Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Mar 31 2013 21:27:06

eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine

By: Ina Steiner

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There has been much discussion about eBay's new search engine called Cassini, with sellers wondering exactly how much eBay had rolled out to the site over the past year or so. eBay's Chief Technology Officer Mark Carges revealed last week that Cassini, which he called "next gen search," is now live for Completed Searches and for searches that result in "null or low results."

He used an example of a search for "old town vapor well kit" on eBay. A search for that term displays "0 results found for old town vapor well kit." Under the old search engine, eBay would display ads pointing to off-eBay websites, but today under Cassini, eBay displays ""More items related to "old town vapor well kit"" and shows some related items.

But Carges wasn't explaining the new search engine to sellers - he was giving a presentation to Wall Street analyts and investors during eBay Analyst Day on Thursday.

As sellers know, eBay's current search engine only searches listing titles when figuring out what to bring back in results (Carges called it Voyager and said it's been powering eBay search for 10 years). eBay's next generation search engine searches the title and the entire description. Some sellers theorize that's why eBay eliminated wild card search capability.

Conducting some searches on eBay today revealed that searches with zero matching listings did bring back results where the search terms appeared in the descriptions, but completed-item searches did not appear to be searching listing descriptions.

It is important for eBay's sellers to know how its search engine works in order for them to optimize their listings so shoppers can find them, but eBay is again leaving sellers in the dark about Cassini.

As I wrote in October, "While eBay has briefed Wall Street analysts on Cassini, the topic is verboten when it comes to sellers. Repeated requests for more information about Cassini have gone ignored by eBay's Public Relations team since May, when Johnna Hoff said it was likely that "when Cassini implements any business-impacting updates, that we will give sellers appropriate notice, as it our practice.""

So, eBay hasn't told you, but I will: eBay is planning on ending 2013 with its next-gen search rolled out to core in the U.S., with international sites to follow. Let us know what you're finding with eBay search and what you think of Cassini. And by the way, this is no April Fools!




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Perminate Link for eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine   eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Sun Mar 31 22:05:48 2013

ebay refuses to talk to sellers about how Cassini will impact us, but they have no qualms whatsoever about continuing to charge us fees while we have no idea if we are getting the exposure we are paying for.

With management continuing to treat sellers like mushrooms by keeping them in the dark and covering them with bull ship, it is no wonder sellers have reached all time high levels of resentment towards the entire eBay management team.

Perminate Link for eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine   eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine

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

Sun Mar 31 22:06:42 2013

Ina tells us: ''While eBay has briefed Wall Street analysts on Cassini, the topic is verboten when it comes to sellers. Repeated requests for more information about Cassini have gone ignored by eBay's Public Relations team since May, when Johnna Hoff said it was likely that ''when Cassini implements any business-impacting updates, that we will give sellers appropriate notice, as it our practice.''''

Typical eBay. Exactly what I'd expect. This is the kind of nonsense that bugs me the most!

What good purpose does this hoarding and rationing of useful information serve? Why do it? Who does it benefit?

Or... let's turn that question around and look at it from the other side. Perhaps we should be asking ''Who does it harm?'' and ''Why is this good for eBay?''

Their dismissive attitude is insulting! Is this Ms. Hoff's real-life personality? Or is she otherwise a reasonable and personable individual... and just following orders from on-high?

This is NOT the way a company behaves if they hope to build ANY goodwill among the disgruntled and disaffected sellers. This sanctimonious attitude of withholding information and dishing it out piecemeal (if at all) is certainly NOT going to buy any patience or tolerance from sellers.

Always with the G.D. secrets and mysteries! One might even come to the conclusion that we rank-and-file sellers are somehow considered to be ''THE ENEMY''.

The type of attitude demonstrated by Ms. Hoff (or those who give her orders) leaves ABSOLUTELY NO DOUBT in my mind about the UTTER CONTEMPT and DISREGARD that eBay has for its sellers.

Perminate Link for eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine   eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine

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

Sun Mar 31 22:53:40 2013

The Ho and his overpaid team of Stupids don't seem to get the fact that the more the PO sellers, the more sellers and buyers leave ebafia.

Nieman Marcus discovered that ebafia couldn't be trusted, too many ebafia buyers couldn't be trusted, and that association with ebafia cheapened their brand.

More so called name sellers will leave this year -- especially those selling medium and high end items.

More and more manufacturers will decide they don't want their brand sold on ebafia.

I'm moving approximately half my inventory to other venues, and ebafia's de facto elimination of layaways guarantees I'll start selling things off ebafia.

The upper end fee increases are simply too high.

Just as Microsoft had an affinity to name their betas after northwestern rivers, ebafia's high school programmers appear to prefer Star Trek and telescopes.

It's too bad any of them don't prefer common sense.

Perminate Link for eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine   eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine

by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 31 23:41:40 2013

Cassini sounds much like an Houdini.
Don't small American sellers have enough paid invisible listings?

What small sellers need is a tool to make the exorbitant fess go away.

Perminate Link for eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine   eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine

by: ma_seller This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 31 23:46:33 2013

Earlier today, I was searching completeds for individual sellers. In some cases, the completeds seemed to be a small subset, like one seller who has 1,200+ listings but only about 50 listings showed up as completed.

Now I'm wondering if that has to do with the new search engine.

Perminate Link for eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine   eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine

by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 31 23:47:26 2013

My bet is that ebay is going to slam on 2 shareholder votes to tighten the lid on its stinking, greedy and unethical corporate practices.

Perminate Link for eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine   eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine

by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 31 23:53:04 2013

I have buyers telling me they could not purchase my items.  

Ebay has another torture test coming to hit us all.  "For your eyes only!"  No purchase possible.




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by: blaumann2 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 31 23:54:49 2013

The beatings will continue until morale improves.

Perminate Link for eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine   eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine

by: Henry This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 31 23:56:57 2013

Based on our drop in both sales and traffic I would conclude it is a disaster. I have people who know I sell on eBay tell me they no longer buy on eBay because they cannot find what they are looking for.

Perminate Link for eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine   eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 1 03:20:24 2013

the other thing that cassini seems to do is make it harder to see completed listings.  in the example above you have to go to advanced search.  i've also seen a version that shows completed and an option to only show sold listings.

the most irritating part of all of this is that i randomly get a different layout depending on the search.

Perminate Link for eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine   eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine

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

Mon Apr 1 06:05:35 2013

Do you honestly believe that the bay is really keeping ALL sellers in the dark on Cassini? It's more likely that their select name brand sellers and precious "diamond" sellers have probably already been briefed on how to optimize their listings for Cassini (further reducing the "flea market" atmosphere on ebay).

Yes, bring us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses and then we'll hide them where no one can find them!

Perminate Link for eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine   eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Apr 1 07:44:01 2013

This clearly shows where JD's priority is (analysts)---and if you are doubtful, look at his over-the-top bonus and his over-the-top pay package.

Perminate Link for eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine   eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Apr 1 07:53:32 2013

And as for search, a friend of mine tried out eBay on Delta Airlines while he was traveling, since it was free to try by means of a Delta/Ebay promotion.  He was looking for one of those turntables that converts LP records to music files.   He said after about 10 minutes he just gave up.  He said all he saw were items that were totally not related to what he was looking for.  He also told me that it was so frustrating that he will not return to eBay.  This was a potential new buyer who could have been converted into a loyal eBay shopper.  A buyer with deep pockets who buys regularly on Amazon.   So much for JD's disruptive innovation.    

Perminate Link for eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine   eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine

by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 1 08:12:49 2013

ebay's Houdini is promoting only diamond sellers.  Here's how we fight back.

Block these 2 VERY ANNOYING spammers:
ebaydeals@deal.ebay.com
ebay@reply1.ebay.com

Bookmark these

(Click BOOKMARK #1) http://k2b-bulk.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ListingConsole¤tPage=LCActi
ve

Loop
Here:
Right Click on selected item.
Copy ebay Item Number

(Click BOOKMARK #2) http://offer.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?EndingMyAuction

Paste ebay Item Number
Select Continue
Close Item Window.
Repeat Loop Here:

Spread the links to buyers and sellers.

Perminate Link for eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine   eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 1 08:19:03 2013

Find it amazing that when I look for my items at home office - no problems. However, I was at the local library, while waiting for my grandson, decided to check on the computer there. I did not sign into my account - just did a search of my items. To my surprise - found only 1 of 6. This was through ''best match'' also time and even price. 5 did not show up at all. Then I looked at ''seller's other items'' feature. They showed the items there, however, on 2 of the items - no price??? Thought they were pulled??? Clicked on the item title as that remained with the picture. That took me to another page with every one else who had that or similar item listed. That doesn't seem right to me. Someone is looking specifically at my other items and then gets shoved to see everyone else. This past month views have dropped off. Sales are dropped but that is not new. It reminded me of Amazon listing - product displayed then everyone who has that item is listed - by price or Amazon - Amazon preferred. Appears to me that ebay is trying to copy Amazon again. Instead of copying bits and pieces here and there why doesn't ebay just go ahead and change the whole site to look like Amazon - difference being the name and that's it.  If you have been selling on ebay for any length of time it is very noticeable that ebay is copying Amazon.
Is this going to be part of the new search engine ????  If so it will not help any seller. Wonder if the ''diamond boys'' are exempt from that type of search????
Sitting at the dentist office, picked up a copy of Forbes (I Think) that had a picture of delivery man with boxes. On the boxes it was printed - look out Amazon? I took it as ebay was catching up or going to pass Amazon???  Maybe it was referring the change in search that will be identical to Amazon? Lowest price automatically is the first on the list.....????

Perminate Link for eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine   eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine

by: MaysLandingMel This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 1 09:19:23 2013

I can never find anything I want on Ebay without the frustration of  scrolling through 6 pages of identical photos and items from one seller. It's just not worth it to me to spend my time that way. Why is it so easy to find items on Amazon?  

Perminate Link for eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine   eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine

by: Frank F This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 1 09:42:34 2013

The current search is a disaster and has been horrible since August. If you ask me I think Cassini is already rolled out.  

Our sales for the month of March, which had always grown by 15% or more year over year since 2005 (usually 30-40%), were our worst March EVER this year.  Sales, views, watchers are all at ALL TIME LOWS. Sales for 2013 are off 70% after being off 30% last year. Buy it now listings are INVISIBLE, yet I can list the same items as auctions using the BIN price as the starting auction price and they sell like wildfire... So its not the item or the price, its ebay denying visibility of items for sellers in its marketplace.. So the bottom line is that you items cannot sell if they are not seen and its is just truly unbelievable that a company that offers a marketplace for sellers gives them NO visibility and then when you call them they deny that anything is wrong.  How can so many sellers be wrong as this same complaint is seen all over the blogs and discussion boards day after day..  And most people point to the August time frame as to when the steep decline occurred. Thats probably when Cassini or an implementation of it was put in place.. Come to your senses ebay as what you have done is WRONG and is destroying MANY MANY sellers!!!!

Perminate Link for eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine   eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine

by: Ed This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 1 10:05:01 2013

I no longer feel like a selling partner.

I think ebay just wants the sellers to be an inventory source so the management can receive their big pay checks.

We always looked after our sales force first because without them we had nothing. But ebay does not have a penny invested in any product inventory they sell.

Perminate Link for eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine   eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 1 11:45:17 2013

"Cassini" sounds to me like Olag Cassini = high fashion.  Which could mean this new search will cater to the big stores and not to the small sellers...we'll be "incidentals" if anyone cares to stumble down a long list of sellers ranging from top big stores down to lowly casual seller.  That's what it means to me and they are already halfway there...hence little to no real traffic down to occasional sellers.

Perminate Link for eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine   eBay Partially Rolls Out Cassini Next-Gen Search Engine

by: rebecca7 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Apr 1 11:46:12 2013

For a month, I’ve been studying my eBay data, following 19 days in mid-February when I suddenly had zero sales.
 
I’ve been shocked by the extent of eBay’s search corruption.

For example, I tested Google searches for a few of my items yesterday:

eBay currently hosts only 11 listings with the keywords “Lefton Stacking Teapot” in the title and 4 are mine.  When shoppers use Google, they’re likely to click on the top 3 results.  If eBay were honest and didn’t interfere, all 4 of my teapots should appear in the top 11 listings on any eBay page linked to from those Google results.

The 1st Google result is a paid eBay ad for “Lefton Teapots” at the very top --- which HIJACKS and REDIRECTS Google searchers away from “Stacking” toward an eBay “Best Match” selection of 200 Lefton (and other) teapots of all kinds, shapes and sizes.  This overwhelms and discourages these shoppers, because they’re only interested in the 11 stackers, many of which are buried by eBay.  My 4 teapots don’t start showing until #161 of those 200+ listings, on Page 4 of their search.   Most of my potential buyers will move on before reaching that page.

The 2nd Google result shows Google’s own search results, for 12 Lefton Stacking Teapots (on eBay and elsewhere), which Google selected correctly, but only 2 of my 4 teapots are shown.  (Why can’t Google find my other 2 stackers, eBay?)  When one of my teapots is clicked on Google’s list, eBay HIJACKS and REDIRECTS that search to a drastically abbreviated version of my listing.  Shoppers have to make another effort to click on “View Full Description” to actually see my true listing page (though they had already specifically chosen to see it), BUT they have to search to FIND the button to click in order to see that view.   They’re just as likely to click on a different seller’s lovely photo which is immediately below mine and nearly as large, from a list of OTHER ITEMS that eBay selects called: “20 items similar to ‘Rare LEFTON Japan LAVENDER VIOLETS - Antique Gilded STACKING TEAPOT Tea Set.’”

The 3rd Google result links to eBay, but eBay HIJACKS and REDIRECTS this search also, to a list of 200 items, including a lot of non-stacking teapots, teapots that aren’t Lefton’s, and items that aren’t even teapots!   This time, two of my Lefton stackers are the 4th & 5th items on eBay’s list, but my other 2 are at the bottom of eBay’s VERY POOR SELECTION.  Shoppers looking for Lefton Stacking Teapots would abandon eBay’s mishmash long before reaching my last 2 teapots.  eBay calls this: “200 items found similar to 'vintage LEFTON STACKING TEAPOT stack TEA POT shabby HP PINK ROSES china chic'”

This search corruption by eBay hurts me as an eBay seller, obviously … but it’s also frustrating for eBay’s customers.

And this is just one of DOZENS of eBay manipulations I’ve found so far.  The combined impact is destroying me financially.

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