eBay's 'Best Match' Search Worries Some Sellers - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
News

eBay's 'Best Match' Search Worries Some Sellers

The online auction giant has started using "smart" searches to tell buyers what they want to see, rather than let them pick the best matches, one retailer says. He worries about possible negative effects on the coming holiday season.

Moving into the holiday shopping season, video-game seller Steve Grossberg would prefer eBay Inc. not tinker with the search technology on its site.

Grossberg, president at Budget Video Games Inc., which brings in about $2 million annually from online sales, said the search technology works, and wants to know why eBay would try to reinvent the technology going into the busiest time for sales.

"eBay is trying to use smart logic to tell the buyer what they want to see, rather than let them pick the best matches," Grossberg said.

A notice posted on eBay's company forum Web site Monday introduces this optional way to sort search results for listings the auction site could soon launch across its network of stores.

The feature, known as "Best Match," aims to let buyers find products easier. The technology, now offered on eBay Express, bases search results on relevance, historical buyer behavior patterns, and other information like the listing title and description.

As a buyer, 35-year-old Ed Harrison of Somerville, Mass., believes Best Match could become a useful search tool if it helps him find the correct items quickly.

However, as a fairly smalltime seller of CDs, records and books, Harrison has some reservations. "Depending on the algorithms, I'm slightly skeptical that eBay could use this to potentially steer buyers to more profitable sellers," he said.

Similarly, a long list of posts by eBay sellers who responded at the online forum were not happy with the news.

An eBay seller identified only as tartandogs wrote "I find that the buying process is becomingly increasingly complicated, to the point that last night I eventually bought a CD from a retail site (I did get 3 others from eBay), but ultimately a fragmented buy process sent me away from eBay."

One eBay seller asked the auction site to keep the search as an optional tool, suggesting the "common everyday buyer" doesn't understand they have options.

"Optional only ...yes, I just repeated myself, because if it becomes the 'new search' it will be the end of most of us here," Postcardsandmore wrote.

Consumers who have choice are more likely to make a purchase. And Best Match aims to give eBay's 203 million users options. Buyers will have a choice to query items several different ways, and sellers won't need to promote the service, said eBay spokesman Hani Durzy.

"It won't limit the number of search results, but it will reorder them," Durzy said. "Regardless of the sorting method a buyer uses, whether Best Match, Ending Soonest or Lowest Price, you'll get the same amount of search results."

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
The State of Cloud Computing - Fall 2020
Download this report to compare how cloud usage and spending patterns have changed in 2020, and how respondents think they'll evolve over the next two years.
Slideshows
11 Ways DevOps Is Evolving
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  2/18/2021
Commentary
Graph-Based AI Enters the Enterprise Mainstream
James Kobielus, Tech Analyst, Consultant and Author,  2/16/2021
News
What Comes Next for AWS with Jassy to Become Amazon CEO
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  2/4/2021
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you.
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll