A look at Cassini 6+ months down the line

Tamebay reader David wrote to us saying “I have been searching for some forum threads or articles on Cassini now that it has been live on eBay UK for a little while and people have been able to properly experience its effects (if any). However I have really struggled to find anything new“.

As David pointed out, search is obviously a major part to selling on eBay and so imagines the topic would be of interest to a lot of people. There’s a lot of confusion about Cassini so here’s what we definitely know:

What we know about Cassini

eBay’s last search servers were called Voyager

eBay’s new search servers are called Cassini

eBay’s search is constantly evolving

eBay have, we believe, fully deployed the new Cassini hardware

There’s a lot of talk about how Cassini may work and how it can index descriptions as well as titles. However what effectively appears to have happened is that eBay’s search algorithms from the Voyager servers have been replicated on the Cassini servers. It’s almost certainly not exactly the same, as many months have passed – eBay are likely to have tweaked search and the Best Match algorithm in the mean time.

The myth that Cassini will be a “New” search algorithm deployed overnight

Whilst eBay may, can, do and will continue to evolve search a lot of people assumed that when the Cassini hardware was bought online that search would change massively. That’s not the case and it continues to evolve slowly, hence the reason David is struggling to find a massive “Cassini” shift in how search works. People aren’t seeing a massive difference because there was no seismic change and neither is there likely to be in the future.

Search updates

eBay constantly tweaks their search algorithm and also runs tests from time to time with different random groups of buyers or sellers. They do this so that they can measure the impact of changes and learn what works and what doesn’t. It’s very unlikely (in my opinion) that eBay will ever make an overnight massive change in how search works without announcing it well in advance.

The reason for this is that eBay would need sellers to change their behaviour for new search criteria to work (e.g. when they introduced Item Specifics – search couldn’t use Item Specifics until sellers filled them out when listing).

Best Practices

Your best course of action is to follow established best practices such as great images, Item Specifics, correct categories, multi-variation listings etc. If your listings look great and buyers like them they’ll vote as measured by your sales. With so many sales being touched by mobile (we estimate 50%), that means you want to check how your listings display on mobile devices as well as on desktops.

Finally as a disclaimer we at Tamebay don’t know how eBay’s search works any more than you do. We do know eBay’s recommended best practices. We see successful listings and see not so successful listings. We can infer from this what’s important in search and know that the biggest influence on search exposure remains that the more people buy from your listing the more popular eBay will judge it to be and the higher it’ll appear in search, hence getting higher search placement resulting in more views and even more sales in the future.