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Sun July 19 2009 09:48:32

Google Finds Missing eBay Items

By: Ina Steiner

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Google Product Search will find items on eBay that eBay's own search engine can't retrieve. A search for Oceanus Magazine on eBay this morning showed zero results. The same search on Google Product Search (go to Google and click on the Shopping tab) brought back results from eBay of Oceanus Magazine. One was for an active Store listing, the other for a listing that had ended.



Another anomaly: eBay said there were no items matching my search for "Oceanus Magazine" - it conducted the search using quotation marks despite the fact I had entered no quotes in my search. Even stranger: when David tried searching on his computer, eBay auto-corrected the search and tried searching for Oceans Magazine (notice that is a different magazine altogether). eBay's search engine is apparently not consistent.



The Active eBay Store Listing
The eBay Store item that Google brought back clicked through to eBay to Item #330339602160 with the title "Oceanus volume 29, number 1, spring 1986". Searching for that entire title on eBay brought back the eBay Store listing - but how would an eBay shopper know the title of a listing ahead of time? A search for just Oceanus did not bring back the magazine listing, because there were so many non-magazine listings that include the term Oceanus (a brand name).

The Completed eBay Listing
The other item brought back in Google Product Search clicked through to Item #120447499534 "1979 Oceanus Magazine Marine Science Ocean / Continent" which had ended on eBay on July 17, 2009. So I went to eBay and did an Advanced Search for Oceanus Magazine, checking the Completed Items box to find listings that had ended. eBay auto-corrected my search term, changing it to Oceans Magazine, which found some items - but the wrong magazine!

I overrode eBay's auto-correct function by returning to Advanced Search on eBay and putting the search term in quotes, "Oceanus Magazine" - eBay found nothing. So I went back to the item I had found through the Google search and put the exact title into eBay's Advanced Search engine: 1979 Oceanus Magazine Marine Science Ocean / Continent, and eBay found no active or completed items. I put quotes around the search term, and it still could not find it.

The only way I could bring up this ended item on eBay was to enter the Item number into the search engine: 120447499534 and then eBay found the listing. But how would someone searching eBay know the Item number?

Many people complain about eBay's Best Match, so I did some searches in eBay's Advanced Search page and changed the "Sort By" drop down menu from "Best Match" to "Price: Lowest first," and still could not find Oceanus Magazine on eBay.

The lesson appears to be, search Google Product Search (shopping.google.com) when you can't find what you want on eBay. The problem for eBay? Most people aren't going to know that, and if they did, shoppers just might click through to a non-eBay item in Google Product Search results.




Comments (48) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Google Finds Missing eBay Items   Google Finds Missing eBay Items

by: John

Sun Jul 19 10:09:03 2009

This does not surprise me in the least. We use Google Product Search for everything. Even for searching on eBay. It works almost exactly like the old eBay search did, before eBay decided to make it better that is. Boy john donahoe you keep up those great changes, and don't worry what you don't get right Google will fix for you. lol

Google Finds Missing eBay Items   Google Finds Missing eBay Items

This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Sun Jul 19 10:47:01 2009

eBay doesn't care.

People complain about worst search, DSR inequities, lack of shipping options... a lot of people complain all the time and nothing happens.

Look at eBay listing 130318892056. This guy has listed all his other auctions in each listing. Keyword spamming PLUS pictures.   :)   eBay does NOTHING about this despite a dozen complaints. You can't say they don't know. You CAN say they don't care.

eBay passive-aggression: Why is it there? What do we find when we follow the money?

Google Finds Missing eBay Items   Google Finds Missing eBay Items

by: ebayer

Sun Jul 19 10:49:40 2009

This doesn't surprise me at all either.

I have had done some searching on ebay plenty of times to only come up with no results.Searching for things on ebay sucks.If you don't have the exact title or item number(who is going to have that?)you can forget it lol.

Google Finds Missing eBay Items   Google Finds Missing eBay Items

by: Norbridge Antiques

Sun Jul 19 11:35:08 2009

This is not related, but my eBay Google Base feed no longer works, and eBay has not helped me correct it. There must be others who are also frustrated by this.

Google Finds Missing eBay Items   Google Finds Missing eBay Items

by: Kelly

Sun Jul 19 11:51:17 2009

No surprise here at all. Good work Ina  :)

Google Finds Missing eBay Items   Google Finds Missing eBay Items

by: On Lies and Secrets

Sun Jul 19 12:17:17 2009

Thanks for carefully documented reporting.  Ebay search is badly broken. I have seen all kinds of anomalies with ebay's search even within a single seller's inventory.  For some searches it does change the search terms to something for which I was not looking.  I find it generally frustrating to try and find something on ebay; I can find things in Dialog databases more easily than on ebay.

I think the failure of ebay search is a key area of frustration for buyers.  You have to fight with the user interface and with the search mechanism to get the system to retrieve and display something remotely relevant.  I think Ebay is too difficult for a random person to use.

Google Finds Missing eBay Items   Google Finds Missing eBay Items

by: John

Sun Jul 19 12:26:31 2009

@@For some searches it does change the search terms to something for which I was not looking....Here is a perfect example of this.....Type into search the following word....maritanza....No results but they send you 160 listings for Mauritania.....Thanks eBay, I didn't know I couldn't spell.

Google Finds Missing eBay Items   Google Finds Missing eBay Items

by: fitzcharming

Sun Jul 19 12:37:09 2009

I've been searching for a particular item lately and every time I run the search I come up with varying results.  Additionally later when I log in again I am shown different listings for my items on the landing page as recommendations for items I may be interested in. So ridiculous.  I hadn't thought of searching on google for ebay results before so thanks for the tip.

Google Finds Missing eBay Items   Google Finds Missing eBay Items

by: Patricia

Sun Jul 19 13:08:38 2009

Ebay keeps best match for one reason only - to have control over the listings!  They could care less if you find what you want or not.  Sales don't seem to matter to them these days.

I wonder if anyone has done a study on just how much revenue John Donahoe lost for Ebay since he took over in March last year?  I bet that would be stunning to see in black and white!

Google Finds Missing eBay Items   Google Finds Missing eBay Items

by: unaware

Sun Jul 19 13:17:25 2009

fitzcharming: I have had the same problem when doing searches for my own items... I log out and search as a guest and see if I can find my own items. I have been disturbed by eBay search for a long time. I will do a search one second and it will say my item (by title of a book for instance) is not on eBay. If I wait 30 seconds and repeat the exact search (nothing changed on my end) my item will show up. If I wait another 30 seconds and do it again it goes back to not being able to find my item. This happens on a regular basis. I have no idea how eBay can screw up in this day and age what should be a fairly straight-forward process. There are other anomalies as well and I hate the auto-correct feature because it often tries to insert some simple title (the wrong title) of a more complicated title that I am searching for (in this case a book but it happens on other items as well). The days of eBay trying to be all things to all people are over.... sellers of unique collectibles and antiquarian books can no longer coexist on a shopping site that is aiming to sell Chinese junk and the latest wholsale purse line.

Google Finds Missing eBay Items   Google Finds Missing eBay Items

This user has validated their user name. by: Doc

Sun Jul 19 13:22:08 2009

Good Job Ina!!

I often look at bookmarked eBay sellers items. A good portion of the time the bookmarked link comes up with no items for the seller. But then clicking on the sellers feedback number, then clicking on view sellers items, there are indeed items available.

Meanwhile the eBay PR Team is tweeting all the good deals on eBay.. Yea.. If you can find them it's probably a good deal!

Google Finds Missing eBay Items   Google Finds Missing eBay Items

by: Ebay No More

Sun Jul 19 13:49:12 2009

Ina this has been discussed on Ebay's boards for the last two years. Most savvy Ebayers know to do their first search out on Google and only use Ebay's search for items sparingly to verify Google's search. If you want to see ALL of what is on Ebay's site you always need to do a Google search.

This is Ebay's way of hiding seller's listings that Ebay wants hidden VS the sad fact that Ebay's internal search engine is such a piece of junk it should be scrapped altogether. Either way it's broken.

Glad to see you publishing this news publicly because you are 100% accurate. Your search results are not unique and people should know the truth.

Google Finds Missing eBay Items   Google Finds Missing eBay Items

by: Mr Obvious

Sun Jul 19 15:30:36 2009

Once again , this is all a cash grab.
Sellers will have to relist, thus more money for ebay.
Nothing more than a ruse, a cheap and dirty trick aimed directly at the pocketbooks of smaller sellers.
All part of an ever increasing, clear and continuous pattern of behavior.

Google Finds Missing eBay Items   Google Finds Missing eBay Items

by: x_powerseller

Sun Jul 19 15:32:05 2009

As an ex-powerseller with more than 50,000+ feedbacks, we have moved on about six months ago when we were confident that the IDIOT J.D. has only one goal in mind and that is to drive Ebay to the ground and along with it would be our business.  

We worked very hard on all our websites,  eliminated PayPal on each one of them, advertized with Google Adwords, did SEO, etc.  and it is now paying off.  

No more headache, having to deal  with the outrageous fees, the worst match, the stupid DSR, the bottom feeder buyers, the Chinese garbage or  the fat useless Griff!

They are counting on PayPal to make up for lost Ebay Revenue, so I say to all eBay sellers who also have their own websites or sell on other venues, do NOT accept PayPal there.  Offer all possible forms of payment EXCEPT PayPal.  Take a stand and make a statement that would hurt them in the pocket book.  Eliminate PayPal where you have control.

John Donahoe is a maniac, only a mother could love (on a second thought I am not even sure his mother could love him)!  

Google Finds Missing eBay Items   Google Finds Missing eBay Items

by: Rob

Sun Jul 19 17:01:22 2009

1 - this problem has nothing to do with best match - it's a basic search problem.

2 - there are actually 6 Oceanus magazines on ebay - all in stores - and you can find them by searching for ''oceanus'' in the ''book'' category (or by turning on ''include stores'' or by selecting ''bin only'').

3 - Google product search only found 2 - 1 was closed - and it completely missed the other 6, even if you narrowed the search to ebay only.

Conclusion:

1 - Google search engines used algorithms to ''change'' the search. Google found Oceanus magazine - even though ''magazine'' wasn't part of the title.  In fact, google produced pages of irrelevant results.

2 - The seller doesn't know how to create a proper title.  

Google Finds Missing eBay Items   Google Finds Missing eBay Items

by: Karma

Sun Jul 19 18:12:37 2009

@ Patricia:

"I wonder if anyone has done a study on just how much revenue John Donahoe lost for Ebay since he took over in March last year?"

Well, speaking for myself... my profit went down 50%!!!!!! since last March.

Google Finds Missing eBay Items   Google Finds Missing eBay Items

by: axe best match

Sun Jul 19 18:17:17 2009

unfortunately, I have to agree.

The search you did included the word ''magazine'' which the seller of the product you mentioned did not have magazine in the title. Which is why it didnt show up in your search.
If you do a search for ''oceanus'' without the word magazinge the item you referrenced does show up, in the book category.

Even with all of the search problems ebay does have, this example isnt one of them.

Google Finds Missing eBay Items   Google Finds Missing eBay Items

by: eBuyer Feedback

Sun Jul 19 18:28:52 2009

From my understanding eBay has filters for certain ''adult'' terms from appearing in search and feedback.  Is it possible that is the case here?  My guess is that when you look for a ''magazine'' on eBay this filter is performed on the rest of your keywords.

Google Finds Missing eBay Items   Google Finds Missing eBay Items

by: Kevin

Sun Jul 19 18:45:03 2009

Rob as a buyer I don't want to jump thru hoops to find something on eBay. Your methods may work and I did not even know you could search like that. How many buyers know all the in's and out's of eBay search.

All I want to do is enter a word and hit search as I used to do 2 years ago. I always found what I wanted and purchased multiple items every month. Now I hardly ever find anything and I have used Google for the past 18 months to find the items I want on eBay.

It's about time they got rid of the Don.

Google Finds Missing eBay Items   Google Finds Missing eBay Items

by: o.c.d.collectibles

Sun Jul 19 22:04:27 2009

I JUST SAID this exact thing about the Edith Rosen Strauss Cookbook I was looking for a few days ago. It's called "Cooking is an Art!" It's vintage, it's a fundraising spiral Community cookbook that I got when I was married, my mother used when I was growing up, and I wanted to find a newer copy of for my daughter.

Well. Ebay USED to be the place to find the unusual and the hard to find vintage cookbook. NO ISBN numbers here folks! SORRY, it's not an overflow of non sellable overstock crap that no one wants. It's a handwritten lovely cookbook with old world cooking from Baltimore women who most likely are not around any more..

Take a little search... ebay is purposely burying the seller's listings and the poor seller has to give away their stuff at prices way to low!!All because the shipping isn't stated right there up front? is that it? that's stupid!! the seller is clearly wanting to please their buyers.

Search is garbage.
The junk being sold on ebay is garbage.
The good sellers are gone from there.
I think they were chased off purposely so ebay can be sold. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it!LOL!

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