Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed June 5 2013 09:28:22

eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer

By: Ina Steiner

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In Monday's blog post, I wrote about eBay's new search engine, Cassini, which prompted a source to share new information. I was told that eBay has been showing employees a video explaining Cassini and that it will be rolled out to all users by mid July. (We'd reported in March that it would be fully rolled out by the end of this year.)

eBay already rolled out Cassini to completed item searches and null-results searches, and I'm told eBay currently has various versions rolled out to subsets of users. I've asked eBay for confirmation of these reports. It's clearly very frustrating to users - sellers in particular - that eBay won't share information about such a critical part of the site experience.

The version that eBay will roll out sitewide is nowhere near the perfect fix eBay's been looking for, I was told, but it is designed to allow the company to continue to launch and test iterations to see what works and what doesn't. (eBay's current mantra is, "test and learn," something not reassuring to the test subjects!)

Some of the things to keep in mind about Cassini is that it is even more reliant on certain criteria than the current search engine, such as Item Specifics; it takes into account the quality of photos; and it can search item descriptions - so keep that in mind when writing your listings.

One year ago I asked eBay about how Cassini searching descriptions would impact the quality of search results (a reader was concerned about keyword spamming); at the time eBay said it was too early to discuss and would give sellers "appropriate notice."

Yesterday a reader noted a new challenge in searching eBay - a limitation to the length of a search string, which, as he noted, is critically important now that eBay has done away with wildcard searching. See today's news story for details.

If it's a glitch, it's a major one, since results are coming back with zero listings. If it's a change, it's inexcusable eBay gave users no notice (remember it promised to give sellers 60 days notice of changes impacting their business?).

Keep your eye out for changes in search and let us know what you're seeing.




Comments (47) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer   eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer

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

Wed Jun 5 10:52:11 2013

60 Days, Ha Ha Ha! Not even 60 seconds in many cases. And the powers that be wonder why ebay has ZERO credibility with sellers!

Perminate Link for eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer   eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer

by: minibeesknees This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 5 10:55:39 2013

I'm delighted to have decided to take the summer 'off' from ebay.  I do not feel so much like a 'user' as I feel like I'm ebay's victim. Being their seller and being subjected to their 'testing' meant that May's sales were dismal. If May is any indication then they are putting me out of business.  Since I sell over 90% of one particular product for a higher then average price of similar objects to a tiny hobby market that makes me if not a mega seller, the seller dominant in that tiny market. They are now gone from ebay and no one will start selling them because I make them...I control the supply.  It took 15 years to establish myself and ebay can take it all away in one month without telling me. I'd rather establish websites and sell nothing then deal with ebay any more.

Perminate Link for eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer   eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer

by: Grandma_Fish This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 5 11:04:29 2013

Thanks for the heads-up on this, Ina. I was wondering why my searches yesterday kept coming back with zero items! They were just basic 3 to 4 word searches, too, that usually turn up at least a few listings. Thought it was just me.

Perminate Link for eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer   eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 5 11:45:07 2013

I only want to know one thing - will this fancy Cassini bring me traffic?  If not....they can stuff it.  This is the reason why I have nothing on Ebay.  Its a waste of time for me to list there.

Perminate Link for eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer   eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer

This user has validated their user name. by: monkey

Wed Jun 5 12:16:17 2013

Is it possible that Cassini could actually HELP some sellers?

I'm talking about those of us who take quality photos and write thorough descriptions.

If (as Ina says) the new search emphasizes those attributes ... I would definitely benefit.

Perminate Link for eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer   eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer

by: gutspiller This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 5 12:36:42 2013

Here another seller in the same boat. Sales went down by 70% from one month to the other. This happened months ago and has stayed like this since.

This summer will be decisive for me. May just close down the business after the summer if things don't start getting better.

Perminate Link for eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer   eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer

by: XebayX This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 5 13:09:48 2013

I don't know if this is related, but the emails I get for saved searches are all listing prices in Canadian dollars today. As far as I know, I've always been in the US, and have never logged onto eBay.ca.

Perminate Link for eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer   eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 5 13:27:28 2013

"to launch and test iterations to see what works and what doesn't."
At least these nitwits admit they have no idea of what they're doing. If these "geniuses" were in charge of a Start-Up Company, it would be dead in no time.

Perminate Link for eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer   eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Jun 5 13:27:54 2013

I'm in the same situation as gutspiller and I hope monkey is right.

Perminate Link for eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer   eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer

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

Wed Jun 5 13:55:31 2013

Ditto for me also Marie. My sales are down by half or more and the only good news is my Ebay fees are half of what I used to pay also.  

Perminate Link for eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer   eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer

by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 5 14:57:14 2013

Cassini been out since late last year.  Is ebay planning another huge Houdini dissappearing act?  

No one could see anymore items from small American sellers.  Maybe, this item even given the item number, our item won't get listed.

Why don't just ebay pay Google or Yahoo or Bing to do its search?  

Leave the serious matter to the professionals, ebay?  

GIVE IT UP ALREADY, JD!  What an endless embarassment.




Perminate Link for eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer   eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer

This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Wed Jun 5 15:03:54 2013

No wildcards and limited search strings? Talk about useless. More and more people have become used to searching via Google or Bing and are quite capable of tailoring their search requests the way they want. Eliminating wildcards is bad enough, but limiting the search string is just plain dumb. All that will do is return a larger result set due to the inability to winnow the results with more specific search terms. This is probably the opposite of what they want, given that using no wildcards will produce fewer results due to being forced to use specific terms. Those two "features" work against one another, so it's no wonder people are seeing poor results.

Perminate Link for eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer   eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Wed Jun 5 15:09:56 2013

Some of my searches are fairly long, but I have recently needed to run through some of the longer ones - still seems like a healthy result turns up at this point.  

My complaint would be fighting with the automatic word completion when I am trying to start a search (Google, too) Sometimes those things have a mind of their own in a ''machine vs. man'' way.

Don't know where I am, Cassini-wise, but I did do that ''test search'' for the person's name who wrote a book  - noted on this blog a couple months ago & WAS on Cassini at that time.

Would be nice if eBay provided some search tips to use Cassini's features to get the best search result.  If they have, I've missed them.

Perminate Link for eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer   eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer

by: Donna This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 5 15:39:24 2013

I just finished listening to a webinar about Search / Cassini given by Hugh Williams of ebay. The first part was spent telling us that what they want from sellers is for us to provide trust and value to the buyers and how we are now found in search via Title keywords. He encouraged free shipping, to become a TRS and when asked about whether a longer than 14 day return period would increase our chances of being shown in search - he didn't say exactly but intimated that it could. That we should do was what was good for us based on our category. When he started to get into Cassini, he said more than once that they were not giving out any specifics regarding how Cassini will work. They don't want people to be able to figure out how items are surfaced and be able to gain an advantage. The basics he offered were - it will search title and description and take into account categories and sub categories. It will make no difference on the duration of the listing - 30 days vs GTC. Ending soonest will never again be the default search. The program was recorded so if I can, I will post a link here when it's available. It was a Top Rated Seller thing so I don't know if I'll be able to but I'll try. I was really let down after listening. I really didn't learn anything. Most of the questions that were asked were met with ''we're not going to give specifics''. Long title or short title? Long description or short description? - he's not saying what will boost visibility and what won't. To be honest, I don't think Cassini will help any of us sellers. I think it's a new playground for the techs to play with our listings in the search results.

Perminate Link for eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer   eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Jun 5 15:48:27 2013

CASSINI-- Chasing All Small Sellers Into Non-Existence Indefinitely

Perminate Link for eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer   eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer

This user has validated their user name. by: David Steiner

Wed Jun 5 16:14:33 2013

{applauds Rexford}

Perminate Link for eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer   eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer

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

Wed Jun 5 16:24:19 2013

What we have are too many "iterations" of sheer incompetence.

Too many overpaid MBA executives with too much testosterone and a mental age of about 14 using clueless consultants -- ebafia is now so convoluted that nothing less than returning to pre Ho Search and the Featured First option will fix it.

Perminate Link for eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer   eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer

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

Wed Jun 5 16:29:17 2013

Ina wrote:

"If it's a change, it's inexcusable eBay gave users no notice (remember it promised to give sellers 60 days notice of changes impacting their business?)."

More lies and more secrets.

Truly sorry human beings run ebafia.

Perminate Link for eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer   eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer

This user has validated their user name. by: Map

Wed Jun 5 16:38:58 2013

Great! this will expedite eBafia's self extermination. Greed, cheap, corporate bully. Shareholders sell now, the ship is going down.

Perminate Link for eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer   eBay Rolling Out Cassini to All This Summer

by: gutspiller This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jun 5 16:49:44 2013

And without a doubt the diamond and other favorites sellers will be informed by Ebay exactly how to tweak their listings so that they obtain extra visibility.


How many sellers have complained about a lack of traffic and sales. Quite an accomplishment to destroy so many business at the same time.

The last few years there's one constant on Ebay and that's the one wrong decision after the other

And still they haven't learned anything!!!

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