Monday, February 11, 2008

Best Match Optimization (BMO) - eBay Sellers Get Ready!

eBay's "Best Match" was designed to present (advantage) the best deals for buyers from the best sellers on eBay. In practice, at least in the first attempt, "Best Match" will most likely not meet that goal, but I do have hope that over time eBay will dial in the right formula for both buyers and sellers. The big question: Will sellers wait until eBay figures it out?

With Best Match, sellers will need to become experts at BMO (Best Match Optimization), just as Website owners have had to become experts at SEO (Search Engine Optimization) or hire someone to do the work for them. Just as the SEO business has grown, I see an opportunity here for companies specializing in BMO. The stakes are pretty high. Those sellers who don't get a handle on BMO will be left in the dust while others will start getting a lion's share of the sales. Make no mistake, eBay will still get all of the sales but they will be distributed differently among sellers. Sellers who can get their product in "The Box" more than their competitors will have the advantage.

What is "The Box"? I came up with the term because it accurately reflects the way sales are made on eBay. Basically, "The Box" is the top 5 listings in Core, on any search, as well as the top 5 store listings. So the highest likelihood of a sale (I estimate the majority) on any search term is being in the top 5 Core and Store listings on the first page of search.

Even before "Best Match" was devised, "The Box" ruled eBay. Ending soonest for Core listings and Lowest Price for Store listings put you in “The Box” and this spread the wealth rather nicely; with ending soonest you were always guaranteed to be in "The Box" at some point in the auction period. With lowest price in store listings you could play games to advantage your items there.

Now, being in the box has never guaranteed a sale. You still will have to compete with the other 4 items and a sizable percentage of buyers don't care about "The Box," but being in "The Box" gives you an advantage.

With "Best Match", getting in "The Box" will not be so easy. Sellers will need to improve their DSR ratings to even be included in the "Best Match" club and then they will have to figure out what variables will get their listings in "The Box". Remember, "The Box" still exists as it did before "Best Match" but getting your listing into it just became for complicated.

"Best Match" is a complicated sort of the listings results of a search -- it is not an actual search. A buyer types in a key word, that pulls up all of the data available for that keyword and "Best Match" sorts it according to eBay's algorithm. BMO is a new science for preparing your listings to make the best use of eBay's "unknown" algorithm.

Those sellers that can optimize their listings for Best Match will benefit from being in "The Box" more than other sellers and those that don’t will see their sales fall or remain flat.


Anonymous said...

Ebay is such a pantload...

Randy Smythe said...

I'm not sure how to respond to that. It did make me chuckle though.

Anonymous said...

"We are not involved in the actual transaction between buyers and sellers. We have no control over and do not guarantee the quality, safety or legality of items..."[user agreement]

Well, they certainly SEEM to be INVOLVED if they are manipulating what is SEEN based on algorithms they designed. Maybe ACTUAL is the loophole that'll bail them out of this one?

Anonymous said...

Hmmm, like Googles adwords algorithm the ingredients of the cake are known, but not what proportions to mix them together in.

Personally, I welcome any opportunity to game the system. Any well run businesses need not have anything to fear. Mr DSR's are already top quartile, except S+H.

tekgems said...

Ending time & keywords in title are the two most important factors in Best Match. Those two factors sellers are already familiar with on how to "optimize". Other factors like DSR play a minor role after these two factors in search rank.

Anonymous said...

I wish that I could understand all of this. You basically have to be fairly intelligent to get it.I have a store for 5 years and I am DROWNING this season so far. I am trying to understand what they are saying. If anyone has a few moments to help an eBayer, I would love to hear from you. Maybe we can email or msg each other. I really need help here. Thanks..barb05130

John B said...

It's a teething phase all internet search engines will go through whilst gathering intelligence about the searcher, and eBay is a search engine, i.e. they want to deliver what the searcher is looking for.

It's natural evolution for large companies to gather intelligence about the searcher whilst keeping the shareholders happy.

In the meantime, there is opportunity for the small business or individual to take advantage and stay ahead of the learning curve.