|Thu May 5 2011 22:14:43|
Does eBay's Best Match Search Algorithm Favor Certain Sellers?
By: Ina Steiner
You don't have to be a disgruntled eBay seller to know there are flaws in the search function - eBay's own executives acknowledge it and say they are working hard to improve the buyer experience. On the other hand, eBay is deeply committed to its Best Match search algorithm and recently said it had made strides in the relevancy of Best Match. We decided to ask readers what they thought and made it the topic of our latest AuctionBytes Facebook Quick Poll.
While relevancy of search results remains a major issue - 85% of respondents said Best Match did not bring back results that were generally relevant to what they were searching for - the AuctionBytes Quick Poll uncovered something else:
91 percent of respondents said eBay's Best Match search algorithm favors some sellers over others. And many of the sellers left comments echoing that belief.
One respondent also mentioned the "self-perpetuating" nature of Best Match:
"It's self perpetuating. More clicks, higher in search. Higher in search the more clicks. In my collectibles category it rewards vague titles that one must click to see what the item is. I'm a TRS and NONE of my items show in the top 1000 listings for top key words. My listings have clear unambiguous key words and good photos that don't require click through just to see what it is. It looks like there's a linkage between the percentage of auction items sellers have and their standing in best match. In collectibles you cannot just start it low and let it go - it will go for pennies on the dollar that way. eBay says they reward free shipping. 90% of my listings have free shipping, yet they rank far below similar items with similar titles that do not have free shipping. Best match has gotten better as far as returning items that are at least sort of relevant. But it's still not very good."
eBay certainly makes no secret that seller ratings (DSRs, TRS) affect exposure in search results, but we'd like to know more about your observations and your opinions about this perceived favoritism. Let us know what you think, and look for the Quick poll results about eBay's Best Match in Friday's AuctionBytes Newsflash newsletter.
You are also invited to take the next AuctionBytes Facebook Quick Poll about Google's new requirements for Google Product Search (aka Google Base) feeds on this page.