eBay deleted blog post said Best Match shows different results to different people

By Chris Dawson January 8, 2017 - 10:06 pm

There’s nothing that gets my interest quite as much as censored content, so when I saw that eBay had published a post “Updates and Improvements: How They Benefit eBay Buyers and Sellers” and subsequently appear to have deleted it I had to take another look.

The post was published on eBay Inc and was ostensibly an interview with a clothing seller telling how the latest eBay updates had assisted her business.

There were a number of reasons given, but the most interesting was “The AI technology eBay rolled out ends up as less clicks or less ‘buying friction’ for the shopper. If a buyer normally buys $5 paint brushes, for example, the AI is not going to show them $150 brushes. It shows you the one you’re more likely to purchase and doesn’t waste your time”.

This appears to confirm what a lot of sellers have suspected in the past, that Best Match shows different things to different people.

In all honesty no one should be that surprised if Best Match is tailored to the buyer, after all the whole point of a sophisticated merchandising solution is that it attempts to put the product in front of me that I want to buy right now, and that’s probably a different product to what you’re interested in.

There were a ton of useful tips on the deleted blog post which were mainly innocuous and wouldn’t upset anyone, things like listing tips and use of traffic and trending information from eBay’s actionable insight reports. The big takeaway however was Best Match showing different products to different buyers.

Are you happy that your products may not be shown to certain buyers because eBay deems them unlikely to purchase, or are you of the view that doesn’t matter as it also means your products will be shown to other buyers who’s history with eBay suggests that they are very likely to make a purchase?

  • JD
    4 months ago

    So, as we all know, ‘AI’ has no problem in showing me what I bought last time. And if I am looking for interesting stuff that simply bugs the heck out of me.

    But then why would I use best match to look for interesting stuff in the first place?

  • Martin
    4 months ago

    This is nonsense. Best Match has been rubbish for ages, and should be closed down. Whay Ebay says is simply not true. Try it yourself and some of your own products and see what Best Match throws up. Invariably an option that will cost more when the same product is available from blemish free sellers, more quickly and at a better price.

  • Gareth
    4 months ago

    Don’t forget that different browsers also yield different results as do different IP addresses. If you’ve ever tried using a different IP (such as an anonymous proxy) and running some searches for your products, I’ve always found the results to be very different to what I see from my own computer/IP.

  • james
    4 months ago

    absolute guff.
    i mean sure, thats how its SUPPOSED to work, but when i search for parts for my BMW, ebay suggest i might want to look at collections of Vauxhall parts, cos ebay’s just that damn smart.
    they are not doing AI, they’re doing Artificial Stupidity.
    good old fashioned human stupidity is more than capable of doing the same, but usually isnt that stupid.
    like if i walk into a shop and say “i’m interested in BMW parts”, it takes a special kind of stupid to walk you over to the vauxhall section, on ebay its not even a mild surprise.
    one of the “featured collections” last week was titled “christmas 2015”.

    • james
      4 months ago

      …and as tamebay highlighted recently, they cant even adequately tailor a “tailored for you” email, and just sent everyone in the UK a crass ad for crotchless panties instead.

    • Anne
      4 months ago

      Same here, one of my soft spots as a buyer is classic motorbikes and buy a couple a month, currently in the Honda shed is a CD175 I need some bits for my guy to finish it off, ebays search is that good if I search honda cd175 new old stock it only shows me motorbikes not parts, I have to change the category myself and wonder what else it is hiding from me

  • Jon
    4 months ago

    Voyager was much better than Cassini. The guy who created Cassini mysteriously left eBay the same month they released it. It was a waste of money but they used it anyway because JD didn’t want to look stupid after spending so much on it. The old system would search item specifics. Not much of that going on now. Why do their supposedly AI bots concentrate on restricting items from being listed in the wrong category? They need to focus on making search work properly instead of trying to weed out email addresses in the messaging system & looking for nipples on record covers to ban. eBay is too big to make sense as their are hundreds of different departments that have no idea what the other departments are doing hence repeated contradictions, unenforced rules & incorrect advice from useless overseas support…along with stuff that has needed fixing for several years & old links that have been broken for several years. They know about the countless problems but there is no incentive for them to rush & fix anything while they make tons of money knowing that there is no alternative for the slaves of eBay & Amazon. If eBay or Amazon wanted to be astoundingly brilliant it would not be hard. Just fix stuff when it breaks, be honest when things go wrong, treat everyone the same way as they ask sellers to treat their customers.

    • Jon
      4 months ago

      *Why DONT their supposedly AI bots concentrate on restricting items from being listed in the wrong category?

  • Matt
    4 months ago

    I’m not surprised by this. Ebay have proven to me,at least, that they are less concerned about the seller experience of late and more focused on the buyer. Emails that feature nothing of interest and best match searches that seem inferior to voyager, to name just a few IMO.

    An evident obsession with buyer experience in itself could be a good thing if married with a genuine concern for sellers – (as a side note: it was personally mooted to me by a manager that they could easily implement fee ceilings in certain popular catergories as a trial – a decision that at the time seemed to rest with just one individual: it never happened and thus a ton of sellers presumably decided against listing high ticket items) – but they seem increasingly disconnected across their categories of late and seemingly less involved in addressing sellers concerns. Ebay need to ramp up their seller experience and fix many of the glitches that have long been overlooked (just look at the risible ebay iOS ebay app).

  • Thomas Shearing
    4 months ago

    Surely Ebay should develop AI to scan all ebay messages and then block any buyer that claim more than then 10% (which is extremely high) of the orders are lost in the post, this is the biggest improvement by eay to get rid of fraudulent scammers, who eay like to call “buyers”.

  • 4 months ago

    And why have you not provided the content of this blog post?