Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Sept 7 2016 21:35:36

eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay and Etsy are both using machine learning to influence search results. eBay's VP of Engineering Dan Fain told InformationWeek that a shoppers' past history and behavior on eBay determines what they will see in search results. 

And Etsy uses machine learning to take unstructured data and makes it structured - the exploratory search Etsy launched last year takes unstructured data from listings and provides a hybrid between search and browse.

Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson said it helps guide a buyer through the search process - and it has increased engagement on Etsy by 10% in terms of clicks. (See Thursday's Newsflash article, available now.)

One of the interesting things about eBay today is that it doesn't seem to expect shoppers to vet sellers - it tries to hide listings from "bad" sellers while boosting listings from more "trustworthy" sellers in search.

Have you noticed a change in how eBay and Etsy are serving up search results? Is it better than in the past, and is one company doing a better job than the other?

What factors would you use in influencing search results? Or if you think should marketplaces stop trying to guess what shoppers are looking for, tell us why.




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Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search   eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search

by: aim04744 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 7 22:48:35 2016

I only shop Etsy on occasion lately so I cant comment on that. But Ebay, yes I have noticed a change in search results. Used to be I could spend an hour going through each listing page by page by ending soonest and find stuff I wanted at good deals. Now the search esults I get are barely related to what I searched for at all. It is a huge step backwards. THE most frustrating thing is when I type in a search term and Ebay changes it to what it THINKS I want. And no matter what I do, the system will NOT let me search for what I actually want. I give up and go to Amazon.

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search   eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search

by: mcposty This user has validated their user name.

Wed Sep 7 23:06:58 2016

Yea these machines work so well.........pfft.

They need to burn those machines

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search   eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search

by: Postthoughts This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 8 00:33:18 2016

The new search results are awful.   I was searching for something last weekend.  There were so many items that didn't relate to what I wanted, I gave up and purchased it on another website.  

I also research items I want to sell on ebay.  Those are coming up in my buying searches. I'm sick of ebay showing me what they think I want instead of what I really want.    

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search   eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search

by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 8 00:49:38 2016

Increased by 10% in terms of "clicks", I want sales, not clicks.
So the buyers have to keep clicking trying to find what they want to buy? Then what, apparently they leave as that is what my etsy sales have done.

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search   eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 8 01:04:39 2016

I think most buyers understand he use of keywords. Giving non-keyword results only confuses buyers.

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search   eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search

by: Paul W This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 8 02:39:27 2016

Postthoughts said:  I also research items I want to sell on ebay.  Those are coming up in my buying searches. I'm sick of ebay showing me what they think I want instead of what I really want.

Agree 100%.  It is very frustrating to find items totally unrelated to the search terms

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search   eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Sep 8 02:43:07 2016

We spend a lot of our lives having to deal with other people telling us what to do, whether it is our employer or our customers.  Why in the world Ebay and/or Etsy would think I want them also telling me what I'm shopping for defies logic.

I'm perfectly capable of putting into the search what I'm looking for using keywords.  But like others have said, it often returns stuff that is in no way shape or form anything like what my keywords were.

And another thing that is beyond annoying and that is trying to search for just US sellers.  Can't do it anymore.  The filter is still there, but the Asian sellers still show up.  Not all of them, but enough to be annoying.  And I'm not talking about Asian sellers that have their account set up as a US account.  These are Asian sellers set up with an Asian country as there member country.

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search   eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 8 06:08:52 2016

We no longer buy on Ebay only sell.

Its just easier to go to a website of a store or to the store itself. At least then I don't have to worry about all the Chinese sellers trying to past off the fake of the week.

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search   eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Sep 8 06:57:04 2016

Imagine if I go to the supermarket and I want milk, eggs and bread. Imagine if the supermarket would only show me milk chocolate, egg salad and bread pudding.  NUFF SAID!

A company wrought with programming errors and site glitches think that they can manage artificial intelligence and machine learning. Laughable

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search   eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search

by: OnlyPollyPocket This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 8 07:48:39 2016

The arrogance of these companies is epic!  John/Jane Q Public is too stupid to know what they REALLY want so we will work it out for them!  It is insulting.  In fact, if the jokers thinking this stuff up are examples of superior intelligence, spare me!

Believe it or not, ebay, etsy and all you others out there, if I just want to browse I will let you know.  Otherwise, let ME find what I want and your seller/customer will make a sale,

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search   eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search

by: ewegolf This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 8 08:21:40 2016

On Etsy search, type in board games.  Then be amazed with the brilliantly thought out Fantastic Five categories: Chess, Checkers, Bingo, Chinese Checkers and Go. Want something else?  Then you can browse in a structure free mishmash of everything lumped together. One must be title specific.  Browsing is a worthless experience. The tsunami of Etsy structure just keeps sweeping me further from the Isle of Functionality.    

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search   eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search

by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 8 08:32:34 2016

I sell on Etsy. I want SALES, not clicks. Clicks won't pay my rent!

I have stuff listed on eBay too, but it's been more than a month since I've had a sale there.  

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search   eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search

by: Flying Childers This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 8 08:45:12 2016

Etsy's search has been broken for years and it is only getting worse.

Here's an example: it now takes over 2700 views to get one sale.  So what does that mean?  Are the stats legit?  I don't believe it for a minute.

Demon Chad can spout whatever BS he wants and nobody calls him a liar.  And he should know all about "gateway drugs" since that's just what their promoted listings are.

They figured out just how desperate the sellers have to be before they start buying clicks that don't work.

Their research is all about getting sellers to keep listing and spending money, not getting found.

Etsy does not make money from sellers' sales.  It makes all its money from SERVICES.

They have admitted that.

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search   eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search

by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 8 09:01:33 2016

@Flying Childers. Must be your SEO then, or you're not selling what shoppers want. It only takes me 138 views to get a sale!  

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search   eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search

by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 8 09:18:24 2016

I went from 50 or so purchases a month to 0. I no longer care about ebay , their search , or their drowning. More stupid by stupid. All is match price. Go direct to manif. same price. Whats the advantage of buying anything on useless deadbay? I have no use for them , EVER !

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search   eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search

by: Bidonmine This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 8 09:43:33 2016

As time goes on, eBay's worthless search is the most likely reason everyone experiences lower sales. 2nd will be Asian countries that inundation eBay with spam-search keywords and worthless knock-offs.

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search   eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 8 09:54:08 2016

I understand why ebay does this, because most buyers can get overwhelmed when there is too many similar items to choose from, so many that they actually can't make any choice, and bail out.

Way back, we use to manufacture a line of iron candle holders, about 50 different models, on weekends we always rented some space in a local downtown spot to sell, in the beginning we put out all of our models out for display, almost 50% of the people could not make a decision, they loved them, but at least half could not decide which set to buy, most of them walked away saying I will decide and come back, most never came back, So what we did was only display about a dozen, and our sales more then tripled, people made a decision to buy almost every time,

I truly believe it's human nature that a lot of people just cannot make a decision if they are offered too many similar choices, there is a fine line between not enough and too much.


But for some buyers, like myself, I mostly buy for re-sale off ebay, and I want to see ALL that is offered, what they are doing may work for the majority of buyers, but it does not work for me
as a buyer, and as a seller this is so wrong on so many fronts it's not even remotely ok, I pay the same as the next guy, if there's a buyer looking for something that I have listed that matches their search you bet I want it shown.

These companies will Never Ever reach equal balance between sellers, buyers , and themselves, not possible, it's really a flawed business model,

 

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search   eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search

by: Flying Childers This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 8 10:02:55 2016

Sierra- good for you, you must be doing something right.  I'd love to know what you sell.

My items are in an extremely small niche.  At any given time there are only a couple of thousand pieces available on the entire site.  Shoppers who are looking for these items have to be very specific with their search terms and my SEO reflects that.

There are a few other sellers who carry these items who have had 1000s of sales.  No more.  We are all in the same boat.

SEO does not matter.  You can have the best SEO in the world.  You can buy a million dollars worth of ads.  You can discount 50% off but if people can't find you, what difference does it make?

You fail to mention localization, relevancy and a host of other changes that the Etsy idiots have made that changed search forever.

Stop blaming the sellers who are doing their best to keep up.  This is clearly the fault of Etsy.    

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search   eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search

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

Thu Sep 8 10:06:06 2016

Though I'd try bidding on something on Ebay, just for kicks and giggles.
I won the bid, but PayPal threw up a road block when I went to pay by credit card.
PayPal is notoriously NOT SECURE and I don't want to give them my sensitive information.
Ebay will not do well now....

Perminate Link for eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search   eBay and Etsy Use Technology to Influence Search

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Thu Sep 8 10:07:44 2016

It's all about EBAY

I've been a full time seller for 16 years and have no problems with ebay as a buyer!

In fact buying on ebay is easier then selling on ebay.

I LOVE MY JOB

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