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Mon Sept 28 2009 20:38:31

How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories

By: Ina Steiner

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Last week, eBay instituted a number of changes as part of its SR2 (Seller Release 2) announced in July. Among the changes is how eBay will apply its Best Match search algorithm in the collectibles and toy categories.

eBay's Best Match search algorithm is different depending on category, format, seller profile and buyer behavior. In the "old days," there was great consistency across the site in how things worked (not to mention, there was no Best Match), but now there are many country-specific, format-specific and category-specific variations, making it difficult to keep track of changes.

If you sell collectibles and/or toys, it's worth studying this page to make sure you know how eBay says Best Match will work in those categories to try and get the best exposure for your listings.

Here's an update on how Best Match, eBay's default sort order, will work in Art, Antiques, Coins & Paper Money, Collectibles, Dolls & Bears, Pottery & Glass, Toys & Hobbies, Stamps, Sports Mem, Cards & Fan Shop, and Entertainment Memorabilia starting September 22 - October 1.

    * Auction-style listings will continue to receive a boost in search results when they're about to end.

    * Fixed Price listings: To keep the freshest inventory on top and surface a broader selection, the main sort factor for Fixed Price listings in these categories will be recency of listing instead of listing performance score.

    * Seller performance counts: Top-rated sellers will get promoted in Best Match for Fixed Price listings. Sellers not meeting the new minimum standard will be demoted for both Auction-style and Fixed Price listings.

    * Shipping counts: As always, shipping costs are considered. Keeping costs reasonable and offering free shipping continue to be best practices although Auction-style listings with free shipping will no longer receive added exposure. Fixed Price listings with free shipping will continue to receive added exposure. Both Auction-style and Fixed Price listings with excessive shipping will be demoted.

    * No silver bullet: Many factors are considered in Best Match and can vary with different circumstances. But the bottom line best practices for optimizing your position in Best Match will be the same: List in the right format and the right categories, write accurate and relevant titles, offer good prices and reasonable shipping, and provide good service.

On the same page, there are Frequently Asked Questions and "Best practices to get maximum exposure for your listings" that are also informative. As part of its best practices, eBay tells sellers that they should sell internationally, although it does not address how it handles claims for missing packages:

Sell internationally! Now you'll have more control over specific ship-to destinations and only your domestic DSRs will count towards PowerSeller and eBay Top-rated seller eligibility.
http://pages.ebay.com/sellerinformation/news/collectibles.html




Comments (48) | Permalink

Readers Comments

How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories   How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories

by: Franci

Mon Sep 28 21:39:09 2009

"recency" is not a word.

How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories   How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories

by: Yes it is.

Mon Sep 28 22:04:34 2009

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/recency

How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories   How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories

by: Jeff

Mon Sep 28 22:09:20 2009

hahahahahahahahaha

How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories   How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories

by: On Lies and Secrets

Mon Sep 28 22:17:33 2009

Can you still buy collectibles on ebay?

I used to buy (and occasionally sell) collectibles on ebay and my category is very empty these days.  I used to search for items daily.  Now, I search my categories (when I remember to check ebay at all) about once a month.  And that may be too often.  Many of the collectibles categories have been decimated because of the many hostile changes to the site over the past two years.

IMO, the lack of listings in certain categories makes it not worth the effort to search ebay at all, much less, to try and master the long set of byzantine rules it takes to get the search and sort to display a relevant set of items for a search. I know these instructions are presented more for the benefit of sellers, but many serious collectibles buyers also used to understand the search logic in order to construct queries to find items of interest.  It isn't worth the effort these days when the results are basically unpredictable.

IMO, this algorithm is far too complicated for buyers or sellers.  The great lesson of google is that search should be intuitive and simple.  

IMO, ebay senior management does not understand the collectibles market(s).

How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories   How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories

by: Jo

Mon Sep 28 22:22:31 2009

Try google product search. It gets better every day.

http://www.google.com/prdhp?hl=en&tab=wf

How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories   How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories

by: Ebay is run by monkeys

Mon Sep 28 22:33:15 2009

It's quicker & easier to use my money to light cigars with then to waste my time & money trying to figure out listing on Ebay. It's also better for my sanity.

How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories   How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories

by: RicRoe

Mon Sep 28 23:22:32 2009

This differentiation in how best match works serves to make a stronger case that eBay can and does manipulate search beyond what it tells their sellers.

There is no end to the possible abuses eBay can impose without a sellers knowledge.

Remember the rolling blackout rumors? Best Match could be geographically manipulated by a variation in the algorithm.

Listing items that compete with a Diamond Seller might be enough to see your listings buried deeper in search so that the Diamonds get all the action in your category.

eBay wants to force sellers to offer free shipping so that they can collect higher final value fees. Algorithms can be built to discriminate against listings which do not offer free shipping to ensure that items which do not conform to generating the best revenue for eBay can be easily buried and may never be seen by  buyers.

The problem with the use of search algorithms is that there is no limit to how much manipulation can be employed so that eBay's preferences are best served.

eBay is no longer a fair and balanced marketplace.

Their ability to manipulate search and present items in the order of importance they decide best suits THEIR needs is a disservice to all sellers who will never know their items are negatively manipulated.

Sellers can no longer trust eBay's methods or motives.

It is obvious eBay is willing to collect fees for listings they know will not receive fair and equal exposure, time and time again.

Buyers can see that eBay is manipulating search, as evidenced by the continued sales decline since Best Match was implemented.

Despite the obvious failure of Best Match, eBay's executives continue to maintain it as the default search method.

How much more data than 3 consecutive quarters of declining sales will it take before they realize their dishonesty and lack of transparency is the root cause of the continuing decline of eBay's marketplace?



How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories   How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories

by: Patricia

Tue Sep 29 00:14:24 2009

So, they're going to continue to putz around with this best match madness until every last buyer and every last seller throws up their hands and goes elsewhere!  Nothing they have done so far is working....NOTHING...and they foolishly continue on as though everything is fine!

How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories   How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories

by: Really?

Tue Sep 29 01:27:56 2009

''IMO, this algorithm is far too complicated for buyers or sellers.  The great lesson of google is that search should be intuitive and simple.''

Can you explain to me how Google's pagerank works?

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories   How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories

by: On Lies and Secrets

Tue Sep 29 02:44:39 2009

@Really?

I try to write carefully and I tend to choose my words very carefully. The phrase, ''the great lesson of google is...'' does **not** mean the same thing as the phrase, ''Google is ...''  What experts who study searching and information retrieval for a living have **learned** from studying user behavior with respect to google searching is that an average user (that is, one who is not an expert searcher) has better results and less anxiety with a search interface and algorithm that is simple to use and intuitive.

If the point of ebay's search and sort is to result in actual sales (and this may not be the point of ebay anymore), then frustrating, creating anxiety and confusing the buyer and seller with all kinds of bizarre machinations is a counter productive strategy.  If I conduct a search on ebay for a 'toaster,' I don't expect my search results to retrieve a 'clock' as the first result.  Ebay's search frequently retrieves items of dubious relevance or pertinence to the search terms used.  I don't care what daily deal the latest diamond powerseller has for 'clocks' when I am looking for a 'toaster.'  Bizarre results like this drive away buyers (and sellers) and diminish the credibility of the site.  'Best Match' is a misnomer and it is damaging the ebay brand and credibilty. Among many other reasons, 'Best Match [sic]' is poor because it hinders searching and retrieval of relevant/pertinent items, because it is too hard to understand and because it does not reflect the priorities of ebay buyers.

IMO, 'Best Match [sic]' is a dog (no offense meant to dogs).

How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories   How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories

by: roofing insulation

Tue Sep 29 06:10:22 2009

I keep want to start this comment with ‘good’ or ‘nice’ or ‘great’ but none of these seems strong enough, or appropriate enough for what you just posted.Just fantastic and mindblowing blog keep it up..!!!

How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories   How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories

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

Tue Sep 29 07:28:55 2009

This might be a dumb question...

Wouldn't it be easier, cheaper and make more people happy, to let the items cycle to the top as they end?

Who is benefiting from this?

How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories   How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories

by: Rich

Tue Sep 29 08:29:54 2009

I recency got a new hobby: I do 5 free listings every month. One day I mightency even sell something.

How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories   How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories

by: joe

Tue Sep 29 08:51:35 2009


Just list your items with buy.com ...no ebay fee's whatsoever and you get top page in best match...simple to do, it's actually cheaper to list thru buy and you get sales.

Unfortunatly this does not work with collectables...

I used to have my listing taken down over the use of one ''word'', vero'd by false vero members, being in the wrong catagory, a whole list of arcane,laborious and asinine policies...now nothing happens to my listings as they go thru buy.com

Try it , you'll like getting you sales back up to a living wage.



How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories   How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories

by: Tommy G

Tue Sep 29 11:01:30 2009

How does Best Match work in collectibles? It doesn't. As a stamp collector, I regularly search for a stamp called Scott Catalog number 300. The Best Match will bring up any auction with a "catalog value of $300", "300 widget lot", etc within the category. Then the outside this category results will include a Chrysler 300 and other totally off base items. And then they'll send me emails to alert me to this too!

The search terms are screwy too. I want to set up a daily search for "Covel" which is a proper name of a company. Search insists I want "cover" which is a common collectors term. No matter what I do, search keeps insisting I'm wrong!

How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories   How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories

by: epmb

Tue Sep 29 11:13:02 2009

Does "Best Match" even matter when the item you're selling has only 1 page of search results?
Unique & hard to finds items do very well on Ebay.
Now if you're selling iPods or Wii systems you're going to get lost in the ocean of other sellers. . .

How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories   How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories

by: EPMB

Tue Sep 29 11:22:57 2009

Tommy G

Try searching Ebay using the below example

"Scott catalog 300"

And check the box for title and text.

I got 2 hits using that. .

How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories   How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories

by: Jo

Tue Sep 29 11:30:18 2009

@ Tommy G
Try using google product search and type in........
scott 300 stamp

If you want to search eBay just ad eBay with that search. Tell me if this helps. Here is the link for product search....  http://www.google.com/prdhp?hl=en&tab=wf

How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories   How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories

by: Really

Tue Sep 29 11:46:22 2009

@On Lies

I just did a search for ''toaster'' on eBay using Best Match, and the results were quite good. I didn't see any clocks, and near the top there were several toasters I might like to buy. Also mixed in there were some vintage, toy, and collectible toasters, items one might expect to find on eBay. The only ''anomaly'' I found was a BMW ''Toaster'' motorcycle, but you could say that anyone searching for just ''toaster'' and wanting a motorcycle could both 1) be more specific or 2) be happy to find 1 motor cycle.

The point that I am trying to make is that while eBay's Best Match algorithm *does* need some work, it only seems confusing because eBay is telling you how some of the logic works. Aside from the patent application of Google's pagerank from a long time ago, that system is a giant black box with more tweaks, nuances, niches, localizations and optimizations than we can possibly imagine.

This announcement shows that they are committed to getting the best results for all categories, and are willing to tweak ranking based on what's appropriate for one category, and perhaps not another.

People do expect a search engine to ''just work'', and the tweaks mentioned here are eBay's attempts to refine, educate, and tailor the system for the benefit of the buyers AND sellers to match the expectations of an average internet user.

How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories   How eBay Best Match Will Work in Collectibles & Toy Categories

by: kw

Tue Sep 29 11:49:20 2009

There's no reason to have a complex algorithm unless the intent is to manipulate the results.  For those of us who like to buy and sell on the internet simplicity is the key.  It is much easier to search via Google than to bother searching on ebay.  In fact, it is easier to find items on ebay by using Google.  What does that tell you about manipulation?

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