Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Aug 28 2016 08:28:17

eBay Search Is Broken

By: Ina Steiner

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A reader emailed this morning to report problems with eBay's search, and sure enough, there have been reports of problems since Friday about unrelated listings coming back in search results.

"Is it just me, or has eBay search gotten worse," the seller wrote. "Custom searches that worked last week are suddenly turning up mostly unrelated junk."

Some users who reported the problem on the eBay boards said the problem is due to the fact that eBay's search engine is searching not only listing Titles, but the Descriptions as well.

It's unclear if it's an intermittent problem affecting only some users (or servers) - one would expect to see many more threads about the problem if it was a more widespread problem.

But for those buyers and sellers who are experiencing the problem, it makes it very difficult to find what they are looking for - for example, one user wrote:

"For some reason when I search eBay it searches within listing. For example I type in "japan" I get stuff that does not have japan in title but it searches the description and spits it out. I dont care if some joe shmoe has a policy for their item about shipping to japan, I want it to search title listings like it did 2 days ago."

On another thread, a user explained:

"For me search has been a hot mess since Friday. It is searching title AND description no matter what you do to avoid it. If the words appear anywhere in the description then it shows you that listing.
 
A search for Quarter Horse Journal brought up a pencil drawing of a pug dog simply because the seller mentioned one of their drawings had been in Quarter Horse Journal."

The user said eBay was aware of the problem.

We'll keep researching this issue, let us know what you're seeing and if you've found a workaround.

Comments (50) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 28 20:08:14 2016

Nothing new at deadbay , except new listings "NOT" being seen. LOL I never seen so many idiots , trying to run a Co. in my life. I guess the deals made with  china , Walmart & such , are keeping them afloat. They surely have screwed the American sellers.

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

by: spooky This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 28 20:20:06 2016

yes the search process is all screwed up. Much too many examples are being pushed. apparently eBay is thinking that if 1 word of a 2 word search matches then throw all of them at us. For example I search Houghton Dutton, al old Boston Mass dept store. Might get a couple searches messaged to me each week. Now I am getting 20 per day with most being books published by Houghton Mifflin! Ridiculous.  

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sun Aug 28 22:55:21 2016

@JLight

I cleared my cache & cookies and my search for: scribe rite returned 2 hits as it almost always does.

Thanks

This so called "new artificial intelligence" is nothing more then the old search by description.

I'm NOT impressed

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

by: ConnecticutGal This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 29 00:15:02 2016

When something like this happens to my cable tv service, Cablevision blames it on "sun spots" which apparently can not always be detected ahead of time.  Maybe Ebay's search has been affected by sun spots.

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

by: alaska This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 29 00:25:45 2016

''For example I type in japan I get stuff that does not have japan in title but it searches the description and spits it out. I dont care if some joe shmoe has a policy for their item about shipping to japan.''

That's funny! For years and years I tried to convince eBay to stop searching the boilerplate. A keyword search searches all of the listing, including the sellers business name, the boilerplate, etc. I asked Meg Whitman if there was a way to restrict search to just the words describing the item, and excluding the boilerplate and spam words that most sellers use to draw attention to the listing. She told me that one engineer told her they could design that into search, and another said no. That was the last I ever heard of that idea. When I keyword search for “Alaska'' items I get every seller who says “Shipping is extra to Alaska and Hawaii.” Someone searching for Ohio memorabilia will get “Ohio residents are required to pay Ohio sales tax.” The boilerplate should never have been included in the text to be searched. There should have been a separate field for the boilerplate that a title/description search ignores. But what has really ruined eBay for me as a buyer is having to search through all of the relists for something new to the site. Searching eBay for antiques and vintage collectibles  is such an awful experience that most of the buyers who were very active 10 years ago have quit searching eBay.

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Mon Aug 29 01:43:35 2016

The search is the worst I have ever seen. Trying to scale down for example using the words "vintage purses" and one brand name, there were over 28,000. Adding -new brought it down to around 500. Well you can see where this is heading and who is not wanted. Ebay is steering and favoring the heck in most categories. All categories are becoming one big mess and I can see frustrated buyers tired of struggling with search and leaving. eBay thinks if they hit the buyer with thousands of choices something will stick. Hey eBay, buyers aren't pinatas and this isn't pin the tail on the donkey.  

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

This user has validated their user name. by: thehosst

Mon Aug 29 02:21:22 2016

WOW! Since last Friday? Which Friday, a 1999 Friday? Because the TERRIBLE outsourced eBay "Tech" Team has no clue of what even search is. So many demands from eBay to list on the marketplace just to end at the mercy of the most stupid charlatans of all time. The billions of dollars in loses and the light years of wasted time just because of a bunch of idiots who seem to have the last say on eBay. About time to get rid of these incompetent waste of space and put real programmers to fix all the mess these critters have created. Patching after patching is not going to fix anything. You need real professionals to create a simple but effective search engine.  

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

by: Mog This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 29 04:15:40 2016

Thehosst
You mean a search which brings back ONLY the words you typed in the box in ending soonest order.
Now that would be intellegent of ebay if they did that.  

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

This user has validated their user name. by: VV

Mon Aug 29 07:30:25 2016

I can cut & paste the title of my listing into search and zero comes back.  That is nothing new though.

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

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

Mon Aug 29 08:25:57 2016

What the hell is with these people?  I mean the young tech staff at Etsy and Ebay.  This proves once again that college degrees are worthless.

They are graduating a bunch of delicate snowflake, social justice warriors who are so busy parsing the latest PC BS that they never learn the basics like how to read and write.

This is who's running things. Of course it's a mess.  

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

by: rfmtm This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 29 09:34:32 2016

Search has been broken for so long in one way or another it is pathetic.  Constant changes make it even more unpredictable.  

Come the busy season it is so slow and unreliable, I and many others are forced to do our holiday shopping elsewhere.

Worst is the total swamping of the search by non-USA sellers gaming the system with quasi-duplicate listings, and/or bait & switch variations listings.

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

by: spooky This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 29 09:42:42 2016

I have saved search "boston latin ring"; I might get a message a few times per year. today I was messaged with 90 results? Insane, none had anything to do with me saves search

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 29 10:35:19 2016

@toolguy.
It is a free country so you can post what you want. However, before you posted that ebay's search was not broken, did you even check the ebay search? I doubt it.
This is a serious issue for many people who actually male their living through online sales so please your cheerleading for ebay is getting a little old.
I can tell you for a fact that ebay's problems are profound and the whole site is unstable.
Shoppers are tired of it, sellers are tired of it and it won't be long before ebay tanks with this sort of crap going on.
At the least a announcement should be made and an apology to the users but heck no that will not happen.
So toolguy if you can prove to us all that ebay  is not broken , it is fair to sellers and is going to address  its issues seriosly than
PUT UP OR SHUT UP!

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

by: ignatz This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 29 10:37:37 2016

eBay needs to admit that they have serious problems in their IT department. Then they need to finally DO SOMETHING about it!

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon Aug 29 11:38:31 2016

@ebay refugee camp

Like many other ebay sellers I do this for a living.

eBay has been 95% of my income for the last 16 years.

When I posted that ebay works I just looked at my sold listings.
(I sold items so search has to be working)

When I tried a search I could see what others were talking about.

As of this posting eBay has fixed the "issues"

My search for: scribe rite returned 2 results like it has for the last few years unless what I am looking for is listed, then it says 3.

I bought the one listed yesterday (scribe rite)

PS: eBay's demise has been posted here for over a decade, eBay's still in business!

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

by: Toledo Maude This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 29 12:26:43 2016

Search is broken?  How would I know?  

First, the Olympics killed sales for two weeks.

Now, Labor Day weekend is upon us.  Another lost long weekend for sales.

And write-off September and October thanks to the Presidential election frightening the buyers.

Can it go anymore south?  Woke up this morning to find a righteous SOB left me a negative feedback.  First time in years. Time to see how eBay's vaulted seller protection is working....

On the other hand, I love the eBay app on the smartphone when picking at antique malls.  

That is except Ohio's largest mall (outside of Springfield - you know who you are!).  The mall has little or no cell reception inside (unless one goes outside and stands on a large rock).   Nor does Ohio's largest and most prestigious mall offer complementary WI-FI service to it's shoppers and BUYERS!  

With 8 cashiers' windows open on weekends and buyers standing in line to pay, open up the purse strings and spend some money on the buyers.  THANK YOU!

I find the search on the eBay app to be most helpful. Not perfect but helpful.

As I told my brother, a retired computer programer, who was blue in the face trying to use the search on his highend smartphone, ''Search is more magic than science.''  He agreed.

Monday and I ain't got no orders to ship.  McTool is one lucky eBayer!

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Mon Aug 29 12:44:04 2016

@FlyingChilders

You can't just throw all college graduates under the bus here.  I worked for years as a programmer and I could not tell you how many times a process was clearly broken or a ticking time bomb but I was forbidden from doing anything about it.  Oh I could sometimes submit bug reports (with solution attached) but they were deleted if not simply ignored.  So this state of affairs is just as likely a result of (mis)management as it is technical staff.

@ToledoMaude
No, magic actually works.  Page search (like Google) is hard, database search is easy.  It really grinds my gears how so many shopping sites completely bungle database searches.  Sure, hieroglyphic character sets make things difficult, but there's no excuse for the US version (or any other country using mostly ASCII/Latin1 characters) of eBay search to fail.

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

by: Toledo Maude This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 29 12:52:24 2016

@RKTOYS

Thanks for the comment! But...

''Latin1''?

I squeaked out a ''D'' in 9th grade Latin.  Over my head!

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

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

Mon Aug 29 13:27:51 2016

Zero sales on Ebay this week. Over $1,000 on Etsy. Who's search doesn't work again?

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

by: Scotty This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 29 13:36:04 2016

As Donaho-ho sits in his castle counting his millions....the town he was Mayor of...burns.

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