Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Sept 8 2016 15:08:39

Play the Marketplace Search Game

By: Ina Steiner

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One issue that frequently comes up in the EcommerceBytes blogs is the consistency of search results on the major online marketplaces - eBay especially. This discussion has sparked an idea for a regular feature where we ask you, the contestant to:

REPORT YOUR SEARCH RESULTS

Here's how it works. Periodically, we will post five search terms in a survey that we will ask you to copy and paste into a marketplace's search box. For each search term, you provide us with the number of results that came back.

We'll report back the results so you can see if the same searches come back with consistent results, or if some people see wildly varying numbers.

The survey is located here. Feel free to pass this link around. We'll report the results in the aggregate. We'll also be looking for your feedback on the survey design for future "games."

The results should elicit some interesting insight into search. We think this could make for a fun, and insightful recurring feature on EcommerceBytes.

Thanks for playing!

Update: You can find the results in this post. Some of the comments below provide additional insight - such as, does the order of the words in a search query change the results eBay returns? Great observations.




Comments (24) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Play the Marketplace Search Game   Play the Marketplace Search Game

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Sep 8 15:47:02 2016

That was fun! I just hope that eBay doesn't start sending me messages about new items in these categories that are available.

Perminate Link for Play the Marketplace Search Game   Play the Marketplace Search Game

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 8 16:45:31 2016

Whats really strange is we used two different lap top computers, same operating system same internet service. For all practical purposes these are identical. Both bought at the same time

Each one of us at a different computer.

Typed in word and click search at the same time. The results were stunning.

Rusults were anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand difference in each word.

Its no wonder no one finds anything anymore.

Perminate Link for Play the Marketplace Search Game   Play the Marketplace Search Game

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Thu Sep 8 17:16:48 2016

I enjoyed that, results should be interesting on how we see things in different areas and different browsers.

Be sure you have the pull down checked on ALL CATEGORIES after each search, sometimes ebay will leave it on a category that had the most results of the previous search.

Perminate Link for Play the Marketplace Search Game   Play the Marketplace Search Game

by: quirkyantiques This user has validated their user name.

Thu Sep 8 18:05:58 2016

Lol remind me not to look for a black cocktail dress on Ebay....

Perminate Link for Play the Marketplace Search Game   Play the Marketplace Search Game

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Thu Sep 8 22:15:16 2016

After I read toolguy's comment about categories, I used the back button to see if the categories changed. Sure enough, all the categories were changed except for the root beer one still under all categories.  

Perminate Link for Play the Marketplace Search Game   Play the Marketplace Search Game

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Thu Sep 8 22:33:04 2016

What I did was, after the first search from the home page, I clicked on the eBay logo at the top left, which gave me a fresh start.

Perminate Link for Play the Marketplace Search Game   Play the Marketplace Search Game

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

Fri Sep 9 12:08:29 2016

Oh no! Does this mean that Devil Wenig per his comments to "Atlantic" magazine a couple of years ago will signal to the Chinese to start making (more) of these items?

When I searched for diaper bag specifying All Categories and Best Match, ebafia changed the category from All to Diaper bags which remained when I typed in the next item. It didn't do that with the all items on the search list -- just a couple. Unless that's noticed, there will be wildly different results even within a system that usually produces wildly different results.

Perminate Link for Play the Marketplace Search Game   Play the Marketplace Search Game

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

Fri Sep 9 17:31:47 2016

The survey was closed out this afternoon - to give a short snapshot of search results, which change constantly.

The results were really interesting. We'll publish something soon. And thanks to all of the respondents!

Perminate Link for Play the Marketplace Search Game   Play the Marketplace Search Game

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Fri Sep 9 21:34:36 2016

As David said, really interesting results, will report on this soon!

Perminate Link for Play the Marketplace Search Game   Play the Marketplace Search Game

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sat Sep 10 13:34:36 2016

I'm really looking forward to seeing this.  Imagine all of the products that buyers never get to buy because they never see them.

Perminate Link for Play the Marketplace Search Game   Play the Marketplace Search Game

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

Sat Sep 10 21:01:41 2016

Wish I'd known you were going to close this so soon.  I was looking forward to doing this.

Next time.

Perminate Link for Play the Marketplace Search Game   Play the Marketplace Search Game

by: quirkyantiques This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 11 10:45:20 2016

Hmmmm each search I did I went to advanced-search by item then pasted in each search title. After I cut and pasted the numbers it showed, I did the whole process again: advanced-search by item-then the name of the item.

Perminate Link for Play the Marketplace Search Game   Play the Marketplace Search Game

by: quirkyantiques This user has validated their user name.

Sun Sep 11 10:48:32 2016

iheartjacksparrow-let us know if you start getting bombarded with ads for diaper bags! LOL "Missed this? LOOK-we found more for you...."

Perminate Link for Play the Marketplace Search Game   Play the Marketplace Search Game

This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Sun Sep 11 11:06:08 2016

OMG! is eBay STUPID!

I sell Semco Sealant guns

At times I need parts for these so I decided to see everything SEMCO not just the sealant guns.

I type in Semco, ebay brings back Simco. No ebay I want Semco not Simco!

A search for Semco Sealant brings back results. Now being that I've been doing this for awhile I know I can force search to find Semco by typing in "semco", but any new ebayer would not know to do this and so items marked just Semco would never be found :-(

Very disturbing. . .

Perminate Link for Play the Marketplace Search Game   Play the Marketplace Search Game

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Sun Sep 11 20:21:28 2016

This is why sales are down, down, down and for those sellers who think they are doing OK or well on eBay will never know how much money they have lost over the years with buyers unable to find their stuff. Ebay covered up their own butt by stating your listings may not be shown or ever see the light of day in their UA. However, eBay constantly comes up with new money extortions to release your listings from being held hostage. Now in toolguy's example would he or Semco have to come up with the ransom money?

Perminate Link for Play the Marketplace Search Game   Play the Marketplace Search Game

by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 12 03:46:45 2016

Another game idea is switching the words around.... posted this in an earlier thread....

Boker mini bar, 9 results. Boker bar mini, 1 result.

Perminate Link for Play the Marketplace Search Game   Play the Marketplace Search Game

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Sep 12 07:08:39 2016

Toolguy, I thought in past comments you stated that nothing is wrong with eBay search. Now you write that eBay is stupid (as it relates to search).

Are you now admitting something that 99% of the folks on this board have known for some time, that eBay search is broken?

Perminate Link for Play the Marketplace Search Game   Play the Marketplace Search Game

by: Beth This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 12 08:43:06 2016

Just as an example, since I missed the survey.  Here is something I searched today. Phrase was

Red Molly Depression Glass Plate

here are the results. I got 3 red plates - none of them the Molly pattern,  mixed in with 37 other things, green, pink and all kinds for forms that are NOT plates.

http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=Red+Molly+Plate&_osacat=0
&_from=R40&_trksid=
p2045573.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.H0.XRed+Molly+Depression
+Glass+Plate.TRS0&_nkw=Red+Molly+Depression+Glass+Plate&_sacat=0

Perminate Link for Play the Marketplace Search Game   Play the Marketplace Search Game

by: Bidonmine This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 12 10:56:21 2016

I just searched for:
'longerberger 1992 may'

The search returned 8 baskets and 175 PLAYBOY magazines!

Perminate Link for Play the Marketplace Search Game   Play the Marketplace Search Game

by: wallflower This user has validated their user name.

Mon Sep 12 12:05:17 2016

Beth, when I do that search, it says 0 results, then under that is "More items related to Red Molly Depression Glass Plate" with a bunch of listings. Is this what you saw?

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