Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu May 5 2016 16:26:15

Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

eBay will acquire a Swedish company called Expertmaker, which, according to eBay's announcement, "specializes in providing intelligent solutions powered by artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and big data analytics."

eBay said Expertmaker has already been helping it bring structure to its listings. The "structured data" initiative is being touted as a way to help eBay regain some of its lost search engine mojo, improve "discoverability," and help bring better shopping experiences to the marketplace. Think of it as helping eBay create a product catalog the way Amazon has built its marketplace.

In 2010, Expertmaker founder Lars Hard told the Guardian newspaper, "There are a lot of things not searchable online today. Most of them are related to how people express themselves and the implicit knowledge we all carry. The typical example is how we give product recommendations of give advice to friends. This has not been easily searchable up to now because of the complexity of the search, involving taste, needs, constraints and obviously conflicting desires, we all want a bit more than we can get."

This page of the Expertmaker website describes its current retail applications:

Expertmaker offers learning retail solutions that optimize and automate business processes and customer experiences. Online and brick-and-mortar retailers use the Expertmaker platform to power omni-channel personalization, prediction and optimization of key business drivers. Examples include:

- Deep personalization (recommendations, coupons, discovery)
- Demand forecasting and predictive planning
- Pricing assortment and loyalty optimization
- Competitor tracking

eBay did not disclose the purchase price. "Upon the close of the transaction, Expertmaker's employees will join eBay's structured data product and technology team. Expertmaker's Founder and CEO, Lars Hard, will join as Director, Data Science reporting into Amit Menipaz's organization." It also said, "Hard will continue to lead his team as a part of eBay and serve as a visiting lecturer at Lund University in Sweden."

Why not continue to work with Expertmaker rather than acquire the company? eBay didn't say, but the announcement serves as a signal to Wall Street that the structured data initiative, which it calls a multi-year effort, remains a priority.

Update: See more information in today's EcommerceBytes Newsflash.




Comments (40) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?   Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 5 16:35:27 2016

eBay is already FULL of artificial intelligence ... or maybe its alien intelligence - its certainly NOT human intelligence - that's for damn sure!

Perminate Link for Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?   Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 5 16:39:59 2016

The only thing that can help ebay is firing every one and replacing them with competent non china ass kissing people

Perminate Link for Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?   Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?

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

Thu May 5 16:41:25 2016

Yeah, to successfully create "artificial intelligence" you have to have some human intelligence in the first place; demonstrably, a rare attribute among the spaghetti tossers in the eBay executive suite ...

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the unscrupulous, the malevolent, the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid. ...

Perminate Link for Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?   Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?

by: Nuts2U This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 5 17:41:53 2016

Use of the words "eBay" and "intelligence" in the same sentence is an oxymoron.

Perminate Link for Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?   Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu May 5 19:22:40 2016

I've read this article at least six times and I still don't know what it's about. Did JD write this stuff? "[P]ower omni-channel personalization, prediction and optimization of key business drivers." Another word salad that's utterly incomprehensible.

Since two of their bullet points are "Deep personalization (recommendations)" and "Demand forecasting and predictive planning," it appears that eBay is getting deeper into guessing what people are looking for, not returning relevant items in searches.

Perminate Link for Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?   Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?

This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Thu May 5 20:06:16 2016

No. Wenig is the latest iteration of that "artificial intelligence". It isn't able.

Perminate Link for Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?   Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?

by: aim04744 This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 5 21:57:48 2016

I agree with jacksparrow. More guessing what people want instead of allowing people to search and see what they want. Nope, wont help them.  

Perminate Link for Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?   Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Thu May 5 22:05:52 2016

Cassini on steroids, you got to love it.
Really, it can't be any worse then it is, right?

Perminate Link for Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?   Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?

by: rstpete This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 5 22:26:57 2016

ANY form of intelligence would be a radical change at ebay.

Perminate Link for Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?   Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?

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

Thu May 5 23:30:45 2016

It's not what you've got, but what you do with it = http://www.expertmaker.com/industries/iot  

Perminate Link for Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?   Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 6 00:08:37 2016

@iheartjacksparrow---$istah $arah Palin wrote it--that is the only explanation that makes sense!  

Perminate Link for Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?   Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 6 00:10:13 2016

Well I could have saved them a LOT of money and just used my inborn actual human intelligence--You are doing it all WRONG boys;  let's junk that CantSeeMe and go with what we had BEFORE that was actually WORKING.

There.  Fixed it.  

Perminate Link for Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?   Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?

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

Fri May 6 00:37:59 2016

I really don't get a lot of this type of search. I mean... I enjoyed the days of searching ebay prior to 'best match'. I'm not a fan of 'self fulfilling prophecy' search - the more something sells the more it gets pushed to the front... meaning more sales for that item - less sales for yours.

In simple terms I've always used ebay for two things - price for new items, and scarcity for used.

When I do shop on ebay, I usually have to spend a few minutes adjusting the search to 'buy it low - price plus shipping lowest first'.

The 'best match' has never been my best match and I've always considered it a way for ebay to grease a diamond seller's wheels by allowing their products magical 'best match' priority.

On the lighter side I see ebay's been adding something called 'WebyClip' to their Detailed item info. Customers seeing these non seller provided videos are not gonna be happy - I saw it on a USED microphone listing... It was some random YOUTUBE video of a guy unboxing his own mic. I think it's a terrible idea.

If ebay wants better customer experiences they need to embrace that videos are important and currently it's a real P.I.T.A. to add them. I might think it's because they don't want YOUTUBE but WebyClip IS youtube. Geez... one simple form field to enter the youtube video link and a parser to prevent fraud... but no... now I gotta promote someone else's video's in MY OWN LISTING! :()

D'oh!  

Oh, well... at least I got to do a rant... I feel MUCH better now!



Perminate Link for Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?   Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?

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

Fri May 6 02:01:47 2016

When I saw the words ebay and artificial intelligence in the same headlines, too many jokes went through my head. I'm afraid though, that the stupid guys running the show there weren't trying to be funny!

Perminate Link for Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?   Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Fri May 6 04:44:08 2016

So eBay is going to spend millions on to acquire an AI company.... Store sellers are buying this firm with their latest fee increase.

Too bad there is not a COMMON SENSE company, I would not mind if they spent our fee increase on that.

Perminate Link for Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?   Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 6 07:40:36 2016

Im using some of my NON artificial intelligence to say that RIC is %1000000 right ....

And I saved a few million too !

Perminate Link for Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?   Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?

by: sickandtired This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 6 08:02:08 2016

I absolutely despise targeted selling or search of any kind. Far too many sites are pushing this nonsense. AI is exactly that,artificial.  
I really don't give a flying fig that other people who bought the same UV bulb that I did also bought a cat carrier, a pom pom maker, magic markers and underwear.

The absolute joy of old ebay search was being able to tweak it and get results returned that were very specific to exact requirements when looking for particular items or to just go trolling for hidden treasures using broad terms.
IA searches remove all serendipity from the equation. Our choices get narrowed rather than expanded....if I paid attention to all the "if you liked that, you will like this" promotion that is shoved at me by Amazon and other sites, I would only ever read one genre of book, listen to one kind of music or buy one style of clothing.
This steering of tastes and choices by large corp entities like Amazon, Google, etc is not only unfair to small businesses, I feel it is socially dangerous.
I don't fall for being lead around by the nose and I'm sure most others who post here are the same, but I worry about the younger demographic who are growing up bombarded with only the tastes and wants of others exactly like themselves and only ever see more of what they have already chosen to look at.
   

Perminate Link for Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?   Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?

by: rhawk This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 6 08:20:18 2016


Ebay is run by idiots I would not trust to run a lemonade stand.

I have nothing more to say.

Perminate Link for Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?   Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Fri May 6 08:33:33 2016

Remember when eBay operated with simplicity--you simply listed an item, search worked and buyers could find what they wanted, sellers made money and would then spend their money buying on eBay?  That was an amazing ecosystem of buyers and sellers.

Then someone from Bain came along with some "big" ideas and his disruptive innovation. Shortly after came search manipulation, favoring mega-enterprise sellers while hiding small sellers (the ones who actually made eBay successful), and the Chinese. Then came the unethical user agreements (your items may not always be seen).

This sounds like just another experiment that moves the company that much further from good common sense. These companies love these types of acquisitions because it makes them feel cutting edge and they feel like they are on the next technology frontier--just another ploy to impress Wall Street. It's sort of like the local news bragging about their drones.

Imagine if you went to the supermarket and machine learning and artificial intelligence dictated what ended up in your shopping card.

KISS--KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID!  

Perminate Link for Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?   Can Artificial Intelligence Help Save eBay?

by: Mark4 This user has validated their user name.

Fri May 6 08:39:30 2016

Ebay and the word intelligence don't belong in the same sentence.  can't stop laughing, these executive clowns have no clue how to make ebay work.  

Click to view more comments
1 2  [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.