Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sat June 4 2016 23:56:43

eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?

By: Ina Steiner

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We've noticed a lot of talk about Artificial Intelligence (AI) among online marketplaces, including eBay (eBay CEO Devin Wenig said AI technology will render the search box redundant), Alibaba (invested in Twiggle), and Amazon (CEO Jeff Bezos said we're at the beginning of a golden age of AI).

For many years we've heard about "big data" - every online purchase generates data that if analyzed, could help marketplaces better market to customers. But human beings can't sort through and make sense of all that information and figure out how to better serve shoppers - for instance, when figuring out what listings to show a returning customer. 

So it makes sense that AI is the new buzzword - technology that can process data and help companies make better decisions and better merchandise to shoppers.

But spending resources on new technology often seems to come at the expense of fixing what's under the hood.

Reading this letter from a reader made me think about this issue: the eBay seller said she received defects for failing to ship out on Memorial Day - eBay's systems failed to recognize the day as a Federal holiday when post offices were closed. That does not require Artificial Intelligence - just  common sense.

Another reader wrote about another eBay practice - it sends notices to sellers about listings that fail to renew. However, eBay omits to tell the seller which listings failed to renew. The reader cited a "Good 'Til Cancelled listing(s) not renewed" email.

"This is another good example of eBay wasting seller's time for no good reason," she wrote. "Nowhere on this email does it reference the listing number they closed. They could put it on here, but they just don't. They apparently feel it is better for me to spend a minute or two going to unsold items to find the affected listing."

The reader went on to say, "You don't need a big education to figure this out. But time and time again they do stuff like this that shows no common sense at all. The only thing this does is further frustrate their sellers."




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?   eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jun 5 06:24:18 2016

I'm one that embraces new technology, but lately all this AI is a disturbing trend, , the average person is no match against the computer, in a millisecond a computer with a poorly written code, can turn your life upside down, and take, hours and days to fix, it's becoming almost impossible, for the consumer

IMO These companies need to obey some common law, the government should write new laws, for corporate AI, to protect consumers, it's getting out of control.  

Perminate Link for eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?   eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?

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

Sun Jun 5 06:50:08 2016

So, what's new at eBay?

AI is one of the new buzz words; unfortunately "eBay+AI" is like "army intelligence", a classic oxymoron ...

And, if it's got anything to do with eBay's ads, for something I may have previously looked at, following me around everywhere, then all it does is irritate me; then, eBay having no common sense would not understand that ...

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 eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?   eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jun 5 12:25:30 2016

eBay chooses stupidity over common sense, never mind AI.

AI can only be as good as the input you give it, if the people in charge have no clue about how the real world works, who their customers really are, and how ecommerce should work - all the AI in the world won't help.  

Perminate Link for eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?   eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Sun Jun 5 12:38:25 2016

''eBay CEO Devin Wenig said AI technology will render the search box redundant''

He is obviously talking about voice recognition which has come a long way but still has a long way to go. When it comes to eBay though, it would never happen. Maybe I should say it would not work well. Instead of showing me what I don't want when searching, I will be ''told'' about items I do not want. Taking it a step further, I will be sent items I did not order.

Have you ever contacted a utility, airline or cable company and heard this: ''Did you mean (fill in the blank)? or ''Say yes or no''? repeat..repeat..repeat...

''I want customer service''

''Did you say you want to order parts?''

''agent..agent...agent......AGENT!

Do you hear me now?

Perminate Link for eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?   eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Sun Jun 5 13:43:10 2016

The reader that complained about Ebay not recognizing that Memorial Day was a holiday for shipping purposes, simply was premature.  They just didn't allow Ebay enough time to get their dashboard updated.  It sometimes takes Ebay a few days to get those numbers updated.  

I think it would be refreshing if a search return on Ebay would just return what I ASKED FOR!!  Now that would be refreshing.  I don't want to be second guessed or have some computer decide what I want to look at.  I want to decide what I want to see.

Perminate Link for eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?   eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?

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

Sun Jun 5 15:44:45 2016

Magento speaks openly of the "Post-Ebay" world.
That's that.

Perminate Link for eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?   eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jun 5 16:17:37 2016


Everyone knows that the decision makers at sleazebay have no sense at all.  

Perminate Link for eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?   eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?

by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 6 01:00:15 2016

Anyone who thinks, deadbay thinks , cant think. Ebay is the biggest joke out there , bar none!

Perminate Link for eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?   eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?

by: BargainzBabylon This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 6 02:07:15 2016

"Twiggle"? Why do software companies continually adopt these kindergarten names?  

Perminate Link for eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?   eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Jun 6 10:43:03 2016

''eBay CEO Devin Wenig said AI technology will render the search box redundant''

What would make him and the rest of his "management" team redundant?

Perminate Link for eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?   eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?

by: whipnet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 6 12:17:13 2016

Too many times in industries across the board I'll hear that the computer says this and that and there's nothing the human in front of me can do about it.

Scary stuff and it's only going to get worse.

*

Perminate Link for eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?   eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?

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

Mon Jun 6 14:37:04 2016

There is nothing new here... eBay's Intelligence has been Artificial all along.

Perminate Link for eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?   eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?

This user has validated their user name. by: VV

Mon Jun 6 17:41:31 2016

Sure.  When I have a listing that has been active for days I can cut & paste the title into search it and does not come back. At. All.

Buzz word - FAIL.

Perminate Link for eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?   eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?

This user has validated their user name. by: IDKwhoIare

Tue Jun 7 00:18:02 2016

''eBay CEO Devin Wenig said AI technology will render the search box redundant''

How so?  By reading my mind?  They are not going to figure out what I want to see by what I have already looked at.

I get weird suggestions from various places now that will never result in a sale simply because I have a parent who will not get on the internet and asks me to look something up or find something for her regularly.  I also have a sister who wants me to look up sundry items while we are chatting - because she only turns on her computer in the morning.  Then there is myself - I shop and I sell.  I do not shop/buy what I sell, but I do research for pricing & keep track of trending fashion items.  I personally will make eBay's AI crazier than the humans running the place now.

Will the AI only show me anything to do with laundry because I searched for the closest Laundry Mat to her yesterday?  Will it show me moving supplies because it decided I must be relocating to the zip-code in which I searched for said Laundry Mat because we don't live in the same part of town?  

Interesting times.  

Perminate Link for eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?   eBay Chooses Artificial Intelligence over Common Sense?

by: TopHatedSeller This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 1 19:31:34 2016

AI CAN TO DETECT THIS: Take a look at this Item number:381452950149 Shill buying to manipulate eBay search history and terapeak data by big corporation. Look at the history of sales. Same buyers over and over. They buy from themselves and eBay let them because they are "So & So" Company. I been tracking this item and reporting it for 2 months. Even reported it to EcommerceBytes. Take a look at the same user ids buying over and cover from the selling history and report it Item number:381452950149.



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