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

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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?

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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: JoJo This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 15 18:11:05 2012

Just really, really glad I'm not on ebay anymore.  Sorry, folks.  This sounds like a nightmare for you.

If you don't have a backup plan in place, now would be the time to be working on one.  Just a suggestion.

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by: wallflower This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 15 18:44:01 2012

Steevo, I don't understand your search example with the muffin tins. Did you misstate something or am I just not getting it?

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This user has validated their user name. by: eBankrupted

Tue Oct 16 02:16:43 2012

@pace306

"PayPal is set to layoff 400 employees "

---in related news-----

Amazon to hire 50,000 !

(Amazon) says it expects "thousands" of those it hires to stay on full time.

http://news.yahoo.com/amazon-hire-50-000-seasonal-workers
-040423562--finance.html

Investors
should downgrade their expectations for fleecebay or face massive risk.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Oct 16 07:36:34 2012

Someone needs to tell Neil that our buyers can't (or won't) even read a listing description.  And eBay expects them to use queries?

Many buyers are just lazy. They want to do a simple search and see what they are searching for.  If they search for an iPhone they don't want to see 10,000 iPhone accessories.

Once again eBay over thinks.  And would someone please tell me how many times eBay has fiddled with and changed search over the last ten years.  Seems like every year a "new and so-called improved" search  mechanism is rolled out.   As a buyer on eBay I have never had worse search results than now which is why I no longer buy on Ebay.

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by: wallflower This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 16 09:14:43 2012

Sounds like it would clutter up mobile searches on little screens.

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 16 10:41:21 2012

eBankrupted is %100 correct!

Amazon (even with the barage against them by brick n morter stores, and a few stallwart manufactorers who dont want thier goods being sold in thier 3party seller marketplace) continues to do the right thing over and over again.

Amazon is by no means perfect, but at least they have the ecommerce part down pat - no games, no preferences, no hiring morons who dont know anything because they never have been sellers on an eBay or anywhere else, no stupid VERO tricks, no shill bidding, no non paying buyers, no picture issues - NOTHING.

A seller makes sales, packs, ships and doesnt have to deal with the stupidities that eBay foists on sellers. After all this time the best ebay can do is change its logo, do another ''update'' and change the search engine again to hurt the people they no longer really want.

Noah made it clear and I believe him. They tried using DSRs to rid ebay of a certain class of seller, they tried forcing free shipping, they tried tough return policies - but yet we have all sort of hung on.

Now, Cassini will do it for them - YOU, Me and most on here aka the small sellers will simply be excluded ''just because''. Because we complain when ebay does us wrong, we blog, we write our opinions on places like this, we write on their forums, we tell everyone we know that ebay is the next titanic - Monster, Skullcandy, Datavis, Toysrus DONT. So .... we will just be erased by Noah and JD!

My revenge? Using eBay as the big boys do - mine for customers. I just picked up a new one yesterday - 2K in watches - a gentleman from Japan. I cut ebay RIGHT OUT by emailing him directly after he bought something else from me! We spoke and now Ive got a new customer - Ill be invoicing him for another 1K later on today. Ebay wont be getting ONE THIN DIME off that sale - and Ill eat the prime rib at Le Circ and laugh at Noah!

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

Tue Oct 16 12:00:36 2012

only one thing that you should know about the "search'. it is a TOOL that eBarf uses to favor certain sellers over others, and to maximize ebarf's profit margin, it does little to 'match' like minded buyers and sellers.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Island_Sam

Tue Oct 16 12:33:04 2012

We are now diversifying our selling platforms. There is just too much instability on ebay (in the last 4 months alone) to be able to conduct a viable business. We all dread the coming months as the upheavals may just be the nail in the coffin for certain ebay sellers (including us). ebay could still be a profitable venture, but the business model has completely changed.

It will take some time before all these changes stabilize itself. Only after that adjustment period will a seller know if ebay is still worth getting into. It's too bad that ebay feels they need to do wholesale changes to grow their business. Trying hard to be like "The other guy". The ebay niche is slowly disappearing.  

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by: BackInBlack This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 16 17:27:53 2012

I'm terrified, both as a seller and buyer.  I'm sure this means buyers won't be able to find my items; I'm also upset I'm being limited from seeing ALL results for something I want, or just want to browse, as someone above pointed out.  Using a simple 'keyword' search to see all results is what makes (uh, MADE) eBay Fun!  

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by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Wed Oct 17 14:25:21 2012

Wallflower, google can search other sites including ebay by including the argument:

site:ebay.com

at the end of any google search query. So searching google for
ovenite muffin tin site:ebay.com

returns all the ovenite muffin tins on ebay.com.  

It's just how it works.  

It works on most sites that google indexes, you can search for whatever and restrict results to a particular site.   So if you were looking for a new story that was on nyt.com you just search google for
searchterm site:nyt.com

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by: wallflower This user has validated their user name.

Wed Oct 17 14:49:13 2012

Steevo, so you are comparing using google to search for the tins on ebay against an organic google search for the same tins? The organic google search would find things outside of ebay, too. That's what I don't get.

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by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Wed Oct 17 16:29:07 2012

Wallflower, the search I cited for google searches only ebay. It's how it works.  

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by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Wed Oct 17 16:34:09 2012

Ya know, ebay is a very frustrating venue to buy anything on now.  I looked up a commodity item, an XBOX 360 slim.  It's impossible to find anything, compare anything, it's just ridiculous.  

198 new ones and some are fixed price, some are auctions that don't end for 6 days and 23 hours (99 cents).

It's a big problem for common items.  

You can't find anything unless you happen to stumble onto one in an auction that's at a decent price and ending right away, or a fixed price you can just click BIN on.

There's just too much crap.  All at about the same price. I might as well go to Target.  I don't see a way to improve this for ebay.  

Now, for odd, unusual items, that's different.  You can find those, but there's not a lot.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Wed Oct 17 20:31:45 2012

@Steevo: You're right. The odd and unique stuff has been dwindling because most of the changes ebay implements favor the new, bulk items. It's really sad.

@wallflower: I think what Steevo is saying is that doing that google search as he specified will bring you *all* the items on ebay, and not the filtered subset that Cassini or best match will produce.

IMHO, ebay would have been better off to outsource their search to Google and work with them instead of fostering this adversarial relationship that they seem intent on maintaining. Google's expertise is search, so it could have been a mutually beneficial move for both companies.  

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by: Snoet This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 18 05:07:31 2012

Are we all not missing a crucial point here?
If eBay was doing as well as they would like Wall street to believe, they would be making no changes or maybe small changes. Someone already mentioned that today's teenager does not shop on eBay. It is only us dinosaurs who remember Honeywell, Burroughs, DEC, Univac and Compaq that still shops on eBay and sells on eBay. Where are those companies now? Is eBay about to join them?
All of the businesses above were confident that they could adapt to ''the future'', of them only IBM and very few more re-engineered themselves to a mere shadow of their earlier glory.
eBay have a hard road ahead.
On-line sellers do not die that easily. Unless we are stupid what we have to sell has value and as more people are becoming comfortable with buying in cyberspace more will want to buy. Going down with the eBay ship is stupid - start looking for the platforms that will move into the void left by eBay if it fails, if not learn how to sell on the phoenix eBay.
Complaining and blaming is as much a sign of not accepting and moving on as it is an acknowledgement that eBay may not get there.

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This user has validated their user name. by: permacrisis

Sat Oct 20 14:23:19 2012

We need to kidnap Pierre, and force him to code up REBAY.

And hey- we could be doing the guy a favor... if you violate your noncompete under duress, does it count against you?

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This user has validated their user name. by: JusTrains

Sun Oct 21 00:37:35 2012

And I quote...

"It wants to mine the text included in buyer-seller communications, feedback comments - perhaps even written and phone communications sellers have with eBay customer service reps - to "read between the lines" about a seller's performance and trustworthiness."

Is it just me or do I get a sense of paranoia in this sentence? Or maybe this is really how Orson Wells 'Big Brother' actually came into existence, or rather took over, I guess would be more accurate.

eBay is going to 'mine' correspondence and telephone calls between Sellers & Buyers? Seriously? And mine Feedback? Ya gotta be kidding me! Who leaves accurate real Feedback for sake of dredded retribution? My Feedback score shud easily be 1,000 plus more than I have but Buyers haven't been interested in even responding to after sale emails/requests let alone leaving Feedback!

I use to think all ya who complain were just blowing smoke. I sorry. I ain't complaining but I see the writing on the wall. And it's a load of crap.

Makes me really, REALLY angry to have invested 13 years into eBay and have it come to this!

I >>>KNOW<<< MY listings don't get up on the board like they did 2 years ago!

*sigh* just plain sucks! But, hey! It's still a great place to BUY stuff! sorta...

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by: JoJo This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 21 00:42:18 2012

ebay once had a niche.  It was the cool, unique or truly bizarre item.  Do you remember the last time there was a news article showcasing some oddball auction?  These used to be the norm.  Now it's just not seen.  Now people don't think about ebay at all.  It's passe.  Dated.  Over.  Too bad.  So sad.  Move on people.

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by: alaska This user has validated their user name.

Sun Oct 21 01:59:46 2012

EBay is run by complete idiots. When we search, how about giving us the option to filter out all reproductions, reprints, re-issues, etc? How about letting us filter out sellers of this junk PERMANENTLY? When I get results from a seller that I don't EVER want to see again, like reproductions of antique photographs, I should be able to add that seller to my own personal black list, so that any search I do in the future will not include any listings from that seller. Giving us 10 or 20 sellers to exclude on a specific search is not working. There are far too many sellers selling copies of original items.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen

Sun Oct 21 05:52:27 2012

@alaska, eBay is not interested in what you think you might be looking for; they know best what you want, apparently; and they are only interested in the FVF on something that you might buy if they stick enough stuff under your nose, or so they think, apparently ...

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

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