|Wed Nov 18 2009 21:41:50|
More Than A Few Kinks in eBay's Cross-Merchandising
By: Ina Steiner
Shopping for children's magazines on eBay? You might find ads for Playboy magazines in the listings you peruse. Selling tetherballs? You might find ads for bondage rope at the bottom of your listing.
eBay's new cross-merchandising efforts are missing the mark, and some users are complaining about adult-themed items being inserted into ads inappropriately.
An eBay seller sent AuctionBytes an example of eBay showing Playboy magazines to shoppers of Christian children's magazines and wrote, "Regardless of rather your looking for a Christian magazine, a CHILDREN'S magazine, A sewing magazine... whatever it is... as long as it's listed in the magazine back issues there is a PLAYBOY collection in your listing!"
A discussion thread on eBay uncovered other inappropriate matches.
"Most Watched" Algorithm
In announcing the new cross-merchandising feature, eBay said "Items are chosen based on popularity - the items in the same category most watched by buyers."
I had asked Michelle Waldorf who runs WatchedItem.com if sellers could game the "most watched" feature. She said that gaming the watcher count would not be a successful strategy for high volume, fixed price items. She also said, "I would be surprised if eBay showed items sorted by most watched. Watcher count is a good indicator of general interest, but not a true measurement of the desire to purchase the item." She believes eBay is probably showing the items with the best impressions/sales or impressions/bids ratio.
Whatever the algorithm, eBay obviously has some kinks to work out of its new feature before it gets slapped with an NC-17 rating.