AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Sun Aug 16 2009 09:35:40

Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

An online seller wrote to me claiming that eBay Best Match was broken. Best Match is eBay's way of delivering search results by relevance plus quality, and it is the default sort order. The seller stated, "Type in "ipod" on IE, Firefox, and Google Chrome. I get different results for each."

I conducted a search for the word ipod on Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) and on Firefox, and got a slightly lower number of items in search results for IE, and sorted in a completely different order. eBay does support both of these browsers - see help page to see which versions.

I wondered what would happen if I did the same search on Google instead of eBay. When I conducted a search for ipod on Google on two different browsers, it brought back identical results in the identical order.

A search of the eBay discussion boards finds that others have experienced this issue, and pointed to August 6th as the day things may have changed. (Interestingly, I received a letter from a seller who said on August 6, Best Match ranking dropped one of his best selling items from first to last, and sales plummeted for the item.)

It appears that sellers who are trying to optimize their listings for eBay's Best Match not only have to contend with a dearth of information about how to do so, they must also face the challenge of optimizing for different web browsers.






I was logged in under the same User ID when conducting these searches, and they all came back with Best Match as the default sort order.




Comments (69) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser   Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser

by: RicRoe

Sun Aug 16 11:00:15 2009

Anomalies like this are what can be expected after a CEO has cut corners and trusts IT development to third party contractors.

After Mr Donahoe cut staff including programmers, anomalies such as this began. There are other Explorer vs Firefox issues as well.

Search sort tools such as add store inventory appear and disappear in Firefox. Some versions of the new view Item page do not properly display shipping details. Some store pages take forever to load if the page is graphic intensive. The seller dashboard page does not show the new information box above the statistics display. The list of Firefox glitches grows daily.

The issue is not unique to eBay though, some third party templates do not display properly in Firefox, especially those that make heavy use of artwork.

eBay live help is it's usual waste of time on these issues. If a browser issue is not being widely reported, live help does not treat the issue seriously, and no tech report is filed.

Most times, the solution offered by Live Help results in users being told simply to use Explorer instead of Firefox.

Many Internet savvy users switch to Firefox in order to take advantage of features such as ad block, as well as the hundreds of other available add-ons that make Firefox customizable  and much safer than Explorer.

Ad Block eliminates the annoying ads on eBay pages and improves the speed with which most eBay pages load.

The price users pay, such as differing search results, search sort features missing, store pages loading slowly, information boxes not displaying, and even templates not displaying properly appears to be the price eBay is willing to make Firefox users pay for the ability to turn eBay into an ad free site.

It is possible that eBay is purposely authoring scripts that make Firefox less functional in order to protect their precious ad revenues.

Given eBay's penchant for forcing users into behaving the way the company wants them to, it is not surprising eBay does not consider Firefox browsing anomalies a priority worthy of attention.

Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser   Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser

by: For Petes Sake

Sun Aug 16 11:00:54 2009

eBay sales are all over the place, nothing is the same one week to the next...is there any wonder when even eBay search changes by the day/browser/weather.....listing fees are far too high for this kind of hit & miss garbage

Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser   Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser

by: Harriet

Sun Aug 16 11:04:31 2009

Search is a mess. This is the most important facility for viewing listings for buyers. Not only does it return different results constantly, and different results for different browsers, it returns screwy results, some of which have nothing to do with what you are looking for, it changes your search parameters, and it takes absolutely forever to load in the initial page and any time you change the page or view.

eBay search is causing loss of sales for sellers and for eBay.

Sellers have been complaining about this for a VERY long time.

I just don't understand why eBay has not fixed it, since it hurts their bottom line also.

I know they really don't care how it affects the sellers, but how about worrying about their own bottom line.

Search used to be so straight forward and simple and fast. It was fun to surf around eBay. Not anymore.

Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser   Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser

by: Buck Efay

Sun Aug 16 11:21:34 2009

The only time the New & craptacular ebay will worry about search sort is when the precious diamonds are not the top results. They used to recommend Firefox, now they recommend Internet Explorer. I recommend John Donahoe looking for a new career.

Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser   Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser

by: In The Event of Fire

Sun Aug 16 11:41:47 2009

I have found that it is not only between browsers but I get different results between computers.

I've noticed on many occasions that when I am out researching an item on my laptop and find very few results I have often come home, logged into my desktop, run the same search and then found multiple results for the same items that were not visible before. A lot of times this has prevented me from purchasing an item to sell on eBay thus hurting eBay's bottom line. When contacting eBay about this they are ignorant beyond belief and give the impression they do not care. Big surprise.

I've heard of rolling blackouts but of course eBay has vehemently denied these exist. Whatever it is the search system is a dismal failure along with almost every other change eBay has made since the new CEO took over.

The bottom line seems to be that eBay simply does not care to hear from the paying customer. They will stubbornly and arrogantly plunge forward with each and every change they think they want regardless of how bad an idea it is.

Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser   Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser

by: Patricia

Sun Aug 16 13:00:25 2009

I think Donahoe is trying to protect his job for as long as possible by moving revenue around and sweeping the glitches and poor moves under a rug.  Only a fool would really believe he is still on the right path for the good of the company.  The problem is...how much longer will it take the board of directors to realize what's happening.  These people are complete and utter fools!  They must have an inkling of how poorly things are going and how much revenue is falling thru the cracks...they did freeze the CEO and his team's pays to 2008 level - they did that after the disasterous 4th quarter last year!  One wonders just how much longer its going to take.

Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser   Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser

by: John

Sun Aug 16 13:03:27 2009

FYI We have noticed the same thing hapens when browsing listings. For examples in Forefox the cross promotions section on our listings  shows. On IE they are nowhere to be seen. We have called ebay tech support and they are very well aware of the problems they have with different browsers. The real problem is that ebay has not spent the money to upgrade their platform. Indeed, they are basing their entire best match algorythm on a platform that has a history of serious problems. Why cant they should bench a platform from google and try to duplicate it.

Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser   Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser

by: Mark

Sun Aug 16 13:10:01 2009

Officially eBay supports Firefox. But I know from experience that there always have been issues with eBay supporting alternative browsers. Especially using the new sell your item form has been a total nightmare in the past combined with Firefox. So this news does not surprise me at all. Although very good that someone mentiones it.l

Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser   Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser

by: fruity

Sun Aug 16 13:28:32 2009

What's ebays official response on why this is happening? why would results change based on browser? Would my results be different if I was searching via my cellphone?

Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser   Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser

by: RicRoe

Sun Aug 16 14:22:06 2009

@ Patricia

True they did freeze executive compensation at 2008 levels. JD compensation last year was $13,190,200 plus stock options. Ms Norrington made $4,162,130. That's $17.3 million to just two executives, and the marketplace continues to decline under their leadership.

Even frozen at those levels, it is hard to fathom why the eBay board has been so patient with Donahoe and his team as they continue to tear down the eBay marketplace and bring it closer to a point of no return.

Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser   Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser

by: what

Sun Aug 16 15:49:38 2009

Sorry folks but I hate to tell ya but I've never used anything else but firefox. I have never had a problem loading, searching or posting to ebay.

I even use turbo lister without a problem.

Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser   Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser

by: Quantity Manager

Sun Aug 16 17:01:20 2009

Ina,

When you were doing your browser tests did you try doing exactly the same test on another computer at the same time?  That would yield a far more conclusive result regarding what is really going on.

Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser   Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Sun Aug 16 17:16:08 2009

Yes, we conducted the test on two computers to be thorough. Both computers run the latest version of Firefox, and one computer has IE7, the other IE6. All four searches yielded different results.

Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser   Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser

by: Quantity Manager

Sun Aug 16 17:20:55 2009

By the way, Google does alter the search results if you are logged into a Google account (gmail, etc).  They base it on your click behavior.  I usually have to log out before doing a search to test my own keywords ranking because Google demotes my site to me (I don't click on my own links).  As far as I know there's no way to disable that feature (there used to be).

Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser   Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser

by: John

Sun Aug 16 17:29:54 2009

Since people are trying different computers and finding different results has anyone tried different ISP address's with those same computers?

Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser   Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser

by: Quantity Manager

Sun Aug 16 18:03:49 2009

Ina,

That implies it has nothing to do with the browsers.  Over the past few months I've been observing the way eBay works and believe it is a distributed system likely containing many databases that may or may not contain all the same info or even running the same software.  For load balancing you are probably fed data from a randomly selected server / database for that session.  Clearing your cookies and reopening the browser will probably yield similar results.

Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser   Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser

by: matza

Sun Aug 16 18:33:19 2009

I can't wait for the day Donohoe gets let go. My business has suffered more and more since the day he took over the position. Steadily declining, month after month from platinum power seller then to gold, then silver and now bronze and this month I haven't even made enough sales for bronze.

The man is a complete con artist moron and I wouldn't be surprised at all if they weren't fudging the numbers to make it look like it isn't really this bad.

The whole company is scandalous. Charging sellers all the same prices for listings and hiding some and showing some. It's a ridiculous rip off scheme and in America they are getting away with it.

I hope Donohoe gets what he deserves someday. He's nothing but an arrogant rich jerk who discriminates against the less fortunate.

Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser   Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser

by: summer in the city

Sun Aug 16 18:34:39 2009

@ RicRoe

''Even frozen at those levels, it is hard to fathom why the eBay board has been so patient with Donahoe and his team...''

Because Meg Whitman wants to be elected Governor of California in order to protect PayPal from regulation as a bank. If her hand-picked pet protege Donahoe were to slink away after botching Ebay, Meg's team-building capability wouldn't look too good, would it? What would her apointees as CA Governor look like if she couldn't even pick a trained monkey to run Ebay?

If Donahoe were canned before the election, Meg's opponents would seize on this as evidence of her poor judgement and lack of administrative skills. Ergo, Donahoe stays, at least until the CA gubernatorial race concludes.

Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser   Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser

by: ebaysucks

Sun Aug 16 20:56:56 2009

How many CEO's screw up the company they work for I mean come on now.  The list is too long I'm afraid so, Donahoe is just your typical CEO dimwit.  Nothing more and nothing less.  I'm sure we'll all read about eBay's bubble bursting soon enough and the stockholders running for cover after the pop.

Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser   Warning: eBay Search Results May Vary by Browser

by: o.c.d.collectibles

Sun Aug 16 21:46:26 2009

The president of the Board of Directors is Pierre Omidyar. He, himself, is a developer! He originally developed ebay!LOL! He now works on Ginx and various other enterprises. He does not seem to be in the least bit bothered by ebay problems at all, he's having a great time traveling and doesn't have a care in the world. My guess is that e could not care less what happens to ebay. He's made his profit, whatever is left of it, the others can pick at, like the vultures they are. When there is nothing left to bleed big salaries from, the CEOS will all leave the party! I'm still thinking ebay will be sold to Jack Ma eventually. I bet he has his eye on it!

What I wonder, is why everyone seems to think that they can still squeeze blood from a turnip? What part of ebay's dysfunction do you not "get"? It's not going to get fixed. It's not going to get better. There isn't anyone who cares enough to fire anyone. And things THERE, on that site, will just continue to disintegrate until what's left is sold off. Hello? Anyone home?

Click to view more comments
1 2 3 4  [Next Page]


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.