Friday, February 20, 2009

Ebay's "New and Improved" Search Is Coming

I have been opting out of eBay's new search for at least one year, primarily because I have heard horror stories about it for the past year. They used to call it the "Playground," but that name appears to have been retired. Regardless, I have heard very little good about the playground or whatever it is.

From eBay's Announcement Board:
Until now, buyers and sellers have been able to choose not to use the new search engine. With more than 90% of you now on board, we’ll be retiring the older technology in April of 2009. If you are one of the few who’s opted out, you’ll see some reminder messages during your searches.
Great . . . at least I know I have a little over one month before eBay finishes destroying what is left of my ability to find items. I did predict this on February 5th in my blog post, "eBay's Disruptive Innovation at Its Finest." I closed that post with this statement:
Now that eBay has begun to destroy its message boards, what will be changed next? No, wait; I already know. I'm sure we will all be defaulted into that horrible new eBay search called the "Playground" in which users are unable to find anything.
Gee, how did I know?

EBay is claiming that 90% are already using what I will now refer to as the "new and improved" search. Just like with My eBay, I bet eBay is counting all of the inactive IDs that were defaulted into the new search months ago. Are 90% of us really using the new search? Are any of you using it?

This is how you can tell. On your search results pages, you will see one of two messages in the top right just above the results. You will either see "Opt out of the new search experience" or "This search experience is available until April 2009. Try our new search." The first message means that you are using the new search, and the second message means that you are using the old search.

I will continue to use the old search until eBay pulls me kicking and screaming out of it. After my recent experiences with the "new and improved" My eBay and the "new and improved" message boards (which still load slower than they once did), I expect the "new and improved" search to be worse than the old one.

I ran my Nancy Drew search for the books category and with all of my seller restrictions on both the old and the new search. The old search returned 2,188 items. The new search returned 2,844 items. It could be good that the new search returned more items, but my gut feeling tells me that it is bad. Are my blocked sellers actually getting blocked? I wonder.

After writing the above comments, I investigated. As far as I can tell, my blocked sellers are still blocked. Here are the results broken down by category in the left sidebar for the old search:

Here are the results for the new search:

Since the number of results were low for "Textbook, Education," I used that subcategory to compare the results. In the old search, four results were returned and only one of them was a result that had little to do with Nancy Drew, How Reading Changed My Life by Anna Quindlen. The other three results all contained Nancy Drew books.

In the new search, nine results were returned: the three results from the old search that contained Nancy Drew books and six results that did not contain Nancy Drew books. The six results were three listings for How Reading Changed My Life plus two listings for As We Remember Her: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and one listing for First-Aid Kit for Mothers. So the new search returned the three relevant items from the old search plus five additional irrelevant items that the old search did not return. How is this better? My gut instinct is correct: the new search is bad, and eBay will become even harder to use in April.

So, when is John Donohoe going to be fired?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My question exactly. His days are numbered.

Also I do not understand why Ebay has NOT been sued for anti-trust violations in regards to requiring Paypal which they own and profit from.

Either no sharp young lawyer has bothered to bring a class action suit but I would also surmise that the Attorney General might be able to pursue it if pressured.

Or there may be some information about the law that I am not aware of which might exclude such a suit.