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Fri Nov 2 2012 11:42:55

Will eBay's New Feed Make You Buy More?

By: Julia Wilkinson

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I just got an email yesterday from eBay with a selection of items from the new eBay Feed; the email noted it was in "Beta." I came off as someone who was really, really into boots...specifically Cole Haan boots, which I do like for their comfort. But I was trying to remember the last time I had searched for Cole Haan boots -- surely it wasn't that long ago, but why was this one email showing me only pictures of boots?

And six pairs, to be precise. I believe the thinking is any more than that and the email would look too cluttered. It goes along with the whole new Pinterest-like, graphics based home page eBay has. (I did find it a little impractical that the title, or part of the title, of the items wasn't in this email from my feed, the way it is on eBay's home page. So it wasn't clear what brand they were).

But I think it's the whole idea of a computer algorithm picking what I want to see that makes me wonder. How do you feel about it? Is it helpful, annoying, or do you not really have any opinion one way or another?

One thing  that I found interesting was that when I clicked on "View your feed," and I could see a wider variety of items in my feed on the eBay home page, they were based on things I had shopped for, not items I had searched on in order to do product research for items I'm selling. That was a little bit of a "Big Brother" moment. On the other hand, I really do like Cole Haan boots and Pucci tops, so it's not that these items are inappropriate for me. And I think if I'm in shopping mode, I will spend more time on eBay's home page, scrolling down through these hand-....I mean, computer-selected images that are based on my past habits. But a lot of the times I am headed straight for My eBay to check sales.

Are you getting these eBay Feed emails, or did you opt out? Do you think they will make you, or your customers, more inclined to buy? Is there anything "Big Brother"-ish about them, or do you just chalk it up as the way things are these days? Post a comment here! (Note: Antiques Friday will return next Friday).




Comments (10) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Will eBay's New Feed Make You Buy More?   Will eBay's New Feed Make You Buy More?

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Fri Nov 2 13:22:52 2012

Maybe I'm just easily amused....

Didn't think I would use it at all, but I actually like the darn thing. I customized it with some of my favorite eBay searches (not ALL of them). I had to ''tweak'' it a time or two as I was getting too many things I did not really want to see.

Now, I find myself checking it out every day or two. I have even made 2 purchases of things I first saw on ''the feed''. So, I guess it worked in that respect!

If you see something you like, it is easy to hit ''watch item'' & go back later to check it out further.

It reminds me of the Netflix tool where you rate movies that you like (or not) and it suggests movies that you might like. I rated a lot of movies when I first started Netflix and something worked, because it suggested a lot of movies I had never heard of (I tend to like foreign movies and indie flicks) over the years that Mr. B & I really liked! I never would have heard of them without this gizmo!

Will eBay's New Feed Make You Buy More?   Will eBay's New Feed Make You Buy More?

This user has validated their user name. by: Spartacus

Fri Nov 2 13:31:50 2012

I don't like predictive algorithms and used to hate it when Google would show ads via Adsense on third party sites related to something I'd searched for. Now I use Adblock because of that.

Julia, as for you're example of eBay showing you Cole Haan boots, I'm sure every husband/father reading this cringed thinking of the wife/daughter getting shown more fashion accessories she doesn't need.

As for the question in the title, nothing eBay does would ever get me to buy or sell anything on that site ever again.

Will eBay's New Feed Make You Buy More?   Will eBay's New Feed Make You Buy More?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Fri Nov 2 17:19:33 2012

I resent superfluous advertising and treat it as spam.

As for this new junk mail eBay is sending (which I have yet to receive), I consider it invasive and annoying.

I do not want eBay targeting me with email advertisements, I get enough mail from them already. To that end I have opted out of everything that I possibly could to avoid dealing with eBay and PayPal advertising.

eBay continues to make it harder and harder to find what one is looking for, so I guess they feel they can overcome the cwappy search engine they have been testing and just presume to know what I am looking for based on past searches.

One thing wrong with eBay's presumption. Once I make a purchase, I am no longer looking for that item so their presumptive emails are totally useless.

As a buyer I am the customer, and while eBay may dictate how I am able to search, when it becomes too bothersome, I simply stop searching on eBay. Like many buyers, I am not going to type in a bunch of different search queries because eBay has chosen to eliminate wild cards - instead I will go elsewhere.

When I search for something and do not find it on eBay because eBay is limiting the number of items they will allow me to see, once again, I simply go to other sites to find what I am looking for. When I do find it on Amazon or wherever - I buy it and I no longer need it from eBay.

As such, eBay's feed emails are the equivalent of locking the barn doors after the horses have escaped.

Memo to eBay... Your ridiculous elimination of wild card searches and your plan impose a search engine that intentionally conceals items I may be interested in will cost you a significant part of my future business. Your feeble attempts to spark my interest by using previous searches to target me with emails is not going to result in a single sale from me.

Instead of sending me emails after you have forced me to look elsewhere, just let me see the full spectrum of available listings when I enter a search term and you will greatly increase your chances that I will complete by purchase on eBay.



Will eBay's New Feed Make You Buy More?   Will eBay's New Feed Make You Buy More?

by: Bubbles This user has validated their user name.
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Sun Nov 4 01:08:15 2012

In a word........NO.

I find it irritating and as previously mentioned, once I have purchased something I am hardly likely to want to buy the same thing again.

Unless Ebay has ESP, how on earth do they know what I want to buy?

I think the new search is going to lose them mega $$ by limiting what a buyer can see. It will also send sellers running ( including yours truly) if sales under the new search are as bad as they have been for the last month or so. We are down 70% on normal sales for this time of year.

Will eBay's New Feed Make You Buy More?   Will eBay's New Feed Make You Buy More?

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 4 01:26:43 2012

No

Will eBay's New Feed Make You Buy More?   Will eBay's New Feed Make You Buy More?

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Sun Nov 4 07:46:58 2012

Is anyone else putting their OWN searches on the ''feed'', like I did or just allowing eBay to come up with eBay's suggestions?

When I first looked at this gizmo, I saw I could put MY searches (that I routinely do) on the ''feed''.

So, I am getting things that show up the same as if I click on one of my searches. I was searching for a couple items for my self & home. I found them using the feed.

IMO, The feed is an alternative for viewing however many of your  searches you want combined, with newly listed items showing up at the top.

It probably works best on searches with fewer daily ''newly listed'' results and, when it comes down to it is only as good as a ''saved eBay search'' is.

Not perfect, but when you've run your searches for the day & you are between tasks, it is easy to refresh that page to see if anything new has popped up.

Thats how I found the couple items I purchased, newly listed items at the end of the day after I had run my regular searches that morning.

What would be interesting is if eBay allowed you to put  ''favorite'' sellers stores on the feed - perhaps it is possible now. It would be another way to get new listings in front of regular buyers when they open up eBay.  

Will eBay's New Feed Make You Buy More?   Will eBay's New Feed Make You Buy More?

This user has validated their user name. by: Bijoux Dragon
Web Site

Mon Nov 5 00:03:12 2012

Monday I might want to look for green gizzadeeches, Tuesday I might get a sudden urge to see white whatchamacallits whereas Thursday may be purple gobsucker day.

Once I have purchased my orange aardvark, I do not want to see more of them in my mailbox.  No, I am not going to buy based on past purchases, rather I will be buying based on future need.

Will eBay's New Feed Make You Buy More?   Will eBay's New Feed Make You Buy More?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Nov 5 07:48:38 2012

Information (or advertising) overload.  Clutter.  Shove it down your throats ads.  Spam.

Ebay must buy every idea that their consulting company advisers shove at them.

Will eBay's New Feed Make You Buy More?   Will eBay's New Feed Make You Buy More?

by: Cloud This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 5 11:15:56 2012

I got one of those too but it was all for car parts. I've never searched for or purchased car parts on eBay and the only time I've even seen a car part on eBay is when it pulled up in a search totally unrelated to what I was searching for. In fact, I've never bought a car part period. So why am I getting this garbage for car parts. Sounds like something is broken, again.  

Will eBay's New Feed Make You Buy More?   Will eBay's New Feed Make You Buy More?

by: NXeBaybiz This user has validated their user name.

Thu Nov 8 10:00:37 2012

I would be curious to learn how eBay 'chose' which of those 6 listings to show - out of the hundreds to thousands they have listed.

Besides the 'potential buyers' who might find this invasive, I wonder how the 'excluded sellers' might feel about being so 'actively' less 'advantaged'.

Oh - just had a thought - were ALL the one's you were shown being listed by mega sellers?  ALl with 'free' (ahem) shipping?  All with one-day handling?

Personally, I grow continually more nauseated daily by the 'diet' that eBay is 'feeding' it's 'membership'.



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