Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Mar 13 2012 15:27:33

Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

You know you've encountered a serious buyer when they've created sophisticated search queries and saved them on eBay, and it's not just collectors on the look-out for items to add to their portfolio. That's why technical issues impacting the eBay Saved Searches feature is a serious problem, one that sellers fear are having a negative impact on sales.

Users report they've been experiencing problems with their saved searches on eBay since mid-February, and the problems came back with a fury in early March.

On March 8, an EcommerceBytes reader wrote, "Just to let you know that eBay has now completely stopped me from searching some categories the way I want to. I literally can't use the search that I have used for the past almost 10 years. Anything with an * (asterisk) is out, anything with ( ) is out. Basically its worst match or nothing. I went from (finding) over 12,000 items to just over 6000. So, I can now see half of what is listed in the category."

Users can set preferences to receive email notifications for saved searches. Three days later, the same reader wrote that the email notification containing new items that matched her saved search was also broken:

According to the email notification, eBay had found 18143 newly-listed items that match her saved search and stated, "Just click "Show items" to see these matching items. We hope this helps you find exactly what you want." However, clicking on the "Show Items" button in the email took her to a page with zero results with the message, "0 results found for (Search Terms)."

A second reader wrote last week to say, "eBay is having it's second massive search problem" and pointing to several discussion board posts, including this one in which users report similar issues going back to mid-February. Wrote one poster on the thread, "I've had all kinds of problems searching with my long established bookmarked searches. Getting zero results where there should have been a few thousand. Getting 25 thousand hits when there should have been just a few or none."

Another poster wrote that they were bidding less as a result of search glitches. "Day six of the broken search problems. Including the previous week of search being broken, we're now at almost two weeks of my bookmarked searches no longer working. My bidding is way down because I can't run my bookmarked searches. This can't help eBay's first quarter results. In my 15 years on eBay I've never seen anything like this!"

Today, another reader contacted EcommerceBytes to say eBay's "advanced search" for eBay Stores has been broken for a few weeks. "I've brought it to eBay's attention several times but it still remains broken. It definitely affects my sales so I'm sure it does hurt others, too."

The search feature she referred to is explained under "Searching for items in eBay Stores" on the eBay help pages. She explained that the search always reverts back to the "store name" instead of "stores with matching items."

"The first couple of times I phoned eBay I was told to just search a different way," she said. "I replied that I pay good money for a store and the search feature should be working. The gentleman asked me three or four times, "I take it you want to close your store." To which I replied, "No, I want the search feature to work properly." Quite frustrating!"

eBay has been trying to improve its search functionality for years, and it will launch a massive overhaul to search called Project Cassini this year. (Sellers believe eBay began testing Cassini in September.) But the care and feeding of existing search functionality is as important as making large-scale improvements to search.

Feel free to weigh in on your experience with eBay search features.




Comments (28) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales   Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales

This user has validated their user name. by: basset

Tue Mar 13 15:59:20 2012

You know, I had a problem just today. I was looking for a certain item I couldn't find. Decided to save it as a search - & got a message that I had reached my "maximum" number of searches. However, I recently removed several searches so that I am not tempted to buy unnecessary items (to help make up for future loss of 20% TRS discount). I have a lot less searches now, but am at a "maximum" if I add just one more? Strange.  

Perminate Link for Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales   Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales

by: Long Time eBay Seller This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 13 16:07:19 2012

I'm fairly convinced that any time there are "free listing days" (or months, as the case may be), we're actually beta testing for Cassini.

As well, several times over the past week I've clicked on my bookmark for "Sold/Awaiting Shipment" and had a page show 0 when I know I had 8 or more items waiting.

If it's broken for sellers, it's broken for buyers too. And buyers have no incentive to persevere, they'll just go elsewhere.  

Perminate Link for Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales   Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales

by: BetterThingsToDo This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 13 17:14:57 2012

I was looking for a pink bunny tail. Had them all saved and darn if they aren't all gone.

If I ever find one I'm going to neg the seller for making it so hard to find.

How stupid is that.

Perminate Link for Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales   Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue Mar 13 17:47:41 2012

We are finding that eBay regularly resets search customizations such as number of items per page, show shipping cost, show item number and show add to watch list links.

About every week and a half since February, it has been necessary to reset these options for regularly used searches stored as bookmarks in my browser.

If eBay wonders why they have so many problems drawing and keeping buyers that they are forced to spend millions on TV ads in March featuring the same dysfunctional characters that comprised the holiday ad campaign, they need look no further than their inability to provide a consistent buyer experience when people come to look around.

eBay gives million dollar raises to executives who already make millions, but when it comes to providing basic services such as fully functioning search on a consistent day in day out basis, well that just never seems to happen.

John Donahoe cuts budgets for IT staffing and hires third party code writers to cut expenses. The  net result is basic features which lack consistency and function differently from one day to the next. All this and the CEO and most C-level executives get significant increases in compensation.

No wonder eBay has to fudge their GMV numbers by forcing sellers to include shipping costs in selling prices of items.

Perminate Link for Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales   Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Tue Mar 13 18:14:53 2012

Barely and minimally functional.

Typical of Devil Wenig's "technolopgy" company.

Inconsistent results with the same search terms.

Often can't handle more than two keywords

Often doesn't display all items for one seller.

Cheap, dirty, andfia"technology."

Perminate Link for Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales   Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales

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

Tue Mar 13 18:20:34 2012

This sounds serious. I'll be interested in hearing if Ms. Hoff or ''eBay Ron'' has any information that will shed any light on this matter.

Perminate Link for Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales   Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales

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

Tue Mar 13 20:15:30 2012

I swear, sometimes I think eBay is its own worst enemy.

Perminate Link for Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales   Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales

This user has validated their user name. by: TrentDep

Tue Mar 13 20:44:49 2012

Try creating a search, and then cut and paste the search url into different types of browsers...

In one browser, I see catalog items as well as non catalog items, in the other - no catalog items...  Try the same search while signed into different Ebay accounts - your results will also vary.

I cut and paste a search for every pair of event tickets that I have in inventory - and can tell you that since September, the chance of seeing any given item is hit or miss...

Kind of hard to sell an item that a potential customer never even sees...

Perminate Link for Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales   Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales

by: Postthoughts This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 14 01:17:33 2012

I'm a buyer, not a seller.  I became so frustrated with ebay's search last week, I bought most of the things I was looking for on Amazon. As a buyer, it just isn't worth the extra time and hassle.  Last week the search results were not clickable, just a list of possible other word combinations to use for search.  Using those combinations, just brought up other lists.  Not one real result showing a real listed item.  ebay is insane to think I'm going to waste my time on this nonsense.  Even the changes they have made to the listing pages are time consuming. ebay has added so many steps to the process of seeing the items that turn up in search when search works, that they  have made the ''buyer experience'' a tedious task.  ebay is no longer the first place I search, it has become the search of last resort.  If I were a seller, I would be worried too.

Perminate Link for Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales   Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales

by: Another Coin This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 14 03:32:32 2012

Views and watches are abysmal especially the last two-three weeks. Forget sales. All seems pointless. No wonder eBay gave sellers until the end of March free auction listings to store subscribers. Hard to make sales in a ghost town.  

Perminate Link for Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales   Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales

by: ibs This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 14 06:44:21 2012

@trentdep: I just tested my listings in the same manner...  DEVASTATING results.

no wonder views and watchers fell off so drastically in the last few weeks..I kept looking at my auctions and titles trying to figure out if I made mistakes..I thought I was losing it.

So stunned that I can mot find the words to make any comments

Perminate Link for Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales   Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales

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

Wed Mar 14 08:12:05 2012

Incompetence reigns supreme at eBay. Whether it's lack of programming skills, lack of testing, or an inability to be able to restore to a previous version when something goes wrong... they *always* find some way to ''eff'' it up. Astounding.

Perhaps some partnership with Google would help out. I often see commercial sites *without* their own internal search engine... but instead use Google for their site-search.

Perminate Link for Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales   Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales

by: wallflower This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 14 08:45:46 2012

Ina, have you called ebay about this? Are they running all these listing specials for fodder for testing the new search or whatever else they are tinkering with? Visibility of listings is a huge issue.

Perminate Link for Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales   Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales

by: zvicki This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 14 13:52:03 2012

I used to use ebay for research a lot for estate sale items, just to verify what items are actually selling at. Guess what: When I do a search on the ebay site I find 0 results or some other nonsense. If I goggle the item instead, I find dozens of the very same item on ebay? How does this make any sense at all? Ridiculous!

Perminate Link for Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales   Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales

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

Wed Mar 14 14:41:20 2012

But, but, but, is this not the way "Best Match" is supposed to work; so why not "search" too?

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

Perminate Link for Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales   Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales

by: Another Coin This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 14 14:49:16 2012

Ebay is flooding the site with free auction listings and then NOT making the listings visible in searches. Don't be surprised to have eBay turn around with an announcement of "we listened .. buyers want fixed prices and to be able to Buy it Now, Buy it New ..." This will be Ebay's way of completely killing off auctions.  

Perminate Link for Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales   Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales

by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Wed Mar 14 15:22:04 2012

Surely it would make sense for ebay to make sure all the listed items were getting good views.

Rather than going for more and more listings if their present systems cannot even handle that.

The more items that sell the more fv fees they get.

Perminate Link for Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales   Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Wed Mar 14 19:00:00 2012

Another perfect example demonstrating yet again that the jerks who dream these things up have absolutely no idea of how ebafia is used by buyers and sellers.

Nor do they care. They "expect" members to divine the right techniques which are all on double secret probation.

In the meantime, the site is bleeding both buyers and sellers to other sites while The Ho plays the acquisition and revenue shifting games to demonstrate "growth."

Imagine walking into a big box store where everything is randomly scattered throughout the store yet each aisle is labeled as what's supposed to be there. Imagine that when you ask where a certain item is, the store dispatches employees to remove it so you can't find it or the security greeter sends you to the wrong aisle over and over again.

You leave and go shop in a store that knows how to arrange its merchandise and have employees who know where things are.

What a concept.

It's as if the sociopaths who run ebay are all on meth and can't concentrate on anything longer than 5 minutes, randomly jump from one task to another without completing any of them, can't stay focused long enough to really fix much of anything, who dream up illogical, counterproductive, and profit destroying new platforms and policies, and who spew lies every time their collective mouths open.

Listen up, Wenig. Anti ebay sentiment has reached critical mass and every day new converts finally understand how evil your criminal syndicate has become un der The Ho.

Ebafia plays a smaller role in e commerce every day.

Perminate Link for Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales   Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 14 19:04:40 2012

Im sorry, I have to disagree with most of the people here.

Everybody here says ''poor programming'' or ''sloppy algorythms'' etc - I say NO.

I believe that its all calculated. Search results on eBay are based on who's listing what, at what time, and who THEY want to succeed. If you dont come up on top or close to the top and you are a powerseller/TRS then its eBays manipulation that's causing it. There's SOMEONE (a diamond, a premium store owner, a manufactorer) thats getting the placement on top and with full visibilty.

We call JD all kinds of names. Its easy to poke fun at simpletons - but in this case - its sheer listing manipulations not stupidity.

Noah Hershmann said it in TWICE - thier stated goal is to make sure that thier large partners succeed. Not you, not me, not the casual seller. WE are second tier - and if we dont watch out - bottom tier.

Amazon manipulates listings as well - depending on if you are a PRIME customer or not. What you see is different then what a NON Prime sees. eBay ALWAYS apes Amazon - here it's the same thing in inverse.

As Ming says - eBay ALWAYS lies - in this case its deception by omission - you arent there even though you paid for the listing and earned top spot!

Perminate Link for Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales   Sellers Worry About Impact of eBay Search Bugs on Sales

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

Wed Mar 14 23:44:37 2012


My sales were down 40 percent for the first week of march,  it is the search..........

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.