Tuesday, September 8, 2009

eBay's Annoying Test Search

It took awhile, but eBay finally managed to annoy me again. My search results got all funky this past week, and I did not like what I was seeing. I thought it was a new change that affected everyone. I learned, via AuctionBytes, that I was made part of the lucky 20% of eBay users that were placed in a new test search.

This is what I saw in a Nancy Drew search in Firefox under Best Match:

Please do click on the image to get the full size and beauty of this... whatever you want to call it. The stupid top-rated seller icons are HUGE and distract me from the rest of the display. Oh, it's great for the top-rated sellers, at least for pulling in buyers who are swayed by pretty icons, but honestly, I don't decide what to purchase based on the seller's rating. I do regularly buy from borderline sellers (hence, the horrible packages I showcase in this blog) and borderline sellers often have the very best stuff.

Also notice that the Buy It Now logo is in all black text and harder to spot. I love trolling the listings for good Buy It Nows, so disguising the logo makes my search experience worse.

This is what I saw in the same Nancy Drew search in Google Chrome under Best Match done just a few seconds after the first search.

Notice that completely different items are shown. It is true that Best Match displays different items in a different order for different users. Also notice that it is much easier to spot both Buy It Now and free shipping.

I tried to find a way to make the top-rated seller icon go away, but eBay would not allow me to remove that feature. I went to eBay's search message board and found someone else complaining about search. I posted a few messages to that thread and was able to solve my problem by removing all of my eBay cookies.

BIN icons completely missing in FF search only - help!

(Edited to add: The above topic has since disappeared, which is interesting. It was up for days and disappeared right around the time this post was published. It is like eBay does not want people discussing the test search and how to get rid of it. I can still discuss it here, and they cannot stop me.)

Glenda explained that eBay does sometimes conduct tests by opting users in not by their IDs but by their browser cookies. This would explain why both Firefox and Internet Explorer had the test search but Google Chrome did not. I am extremely happy that I was able to rid Firefox of the annoying test search. I hope it does not come back, as it was ruining my search experience.

I feel for all you sellers who might be impacted by 20% of your potential customers not seeing the icons you paid to have show in searches. You are to be refunded 20% of those special fees by eBay, but would that really compensate you? How can you know whether the 20% of the people affected by the test search is equal to 20% of what you might potentially lose in sales? I find it appalling that eBay has tainted the search results for 20% of its users with no option to opt out.


Anonymous said...

Graphic design sells. I should know, I almost majored in it. Icons are just two steps away. :} What sells, sells! :-

FYI for anyone into book collecting, I was looking for Rudy Nappi art and McAfee steered me out of this site: ww-w.vintagepbks.com/nappicovers.ht-ml . It's apparently an attack site. I don't know if any of you would ever come across it, but I thought I'd give a heads-up. I broke up the link to avoid problems.

Anonymous said...

I have the following listed on ebay this week. According to your website, it's the closest thing to scarce. I'm curious about what it should bring. 160360940768

It will probably sell for its value; either way, it will sell, but I'm curious.

Jennifer White said...

I don't know what it will bring, but it should do extremely well. I'll be watching it. I think you'll be very pleased. Don't close the auction prematurely if you should get any private offers. It will not be in your best interest to close it early.

Jack C said...

Congratulations bdnad! I hope you are pleased with your Ebay auction!!!!! I talk about it in my latest series book collecting blog! Check it out!


Paula said...

Wow! Congratulations, bnad! Those last 2 bids went through the roof!