Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Oct 1 2012 23:58:43

eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

eBay is making a significant change to search. On Monday, eBay notified sellers who list items in categories that use the product catalog that it was removing product cards from search results. The email, signed by Michael Jones, Vice President of Merchant Development, stated in part:

"We have made significant improvements in our item-based search experience in recent years, and have learned that eBay can generate more sales for sellers like you by launching the item-based search experience everywhere. For that reason, we are removing the consolidated view experience (often referred to as "product cards") at this time."

(Quick - how many readers know what a product card is on eBay?)

Sellers who sent me the letter were confused as to the letter's meaning. (Wall Street analysts are more likely to know about eBay's new Cassini search engine than sellers, as eBay's Chris Payne briefed Wall Street analysts about Cassini "beta improvements" last month.)

eBay launched Product Pages in 2009 as part of its "Amazonification" move to a product catalog in certain categories such as media and has been expanding it to other categories over the years, including consumer electronics. When shoppers searched eBay for an iPod Nano, for example, they would see product cards representing generic Product Pages as opposed to individual listings. So, for example, they could click on a product card for a 16 GB versus an 8 GB Apple iPod Nano 6th Generation Graphite and be taken to the Product Page for the 16 GB Nano.




eBay called the consolidated view search results a "Product Based Experience," and had said, "This new way of displaying results on eBay will help shoppers find the exact product they are looking for much quicker as it minimizes the need for filtering a list of items."

Being taken to the Product Page, "The shopper can then compare prices for new, refurbished, or used items; check its price trend over time, read an accurate product description specification, compare against other variations… all from just one page!"

But now, search results come back with individual seller listings. As eBay explained in its October 1st letter, "Note that the product details page - including the value box featuring great values from Top Rated sellers - will continue to be available to buyers, but only from a link on the view item page, onsite search widgets, or from off-eBay search results like Google and Yahoo."

So the catalog is staying, product pages are staying, but the search experience in those categories with catalog is radically changing back to the "old" eBay style.

Sellers discussed the letter on the eBay discussion board, with one seller calling it a "positive step in changing the way search results are presented." (The thread is titled, "Did eBay finally realized "product details page"is not a good idea afterall.")

I haven't been briefed on this change and eBay didn't post anything on the announcement board (no, it didn't give sellers 60 days notice of the change). I'm working off of the letter eBay sent out, so stay tuned for more information on this news. And let us know what you think!

See October 2nd Newsflash story for an update.




Comments (26) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature   eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature

by: Matt This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 2 00:47:41 2012

Translation: Product cards underperform regular search results pages. It took us three years to figure this out. We're changing it back. You're welcome.

Perminate Link for eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature   eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Tue Oct 2 01:53:20 2012

I wonder how long it will take them to figure out what works for Amazon DOES NOT work on or for ebay.

Perminate Link for eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature   eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Oct 2 08:06:05 2012

What bitbybit said.

Perminate Link for eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature   eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature

by: rqtball This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 2 08:35:02 2012

Great change...glad they went back, I bought an itouch for my son a few months ago and tried ebay and I didnt like how search was working so I ended up just buying it on amazon.

need another itouch for xmas, will most likely look at ebay first now....scrolling through individual listings much easier for me...can filter what I want and dont want.

Perminate Link for eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature   eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature

This user has validated their user name. by: Nan

Tue Oct 2 09:45:42 2012

@Matt - Right on.

Perminate Link for eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature   eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature

by: purplerose This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 2 11:34:18 2012

Agree with bitbybit too. I never liked it, and never used it. I'd rather search through individual listings.

Perminate Link for eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature   eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 2 11:35:15 2012

Why don't they just stop meddling in search period!  Not best match, not product cards, not anything but search!  Too much to ask I guess....  Ebay can't even seem to see that they problems with sales started when they insisted on meddling in search for whatever purpose!

Perminate Link for eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature   eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue Oct 2 13:05:16 2012

It only took them three years to figure out their "improvement" was a disaster - something sellers in the effected categories screamed about from day one.

That the company would take this long to figure out their improvement was a failure demonstrates why this company is unable to grow sales. eBay has to rely on slight of hand tricks and questionable accounting methods to please their Wall Street Masters all because of John Donahoe's sellers are noise culture.

Hopefully this will mark the end of John Donahoe's "sellers are noise" approach to running eBay as well.

Perminate Link for eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature   eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Tue Oct 2 13:17:20 2012

What Patricia said.  

Perminate Link for eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature   eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Oct 2 13:43:34 2012

Patricia, my best guess is that the meddling is less about pointing buyers to what they are actually looking for and more about pointing buyers to eBay's and Donahoe's favorite big box and Chinese sellers.   All this nonsense seems to have started when eBay did away with a level playing field.   I've repeated it ad nauseam, eBay do not understand that when ALL sellers are successful then eBay is successful. This constant tinkering  with search is ridiculous.

Perminate Link for eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature   eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature

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

Tue Oct 2 14:44:31 2012

I don't suppose there's any chance the eBay BoD might "roll back" John Edward Donahoe?


eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

Perminate Link for eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature   eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue Oct 2 14:50:35 2012

Rexford could not be more correct... "eBay do not understand that when ALL sellers are successful then eBay is successful. This constant tinkering  with search is ridiculous. "


How long will it take them to realize that "Best Match" is stifling sales. The money eBay could save by eliminating Best Match and all the behind the scenes costs to tinker with it would save the company millions.

Getting back to Time Ending Soonest as the default search would actually grow sales volume across all categories - something eBay has been unable to do without forcing sellers into including shipping costs in the selling price of their items.

Unfortunately for sellers, genuine transactional sales growth is a foreign concept to this eBay management team.

Perminate Link for eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature   eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 2 15:48:28 2012

i've known for years that DVDs listed WITHOUT catalog would sell much better than those with.  buyers want to serch, see the items, chose and buy, without a lot of digging which the product pages promoted.

what amazes me is that ebay has a TON more metrics to look at than the average seller, yet it takes them years to figure this out.  perhaps because they enact so many changes that they can no longer easily see cause and effect of any particular one.

Perminate Link for eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature   eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature

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

Tue Oct 2 16:15:24 2012

One has to assume that "Best Match" was always a fraud on eBay users and was never intended to do otherwise than direct searchers to the "national brands" that the Ho wanted to replace all you unwashed peasant flea-marketers with. For, what other purpose can it have?

But, the fact is, in the fifth year of his three year turn-around plan, this headless turkey’s direction has clearly failed to grow the eBay marketplace and, indeed, it is continuing to atrophy relative to ecommerce in general …

Come to terms with it, as long as this cretin is at the helm, the eBay marketplace will remain dead in the water and continue slowly sinking; in the long term, not even the clunky PreyPal will be able to stem the inward flow of water entering through all the hole the Ho has drilled in the rusting old hulk …

Maybe, if Wall Street and the eBay BoD ever wake up and heave this cretinous psychopath overboard, eBay may still have a chance of regaining its preeminent position as the world’s greatest online (flea) market …

But eBay is going to have to finally do something effective about the rampant shill bidding fraud that now pervades eBay auctions if eBay auctions are ever to recover … Unfortunately, not even the relevant authorities seem interested in stopping this massive ongoing fraud on consumers that eBay knowingly facilitates …

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

Perminate Link for eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature   eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Tue Oct 2 17:01:16 2012

I have said this before about Marketing 101 - more sales are made by creating a sense of urgency and ''Time Ending Soonest'' did just that for both auctions and fixed price. Not fixed GTC or 30 days sitting forever, shampoo and repeat.

When Meg, right before she left, talked about Best Match, I thought if it ever came to fruition it would be devastating to sellers  and they must be out of their minds. Sad to say I was right on both counts.  

Perminate Link for eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature   eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature

by: JoJo This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 2 18:08:03 2012

At this rate, by the time they figure out all that they've done wrong, there won't be much ebay left.

I was over at a friend's the other day and mentioned ebay.  She said that she hadn't shopped on there in years.  I had the impression she had completely forgotten about it.

Perminate Link for eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature   eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature

by: 10 year seller This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 2 19:22:08 2012

Every person I talk to about ebay says the same thing. ''I don't shop there anymore because the search is screwed up.'' They say they can't find anything.

I look on ebay and give up. I know they must have some of the things I'm looking for but they always say sorry your search returned zero items.
I have found things on ebay by using other searches.

I can't believe that ebay items won't show up on eBays search but will show up on other searches.
What is wrong with them?
Even a simple organic search would be better.

At least you can keep going to the next page.

Perminate Link for eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature   eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature

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

Tue Oct 2 19:39:18 2012

The problem with the catalog that they wanted to force people to use it. Also it is incomplete for some items and eBay never wanted to update it.

For example I have a D-Link Internet Gateway DI-704 for sale. Every time requires me to add the catalog data, but the only data available was for DI-704P. I sent the request option to add the DI-704. They never add it. They are from the same manufacturer, but both are different in specs and look. In electronics you can't group everything and forget the different editions.  

Perminate Link for eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature   eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 2 21:04:02 2012

ebay  execs apparently have never heard of a little something called BLACK FRIDAY.

The REASON we all get so frenzied about shopping on Black Friday is the "Never Again At This Low A Price" and "Get It Before It Is GONE" factors.  

And lets not forget the "Thrill of the Hunt" dealie either.

This is what used to make ebay FUN.

Both as a buyer and a seller.

Now the ridiculous trying to look like a page out of a medical school text with out the cool pics is killing it.  

I used to find interesting things while looking for items.  And I used to have people tell me that they bought items because they stumbled upon them.

Now--not so much.

I HATE the Amazon format--oh I shop there once in a while but I HATE how it is set up.  And there is NEVER any stumbling across something cool.  Never.

I remember hearing about the "Internet"  way back when and mentioning to my husband that this would be a great platform to SELL THINGS.  He was HORRIFIED--this was supossed to be a PURE KNOWLEDGE type of thing.  I did the "Wife Eye Roll" and went on my way thinking that this COULD be the greatest marketplace in the history of the world.  Or something.

A year or so later I heard about this place called ebay.  For the VERY FIRST TIME I went onto a computer---standing joke that Mom is severely Tech Challenged---and I had to go to the Library to do it as we had no prayer of getting a real modem connection way out in the rural wilderness.  

I still have the FIRST item I bought on ebay--a vintage Crayola item!

And I remember the first thing I SOLD on ebay not long after--using my scanner as a giant camera I took a picture of a much hated "Santa Soaking His Feet" Christmas atrocity.  

A long time has passed and I sell there still but the system SUCKS.  I--and most other sellers---used to be able to joke that all you needed was a good title and you could sell ANYTHING on ebay.  Used celebrity chewing gum!  Sawdust!  Ruined clothing!  Anything.

Remember the contest some place ran around Halloween a few years back to find the STRANGEST thing for sale on ebay?  Try that NOW!

And now---items sit and languish for want of lookers and buyers while ebay dicks around and ignores it's customers. And tries to convince Wall Street that the Emperor (aka the Ho) HAS clothes.

Hows that working for them I wonder.  And for how LONG.    

Perminate Link for eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature   eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature

This user has validated their user name. by: thehosst

Tue Oct 2 21:20:21 2012

While eBay plays to test and test, they keep losing visitors confused with their amazing search "updates". The only marketplace that does all it cans to make harder for sellers to be found and for buyers to find. Another reason why they should now try to update the CEO

Click to view more comments
1 2  [Next Page]


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, 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.