Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun June 8 2014 20:06:19

Is eBay Testing a New Search Feature?

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay could be about to change one of the ways shoppers find items on its site. An eBay seller spotted something unusual in his search results recently, a possible indication eBay is planning to add relevancy to search results beyond its default Best Match search. And it could mean some listings might never appear in search results.

Years ago, eBay added Best Match as the default order so that search results would bring back listings that eBay had determined were more relevant and so it could also give a higher boost to listings from what it determined were higher quality sellers. But eBay left in place other ways to sort results, including by price and by time, the latter especially important to auction bidders.

A seller told me that when he sorted search results by "Price + Shipping Lowest First" on Friday, he noticed his listings were missing from the results, and a message appeared at the top saying "Showing the Most Relevant Results for (keyword) first. Click here to see all results."

There were over 186,000 listings that matched his search term, but the new relevancy search he saw brought back just under 5,000 (less than 3 percent of matching listings).


 
The seller wrote, "It appears eBay has now added filtering similar to Best Match even when you sort by price. But the formula appears different, as many of our items that appear at the top of Best Match results do not appear when sorted by price."

If you click on "Show all results together" then it appears the way it used to, he said. "So if a buyer sees this they can click that, but if the buyer overlooks this message, they may be under the impression they are seeing all results."

Another concern, he said, was that without knowing how eBay determines what is relevant, sellers are left in the dark when it comes to visibility.

"For brand searches related to my business, "relevant" results currently return some of my competitors' items that are identical to mine, but not mine, and vice versa where my listings may appear but not theirs. We are talking about identical SKUs. My first guess was that eBay just added best match filtering to the price sorting, but what is considered relevant is different from best match."

While sellers may wonder how eBay could suppress listings that match the shopper's search when sellers have paid for their listings to appear in search results, they should remember that eBay gave itself permission to do so in September when it added a provision to its user agreement.

We've only received a report of this new feature from one reader and have found no online discussions about it. We asked eBay on Friday for more information but have yet to hear back.

What would you think if eBay added relevancy to searches sorted by price or time? And if it does, should it continue to bring back all search results, or winnow it down to only those listings it considers most relevant?




Comments (34) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Is eBay Testing a New Search Feature?   Is eBay Testing a New Search Feature?

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

Sun Jun 8 21:27:04 2014

The intent here isn't "relevancy;" the intent is targeted item invisibility followed by seller extermination.

Ebay has demonstrated over and over again it is incapable of creating a functional and equitable search system beyond the old Ending Soonest.

Ebay can give itselkf eprmission to do nearly anything. That doesn't mean it's legal.

In our legal system, services are expected when payment is rendered or must be returned when those service(s) aren't rendered.

Criminals all.

Is there on honest man or woman working for ebay?

Is there?

One?

If there is, contact Ina and get a guarantee of anonymity and tell the truth about this organized crime syndicate.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Sun Jun 8 22:29:34 2014

Since the hack, and since Google demoted eBay in their search results, sales have been in the terlit.

Does anyone else find it counter intuitive that eBay management apparently believes this is the proper time to confuse buyers with changes to search result pages?

Past experience shows sales drop when eBay tests and plays with search results.

With all the other problems facing eBay at this time,  is this really the most intelligent decision eBay management could make and impose without any notice?

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

Sun Jun 8 22:32:51 2014

What, yet another desperate, devious manipulation of search by eBay on buyers? Will it never end? ...

Give it up Johnny Ho, funneling searchers to your, un-full of major brands, online "Westfield Mall” concept is simply never going to work for you; both you and eBay are now far too thoroughly despised by far too many people! Methinks it would be best for all concerned for you to go back to Bain & Co where, no doubt, your demonstrable destructive ways must have been better appreciated …

eBay Inc, where the incompetent mingle with the malevolent and the criminal, and the just plain stupid ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

Perminate Link for Is eBay Testing a New Search Feature?   Is eBay Testing a New Search Feature?

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jun 8 23:28:24 2014

re:::: Ebay gave it self permission to supress listings in September"

Serial killers give themselves "permission" to kill people.  Does THAT mean it is legal moral or right?

Hope not.

I searched for a few things over the weekend and noticed some pretty weird results even stranger than usual for ebay.  

And the numbers seemed to be WAY off.  Wonder if I was seeing this new "relevancy" dealie?  

It makes NO sense so it MUST be true.

In Bizarro World of Ebay that is.  

Perminate Link for Is eBay Testing a New Search Feature?   Is eBay Testing a New Search Feature?

by: gramophone-georg This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 9 00:43:26 2014

As a buyer only for the last four years, I'm becoming increasingly livid with eBay's attempts to show me only what THEY want me to see on a search. I've used eBay almost since the beginning, and I know what SHOULD be there on one of my common searches- and isn't.

I'm getting tired of the cat- and- mouse games and ongoing social experiments that eBay seems to be constantly running. I just want to search, find, buy, and get on with life.

Unfortunately, unless I'm buying anywhere but eBay- I...JUST...CAN'T!!!!!

Perminate Link for Is eBay Testing a New Search Feature?   Is eBay Testing a New Search Feature?

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

Mon Jun 9 00:49:24 2014

I have seen this throttling when I have searched for certain items on Ebay for a while. Not for my own items, I don't even bother to check that out, but certain categories that I like to buy in. I generally give up and go do something else.

You would think those who run Ebay would take a good look at what Google throttling cost Ebay and Ebay sellers and figure out that throttling search engines is a money losing proposition for all concerned. It is also a turn off for buyers.

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by: fvh This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 9 02:50:12 2014

This explains some of the weird searches I've returned recently.

What could possibly be in it for eBay besides making targeted sellers go away? EBay gives away free listings, then makes many (if not most) of those listings invisible to buyers. Is this for sport? Are they enjoying watching the hamster on the wheel? Laughing out one side of their spin-holes while helpfully outlining "best practices" out the other.  

This rodent has had enough.

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by: Orwellwasright This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 9 06:03:20 2014

What eBay is doing is perfectly legal

Paying for a listing does not guarantee you any specific position in search results.

EBay specifically stated as much in their latest “agreement”

Now, if you have a few hundred thousand dollars, and you want to initiate a legal action claiming

The agreement was so one sided it should be voided then you might have a chance……


In essence eBay guarantees you nothing, you are paying for the privilege of listing on their site.. PERIOD


Now those who know what’s going on know that means… They will funnel the vast majority of buyers to those sellers with whom they have specified agreements or whom eBay prefers

The Majority of small to medium sized sellers have and will continue to be subject to increasingly egregious and insulting “standards” which guarantee that we will be eternally at the back of the line until the inevitable suspension

EBay wants the site dominated by a contingent of mega sellers , a few specialty sellers and a rotating contingent of general sellers, ,, Note the word “rotating”

At this point any seller who does not have a separate agreement with eBay , and has not realized they are not only disposable, but Intended to be disposable has not been paying attention..

Over the last four years it has Become progressively harder to remain as a highly rated seller for a reason

If the results of every eBay update is that more sellers are degraded, downgraded and disposed of, accept that that is the intent

Escape your abusers and move on..


Perminate Link for Is eBay Testing a New Search Feature?   Is eBay Testing a New Search Feature?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Jun 9 06:23:44 2014

The idiocy continues.

I'm guessing the only reason that eBay give free listings is to keep their number of listings up so that they can hoodwink the advertisers.  

A customer should be able to decide what is relevant, not eBay.  Of course we all have known for a long time that the only listings that are relevant to eBay are those listings offered by eBay's favored sellers.

Moreover, to give sellers free listings but then make those listings invisible is nothing more than a scam.  And think of the time sellers waste creating those listings.

Once again, the leaders at eBay prove to the world how unethical they are.  Their user agreements are not user agreements, they are a pact with the devil.

Perminate Link for Is eBay Testing a New Search Feature?   Is eBay Testing a New Search Feature?

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Mon Jun 9 06:48:27 2014

On the buying end I'm getting similar results as mentioned above. ''0'' results when there should be several. I can't remember when it started but I think I noticed it around June 1st.

This search issue equates to chasing off buyers.  


A new effort to deal with Google search?  I went to Bonanza and eCrater to try my search, they had zero or limited results but that is my usual experience when I search there. Maybe it is because they are smaller sites with less traffic.

What scenario make sense if buyers are being discouraged. As a long-time online buyer I HATE the idea of someone else filtering my search results or fighting with the search bar to put MY own effing words in. This goes for google, too.


On the selling end, March was reasonable, April so-so, May down, and June is starting off very slow. Possibly reflects the hack and then these search results problems.

Over the past week I watched several other sellers items sell or end with no bids at extremely low, bargain prices. In a different selling environment, I would BUY even  more. There are a lot of bargains out there that buyers are either not seeing or passing on due to financial uncertainty.

Lower sales are directly related to lower purchasing power from seller-buyers.


BTW - I also know people who had garage sales this past weekend & said they ended up with a lot of good, bargain priced stuff left over that should have sold.  Maybe resellers are passing up on those bargains, too.

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by: Scrapperella This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 9 07:24:11 2014

This was an October revision: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7Woh6hcAvY <---- Here is a video I made about it when all these changes happened.

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by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 9 07:42:24 2014

A prominent business law attorney has told me that this provision would be considered grounds for legal action. Ebay can place policy but it is ludicrous to believe that this policy is fair to the sellers on ebay. The whole iea of ebay is too pay them for services where a seller lists his items and that brings the expectation that ebay makes the listing visible to buyers.
"While sellers may wonder how eBay could suppress listings that match the shopper's search when sellers have paid for their listings to appear in search results, they should remember that eBay gave itself permission to do so in September when it added a provision to its user agreement."
The search engine testing is not new, we all know the problems that come with that,  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Jun 9 08:18:02 2014

Basset says "Lower sales are directly related to lower purchasing power from seller-buyers."

Very true.  We've cut back spending in a big way, due to slow sales and also due to some of the places we shop raising their prices.  Basset has hit on what once made eBay so successful (that healthy ecosystem of buyers and sellers), but a certain CEO continues being hell bent on destroying that.

We continue to build our own store, and we are spending more for inventory for that store than we are for purchasing items to sell on eBay.

I just can't warrant spending money for a site that does not want me to grow my business, hides my listings, and treats me so indignantly.

Perminate Link for Is eBay Testing a New Search Feature?   Is eBay Testing a New Search Feature?

by: mazelgirl This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 9 09:02:35 2014

What really makes no sense is all of the freebie listings they are giving sellers. If they really wanted people gone they'd hike the listing fees and when you didn't sell you'd leave.
People are giving them more marks for deviousness then they deserve--I think the folks doing the search functions are just stupid--and have no idea what they're really doing.

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

Mon Jun 9 09:25:32 2014

Ebay: $49.71 and plunging.

FIRE JOHN DONAHOE NOW, PIERRE.

Your anemic stock value has plummeted more than 10% since the hack.

It's (past) time for him to go.

Perminate Link for Is eBay Testing a New Search Feature?   Is eBay Testing a New Search Feature?

by: dans parts This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 9 09:31:39 2014

Just listed last night a tachometer bezel that fits 1965 Mustang GT and a couple other cars.

Search on ''tachometer bezel'' and I am #34 in line.

Search on ''mustang GT tachometer'' and I am #41 in line.

Search on ''1965 Mustang GT'' and I am NOT in line anywhere.

That tells me that all the hubbub about Parts Compatibility is a load of crap (did we expect anything less from eBay?), and that using it to make sure anyone who has a 1965 Mustang GT will be able to find my part when browsing parts for their car, insures absolutely NOTHING!

The only ''searches'' that found my item are organic type, looking for specific pieces of the car.

Browsing is even more useless than ever now.

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by: dans parts This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 9 09:36:16 2014

Oh, yes, forgot to mention that the words "Mustang GT" are in the title, as well as in Compatibility.

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by: dans parts This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 9 09:37:37 2014

And in the description, too.

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by: Toledo Maude This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 9 10:19:35 2014

Monday morning and not a thing to ship.  No sales on eBay (or Etsy) in six days.  Poop!

Over the weekend flea market dealers reported decreasing sales.   No hope there.

Then there is feedback.  No good news there.  Only 3 comments left in the last 30 days.  None in 2 ½ weeks.

No invitation to free listings in the past two offerings (including this week's).  Losing my appetite to list.

Although, I did list several new items last night and when searched for them a minute ago, they popped up closer to the beginning rather than at the end.  Some hope.  

The good news is that us third class passengers on the new eBay Titanic will have the pick of the deck chairs on the first class deck.

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

Mon Jun 9 11:10:39 2014

This search change is a DESPERATE ATTEMPT to STEER even MORE buyers to the big diamonds that are still here- with all that has happened and with the drop in traffic channel advisor has shown- ebay NEEDS TO KEEP THEIR BIG SELLERS ON- they are further sacrificing our business to the big guys even more.
That is what this is.

Can I hear 48???
Ebay is buying back their own shares at $49 today- look at todays volume on any ebay stock page. Use up ALL your cash JD to give it away to YOURSELF and employees- ebay will be broke, the execs will be rich, investors will be screwed and we ebay sellers will be out of business.
Gee, no more "acquisition talk" lately- that was because all that international money was destines to line ebay executive pockets- Ebay TRIED to SPIN IT like there was some "acquisition" but that was never the plan- we knew it.
REMEMBER FOLKS: JD was at Bain for over 20 years- almost his entire "career", this is all he really knows.
With the google situation and Panda ebay sellers ARE NOT LISTING JD- not as much as a PEEP from ebay about panda- HOW CAN WE LIST with NO INFO FROM EBAY as to if this is fixed- or ever will be- we do not want to chuck our money down a hole so you better make a statement JD- we are not listing.
JD: Gee, we haven't fixed our google search but remember- we don't need google with best match- here are some free ads anyways- they won't be shown and they wont sell but you will get free listings (insertion fee ONLY)! WTF!!!???
A Stanford Business Lesson for JD: We will not list if items do not sell- LOL!
And we have Amazon coming up with YET ANOTHER new product on the 18th- JD: DO YOU REALLY HONESTLY THINK YOU CAN "COMPETE" with Amazon?
The BREACH.
Panda????
Amazon payments on the way??
Alibaba in the next 4-6 months??

MY PREDICTION: We are going to see ebay use their new rating system to hold more sellers cash than ever- they DESPERATELY NEED THE CASH and have drained European coffers to do just that.
It is time to hear Phils great Concordia story again as water is hitting the rails.
I love Phil's Concordia story. And very soon, just like the Concordia Captain, JD will not go down with the ship- better head for that lifeboat soon JD.
There may not be room as your LOYAL CUSTOMERS- the sellers are packing in pretty tight.

We all knew that this BM search and the rating would destroy us- we have suffered long enough- we do not care anymore- we just want to see JD go.
They could have given us incentives to list more, and we sellers would have if we were treated with honesty, dignity and respect.
MH

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