Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu July 19 2012 22:35:58

How Will eBay's Best Match Changes Impact Your Traffic?

By: Ina Steiner

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It's a big deal when search engines change their algorithm, as anyone who has ever had their website buried in search results after a Google change (like Panda) knows all too well. So eBay sellers are bound to be upset when they learn eBay has decided to change its Best Match search algorithm - with no advance notice to sellers.

EcommerceBytes learned of the change when a seller on the eBay PowerSeller board said they were told by a customer service rep that the reason their listings dropped beginning Friday, July 13th, was due to Best Match changes the marketplace was rolling out.

eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff confirmed the change to Best Match for auction listings - time ending will have reduced importance in the algorithm for auction listings, she said. See Friday's Newsflash news story for details.

Hoff said, "Best Match will be using relevance and popularity factors and reducing the importance of end time in sorting auctions."

Have you noticed any changes in traffic to your auction listings since last week? What do you think of the time-ending factor in search results, and how will this change your behavior both as a buyer and a seller?

Update 7/21/12: See the latest blog post from Saturday, July 21st, for updated news from eBay about the test.




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by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 19 23:20:08 2012

Best match was *really* broken today.  I called eBay about it.

I was looking for an out of print DVD.  I searched and found only 4.  I changed from Best Match to lowest price and I had 26.  Switched back to Best Match, again only 4.

Best match is a sorting algorithm. It's not supposed to suppress most of the results!  When you are looking for something that is rare, you expect to find them *all*.  Not have eBay hide most of them.  That would be insane!

No one would do that intentionally so I called them.  By this afternoon it was fixed.  I got 26 with either search.

Do I get to take credit for reporting their programming problem and their fixing it?  Could be!  Maybe it'll stay fixed.  

If they even intentionally suppress search results that will be the last week eBay is in business.  Insane.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Thu Jul 19 23:21:17 2012

Another day, another eBay stealth change imposed without any announcement of advanced notice.

It must be frustrating to be in Johnna Hoff's position as an eBay spokesperson as eBay once again makes her out to be a liar and contradicts their own policy with regard to "announcing seller facing changes in advance to allow sellers sufficient time to adjust..." as is eBay's practice.

The takeaway from this....

Johnna Hoff said  (Best Match) ".... can vary under different circumstances and at different times."

Translation: Sellers will never have any confidence in how their items will appear in search as there will be little or no consistency. Search consistency in Best Match is a crap shoot at any given time.



Johnna Hoff Tip: "Offer a good start price and reasonable shipping..."

Translation: Now that eBay is collecting a penalty fee on shipping costs not included in the selling price, we (eBay) no longer care if sellers offer free shipping or charges for shipping separately. In fact, as long as eBay is profiting from the penalty fee, you can go ahead and profit on shipping too because the more you charge the more we take.

Sadly, eBay admits they constantly tinkers with Best Match and sellers are will be unable to assure consistent ranking because of the perpetual tweaks applied.

Sellers looking for consistent visibility in search would do well to move their inventory to other web sites where they are less likely to be effected by the "vary under different circumstances" applied by eBay on any given day hour or search term buyers may choose to utilize.

Selling on eBay has become something more like trying to build a house in the middle of a quicksand pool. Every time you get the foundation just right...it disappears.


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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Jul 19 23:29:31 2012

Really yet another major change with no heads up from Ebay.  In fact out and out lies have happened over this one in particular.  While some pay have been reporting problems only in the past week.  Work on the searches started somewhere around April 20th and sales for many many sellers have been way down since then.  Had a slight pick up a couple weeks ago, then down in the gutter again.  Not typical downturns for this time of year in my experience.

I just don't understand how Hoff can continue to say they will give us notice, then a few days later a major change happens and its business as usual for them, but the rest of us that are trying to put food on the table are left in the cold again.

What a pathetic way to treat your customers.  I know I couldn't stay in business if I pulled this kind of stuff time and time again on my customers.

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

Thu Jul 19 23:40:17 2012

No significant change in July. Traffic is pretty poor as usual.

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by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 19 23:41:48 2012

''I just don't understand how Hoff can continue to say they will give us notice...'' It's easy, she gets paid to lie.

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by: blaumann This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 20 00:14:37 2012

Reasonable shipping charges? Who is ebay to decide what is reasonable. Every week they come up with some way to crush my business.

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by: AgendaSwallowsAll This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 20 00:47:38 2012

Went to look for an not to be named by me musical instrument tonight and wanted to purchased used so I selected ''Auction Style'' only. An item ending in 50 minutes as an example was at the top of ''Best Match'' while listings ending in 1-2 minutes were scattered throughout the first 5-6 pages, maybe even more but I got so disgusted I didn't go any further.

I then thought ''Ok, I'll try ''Time Ending Soonest'', made the selection and every piece of crap not of my need accessory related to what I was looking for filled the pages with the actual not to be named instruments were maybe 4 to a page.

How do edcucated individuals come to act like little children? The attempted application of a singularly self-serving agenda wrought from desperation.

You'll not be getting your ice cream & candy money from me this time children, in fact I'll never do an Auction Style search again which means you'll be getting no ice cream & candy money from me as I can buy all you have to offer that's worth buying and new locally for less to far less than I'd pay on Ebay.

Ebay's attempt has been tried time & time again throughout history, the result can be located in books and/or newspaper articles.

Mind control along with Smoke & Mirrors fluff policies directed at the already ignorant with the intent to create a new species of ignorant didn't work to the point you thought it would did it Ebay so you've gradually been taking matters in to your own hands. I'm going to suggest you read those books and articles before you find out first hand and personal that AgendaSwallowsAll and I do mean AgendaSwallows ALL.  

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

Fri Jul 20 01:28:04 2012

What then does have importance in the algorithm for auction listings? “Relevance and popularity factors …? What is that supposed to mean? Probably it means national brands; then I had not noticed such sellers using auctions. Hmmm, relevance and popularity factors …? Sounds like simply more eBay deception to me …

“Reasonable shipping charge” is free shipping, of course …

How can you tell when an eBay spokesperson is lying? Their lips are moving ...
 
eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

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by: flyingdutchman This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 20 02:37:52 2012

Well, good thing no one on planet Earth uses best match unless you're a complete moron at which point is this really the quality of buyer you want purchasing from you?  What other issues will you have with these people?  Lots I bet!
It's funny how many people get so worried about BM!  No one uses it unless it's by accident, so don't worry about 'getting a boost in BM'.  BM is a BS carrot on a stick solely derived to make sellers conform to ways that financially benefit ebay.
If your sales are slow or off, it's because ebay is DEAD!  The World has chosen Amazon (the 8th most popular site on the planet vs. Ebay @ 23, and Amazon has a 4 star rating vs. Ebay's 2 on Alexa stats) as king of ecommerce.  People would rather buy on Amazon vs. Ebay any day!  Go ahead and ask 5 people outside the ebay circle tomorrow where they shop on line, I guarantee that the majority will not say ebay first or at all and then ask them what they think about ebay, Im sure you'll get some negative or neutral feedback.

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by: biddude This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 20 05:04:30 2012

eBay is limiting buyers from seeing what they want to see and forcing items to the front of the search This is only frustrating buyers I used to buy more stuff on eBay than I sold but changing the search from what a person is used to using to something that they cannot control is ridiculous  

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by: go-figure This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 20 06:59:55 2012

@Ric

Well said. That sums it up in 2 sentences:

"Selling on eBay has become something more like trying to build a house in the middle of a quicksand pool. Every time you get the foundation just right...it disappears."

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by: justpassinthru This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 20 07:17:09 2012

The air at Ebay must be toxic.  Can't imagine what it'd be like to work in a bunker.  The company seems to suffer from Amazon envy, Facebook envy and Google envy.  But wait, maybe it's not that simple.  

Today's techies are the artists of past eras and as such have have giant egos.  Throw in a cup of youth, 2 tsp. of testosterone, 2 pounds of greed and 4 oz. of competitive extract.  The heads of Google, Facebook and Amazon know how to turn those same ingredients into a mostly edible casserole.

Ebay management, on the other hand, can't stop themselves from adding one more ingredient that makes all their culinary output taste like a cow patty: that 50-lb bag of dishonesty.

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by: Dazzle This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 20 07:37:41 2012

Won't affect me whatsoever - I have nothing listed anymore - I gave up on the kindergarden crew that dictate to me how to run my business.

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by: walrus2646 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 20 07:47:37 2012

Sigh.  Another rock in the pile of what used to be eBay.

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This user has validated their user name. by: LDS Brother

Fri Jul 20 07:59:30 2012

John Donahoe, this is unbearable ! How can anyone make a Best Match out of auctions and be fair ?

They cannot, this is only going to favor certain sellers. A Horrible injustice to sellers.

My sales have tanked for last 8 days exactly, I knew there was something up, looked and Best Match, and saw items that were Auction ending in 3 days at top, whole some sellers items ending in 15 minutes were on page 2 or 3

I called eBay to report this error, and repeatedly asked if it was a new policy, and was told no, they are working on it, asked it was a test. Got 1 tech to see what I saw with a search, and they said that was not right, but all the time I had sick feeling in my stomach that it was right according to more of your devastating disruption.

Wow ! I just ordered Thousands and Thousands of $$$$ of Merchandise, that always moved quickly on Auctions, usually getting a bid at the last closing second, now since the 12th NOTHING !

I cannot express in words, how I have felt since 2008, but this is the ULTIMATE !

Why ? Why can't you just come out and say we want small sellers and auctions to be gone ?

Mr. Donahoe this is serious implications for people like myself. That are struggling in this economy, sunk their savings into merchandise to make a living, doing it the same way with Auctions since 1990's and then you pull this ?

IS this for real ? Is this a test ?
PLEASE DO NOT MAKE IT FOR REAL ! In the name of fairness and equality, PLEASE change the Auctions of Best Match back to time ending soonest sort as primary factor.

I read that eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff responded to an inquiry about this matter, and said eBay launched a test. Then wrote "Best Match will be using relevance and popularity factors and reducing the importance of end time in sorting auctions." We're awaiting confirmation that this "test" has actually rolled out permanently to the site.

Please Please, if you could just sit down with a seller like me John Donahoe, and have a heart and truly listen to the devastating impact your reign on ebay has had on everything I have done a seller to help myself and family, this is unreal.

I am Top Rated, and EVERY SELLER listing an auction, deserves that item to circulate up to the top to have ALL EYES on it as time closes, easier for the buyer, and better for the sellers.

There is no logic around that fact, but favoring certain sellers. That was the ORIGINAL Beauty of Best Match, FIXED PRICE, could blend in with Auctions and function 2 purposes together. The Fixed Price items you felt were important could be at Top, but every seller also had their item works its way up, and I had LOTS OF SALES, now I do not have but 1 of popular item in last 8 days.

I really hope, beg and pray ebay this is a test, and you will cancel it, it is going to hurt scores and scores of sellers.

If I went to an Auction, and Auctioneer had 1 item ending in 24 hours as top priority in front of bidders in room, but another good deal back in a back room autioning it with 3 bidders possible watching and listening as it ended isn't that ridiculous ?

That is what your doing with Best Match Auctions now. This is positively horrible, I am in utter disbelief of the damage this is causing my revenue and other Auction sellers.

Please Mr. Donahoe, Ms. Hoff cancel your test, please so all sellers can have their item seen on page 1 as it circulates up

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by: Beth This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 20 08:34:36 2012

And the 60 days notice was given WHEN???  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Jul 20 08:37:34 2012

Yet another means of pushing small sellers down to the bottom.  There is no level playing field at eBay.  I feel pretty sure that Best Match is programmed to give the Big Box Retailers the edge......no doubt in my mind.

Sellers pay fees, and expect visibility.  If they are not going to get visibility eBay should drop the listing fees.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri Jul 20 08:42:39 2012

And from a buyer's perspective, I was looking for t-shirts on eBay the other day.  My search results were monopolized by ONE vendor with hundreds of their cornball graphic print t-shirts.   There were hundreds of them all sequenced together in my search results.  I just gave up looking.   I have had this same experience while search for a mobile phone on eBay and I gave up then looking then as well.   If I can't see variety, eBay is of no use to me.

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by: ssusannss This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 20 09:23:30 2012

I agree with Rexford. Drop the listing fees, and you can put ads on my page, push me down in match, whatever you'd like. I have good sales, and my buyers will still find me. At least don't charge me for screwing me.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: LDS Brother

Fri Jul 20 09:25:45 2012

Last evening one of my items was on page 2, a great deal, USA seller, Free Ship, Top Rated blah blah blah, but other used, and Non Top Rated stuff on page 1 with 1 day to or more to go way ahead of me.

PLEASE Do not permanently implement this Horror !

Auctions need to be seen by all eyes as they end to grab bargain shoppers and bid snipers !






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