Changes to Search on eBay UK

eBay UK have announced changes to the default presentation of search results in three categories.

Buyers in Baby and Tickets and Travel will see results presented by Best Match, that is, sorted by eBay’s perception of relevence to the search criteria. The example they normally give is that people searching for an ipod will be shown actual ipods first, and skins and other accessories later. Though sometimes this does help to cut through masses of listings that relate to popular keywords, it also tends to stamp out impulse purchase of related items: if I’d just bought an ipod, I might very well be in the market for some accessories too.

Buyers in Jewellery and Watches will see results sorted by Category: that is, by subcategory within the larger umbrella category. I must admit, I’m slightly failing to see the point of this: if I want a sterling silver chain, a pair of diamond earrings or a Rolex, frankly as a buyer, I don’t care which category it’s listed in. Perhaps if I’ve searched for something more generic like “earrings”, this will help me narrow down my search though.

This probably won’t be the end of the changes to the UK’s search functions. This week, Richard Ambrose, head of trust and safety for eBay UK, started a thread on the UK Powerseller board, asking for opinions on the inclusion of a seller’s post & packing DSR rating in search results. Richard wrote:

We know from our analysis of detailed seller ratings that, for any given rating, only 1-2% of sellers have an average score below 4.0 (I’d rather the spread was larger, but there you go). In the case of the ‘postage & packing charges’ DSR, these 1-2% of sellers in turn account for about a third of buyer complaints.

So, we’re thinking of taking dramatic action against them. In particular, we’re considering changing the way that search results are sorted so that listings from sellers with a P&P DSR below 4.0 always appear at the bottom of the page.

At eBay Live back in June, Bill Cobb talked about using *all* the DSRs as a filter in search results. Is eBay UK to be the first site to test a part of this new policy, I wonder?