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Thu Aug 4 2016 20:51:58

eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay's Vice President of Shipping gave a broad hint about how the marketplace may change the way it displays listings in search results, and if it proceeds, the practice could become wildly unpopular with sellers.

Tom Allason was speaking at the eBay OPEN seller event in Las Vegas last week, and mentioned three areas of focus for his team. One is around the speed and cost of delivery.

Allason said eBay talks about fast and free a lot, but said eBay doesn't do much to make things faster or freer.

"There is a lot we can do without getting too involved," he said. "The single greatest driver of both cost and speed is distance. Today we don't do a whole lot to surface listings that are closer that will have faster delivery and will be cheaper for our sellers to sell. We are acutely aware of this."

That sounds like a hint of things to come. Could eBay be planning to change its search algorithm to show buyers in Boise listings from sellers close to their location, at the expense of sellers farther away? (And, we wonder, how much of this might eBay be doing already?)

Allason also spoke about capabilities - if a seller has great delivery capabilities and can ship domestically in 2 days, why does eBay show buyers it will take the seller 4 days? "We need to recognize those capabilities and surface them adequately," he said. That could be a more popular change. He also said eBay needs to do more to enable sellers to offer great delivery capabilities and help sellers make decisions about what carriers to use.

The third area he discussed is around the buyer experience. Just as eBay is building out new buyer experiences around the product, "the delivery experience should be consistent no matter who the seller is." (He didn't expand on what he meant by that.)

Allason also mentioned eBay was working on a next generation label platform to be launched next year.

What would you think of such changes? Speak now, eBay appears to be listening to sellers more now than it had for many years prior.




Comments (40) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular   eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular

by: alaska This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 4 21:33:03 2016

It doesn't make much difference to me what they change in search. There are so many relists now in the vintage collectibles and antiques categories that I can't find a needle in a haystack (an item new to eBay).

eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular   eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular

by: TrickyMick This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 4 22:03:10 2016

I usually plan my ebay online purchases... So the shipping wait is not a big deal for me... I will pick an out of state seller to avoid state sales tax on large ticket items.  I would say great... As an added drop down option.. But the buyer should have the choice to choose how their results are shown.

My store policy is same day shipping, so it could be a boost for my sales.

eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular   eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular

by: Nuts2U This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 4 22:21:09 2016

A Helpful Tutorial for Understanding eBay Speakers

Allason: ''There is a lot we can do without getting too involved.''

Translation: ''We got way more guano to dump on sellers that will make buyers happier and cost eBay nothing.''

Allason: ''We need to recognize those capabilities [delivery in 2 days vs. 4 days] and surface them adequately.''

Translation: ''Instead of giving search preference to listings that are farthest away from buyers and provide bigger shipping kickbacks to eBay, we gwanna prioritize listings that are closest to buyers, so they can just go to seller's house with a gun instead of using eBay or PayPal to steal from them. The litigation payouts are killing us.''

eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular   eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular

by: cash4clothesbozeman This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 5 00:27:32 2016

The idea that I have to provide free shipping to get better placement or I am discriminated against in placement, costing me business, but also paying the same listing fees as others is bad business and open for litigation.  Regards  Bruce

eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular   eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular

by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 5 00:47:47 2016

I can't see what in the world Ebay could possibly do. Their search is terrible for buyers, and so also terrible for sellers. Buyers can't find anything, sellers can't sell what buyers can't find.

The exception is $1.99 cellphone car chargers, shipped free from China, those are easy to buy, find and sell.

But the stuff ebay used to be great for years ago, hard to find unusual items, those can't be found, they are invisible. Suppressed in search. Even if you want that thing desperately, you have to know the item number to be able to find it.

I can't see any way for ebay to fix it. Can't be done.  

eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular   eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular

by: Small Guy This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 5 00:55:39 2016

Axiom... when Ebay says they are going to make things better, that always means they wind up making things worse, especially for sellers.

If it ain't broke they will fix it.  And fix it again.  And fix it again.

eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular   eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular

by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 5 00:56:46 2016

eBay still seems to default to ''best match'' whatever the heck that is based on. But there's a dropdown so I can change the search order to one based on distance; I sometimes do this to see if anything is close enough that I can pick it up and save on shipping. eBay needs to stop guessing at what they think I want to see.

@alaska, there are so many relists cuz things aren't selling in that category. I sell mostly in Antiques/Primitives and speak from experience.

@TrickyMick - guess your state doesn't have ''use tax.'' Your state wants sales tax (aka use tax) if you haven't paid it to another state.

eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular   eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular

by: Trying-My-Best This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 5 00:57:00 2016

Label platform ...USPS PM is supposed to give me free insurance up to $100 on item value yet if my package has an item value of $200+ ($300, 400, 500...) eBay shipping label negates/ignores my $100 free insurance and forces me to pay full counter insurance rates.  IIf eBay is ''concerned'' about helping sellers on postage - this would be a start.  I'm not holding my breath - postage is a huge cash cow for eBay as they are the ONLY site in the US that gets to openly ''TAX'' 10% on all postal shipping.  


Also why is Economy Pacel Select, Pacel Post, Standard Ground, Retail Ground all options on eBay Shipping Platform when it's all the same basic service slow 7 to 10 days if you're lucky.  Why does Economy postage costs almost as much as Priority Mail?

If you're fixing the platform - why is Insurance and Signature Confirmation an option in the seller drop down menu - yet NOT an option  on buyer shipping label?  
USPS recommends Signature Confirmation for all mailings to unsecured addresses,yet eBay could care less about sellers receiving returns.  I give all my buyers option to add SC at no additional cost (I pay) if they need/prefer to sign at delivery.  I require SC and insurance on all returns yet eBay doesn't make it easy for buyers to do so - as they make buyer follow Alternate Shipping arrangements ska buyer has to drive to post office or open an online account with USPS to obtain BASIC services.  


Tom, you need to remind USPS  they are eBay's Preferred Carrier and demand they toss eBay packages along with their Amazon Sunday deliveries.  America is loving their Amazon Sunday deliveries.  Also, eBay sellers and regular folks  are now mailing packages in re-usable Amazon boxes (picked up from our neighbor's trash before the dump truck arrives) as word is out Amazon  boxes are top priority with USPS.  

Maybe eBay should take a page from Amaxon - they fix postage for 3rd party sellers with buyer paying  postage and seller subsidizing a few dollars which is feasibly factored in selling price) and they don't force same day/1 day handling or punish their sellers for late USPS deliveries once the package has been scanned within 2 to 3 days of order payment.

I would vote for buyers to pay $4.74 (1-2 pound weight) at corporate commercial postage rates the way Amazon does it and then distance and a few dollars added to our selling price won't matter much.  

eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular   eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular

by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 5 01:02:12 2016

@Trying-My-Best - Why not use a 3rd party insurer? I've been using www.ShipSaver.com for several years. $.79 per $100 value for domestic shipments.  

eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular   eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular

by: DonC This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Fri Aug 5 02:23:09 2016

So that means when I do a search the result won't be a hundred listings of the same item by Chinese sellers?  

eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular   eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 5 04:35:26 2016

Ebay already has ebayclassifieds, which is a local "Ebay".  Why doesn't it use and improve classifieds?

eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular   eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Aug 5 07:54:35 2016

I have reached a point where I really don't care what they do. Anything that they implement that keeps a buyer from easily finding what they are actually looking for is another nail in their coffin.

We've branched out on sites that are stable and not constantly implementing change that hurts their sellers.  These companies feel more like business partners.  eBay feels like anti-business partner.

Here is the big question.  If this is where they are going, will Chinese sellers get the lowest placement in search, based on the fact that they are so far from US buyers?  I highly doubt it.  So again, what eBay say and what eBay do are two different things.  Mark my word, these changes will ONLY affect small and casual sellers.

eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular   eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular

by: 27tcle This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 5 08:15:25 2016

What they need to do is roll back all the BS changes they made and revert the search to the way it was. They are getting out of hand with the BS.

eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular   eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular

by: Flying Childers This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 5 08:19:34 2016

Sounds like what they did on Etsy- another disaster, aka "Localization."

Etsy was supposed to be a world wide marketplace where sellers could sell to people from all over.

Then some genius came up with the same idea that Ebay is now promoting, to reduce how many potential buyers get to see your stuff.

If I want to sell locally I use Craigs List or do shows or even consign my items to b&m stores.  The only reason I am paying all this money to be online is to get a wider audience.

What is wrong with these idiots?  Is it that they have to keep coming up with cockamamie ideas so that they can justify their salaries?  This really sucks.

eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular   eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular

by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 5 09:36:58 2016

@Chicago48
If you are in Chicago, I guess it would be good for you as a buyer because most of the Chinese (That I know of) have their ''US address'' in California.  
Unfortunately, a huge portion of my sales are CA and NY, since I am nowhere near any of those states I guess I would lose out!
I would also assume that buyers in these states would probably almost exclusively see china junk.
There is already a  way to see what is nearby so this is unnecessary. They need to fix the way it shows up for delivery but I would prefer a range, probably the only amazon-like thing I could agree on. I get a lot less angry buyers from amazon during the holidays because they know the soonest or the latest they can expect an item. (The buyers don't read it, but you can show it to them and yes, amazon will ding you if the item is received after the range but this is usually very rare for it to become a problem and sometimes the amazon bot is just wrong.)
On Ebay, they think 4 days, but ebay is not time zone accurate and will tell a customer 4 days when it is 11:59pm and the next minute it is already down to 3 days of course, now it is Sunday and the customer thinks they are getting a package on Tuesday via first class. During the holidays, this is a constant problem.
Just stop all the gimmicks!! Let the buyers search and find all items they are interested in and fix the actual tech issues!!!

eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular   eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular

by: rhawk This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 5 10:34:05 2016

I believe they are already hiding listings based on location, etc.... to a point.

Now, it will get worse.

Oh, well.   They lost me as a customer.  Used to do 10-12K per month in sales. It dropped to 500-800 dollars per month in sales.

Due to ebays revisions, changes, and unstable platform, I had NO CHoice but to kich them to the curb.

Ebay is run by dumb@sses.

eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular   eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular

by: toyman This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 5 10:41:19 2016

Wonderful. I sell out of Virginia. We keep a list of which states have most of our regular customers, so that we can start and end auctions at times that will work for them. California is, far and away, our biggest customer base, with Florida second. Heck, if we cut California into 2 halves, they would be  #1 and #2, with Florida falling to third. That is HOW FAR  California is ahead as the location of most of our buyers.

So, eBay decides to let our auctions be seen in Delaware (maybe a couple buyers a year), but rarely seen in Cali (hundreds of buyers) and that is supposed to help our business.

Ah, well... it's always a good idea until it fails miserably.

eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular   eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Aug 5 10:52:40 2016

Flying Childers, they are trying to be Amazon. Everything they do is right out of Amazon's playbook.  They've been attempting to emulate Amazon since Donahoe was at the helm.

Why doesn't management of this company just go to work for Amazon instead of forcing Amazon-like policies on sellers.

Moreover, they have manipulated search to the point that I am surprised that any buyer can find what they need.

eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular   eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular

by: sanddogg This user has validated their user name.

Fri Aug 5 11:13:14 2016

on eBay...a first edition book (let's say X) in mint condition worth approx $800... weighing 3 pounds with highly secure packaging - to be wrapped like a gift and sent USPS Insured Priority with a few bucks handling, offered at $300 - BAD DEAL! - low search value. The same book - first edition X, in bad shape, stinks and missing a few pages (seller does not say so though) worth about $5...offered for $50 with FREE and NEXT DAY shipping....BEST MATCH!!!! - Great Deal!!!!!!!!!

eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular   eBay Changes to Search Could Prove Unpopular

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Fri Aug 5 12:23:38 2016

eBay executives are blind to the fact that history has proven the more they do to tinker with search, the lower their GVM drops.

Yet, for some strange reason ( that reason is Wall Street share prices ) they continue to make announcements about how they plan to improve search results.

They question is why burden the dysfunctional Can't See Me search engine with yet another defective algorithm when eBay already has a search filter for that purpose?

The answer: Once again it is intended to bamboozle Wall Street into believing eBay will be better able to grow sales with this useless function built into search.

The proof lies simply with eBay's past lackluster performance as virtually every "improvement" eBay has introduced in the past 15 years has completely failed to resonate with buyers and grow sales.

This latest maneuver is also destined to be an epic fail with buyers and will alienate even more sellers from the marketplace.

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