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|Sun June 30 2013 22:18:17|
eBay Opens Up About Cassini Search
By: Ina Steiner
EcommerceBytes readers are likely to have heard about eBay's Cassini search platform, but they're also bound to have questions about exactly what it is and how it will impact (or has impacted) them - both as buyers and sellers.
eBay's Vice President of Experience, Search and Platforms Hugh Williams spent 20 minutes with me on Friday answering questions about Cassini, and we're running the interview in two parts kicking off in Monday's Newsflash newsletter.
Some of the highlights include the following:
- eBay is trying to get Cassini to replicate the behavior of the old platform (Voyager) to make it a seamless transition, before eBay begins to make changes and innovate.
- The possibilities of things eBay can do in Best Match (which is the default sort order of search results) are opened up much wider by using the Cassini technology.
- Williams sees behavioral data as one of the ways to innovate in search ranking. I think this is one of the more significant aspects of Cassini and one that will make it difficult for sellers to determine the exposure their listings are getting in eBay search results.
- Another area that's important in search ranking is "imagery" - "I'm pretty excited about imagery, and I think the images are incredibly important and shopping is becoming more visual," he said.
Photos are so important to eBay that the company will begin enforcing new requirements tomorrow - in fact, sellers will no longer be able to list an item unless it includes at least one photo. (See last week's news story, "eBay to Forge Ahead with Photo Compliance Enforcement.")
Sellers are sensitive to the rate at which things change on the eBay platform. With Cassini, will there be a lot of tweaking and how would sellers keep up with changes? Williams said tweaking was not the word he would use - instead, the goal is "constantly innovating and improving the search experience on behalf of our sellers and our buyers." He also shared his attitude about changes to search during the holiday shopping season.
I was disappointed that eBay hadn't communicated with sellers about Cassini's roll out, especially given the fact that sellers wanted to measure the impact on their listings. You can read Williams' answer to my question about when Cassini fully launched on active listings on eBay.com in the interview.
Be sure to read Part 1 of the interview in tomorrow's newsletter (and stay tuned for Part 2 on Tuesday), and let us know what you think and what questions you have.