals   eBay Search Having Problems with Some Plurals

by: noneya

Sun Oct 26 00:20:53 2008

New Search crashes Firefox in a big way.
Repeatedly.

eBay Search Having Problems with Some Plurals   eBay Search Having Problems with Some Plurals

by: fedup

Sun Oct 26 14:32:38 2008

Only scratching the surface is an understatement!  I often test by searching the same quirky few words (so I don't get hundreds of returns) several times a day. Taking into account the newly listed and the dropped off, I never get the same results.

I also get different results when I use Mozilla than I do when I use IE. Another variation is whether I'm signed in as a user or just looking as a visitor.

I try to search my own items after I have done a bunch of listings to see if everything is ok, but since the results are all over the place, even if I see my stuff, how can I be sure everyone else can see it too!  

It is one thing to be placed or ranked in search according to some twisted, complicated, secret search mumbo jumbo coded into best match....that is a policy decision and we can't fight that. It is entirely another to bounce around, appear and disappear in search because the function is not working properly - that is shameful and I would like to think criminal in that ebay is taking our fees under false pretenses - charging for a service that they are not delivering.  

As you can tell.....I'M FED UP!

eBay Search Having Problems with Some Plurals   eBay Search Having Problems with Some Plurals

by: Tom Russell

Mon Oct 27 12:05:21 2008

I have followed Ina ever since she started. She just keeps coming up with little jewel(s) that save or make me money.

My wife and I read her every message.

eBay Search Having Problems with Some Plurals   eBay Search Having Problems with Some Plurals

by: Tom Russell

Mon Oct 27 12:05:58 2008

I have followed Ina ever since she started. She just keeps coming up with little jewel(s) that save or make me money.

My wife and I read her every message.

eBay Search Having Problems with Some Plurals   eBay Search Having Problems with Some Plurals

by: Tom Russell

Mon Oct 27 12:06:17 2008

I have followed Ina ever since she started. She just keeps coming up with little jewel(s) that save or make me money.

My wife and I read her every message.

eBay Search Having Problems with Some Plurals   eBay Search Having Problems with Some Plurals

by: Duh?

Mon Oct 27 14:44:50 2008

I emailed Ebay 7 years ago, 5 years ago, 2 years ago, re: various plural problems and was always told there was "nothing that could be done about the issue I raised."  

I wonder how many votes Meg Whitman is going to cost John McCain.  I cringe every time I see her smiling face.  What a "phony good person" she is.

eBay Search Having Problems with Some Plurals   eBay Search Having Problems with Some Plurals

by: PhilipCohen

Mon Oct 27 19:44:03 2008

So, what’s new: eBay spend all their programming time “fixing” stuff that is not broken, and would not dream of adding any logical functionality to anything. It’s not as if they have considered the problem and rejected a fix, they simply don’t understand the problem. Clearly, none of them have ever actually “used” eBay and so they have no idea of what functions are truly useful. Their only purpose in life is to obtain a triggering of the executive bonus scheme.

I complained years ago that searches for numbers looked at whole words only not compound expressions such as “CBR250”. That is why if you are selling a (Honda) “CBR 250” motorcycle you have to specify it as two words because if you specify it as only a “CBR250” then it won’t be found by anyone searching for a “250”. Unbelievable.

The real problem with these people is that they spend so much time habitually “spinning” that they are always going to be extremely giddy: is it any wonder then that they cannot get anything right?

eBay Search Having Problems with Some Plurals   eBay Search Having Problems with Some Plurals

by: vince

Thu Jul 16 12:10:18 2009

yes, i also got different search results by using ie and mozilla. I do not understand why? it is very weird and it definitely has sth to do with their search engine. The search engine clearly did not work approriately under mozilla. very disappointed.



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