|Tue Mar 4 2008 09:14:11|
eBay's Jim Ambach Gives IMA Conference Keynote
By: Ina Steiner
eBay's Jim Ambach presented the keynote address at the IMA conference titled, "Partnering with our sellers to create great buying experiences." eBay has been rolling out radical changes to the site since last year: Detailed Seller Ratings launched in May, change in Seller Non Performance policy ("neutrals = negatives"), limits on brand words, and the slew of changes announced on January 29th, including changes to the way feedback works. eBay has said it is making many of the changes to improve the buying experience. Happy buyers = more sales = happy sellers, according to the formula.
When Jim got into the part of his presentation focusing on Best Match, some sellers in the audience got pretty heated, asking questions and criticizing some aspects of eBay's new policies.
eBay is advantaging sellers with high DSRs in search, and is disadvantaging sellers who:
have a below average S&H DSR in the last 30 days (this will start with 4.2 or lower)
or who have a greater than 5% Buyer Dissatisfaction rate in the last 30 days.
And eBay is giving discounts to PowerSellers with high DSRs (this is a "carrot" as opposed to a "stick").
I was sitting next to Skip McGrath, who asked about PowerSellers who sold few items but with high ASPs. If just one seller gives him a 1 rating in DSR, he said, it brings down his score disproportionately to other sellers who may have thousands of buyers in a week versus his 15 or so.
Jim said they are increasing monitoring and action based on seller reporting of buyers violating policy and are looking at their customer service programs internally. He did not get any more specific.
eBay announced on the board yesterday that it was starting to roll out Best Match as the default on searches site-wide and would be disadvantaging sellers with low performance.
Skip told Jim that he's been experimenting with Best Match search (it's been available as a sort option). Skip said one of his products appears on page 1 of search results under the current search system, and would show up on page 7 under Best Match, underneath subpar products. Jim said he'd be interested in hearing more about this from Skip after the presentation.
Skip and I talked about it and thought it could have to do with the way Best Match factors Price and S&H costs into so-called relevancy. Skip said his product is better quality, thus costs more and weighs more. If BM brings up less expensive items that weigh less (thus have cheaper S&H costs), this could present buyers with junk in front of higher-quality items.
Skip also pointed out that once sellers understand Best Match better, it could lead to people gaming the system. (This, like SEO in the search engine world, can have good and bad elements.) Hopefully Skip will update us on his experiences.
Sellers need to look at how their items are showing up in Best Match searches now it is becoming the default. Let us know if you're having a good experience with the new rankings.
IMA is taking place in Las Vegas today and tomorrow. I could see ChannelAdvisor's Scot Wingo tapping away on his laptop during the keynote, you can check his blog for his take on the conference.