Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Oct 14 2012 22:25:35

Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

Monday's EcommerceBytes Newsflash includes an article about some of the tools eBay has been testing as part of its new Cassini search engine scheduled to be officially rolled out side-wide next year. As we wrote, the changes eBay will be implementing have the potential to be very disruptive to sellers. To be prepared, here are 10 things you should know about the changes that may be coming to eBay in 2013:

1) Right now, when you search for an item on eBay, you may get tens of thousands of results. eBay will be limiting search results to a fraction (hundreds) of what it returns today.

2) eBay will mine the text in item descriptions to gather additional product attributes to enrich its catalog and to help it bring back more relevant search results.

3) eBay will use behavioral data to make assumptions about product listings and about shoppers to filter and rank search results unique to each buyer.

4) eBay will let buyers personalize search results, by adjusting four factors - Trust, Value, Diversity and Relevance - and how important each one is to them.

5) eBay is mining the text of feedback comments to try and get a more accurate picture of buyer satisfaction and a seller's trustworthiness and performance. It will use such data in its search algorithm and risk models.

6) DSRs may still play a role in determining seller performance, but will not be used in the same form that you know them today.



7) eBay may implement Price ranges in buyer search, and place a listing's category tree directly in individual search results.

8) While today's Best Match algorithm uses 10s of factors to help it match listings to searches, Cassini's relevancy algorithm will use 100s of factors.

9) Personalization in search will include shoppers' past buying behavior.

10) eBay will move to a free listing model in most categories.

Monday's Newsflash newsletter has more about eBay's "TVS Beacon," which offers searchers more control over certain factors while still using its relevancy algorithm to rank results, and also includes perspective from a seller, Ty Neil, who's been using such features on eBay's testing ground.

How do you feel about eBay limiting search results? What do you think about eBay making search a more customizable experience? What do you think of a free listing model? Is extracting relevant information from feedback a more accurate representation of how good a sellers is than DSRs?

We know this is a lot to wrap your head around, but the impact will be significant for sellers! Take a look at today's articles, and let us know what you think of features such as the TVS Beacon and buyer sentiment tools. Which sellers would benefit, and how do you plan on coping with eBay's new search engine?

Comments (63) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search

by: mylifeisgood This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 15 07:47:07 2012

I think its a terrific idea for Ebay, but then again we no longer buy on Fleabay.

Haven't done so in months.  

Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Mon Oct 15 07:53:25 2012

In Buyer mode I am groaning....

#1 - I already feel like search results are winnowed down before I see them, at any rate my searches turn up a lot less than they did in the past! If I feel like I am not seeing everything, I am more inclined to go to Google, etc... & look.

#2 - Mining the description text could have mixed results. I do this myself (check the box) on some searches if a seller leaves an important descriptive item out of the Title Bar. Usually this is the first thing I do if I feel the search results are smaller than realistic.

#3 - As a buyer I HATE anyone making assumptions about what I want. I would rather have the whole enchilada of search results & filter the things I don't want myself. Really, this would be a nice OPTION to give buyers. Let them choose! I would like an option to see ALL the items available in a given area (like USA only).

#4 - Personalization. Doubt I ever use it. Sounds kind of creepy. On trust: I've had some great transactions with sellers that have less than stellar feedback. I've had some hair-pulling transactions with 100% FB sellers.

#5 - What about the sellers who only use one username to both buy AND sell. FB will reflect all those positive experiences you had as a buyer along with your seller FB unless separated. I really don't see what they are going to gain as a result from this - that people LOVE your items or that you paid fast & are good at drawing pictures with keystrokes?

#6 - So lose the DSR's already. Oh yeah, eBay still may need to be able to manipulate the sellers behavior. Oops, forgot.

#7 - I doubt I would ever use a device to narrow down price. Even if a collectable item that is way out of my price range shows up on a search, sometimes I take a look at it to see what is so special. Who knows, I may run across one at an estate sale.

#9 - We are being profiled - Maybe criminal investigation organizations can pick up some pointers from eBay.

#10 - well we knew this was coming. Point of having / paying for a Store????

One last point, If you have favorite sellers that you THINK you may want to do business with in the future: You better learn how to SAVE the seller's site & make notes to yourself. You may never find them back again if you don't. That is if you can FIND how to save them with the new format. I STILL have trouble finding the save seller's store button. Tiny font & I swear it is moving around!

As a seller: This may be a good time to add business cards, calendars, something with your store name & how to find you on eBay & otherwise to the packages!

Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search

This user has validated their user name. by: Nolle

Mon Oct 15 07:58:20 2012

the law of unintended consequences will take effect.

Narrowing search to fewer and fewer sellers will mean more sales for less sellers.  The overall seller pool will decrease leaving less variety and less competition.  Poor selection and higher prices will be the inevitable result.

They have lost their mission focus.  Why be Amazon?  We already have Amazon.  What we don't have is another Ebay.

Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Mon Oct 15 08:24:38 2012

I wonder if many of the problems with seller dissatisfaction would disappear if ebay bifurcates itself in to ebayAuction and ebayFixed (sorry for the pun).

I realise that you can already search between fixed and auction items, but the general public does not do that apparently.

This way, the unique items vying for multiple buyers can see their value increase whilst using the fixed platform can compete via best value.

Instead of destroying the auction format, you would be preserving it.

Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search

by: JB This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 15 09:03:56 2012

I don't waste time buying on eBay anymore. I don't know if anything like my suggestion is being done or considered....Why doesn't eBay have a search engine for "search engines"

In another words they have a main page asking the buyer what they are interested in purchasing, and in what type of category.

NOTHING at all like their browser page which is a mile long and covers every available  formula to search ....

Take perfume bottle as an example. If eBay had two categories one MODERN and one COLLECTIBLE.  ...The buyer chooses one...

Same for the seller. When listing they can choose one to list based on whether the item is new or used. New would be listed in modern, and used in the collectible category.

Their Cassini search would then limit it to the  whether the buyer chooses modern or collectible as a search mode.

I don't know if their Cassini allows this type of search or even if eBay would consider it if they don't already but it would make a search easier, and confine the search to the proper category, chosen by both the buyer, and seller.

Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search

by: gutspiller This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 15 09:14:05 2012

When JD boarded Ebay in 2008 everything was fine. Sellers where thriving. Selling prices and sell through rates were great.

In the meantime Ebay mananged to get about everything broken. And that what isn't broken yet, will be broken with this monster.

When this new search engine is released forget about exposure, forget about sales. The entire marked place will be flooded with the biggest crap you can imagine. And if Ebay effectively eliminates listing fees, you even no longer have reason to complain. Why should you complain for something you didn't pay for.

And this is exactly what Cassini will be. There will be a lucky few sellers that will see a HUGE rise in sales due to a 10000% increase in visibility. For 90% of the other sellers Casini will mean you won't longer show up in the search results.

The only thing I can advise is run like hell from this monster and get ready to leave Ebay. When this new search is rolled out and you depend on Ebay to make your living, you'll be out of business before you know it.

Until 2 months ago I had a thriving business. Then Ebay made a policy change. As a result sales have completely nosedived. If Ebay doesn't fix this (which they probably won't) after New Year I'm leaving Ebay. The few sales I still make are no worth all the work and effort.

It may be the end of my business but I'm so sick and tired of the constant changes, the lies, the manipulations. I no longer want to deal with such a deceiving company.

I really hope this Casini will completely blow up in their face and that this will be the end of the current Ebay.  

Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search

This user has validated their user name. by: Nan

Mon Oct 15 09:14:09 2012

"A lot to wrap your head around" is putting it mildly.  I've been clicking around through all the articles referenced by Ina (the dufkin.com one is particularly interesting).  While I hesitate to jump on the bandwagon with both feet, I can see where some of the parameters will benefit me.  

For instance: 'ebay will mine descriptions for attributes'.  I can work with that.  In fact I kind of like it, onaccounta I spend a lot of time and effort writing descriptions.

The one that most bothers me is "5) eBay is mining the text of feedback comments to try and get a more accurate picture of buyer satisfaction and a seller's trustworthiness and performance. It will use such data in its search algorithm and risk models."
... using data in a manner that it was not intended for originally doesn't seem right.  For instance, on one of my ID's I have received one word feedbacks like 'fine' and 'good' and 'as described'.  When I look at the buyers feedback history, I see a long line of 'fine' etc.  It's the only feedback they ever leave.  They're usually big buyers with buying FB in the 1000's.  So it's not that they're ambivalent about their purchase, it's that they don't want to write a book report about every purchase, they just post pos feedback and move on.

So (knowing the above), now I have to worry about lazy feedbackers affecting my search standing?

OTOH, the feedback parameter might be a boon for the small seller of unique items, just because of the nature of their buyers.  I have another ID where I don't sell many, but my buyers leave lovely comments.  Will this raise my search standing?  Let's hope so.

Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Mon Oct 15 09:52:24 2012

@Nan: Those are legitimate concerns. I also have many buyers who leave one-word feedback comments. As you pointed out... the most prolific buyers aren't going to spend time writing book-reports.

Another thing that I wonder about. How will eBay translate the PROLIFIC and UBIQUITOUS graphic characters that buyers use to decorate their feedback?


★☆.•*¨¨*•.★☆ THANKS ★☆.•*¨¨*•.☆★

▒▓█▀▄▀▄▀▄█▓▒
Thanks! ░▒▓█▀▄▀▄▀▄█▓▒

★☆★ ░T░H░A░N░K░S░ ★☆★

I think it's safe to assume that UNHAPPY buyers are not likely to use decorations... so maybe the presence of these decorative symbols should add extra weight and value in the positive column.

Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 15 10:05:35 2012

I'm sick about this as a buyer and a seller. eBay must think we are all Luddites resistant to change, but every time EBAY makes a change today, they BREAK other things. This is serious when it means a seller's store items cannot even be seen--or when it becomes impossible to submit a listing. eBay users are going to hate this new ''sophisticated'' search engine. It will be, I have NO DOUBT, confounding to most. Does anyone know if users were complainers of the search feature? I was always happy with it. (Etsy stil hasn't fixed its search engine. Shopping there is major inconvenience. Vintage and Jewelry selections work like radio buttons...) I don't know if I can go on with this chaos at eBay. Things just started working at eBay again--items selling again--for a month or two. And now all hell is breaking loose.  

Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Oct 15 10:07:18 2012

KISS........KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID.

Guess who STUPID is.  Ebay always have to make it more complicated than it needs to be.

Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 15 10:16:57 2012

Ten Things That Should Scare You about eBay's Cassini Search & PayPal is set to layoff 400 employees are both part and parcel of the same thing. And, you should be scared of both!

Paypal? they dont know how to run a company. They admit to %26 profit yet still cant fix the issues that plauge the company. They dont know how to handle the HUGE chargeback issues and the partial seller protection issues. Both of those coupled with eBays ship fast n free right away is causing them MASSSIVE losses. They have been eating bank fees like ''poor people getting Obamaphones''. I was told this by the people in PODA in paypal (thats the group that handles larger sellers).

eBays search engine .... good grief. NOTHING ebay does works right, so unless GOD in his heaven is the lead programmer (and hes not - its some bozo from MS)(MS has such a great track record that I TRUST them to get it right ..... um NO).

In Ina's column ''eBay Cassini Search: A Seller's Perspective'' the GENIUS says ''Part of eBay's current problem is there are too many sellers with 100% feedback, Neil said'' ... so having alot of GOOD sellers is a problem? NO wonder ebay's in trouble! (BTW who is this guy anyway?)

Then the genius says ''Facebook is worth $100 billion because they know exactly what I want based on my interaction with people'' ... REALLY? how's thier STOCK DOING?

He then goes on to say ''He feels certain that eBay will indeed limit results in the new Cassini search engine and that as a result, eBay will eliminate listing fees.'' ... and so that does what for sellers ????????

In Ina's main article it says ''Letting Buyers Influence the Order of Search Results'' ... right after they convinced eBay to give them assinine return priviledges, free shipping and the power to ruin a seller with unaccountable DSRs - not THEY are going to be in charge od whether my listings (or yours) show up at all????

''And if eBay doesn't bring back all listings that match a search query, the marketplace would be hard-pressed to continue charging sellers listing fees'' .... then there will be 10000s of free listings, turning eBay into the flea market they said they DIDNT want eBay to become... so how does that make sence?

Emosi Sosial ... is just another DSR ... in comments instead of seller ratings. More buyer control over things sellers have no control over. Even Amazon doesnt do this to thier sellers - why does eBay think it needs to punnish them even more by putting them at the mercy of unaccountable buyers? ''eBay will likely use this data in its Fraud/Risk models as well.'' Talk about an unasked for business partner!

As mentioned before:

1) Right now, when you search for an item on eBay, you may get tens of thousands of results. eBay will be limiting search results to a fraction (hundreds) of what it returns today - that means Noah Hershmans plotting against small to midsized buyers will continue with zeal. When Apple calls up and says ''I dont want XXX on eBay'' it dissapears and eBay cant be pinned down or sued for it! You can pay for listings that either buyers or manufactorers TELL ebay they dont want to see !

4) eBay will let buyers personalize search results, by adjusting four factors - Trust, Value, Diversity and Relevance - and how important each one is to them. ..... then what the hell is the TRS and Powerseller tags for? Not to mention the stupid DSRs?

Business has been abismal on eBay - and this wont make it any better - just worse .....  


Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search

by: jeanr This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 15 11:39:05 2012

Horrible, My friends cannot find my listings anymore, that has been since last spring. My sales cut by 75%! I have 100% feedback, been selling since 2005 on eBay. My best customers tell me..they thought I had left. All because of the new search engine and this one, forget it!  

Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search

by: Mr. Me This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 15 11:54:56 2012

I am still surprised that nobody has come up with a workable simple auction site with a hands-off approach.  ebay is no longer what it was, and I no longer waste my time buying or selling there , many have left, but the want / need for a place to buy/sell used items from individuals still exists.

Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search

by: TheCuriousPhoenix This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 15 13:28:17 2012

Wow, I'm so glad I moved my entire business to Bonanza.com in April 2011 when it became apparent from speeches made by Donahoe that eBay will do everything it can to drive away small sellers.

Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search

by: Cavewomansman22 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 15 15:43:10 2012

As a buyer I would find it rather annoying to have to set my search parameters (trust, value, diversity and relevance) as if I were creating a D&D character. I just want to type in what I want and get the results.  

Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Mon Oct 15 16:05:28 2012

Ming & one other person (sorry, forgot who) recently mentioned the idea of co-ops for sellers.

I have often wondered myself how that could be done - I don't have enough tech knowledge to know how it could be enacted, but the idea of ''strength in numbers'' is valid one.

Some way to link individual websites together for more visibility & power - with maybe the ability to pool resources for advertising.  

And members could still use their other venues: eBay, Bonanza, ecrater, eBid, etc.... if they choose.

Just following up on ideas that have already been expressed here!  

Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Mon Oct 15 16:39:22 2012

@ Cavewomansman22: RE: Setting parameters ''as if I were creating a D&D character''

HA! LOL! Brilliantly funny! (And a perfect description too!)

Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search

by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 15 16:59:25 2012

The problem ebay is having is too much crap.  

This phenomenon never been more visible that it is in the Android AP market. (Itunes for Iphone is probably just as bad)

You look in there and you find 10,000 APs.  If you don't know the actual name of what you want in advance there is no way to find it. With 10,000 it's not like you can browse through to find what you want!

Ebay has the same problem.  With free listings it will only get worse!  

If search results on ebay return 10,000 of an item, well that's just worthless. No one has the time to evaluate all that!  

I was looking for a printer, and I had to look through all the printer parts, printer cartridges, printer refill supplies, it was just not possible to filter the results to show actual printers, the machines. It was frustrating.

Ebay has too much junk.  
Too many sellers.  
Not enough or good enough buyers.
Prices too low.  
Unrealistic expectations.  

If they can't solve those problems they might as well pack it in.

If their new search can solve those problems it's needed. But knowing ebay's programming ability, I doubt it will ever work.

Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search

by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 15 17:03:50 2012

Oh, BTW, one thing that does work is this:

Put this query in google:
Ovenex muffin tin site:ebay.com

It returns the same results as
Ovenex muffin tin
does when I put it in google.  A month or so ago it did not, google returned the correct results (I think) whereas the ebay search returned a subset of the results.  

Food for thought.  They fixed something, apparently.  

Perminate Link for Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search   Ten Things You Should Know about eBay's Cassini Search

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 15 18:04:37 2012

"They will roll it back after 2 years."

there lies the chief problem to the smaller seller.  it will take ebay too long to decide that it doesn't work and roll it back.  i could maybe ride through a couple of months of sales tanking, but much longer and i'll be looking for another job... and i wouldn't be coming back.

Click to view more comments
1 2 3 4  [Next Page]


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.