|Mon Oct 1 2012 23:58:43|
eBay Rolls Back an Amazon-Like Search Feature
By: Ina Steiner
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.