Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Oct 13 2014 09:54:34

Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?

By: Ina Steiner

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Just as merchants study their standings in Google and Bing search, sellers attempt to measure their standings in marketplace search results, especially if they feel their items aren't getting the traffic they deserve.

On Sunday, Etsy sellers discussed whether the marketplace was doing a good job of showing items from many sellers, or whether it allowed the same 3 or 4 shops to dominate search results - "uber domination," one seller called it.

On this discussion board thread, a poster wrote, "I just searched 10 pages using "father of the bride cufflinks" and the top of every single search page (after the top row of ads) is dominated by the same 3-4 shops. At least 3-4 rows deep on the page. I think this is extremely odd! Anyone else seeing this?"

Another responded, "There has to be a test because people are getting different results when we compare notes on the forums." That wouldn't be completely surprising since online marketplaces seem to be in constant test mode.

We tried the search last night and found page one offered a mix of sellers with no one seller dominating results.



Some sellers said page 1 of search results tended to contain diverse results, but after that, they saw the pattern of a few shops dominating results.

Marketplaces are just as mum about search algorithms as Google, much to the chagrin of sellers trying to optimize their listings so they'll be exposed to the right shoppers at the right time.

And it's not just search relevancy - some wonder if the site redesign is impacting sales. This letter from an Etsy seller came in last night with a link to another discussion thread:

"Etsy sellers continue to struggle with diminished sales and missing google links since the site wide redesign at the beginning of September. Sellers asking for answers while Etsy admin remain mum."

If you sell on Etsy, let us know what you think of search relevancy and other factors impacting traffic to your listings. And be sure to tell us what's working right for you.

Update 10/13/14: An Etsy moderator went into the above-referenced thread about search relevancy and wrote the following this afternoon:

"At this time we aren't seeing widespread issues with search relevancy, but we definitely want to check this out. Could you please contact us via email with examples? Include links to your search results and the exact steps you followed when searching. Please also note any search filters you have enabled. Here's a link to our contact form: www.etsy.com/help/contact Thanks so much!"

Update 10/22/14:
Etsy moderators have acknowledged the bug, see this Newsflash story.




Comments (70) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?   Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 13 10:40:10 2014

I have written to Etsy continuously about its ineffective search logic. I'm too tired to elaborate, but it has never worked. When I make a sale, I feel lucky. When I find something I'm hunting, it's usually by accident.

Perminate Link for Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?   Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?

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

Mon Oct 13 12:28:09 2014

Surely, this is what "Best Match" is all about: funnelling views to Johnny Ho's preferred merchants. Too bad Best Match has been a failure for small merchants, and ultimately for eBay too ...

Well done, Johnny Ho, Ho, Ho—soon to "spend more time with his family"—we can only hope ...

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

Perminate Link for Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?   Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 13 17:30:26 2014

Hey Cohen

Read again. The topic is ETSY NOT FLEECEBAY

Perminate Link for Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?   Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?

by: Robin This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 13 20:22:06 2014

Absolutely, I'm seeing it.  Try these searches:  Handmade Decorative Pillows or Custom Pet Portraits.  I first became aware of this when a previous customer couldn't remember my name but knew she'd recognize my portraits and couldn't find me in 20 pages, but DID see the same shops over and over and over.

Wedding Invitations is another.  Organic Soap another.   Vintage Knitting Patterns.  It seems very general, common searches that buyers use.  "Father of the Bride Cufflinks" is too specific.  Etsy has asked for screen shots, but say they can't see what we see and have been discussing in several, hundreds of commented on threads.

Perminate Link for Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?   Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Mon Oct 13 20:24:33 2014

See the update above, Etsy responded to the thread about search relevancy on Monday afternoon.

Perminate Link for Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?   Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?

This user has validated their user name. by: eBankrupted

Tue Oct 14 00:28:37 2014

Have there been any recent ebay MBAs who were hired by Etsy? It just takes one ebay apple in the cart to rot the whole bunch.
Let's hope this is just a glitch, and not a cross-contamination executive infection originating from ebay.

Perminate Link for Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?   Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?

by: Cloud This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 14 01:13:03 2014

This really isn't nothing new. Etsy has always favored the same few bland shops, along with the Chinese mass produced items, in their search results. One visiting the site for the first time and not digging past the first 10 pages would never know the wealth of diversity the site offers.  

Perminate Link for Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?   Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?

This user has validated their user name. by: laurengrace

Tue Oct 14 01:28:33 2014

I am not sure about this particular problem but i do now since they changed the paid search ads that my sales have been nonexistant. Etsy used to be my best avenue for sales-Now nothing, and i am selling a high demand product. They are forcing high cost per click just like google and someone needs to tell them they are not google. A small business can go broe very quickly this wasy. I am getting ready to cancel my pay per click on etsy because although i use all my budget everty day, i am not getting any benefit from them. The old Etsy paid search worked much better.This one-not at all.

Perminate Link for Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?   Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?

by: marcellina This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 14 01:50:59 2014

Etsy has always had a rinky-dink search engine, the site is technically outmoded. The problem is that whenever they touch anything they have a knack for making a bad situation worse.

Perminate Link for Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?   Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?

by: Watching the Wheels This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 14 02:00:45 2014

Etsy has always been this way, and they have always eventually wandered into the given forum threads with whatever current excuse they have chosen.

The REAL problem with the site is that the crews don't have the abilities to implement what the board wants, and to remain fair to the sellers. The crew are yes men protecting their paychecks.

Perminate Link for Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?   Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?

by: Watching the Wheels This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 14 02:01:53 2014

RCL, gotta write the board.

Perminate Link for Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?   Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?

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

Tue Oct 14 02:24:27 2014

hey sasikat9,

And I was talking about eBay ...

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

Perminate Link for Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?   Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 14 04:29:04 2014

Sales have dropped to nothing in the last month.  Have a feeling it has to do with the new pay for click crap.
With all the playing around on the test etsy site, all sales down. So to make up for some more revenue they go with this pay click thing in addition the fee to list.

Perminate Link for Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?   Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?

by: Daisy909 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 14 06:03:23 2014

My September sales dipped dramatically from summer sales. October is not looking very good either. WTH! I'm actually selling more on Ebay…that is NOT right!
I've suspected for the last year that Etsy has started to use rolling blackouts like Ebay. So sad...

Perminate Link for Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?   Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?

This user has validated their user name. by: laurengrace

Tue Oct 14 07:11:55 2014

@Freddy- I suspect the same thing. I have always used etsy promoted listings but when they changed to ppc my sales also dropped to nothing but they sure use up every penny of my budget. Cancelling them today.

Perminate Link for Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?   Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?

by: lostinohio This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 14 07:18:03 2014

Hi everyone:

I started ramping up my etsy store in September, when all the changes started there.  I have made sales.

I just tried those searches mentioned and got a bunch of different sellers, not the same ones at all.

I think etsy has been tinkering wildly, putting different users in different tests.  

As a ebay power seller with 10K+ feedback, top rated, blah, blah, blah, I was NOT SELLING on ebay.  I mean NOT SELLING.  Hundreds of items closed with no sales, no views.  I had no choice but to move on.  I have four items on ebay now.  Four.

I get many views on etsy, zilch on ebay.

My advice:  etsy is big on social media, learn it, and do it.

Perminate Link for Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?   Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Tue Oct 14 07:45:30 2014

I just made my second Etsy sale (vintage) after recently opening shop there.

I have not had time to do any promoting of the shop, so these sales occurred without much effort on my part.

At first blush I like their payment system and shipping labels seem to be a piece of cake!  No complaints from me at this point, but I do want to set aside some time to see what else I can do to promote the shop that is not time consuming.

Perminate Link for Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?   Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?

by: rainbowseeker This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 14 07:56:09 2014

I stopped selling on eBay as of this last seller update in August.  In Feb I began moving to Etsy.  You have to help yourself here....it is not automatic like it used to be on eBay.  You need to use social media like FB and Pinterest.  Established back links from things in the past like a blog help too.  That and join their groups and follow their suggestions for tagging your items.  Use all your tags!  I have good traffic and my sales are increasing monthly.  I've had a sale almost every day this month.  Last month I did over $1700 while struggling to maintain 140 items.  I sell vintage under the name TheCalamityHouse.  On eBay I was rainbowseeker.  In defense of those complaining I have noticed that current searches are resulting in only one item being found at a time.  For instance...I have several listing of miscellaneous pieces of Damask Rose listed, but when someone searches ''Damask Rose'' it shows in my stats that they only get one result.  Same for ''oil lamp''...I have listings for two with nearly the same tags yet only one will be found.  Not understanding why that is ...... before the new ad program began I used to see multiple items found for the same search term.  Now there seems to be never more than one....but I am still getting more and more sales daily.

Perminate Link for Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?   Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?

This user has validated their user name. by: Shop and Ship

Tue Oct 14 08:41:59 2014

@RainbowSeeker: Wow! a 16 year member with an 8,000+ Feedback with Zero Listings as of August? eBay has really stepped in it. Past sales show good product, great photos, good descriptions, fair prices, reasonable terms. I'm seeing similar results for many, many disgruntled long-term eBay Sellers on eBay. You're a great loss for eBay and a great gain for whatever market you establish yourself in.  

Perminate Link for Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?   Etsy Search Results: Uber Domination or Not?

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

Tue Oct 14 08:59:24 2014

I am also seeing no sales. I used to get at least one sale a week, now nothing. I know that my stuff is not in high demand, but it should be selling a little better than ''not at all''.

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