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Thu Jan 21 2010 17:06:26

Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results

By: Ina Steiner

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Etsy is testing relevancy in search results to make it easier for shoppers to find items they are looking for when searching the site. The marketplace said recency will play an important role in relevancy because it cares about fresh content. 

We've discussed the various ways to roll out this change to the site, and our plan is as follows:

For the next three Thursdays, we will change the default sorting method for all searches on Etsy from recency to relevancy.

We're going to carefully monitor shopping activity based on this change, and we'll be tweaking our relevancy algorithms based on this feedback, and input from the community. Relevance on Etsy will constantly be evolving; it requires continual improvement. 

Etsy said sellers should choose listing titles and tags carefully and pointed to resources for additional advice. 




Online marketplace eBay ran into resistance when it changed its default sort order from Time Ending Soonest to Best Match (relevancy) site-wide in March 2008, and the change has remained controversial. However, Time Ending Soonest is more critical to listings using the auction format than fixed-price listings.

Link to Etsy announcement.

Link to Etsy forum discussion.




Comments (27) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results   Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results

by: Oh no

Thu Jan 21 18:07:27 2010

Etsy, Please dont make the same stupid mistake that ebay made!

Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results   Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results

by: maria

Thu Jan 21 18:13:21 2010

I think your example proves the flaws, a cheap bead is the first result. If you read the forum thread, I think you'll see a lot of smart people who lost a lot of business today.

If etsy is your livelyhood, then today's test is a scary look into the future.

If they got rid of the 20,000 reseller shops they could leave the search alone.

Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results   Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results

by: quilt seller

Thu Jan 21 18:21:54 2010

Bottom of page 106 in the etsy forum thread you cited above really says it all.

Etsy has become an experiment. Sellers lose.

Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results   Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results

by: On Lies and Secrets

Thu Jan 21 18:36:34 2010

I have a bit more confidence in etsy finding a way to improve their search than I did with ebay (IMO ebay was really attempting to give privilege to large sellers rather than to authentically improve search).  I suspect that etsy is really trying to improve search without some sinister hidden agenda. However, I think some of the user experience issues that etsy is trying to address can't all be dealt with in changing search.  Unscrupulous sellers may engage in keyword spamming and deliberately mis-tagging items without regard for how it negatively impacts the user and I don't know that tweaking search is the best way to handle this.  Also, there are inexperienced sellers who do not know how to write an effective title or description and who do not know how to properly tag or categorize their items.  And then there is the inexperienced buyer who does not know how to construct a good search query or how to limit/broaden a search.  The quality of the relevance of search results is impacted by a lot of factors that IMO can't be addressed through tweaking a search algorithm.  

Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results   Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results

by: tell all

Thu Jan 21 19:37:46 2010

Who would have believe that some site would start trying to be Ebays little brother.

Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results   Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results

by: fruity

Thu Jan 21 20:05:11 2010

I don't know why these corporations feel like they need us to hurry the H E L L  up and search their way. Stay out of my search!

and you know, some of you etsy sellers need to back it up. Its getting pretty consistent that the etsy sellers have this pack of Etsy Elite. These nit pickies who somehow thing they run the joint and they are the quality checkers around there. Its not the sellers' fault, you know who is to blame? EBAY, because they taught you all to keyword spam and you're bringing those practices over to the other venues. Maybe etsy needs to just come clean and say that's what's going on. That ebay bred sellers who are inadvertent spammers

You shouldn't be dissing the sellers, and whatever that poster thinks about "those smart sellers who lost business" blah haha are you kidding me? You'll get no empathy if you draw a line down that one

Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results   Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results

by: fruity

Thu Jan 21 20:08:07 2010

If etsy got rid of 20K sellers they would raise the costs for each and every one else. Are you opting for that? Because I'm sure the private funding that Etsy got, the investors are eager to monetize off ya

I think etsy mgmt better just stop pulling an ebay. its sickening

Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results   Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results

by: summer in the city

Thu Jan 21 20:14:28 2010



I'm starting to get that icky Ebay feeling again...

Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results   Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results

by: Et tu, Brute!

Thu Jan 21 20:52:06 2010

Oh come on, people!  Get a grip!  Etsy is NOT eBay!  If this doesn't work, they'll PULL IT!  

Etsy already has a track record of listening.  Etsy wants to continue the phenomenal growth and they won't do it by sabotaging it's sellers or buyers.

Personally I don't think this particular effort is going to work but give it a bit to see.  I'm not liking it, BTW.  They're going to lose a FORTUNE in renewal fees, believe me.

Await events.  Etsy isn't ebay.

Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results   Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results

by: truth

Thu Jan 21 23:36:03 2010

When will these companies understand,

Only BUYERS can determine what is relevant to them!!!!!

Let 'em see it all and make up their own mind.
DUH

Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results   Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results

by: Watching the Wheels

Fri Jan 22 00:03:41 2010

Etsy has popped up with yet another tweak that will also ultimately entail maojor editing upon the parts of the sellers and yet Etsy does not see fit to create any forms of batch editing to help facilitate the behind the scenes chores of their sellers.

In order to keep up with the capricious whims of Kalin and past management, sellers essentailly get transformed into third world labor, when man hours are accurately factored into the mix.

Etsy has peculiar nomanclature and each experiment within the site either winds up costing sellers money by the unexpected twists and turns created by each new tweak or the is substantial down time created by sellers opening up listings to manually delete tags and re writing them.

Ina, do you and your staff ever do any sorts of investigative reporting or do you just print what the companies spoon feed your site?

Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results   Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results

by: stevie

Fri Jan 22 00:28:42 2010

my wife is a seller and i searched with her to see what happened to her listings with this relevancy search.  my wife created a very popular item which has been copied by many sellers.  her piece was always on the first couple of pages because she sold so many and it would end up there when she relisted.  now the same item is 13 pages back with relevancy.  he monthly fees run about $600.00 a month for listing and renewing and her business all but stopped today because of this.  there is no explanation for how the relevancy works.  there were pages of things that were not relevant in her search.  she is near tears tonight over this.

Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results   Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results

by: Laura

Fri Jan 22 00:28:58 2010

I am very glad that etsy is listening to what the buyers and not worrying about losing renewal fees! Etsy is concerned about fresh content- but there is nothing fresh about something that was listed months ago and is constantly renewed everyday.

Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results   Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results

by: Bookbatches

Fri Jan 22 11:03:57 2010

Relevancy is just another word for an uneven playing field. You pay your 20 cents, you should get your 20 cents worth of exposure.

''All animals are equal---some animals are just more equal than others...'' George(aka J. Donahoe)Orwell.

(Oh, Etsy: Get a Google feed or get off the pot.)

Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results   Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results

by: Patricia

Fri Jan 22 11:15:01 2010

I really don't care for the way sites like this operate.  You put up an item....it gets views the first day then is totally dependent on your keywords.  Sellers are buying exposure by relisting constantly - that can end up costly and is not profitable for small items.  I much prefer auction types or even BIN listings where there is a beginning and an end where your item gets near the first page.  I know buyers love to browse and this keyword business is not all that conducive to browings.  Newbies certainly wouldn't know how to use it. Just my opinion.

Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results   Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results

by: joe

Fri Jan 22 11:47:13 2010

Relevency, fresh content, two phrases that should be stricken from the english language.

If I have 600 sales of an item month after month using the same listing that is relevant.

If I sell one item everyday, day after day using the same listing that is relevant.

The same listing day after day is fresh content for each buyer that buys my items day after day,  regardless if I sell one or ten items.

Sales results for your sellers and tools to make their work load easier is what really counts.

A search feature that is fast and brings back search results with only the search phrase, in an ending soonest format is what works.

Limiting the number of listings per item, by seller gets rid of saturation listings, saturation listings really defeats selling on venues, who wants 400 results of the same item from the same seller...NOBODY.

If you have an unscrupleous seller then the simple rule applies, which is, your kicked off the site forever.

KISS baby KISS...

Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results   Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results

by: kw

Fri Jan 22 21:06:06 2010

All I had to do was read the title of this article and my first thought was, 'Oh boy, here we go again.'  I'm an occasional shopper on Etsy but no more .. at least not until they come to their senses and leave well enough alone.  Relevancy, my behind!  You want relevancy copy Amazon, not ebay.

Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results   Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results

by: J.G.

Sat Jan 23 00:49:50 2010

Helllooooo, is anybody home at etsy?  If they are about to recreate best match there, etsy is not the safe haven from eBay that so many are recommending. Be afraid, be very afraid. Let the image of the tearful seller who lost her business in a day because of the new search stay in your mind. When will this kind of unfair search manipulation stop?  Can't we just let things BE.

Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results   Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results

by: Not again!

Sat Jan 23 12:40:39 2010

I just signed up for Etsy and was getting ready to list when Etsy pulls an eBay Best Match. I'm trying to get away from eBay BECAUSE of Best Match. eBay is no longer a equal fair playing field. I guess I don't belong at Etsy either. It will only be a matter of time before the mega diamond sellers will be taking over. Why bother even starting? Does Etsy have an eBay plant or troll there?

Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results   Etsy Tests Relevancy in Search Results

by: Patricia

Sat Jan 23 13:31:32 2010

I hope its not a case of another site seeing some success and getting greedy - but it probably is.  The only thing to do is to try it out and if it doesn't work - MOVE ON! ;-)  That, more than anything else, generally puts the brakes on the greed factor that they come out with under the guise of being better for the buyers!

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