Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sat Jan 4 2014 13:22:29

Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

Once eBay changed the default sort order of listings in search results years ago, sellers found themselves in the hands of algorithms to determine the exposure of their listings. eBay decided what factors made a listing relevant, and it went one step further: it began using other criteria besides relevancy.

eBay began using Best Match to reward sellers for whatever behavior eBay wanted sellers to follow, from free shipping to generous return policies. All this has made optimizing listings very difficult for eBay sellers.

Then along came Cassini. eBay fully launched its new search engine platform in the U.S. in June, giving it new ways to manipulate search results. Since the summer, sellers have noticed certain techniques that give them a boost in Best Match - but often temporarily, some have reported.

So when a seller mentioned in an email to me that his sales were up 80% this year, I asked him what he was doing to achieve that growth rate. He wrote back describing 11 practices he uses that he believes attributes to his listings success on eBay.

Some of his techniques have been mentioned by other sellers, others are right out of eBay's list of best practices.

I talked to the seller by phone to learn more about his business and background. He gave me permission to publish his guide on the chance it could help others and as a basis for discussion, but he wished to remain anonymous.

You can read the guide in Sunday's EcommerceBytes Update newsletter. As I mention in my editorial:

"eBay is not a one-size-fits-all marketplace - conditions vary depending on category, listing format, quality of descriptions/titles/photos, the feedback ratings of the seller and other factors. Optimizing for algorithmic search engines is part science, part art. The best advice marketing experts give is to test everything - so read the article and do some testing and see what works for you."

Let us know what you think of the eleven tips detailed in "From the Trenches: An eBay Seller's Guide to Cassini Search," published in Sunday's EcommerceBytes  Update newsletter.




Comments (51) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search   Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search

by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jan 4 14:24:50 2014

Fantastic, sound advice, and much of it is being discussed and can be utilized by many ebay sellers concerned with Cassini and the search placement of their items.  

Perminate Link for Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search   Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search

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

Sat Jan 4 15:10:00 2014

I suspect that without working out how to game eBay’s system with finesse there is no way that anyone other than Johnny Ho’s favoured national brand owners and other major merchants are ever going to get any advantage out of Best Match / Cassini search …

“Sell Through Ratio. …”
“Priming the Pump. Cassini rewards activity …”
“Auctions … start at .01 with no reserve. …”

One way I have noticed is to bid on your own auctions early and often with as many shill IDs as you can muster; eBay’s dumb algorithm apparently thinks that lots of early bidding means the item must be in demand and will therefore provide eBay with certain FVFs—unlike much of the other stuff listed on eBay now.

Lots of early (invariably faux) bidding activity—in accordance with eBay’s box of approved “marketing” strategies—appears to give items a quick ride to the top of the list in Best Match search. You may well finish up buying a whole lot of your own stuff, but at least your items got seen near the top of the list, and eBay gets the FVF, regardless—it’s a win win—for eBay ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

Perminate Link for Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search   Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jan 4 16:18:36 2014

Oh boy, more work, which may or may not be worth the effort. Only on eBay.

Perminate Link for Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search   Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search

This user has validated their user name. by: Puck

Sat Jan 4 20:07:15 2014

"eBay Economists Mine Behavioral Data to Improve the Marketplace"

"eBay began using Best Match to reward sellers for whatever behavior eBay wanted sellers to follow..."

How does it feel to be studied with the detachment of lab rats in a Skinner box?

Perminate Link for Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search   Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search

This user has validated their user name. by: Puck

Sat Jan 4 20:15:03 2014

@Bloggo:

"Oh boy, more work, which may or may not be worth the effort. Only on eBay."

Amen.
Keep small sellers busy swinging blindfolded at the "increased exposure" listing pinata while the Diamonds steal the all the candy from it...

Perminate Link for Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search   Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jan 4 20:31:42 2014

The best advice I have ever seen.
Thank you,
Massachusetts Howler

Perminate Link for Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search   Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search

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

Sat Jan 4 21:00:25 2014

@ Mass Howler

Didn't you test and dispute the sell similar advice a few months ago here after I mentioned it?  I might be thinking of someone else but I think you mentioned needing to change the images as well.  Anonymous didn't go any further than say to just end and sell similar after 120 days of no sales.  That's something which I'd recommend (and can help with) as long as your ''recent sales'' is 0 as measured by eBay.  I expect that to happen on a shorter time scale than 120 days though as I've seen ''recent sales'' drop off after less than 30 days.

Perminate Link for Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search   Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search

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

Sat Jan 4 23:16:56 2014

The perverted perverse who run ebay will change thew algorithms just as soon as the "noise" figure them out.

It's happened before and will happen again.

They will do anything to ensure the success of the chosen few by exterminating small sellers who might be taking a crumb or two away from the big boys.

Perminate Link for Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search   Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search

by: blaumann2 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 5 01:38:39 2014

What does that stuff about RSS feeds mean?

Perminate Link for Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search   Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search

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

Sun Jan 5 01:48:27 2014

My opinion is Ebay's search engine worked fine until the Company  decided to do everything with it, but create sales. But if the company can make more money being an advertising agency and box store host, than that is the route they should take. Personally I hope they move even faster toward that goal, as it will free up space for another to move in and scoop up the trillion dollar site that Ebay should be by now.  

Perminate Link for Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search   Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search

by: thebobman This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 5 01:52:16 2014

1. Very few cases, 1-2 negs a year. I sell small items and go through a lot of #0 padded envelopes...but can get them for about 12 cents each.

2. Why is *anyone* still charging for shipping. Out of the 104 orders on ebay in 2013 I bought for resale, 53 charged a shipping fee. I can see maybe padding it a little when having an auction, but $9.99 shipping on a $5.99 item that costs $1.64 to ship.

3. Most items I have will continue to drop in value (or have an uncertain value), I tend to go through every other week and drop the price until they finally sell.

4. I hate returns. Its like working for free. Most things I sell aren't even worth returning. ($20 item that costs $5 to ship, first time I make $10...if it gets returned, even if I sell it, I really don't make anything on it). 75% of the time I tell them "Here's your money back, just throw it out". Especially the items that took 2 years to sell, it will probably *never* sell again. Repeat customers? There is an item or two that I have large QTYs that attract repeat customers, but my listings are too random for a big following. And some repeats expect huge discounts.

5.Sell through? probably 95% withing 12 months.

6. I sell similar on TurboLister except for 4 GTC. 6/2009~8000 views~316 sold, 11/2010~1500 Views~112 Sold, 3/2012~8500 views~114 Sold, 8/2012~7000 Views, 216 Sold (I had someone buy me out and I had to relist...and my sales went way down...I had 10,000 view and 650 sales)

7. Yep

8. Just enough to create a custom background, line breaks and inline images

9.Huh?

10. I really should

11. I had crappy sales for like 2 weeks, and then insane for like 5 days, told my brother that a bunch of his stuff would sell in a couple days...and then it did.


I had about a 33% increase in sales last year...of course I had more things to sell and put more effort to it.

Perminate Link for Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search   Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search

by: BargainzBabylon This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 5 02:44:57 2014

I appreciate the writer offering this advice, but much of this is obviated by the fact that the 'search experience' team has admitted that Cassini isn't even working.

Also, Cassini doesn't ''like'' things - it's a search engine. It runs (if it ever does run) on certain map reducing protocols. What the buyer plugs in makes a bigger difference than what Cassini ''likes'' unless you sell what everyone else sells.  

Perminate Link for Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search   Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search

by: BargainzBabylon This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 5 02:55:25 2014

#9 makes no sense to me, either - RSS aggregates for delivered content.  

Perminate Link for Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search   Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search

by: thebobman This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 5 03:04:08 2014

At least its better than amazons search. I can't count how many times I searched for something and Amazon just ignored what I typed in and decided to do their own search. If I search for a brand and model number, don't show me results for other brands... there is a reason I typed in what I did. I find it strange that I give up looking for something on amazon, only to do a search on google for "term site:amazon.com" and find it in the 2nd or 3rd result, and with amazon it wasn't even on the first 3 pages

Perminate Link for Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search   Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search

by: ItsALLAboutME This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 5 07:21:48 2014

I wondered whether it was an eBay employee trying to fool sellers into offering free shipping and taking returns. I've seen plenty of successful sellers who don't do either, plus still have HTML-heavy listings. Maybe the fact that he's able to ''list better stuff'' apparently at will has more to do with his success than his check list.

Perminate Link for Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search   Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search

by: Orwellwasright This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 5 09:44:34 2014

 It does not matter if someone tells you a game is rigged, and thinks they can beat it...
 Unless you are one of the juiced in fixed winners you are going to lose

The ebay mechanism to selectively exhibit items to buyers is designed specifically to favor their preferred partners .PERIOD!

These partners have their fb and dsrs cleansed as well .

You can think you can beat the game, but remember that there are hidden parameters that ebay denies vehemently exist, such as rolling blackouts and hidden ceilings on sales for smaller sellers .

As far as any seller who thinks they can beat a rigged game, I am happy they are on a roll , but remember the first rule of a rigged game, The sucker always loses

Selling on ebay is more of a gambling then a business transaction .

When or If your item is even shown is out of your control, and if by chance, you sell something , and  you send your item to one of the legion of cheats and frauds good luck. You are easy pickens.

Remember the rule that keeps casinos open, everybody eventually wins for a while, In the end,  all but a select few go home broke....

Perminate Link for Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search   Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search

by: Carol This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 5 09:56:44 2014

One of the best posts I've seen in a long time.  THANKS!!!

Perminate Link for Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search   Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search

by: Carol This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 5 09:59:19 2014

Oops.  My compliment was for the writer of the article published today, not for Orwellwasright or any of the other usual naysayers who've ignored the OP's content and posted rants against ebay.

Perminate Link for Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search   Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search

by: Orwellwasright This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 5 12:03:01 2014


 While the article had some good tips, lets face it, half of the suggestions are based on either tricking the customer, or tricking the search engine.

Taking a 10$ item, doubling the price, then fraudulently claiming you are offering free shipping and a 25% discount to me is no differant then shortchanging a customer at the cash register.
   If it takes fraud to succeed in a marketplace then the marketplace will eventually become so overrun with fraud that it is no longer viable...


That is not Nay-saying that is EXACTLY what is evolving on the ebay platform

And again, Not matter what a seller does , there is still the matter of rolling blackouts and sales caps.

I experienced both before being thrown away .

No matter what i did, or how much i listed my weekly and monthly sales stayed about the same. I could give numerous examples but whats the point. If you have been on ebay long enough you know whats what ,

Perminate Link for Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search   Cracking the Code on eBay Cassini and Best Match Search

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jan 5 12:04:52 2014

@CAROL---

There are very GOOD reasons why people here do NOT like some of ebays practices--they have cost US a lot of time effort money and heartbreak.  

I don't always like reading people ranting BUT I do respect their feelings on this.  

And there have been just as many if not more suggestions on HOW to get your items listed---do you really think that IF there was a "formula"  that WORKED we of ALL people wouldn't be the FIRST to TRY it and be the BIGGEST cheerleaders IF it WORKED?

I know I would be!!!!

And I am NOT offering "free shipping"  and I am NOT adverting for "returns"  and I do not believe in fairytales either.  

Click to view more comments
1 2 3  [Next Page]


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.