|Tue Nov 15 2011 13:27:10|
Can eBay Search Handle Influx of Listings?
By: Ina Steiner
eBay has been running near-weekly auction promotions, including the latest promotion in which sellers can list up to 5,000 free auction listings today, November 15th. In addition to viewing promotions as opportunities to launch listings for free, sellers have a number of concerns about them.
Some believe the free-listing promotion makes it more difficult for their listings to be seen in search results. And one reader pointed out that the promotion may be encouraging sellers to convert fixed-price listings to auctions, where eBay is more tolerant of duplicate items.
Above: Chart from Medvedshowing eBay listing counts for 2011
"The free listings are up to 5,000 and they are limiting duration to 3 or 5 days. So sellers with inventory and quantities of SKU's could essentially convert their FP listings to 3 and 5 day durations, and because there is almost no limit they could list a course of listings Morning, Noon, and Night for 3 day duration and repeat the same course for 5 day duration. Maybe vary prices by a few cents on each course as insurance against being hit with violations."
The reader also points to the recent complaints by some sellers that their listings are invisible in eBay's Best Match search results. "Maybe the problems sellers are complaining about with their listings not being seen, sales being dead etc... are caused by the spike in volume with all these free listings. Perhaps eBay search simply can not handle the volume of listings being dumped into the system with the free listing days and it is just freaking out."
eBay Store sellers say they can see that eBay is not counting their Store listings correctly. The problem was reported on the eBay discussion boards and on the EcommerceEKG board:
"I noticed starting yesterday that when I am on my home page for my eBay store, the item count is incorrect. I have 800+ items but it will show the number from 500 - 700 and will change with each page re-load. It never seems to get near the actual number I have listed which is shown correctly in My eBay."
Nine sellers left comments on the EcommerceEKG report, which received 11 "thumbs up" (indicating sellers were experiencing the problem) and 2 "thumbs down" from sellers who were not experiencing the problem.
One seller who wrote that their Store count was "bouncing around like a ping pong ball" said it is affecting core search too. "One minute my item is in core....the next it's NOT."
Wall Street analysts have in the past expressed concern that eBay's search engine might have trouble with an influx of listings after eBay imported Store listings into core eBay search (dubbed "Store in Core").
eBay has also been tweaking its Best Match search algorithms for the holidays by giving a boost to listings with fast and free shipping.
Because of the breadth and depth of categories on eBay, one seller's experience may not match another's, so if you leave a comment, let us know if you're seeing differences depending on what you're selling, and whether you're a Top Rated Seller.