Monday, November 3, 2008

EBay Search is Broken—Again

I was searching a seller's completed auctions for the second time tonight, and I noticed that an item was missing that I had seen earlier. I hit refresh several times, and the items that were displayed changed each time.

I then did a Nancy Drew search from within the books category. I kept refreshing, and each time I saw a different number of results. All from within around minute's time, the search returned 2922, 2930, 2909, 2902, 2914, 2915, 2905, 2907, 2892, 2920, 2912, 2923, 2903, 2918, and 2911 listings. I got tired of doing it, so I quit, but it is apparent that the old problem of dropped items has returned again.

Items do drop out of search as they end, and at the same time, new items are also being listed, so there is always some slight variance. This would normally account for the results which were similar, such as 2911 and 2912. The results should never vary by more than just a couple of items. Something is wrong. This is an old problem that goes back several years, and it returns at least a couple of times each year.

When a search is done, the results are returned by one of eBay's servers. All of the servers are supposed to contain the same data, but sometimes they get out of sync and return different results. When they get out of sync, items are dropped from the results, depending upon which server produces the results.

It is a bad problem because when a seller's item is one of the dropped items, the seller may receive fewer bids. On the other hand, buyers can get good deals when they are interested in an item that is dropped from most of the search results, so fewer people see it. This happened to me several years ago when I won an auction for the first printing of Nancy's Mysterious Letter in dust jacket for only $150.00. It closed at a time when the search results were particularly bad, but I happened to be lucky enough to spot that auction. It seems like I did not see that auction until close to the end because it had been missing during other searches.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now Ebay is starting to look like a joke.