Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Aug 28 2016 08:28:17

eBay Search Is Broken

By: Ina Steiner

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A reader emailed this morning to report problems with eBay's search, and sure enough, there have been reports of problems since Friday about unrelated listings coming back in search results.

"Is it just me, or has eBay search gotten worse," the seller wrote. "Custom searches that worked last week are suddenly turning up mostly unrelated junk."

Some users who reported the problem on the eBay boards said the problem is due to the fact that eBay's search engine is searching not only listing Titles, but the Descriptions as well.

It's unclear if it's an intermittent problem affecting only some users (or servers) - one would expect to see many more threads about the problem if it was a more widespread problem.

But for those buyers and sellers who are experiencing the problem, it makes it very difficult to find what they are looking for - for example, one user wrote:

"For some reason when I search eBay it searches within listing. For example I type in "japan" I get stuff that does not have japan in title but it searches the description and spits it out. I dont care if some joe shmoe has a policy for their item about shipping to japan, I want it to search title listings like it did 2 days ago."

On another thread, a user explained:

"For me search has been a hot mess since Friday. It is searching title AND description no matter what you do to avoid it. If the words appear anywhere in the description then it shows you that listing.
 
A search for Quarter Horse Journal brought up a pencil drawing of a pug dog simply because the seller mentioned one of their drawings had been in Quarter Horse Journal."

The user said eBay was aware of the problem.

We'll keep researching this issue, let us know what you're seeing and if you've found a workaround.




Comments (50) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

by: Frank Abagnale This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 28 08:46:43 2016

Hi Ina, is it possible to search your archives because I thought this headline was from 5 years ago?

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

by: Donkey This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 28 09:16:30 2016

Yes, Search has been broken since at least Friday.  Sales have been non-existent this week.
People are just tired of dealing with this ebay mess.

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Sun Aug 28 09:16:51 2016

Hi Frank, There is a search box on the top right side of every page.

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

by: Scotty This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 28 09:22:18 2016

This is just one big experiment at our expense.  Do the staff at ebay suffer MASSIVE swings in their paychecks due to ebay playing these games....No, they do not....just the sellers (customers).  If they had skin in the game like we do, this would not be happening.

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

by: Frank Abagnale This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 28 09:45:01 2016

Thanks. I was off by one year.

http://www.ecommercebytes.com/C/letters/blog.pl?/comments
/2012/9/1347022958.html

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

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

Sun Aug 28 10:06:57 2016

Search is broken ?
Stuff is over priced by 700% so, what's the difference ?

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

This user has validated their user name. by: David Steiner

Sun Aug 28 10:24:41 2016

"Search is broken ?
Stuff is over priced by 700% so, what's the difference ?"

Don't you think there might be a correlation there? Certainly, if I was a merchant, and I thought that people weren't seeing my listings in search like they used to, I would make sure I put a healthy BIN or reserve on my item to ensure that it wasn't sold at a loss.

As late as 2007, I would start my auctions at $4.99 (and these were valuable items) and let them fly because they invariably reached market prices or above. I wouldn't trust that anymore.

So a broken, or manipulated search essentially brings the whole laissez faire aspect of eBay to a halt.

Not rocket science.

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sun Aug 28 11:04:04 2016

I sold 8 items Friday and 4 yesterday.

If search is broken how did these people find my items for sale?

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

by: leathermermaid8 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 28 11:31:50 2016

Add me to the long list of frustrated users.  If search was bad before, it's impossible now.

I searched for Red.Leather.Shoes.  Not books, sofas or cosplay outfits.

After plugging in my usual parameters and minus signs I got next to NO shoe results and loads  of everything the "-" was supposed to weed out, including cheesy plastic stripper platform shoes from shipping China and DOLL's shoes. Oh and an F-150.

Doesn't a mess like this show a corresponding drop in sales (as in FEES for eBay)?  Probably the only way to get their attention.

There were a couple of posting on the eBay boards, so I know it wasn't just me.

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sun Aug 28 12:25:18 2016

Yep, eBay has messed up search!

I search for: "scribe rite"

I always get 2 results and both are jewelry and if I'm lucky I'll find the tool I'm looking for just like I did a minute ago.

But the search results brought back 99 hits when there should've only been 3.

EBAY'S LOST THEIR MINDS AGAIN!

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 28 13:53:29 2016


ebay's artificial intelligence.

do not show the buyers what they want, show them what ebay wants you to buy.

and i'm sure things on ebay will get worse, except for toolboy

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

by: 27tcle This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 28 14:03:28 2016

In my case i'm getting stuff i searced for previously mixed in with the target search... Along with a bunch of irrelevant crap. What a mess.

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

by: akik This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 28 14:35:33 2016

This has also been happening to one of my accounts, but on ebay UK. Ebay US works just fine.

What I noticed is that the ''include description'' box is missing from its usual place (upper right, below the search button).

It could be another test, who knows with the geniuses at ebay...

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

This user has validated their user name. by: White Rabbit

Sun Aug 28 15:01:46 2016

you can bet it is an AI test.. of course it is a LIVE test and at the seller's expense for loss of sales.

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

This user has validated their user name. by: White Rabbit

Sun Aug 28 15:13:35 2016

I did test my saved searches.. seems ok and I tried a new search - seems ok so maybe it is fixed? hopefully.

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

by: JLight This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 28 15:18:29 2016

I had this problem until this morning.  I do all of my regular searching on my desktop using Chrome.  Out of curiosity, this morning, I tried using my Kindle Fire HD which uses their Silk browser.  I first dumped my cache including my cookies and had absolutely no problems.

Please refer to your blog post of Monday August 22: ''eBay Unleashes Machine Learning Search Pages'' and I quote: ''We are also applying statistical learning to optimize the whole page: reacting to the users' actions we can reorder and prioritize the content in the search page, providing search guidance or access to top deals and top products in appropriate context while minimizing distractions.''

eBay cannot ''react to the users' actions'' if they do not recognize who you are!  Until they correct this problem, you must dump your cookies before you search!

I regularly dump my cache on my desktop but never dump cookies.  Did so this morning, and searches are now normal.  I'm guessing I might have to do this each morning before I search at least for now.  

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

This user has validated their user name. by: White Rabbit

Sun Aug 28 16:22:52 2016

interesting, i did use ccleaner very recently before trying search out so the cookies were dumped also about 600 of them between firefox and chrome

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sun Aug 28 17:29:37 2016

Frank Abagnale, you are likely seeing this headline again because search is broken, and has been broken for a very long time.

According to the posts above it is even MORE broken than it was the last time a reader may have asked Ina this question, so it is definitely relative.

eBay is likely tinkering again. They've been bragging about the impending "artificial intelligence" they will implement to impress Wall Street.

It's kind of like Young Frankenstein putting in Abby Normal's brain due to Igor's fug up.  Think of eBay management as Igor.

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sun Aug 28 17:37:20 2016

And I meant that it is relevant, not relative.  :)

Perminate Link for eBay Search Is Broken   eBay Search Is Broken

by: Russ This user has validated their user name.

Sun Aug 28 18:23:35 2016

What is ''rocket science'' is trying to figure out why anyone attempts to sell by navigating this rusting scow of an ecommerce site....

Still enjoy reading the trials and tribulations of all the hardcore eBay sellers....jumping through the new hoops and longing for the past...a kinder, gentler eBay ....

Good luck, all...

Back to my day job....now that's science!

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