Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon June 3 2013 21:26:07

eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search

By: Ina Steiner

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It's not often you get to hear eBay executives talking about marketplace search, and the company doesn't share much with sellers, either. But last week eBay CEO John Donahoe talked about eBay's progress on search before a group of Wall Street investors at the Sanford C. Bernstein Twenty-Ninth Annual Strategic Decisions Conference.

You'll have to listen to the presentation or go to the Seeking Alpha transcript to get the fulltext of what he said. To recap, eBay rebuilt its search platform (calling it Search version 1.0) to make it easier to test and learn and add category based search capability.

When asked, "You also said that you are now in the process of applying new search technology Cassini, where are you in that path and what do you expect to see and tell us a little bit about the process and the timing," Donahoe didn't say when Cassini (Search version 2.0) would fully roll out. As EcommerceBytes previously reported, eBay Chief Technology Officer Mark Carges revealed in March that eBay had rolled out Cassini for Completed Searches and for searches that result in "null or low results."

Donahoe seemed to be managing expectations around Cassini, saying it wouldn't cause a dramatic change in conversion. In fact, he said every time eBay changes search, there's a negative short-term impact, so eBay doesn't want to change search overnight.

What was most interesting was how Donahoe said eBay was testing how it exposes listings in search results. "We're testing a new user to eBay that's never been to eBay should when they show up we only show them fixed price, brand new items from top-rated sellers. It's a more familiar commerce experience and then as they learn eBay they get the wider experience,..."

That's a remarkable statement. It means when you list an item on eBay, you don't know if your listing will display in all relevant search results.

It also sounds exactly like what eBay tried to do in 2006 with "eBay Express," which was targeted at convenience oriented shoppers looking for new, in-season items, allowing them to purchase from up to ten sellers in one checkout transaction. (That experiment expired in 2008.)

Ever since eBay changed the default sort order to Best Match, there is little transparency into the amount of exposure sellers' listings get in search results, and now it looks like some shoppers may never get to see certain listings, depending not only on how eBay classifies sellers, but depending on how eBay has categorized shoppers.

Sellers spend a lot of time optimizing listings for search and testing to see how their listings perform - let us know what you're finding on eBay search results these days.




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Perminate Link for eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search   eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search

by: Truk This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 3 22:11:48 2013

At this point I really wish they would just stop

Stop trying to fix what's not broke

We have had our very best month ever in 2012 and our worst month ever in 2012

How's that even possible?

We made a commitment a serious financial commitment to ebay and have grown with them

But do question the choices ebay's made based on results sure I do

Perminate Link for eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search   eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Mon Jun 3 23:25:45 2013

Donahoe said: "We're testing a new user to eBay that's never been to eBay should when they show up we only show them fixed price, brand new items from top-rated sellers. "

This is the outcome of having top management running a company they have no experience with as users. The lack of understanding of why first time buyers come to eBay is shocking given the amount of data this company collects.

As a seller of computer and electronic parts, this destructive innovation will hurt sellers more than JD can imagine.

eBay is known as a site where you can find hard to find replacement parts for computers and other electronics. In many cases, these parts are used items such as working system pulls.

This is evidenced in our experience with many zero feedback buyers who have come to eBay specifically looking for hard to find second hand parts.

According to Mr Donahoe's misguided statement, new users will not be shown these used items. The net result is that new first time buyers will come to eBay seeking used replacement parts and will leave assuming those parts are not available because Mr Donahoe has deemed it necessary not to show new buyers those items.

Mr Donahoe knows not what he does as CEO and it has never been more apparent.

Denying new - first time buyers the ability to see used items which those new users specifically came looking for is another wrong headed move by a guy who has made more than his share of wrong headed moves.

The long term effects of this latest debacle will be lower first time user purchase rates, and will be damaging to sellers who will no doubt lose business because the CEO has declared that first time buyers will be intentionally denied the opportunity to view items they came to eBay in search of.

This may be the icing on the cake in terms of ill conceived idiotic choices made by this CEO and his team of inexperienced top management.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search   eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search

by: Ed This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 3 23:41:04 2013

ebay playing with the search has affected the forecast and purchasing of product.

They have caused so many problems and have hurt us on the turn over on investment. They have made it very hard to order volume orders because they want to control what sells and not let the market place decide what will sell.

They promote one part number instead of promoting a product line. When we sells out the one item they are promoting we are not able to purchase more because we have not sold enough of the other items. When we get more in stock it does not sell because we have to start all over.

If this continues I don't feel we will need ebay as a place to do business.

We no longer can rely on our inventory control a because ebay wants to control every thing with out spending any money on its own inventory.  

Perminate Link for eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search   eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search

by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 3 23:43:39 2013

So the CEO of a site which began as an auction-only site, and which built quite a following prior to beginning its descent into hell, is assuming that people who come to the site (many of whom are there BECAUSE it's an auction site) aren't worthy of seeing the auction listings?!?!

Perminate Link for eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search   eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search

by: Steevo This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 4 00:03:30 2013

Except in a very few areas auctions are dead.  I hardly do any at all anymore.  

What is the purpose of listing something, having it sit there for a week, and on buyer snipes it at the end.  

Pointless waste of time. I wish things brought 38 bids like they used to, but in the areas we sell it never happens.  

An auction with only one bidder is a failure.

Ric is so right.  Ebay was the one place where you could find things you thought you would *never* be able to find.  

That's what made ebay great.  But nowadays you can't find *anything*.  It must be them screwing up search.  

Perminate Link for eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search   eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search

This user has validated their user name. by: Mercy the Mingless

Tue Jun 4 00:09:51 2013

In May 2008, Scot Wingo interviewed eBay CEO John Donahoe for Wingo's blog ''Ebay Strategies''

Wingo - Q: ''What are you doing to accelerate eBay?''

Donahoe - A: ''We are driving more changes than ever. There are no silver bullets, we're testing in different geos, when we find things that work, we'll do more of them and less of the ones that don't.''

Donahoe is delusional. There is no other explanation.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search   eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search

by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 4 00:13:17 2013

JD focused on NEW USERs?  How could ebay even know if the guy searching is a new user if he is not even logged in?  Duh!  So all the current USERs would just see what a new USERs should be seeing?

As usual, JD always talk nonsense and he will call ALL his LIEs as INNOVATIVE DISRUPTIONS.  

INNOVATIVE DISRUPTIONS don't happen every week for 5 consecutive years.    NOTHING INNOVATIVE, it is daily ebay's DISRUPTIVE   error-based algorithm Y (ebaY) chaos.


Perminate Link for eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search   eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search

by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 4 00:17:26 2013

Ebay is not doing great at all.   ebay stock would tanked on Q2 2013.  JD need to come up with better excuses.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search   eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 4 01:11:22 2013

"he said every time eBay changes search, there's a negative short-term impact, so eBay doesn't want to change search overnight."

really?  you are just now noticing this?

"We're testing a new user to eBay that's never been to eBay should when they show up we only show them fixed price, brand new items from top-rated sellers. It's a more familiar commerce experience and then as they learn eBay they get the wider experience,.."

or... they see that ebay is just a bunch of common junk and never see the odd things that make it interesting and go away and never come back...

ebay quit trying to read my buyers minds!

Perminate Link for eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search   eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search

by: blaumann2 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 4 01:34:39 2013

" when they show up we only show them fixed price, brand new items from top-rated sellers."
I sell old collectible items. He does not want to show my stuff to a buyer.
The marketplace is NOT healthy. Merchandise is not selling. Donahoe is a fool. He is destroying ebay and its sellers.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search   eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Tue Jun 4 01:56:19 2013

What a jerk!! Why would a potential buyer even register for a user name if they can't find what they are looking for?! Why bother even looking on ebay for anything? Makes me want to scream everytime he states three years. Oh and the next three to five years are not going to be any better.


disĀ·rupĀ·tion
[dis-ruhp-shuhn]

noun
1
.forcible
separation or division into parts.

Well he broke up the community and pitted sellers against buyers and buyers against sellers.

Coming from Bain he only knows how to take apart corporations and sell them for parts.

Donahoe DOES NOT know how to innovate. This is why he needs 10 years to keep coming up with ways to snow Wall St. I have NEVER seen a CEO so OUT OF TOUCH with running a company. Greed has made him delusional.  

Perminate Link for eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search   eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 4 02:07:51 2013

If I heard similar babble coming out of the mouth of any other CEO I'd be shocked.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search   eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Tue Jun 4 02:27:40 2013

First : Donahoe is not IN a position to be "Satisfied".
 a) He has NO IDEA what's going at Ebay.
 b) He's only using his tenure at Ebay as a "Door Opener" to government contacts that shovel even More money at him.
Second : He is disconnected from the business to a degree that renders him completely useless....in ANY capacity.
Pierre Omidyar is not to be found anywhere. He probably can't bring himself to be in the same room with Donahoe (a money whore).
Only when Donahoe is no longer a factor, will Ebay regain it's former glory. It sure is headed down the path to obscurity now.
ASK DONAHOE WHEN HE's STEPPING DOWN. The answer may surprise you.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search   eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Tue Jun 4 02:34:15 2013

So Nut Meg said a monkey can run ebay. Please JD step down so I can get a monkey from our local zoo to take over ebay. I know this monkey will do a much better job and heard he would work for bananas.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search   eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 4 02:47:16 2013

All I get out of it is that about 80% of all U.S. Ebay sellers are put in a sub-class category and are not deserving of equal rights in the area of visibility. However, to be fair, Ebay does treat those same sub-class sellers equally, when it comes to fees paid. If I am in error, please feel free to correct me. I know very little about big business.  

Perminate Link for eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search   eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search

by: minibeesknees This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 4 07:05:22 2013

Well, that explains a lot. May was the worst month I have had since 9/11 and I do sell new stuff. I KNOW I was not being shown, it is the only explanation. I closed up, and will do websites. I sell between 75-95% of all ebay sales in my price range for the one item I make...with all other sellers combined selling the rest. That makes me awesomely successful. I'm tired of paying ebay for nothing.  I'm outta there.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search   eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search

by: moggy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 4 07:32:29 2013

I still use feebay although not to sell stuff although that does happen occasionally. I use it as an advertising medium and for that purpose it works. I'll probably eventually get banned for putting details of my sites in the listing descriptions.
If you use ebay to sell stuff it's probably the most expensive way to do so.
If you use ebay as an advertising resource to your websites it's probably a fairly cheap way to get your sites noticed.  

Perminate Link for eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search   eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Jun 4 07:34:28 2013

Just as minibeeskees stated, May was the worst month EVER for us on eBay.   Clearly there is no visibility for small sellers.

The CEO is beyond clueless.  He just can't see what made eBay successful years ago.  He keeps moving the company further and further away from what made it unique and successful.

At the rate that he is going I predict the company will be out of business in five years.   If a successful ecommerce replacement to eBay comes along it will be less than that.

Oh, and look for this to come very soon: paying for visibility.  Wasn't there a survey that came out a while back that asked the question "would you pay for increased visibility"?

Perminate Link for eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search   eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search

by: Deltamaster This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 4 08:26:24 2013

There used to be a time......

Back in the day a young man had an idea and eBay was born.  It turned in to a sensation thanks in no small part to it's membership spreading the word.

There used to be a time....

eBay was THE place to go... THE place to go FIRST to find the unusual, old and unimaginable.  If man had made it... it could be found for sale on eBay!

There used to be a time......

eBay was the first choice for research in to use property for the US government claims departments all over the world.  Military claims departments would scour eBay to find replacements of and the cost to replace items damaged in government shipping and then give that data to the effected government employee so that they could quickly and affordably replace the damaged items.


There used to be a time......

When the stuff you had laying around the house and no longer wanted was of interest to someone else and instead of the tremendous outlay of time and energy you could quickly and efficiently list those items on eBay and receive the same or even better prices than at a traditional yard sale.


There used to be a time......

When eBay was considered a great source for re-purposing items and ''going Green.''


There used to be a time......

When the term ''One man's trash is another Man's treasure'' was a common comment, invoking happiness and the thrill of the hunt.


There used to be a time......

When eBay DROVE the market in used and collectable items.

Perminate Link for eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search   eBay CEO John Donahoe Opens Up About Search

by: Ed This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 4 08:55:54 2013

I hear that ebay is as good as dead. I see ebay has grown into a very large corporation.
The ebay that we all know is really a company that had many avenues that made a very strong selling platform for many products. I find it hard to see ebay try to force it into a one size fit all.

I have been in upper management all my life and I think ebay dropped the ball by not developing each area of the old ebay. It is sad to see any CEO place a company the size of the ebay market place and think of it as a large garage sale not caring about all the people that built it.

ebay policies have created an army of people that rip ebay apart every time they speak due to their harsh and unfair dealing with them.

Why would a company spend millions of dollars to promote a company and spend millions of dollars to lose the advertising that built the company.

We once had several thousand listing on ebay and was the largest store of our product. Today we have dropped our store to a few hundred listings. Without search we no longer can afford to carry hundreds of products that now don't sell due to poor search.  

Today with ebay policies and actions we see no future. We have been a TOP RATED SELLER and we find it a total joke because if you disagree with ebay they will do any thing they can to hurt your bottom line even to the degree of controlling your search.

ebay no longer lets the market place control the market. You may think you control your stores but you get what ebay gives you.

Look at the Logo it says New ebay so forget the past and enjoy the future as ebay grows another several billion dollars with you or without you  

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