Friday, March 07, 2008

Best Match Causing Some Problems!

On March 3rd eBay rolled out Best Match as the default sort for the US site, since that time I am hearing that eBay's TSAM's (Top Sellers Account Managers) are getting inundated with calls about slowing sales. Several sellers I've spoken to are seeing a 50% reduction in sales.

The problems cannot be directly related to Seller Performance issues because those changes to Best Match haven't officially rolled out yet -- also, at least 2 of the sellers I've spoken with have great DSR ratings.

I always felt it would take eBay several iterations of Best Match to come up with the one that works but most small businesses don't have the luxury of waiting.

The reality of Best Match is that some sellers will benefit (those sellers are strangely quiet) and others would be disadvantaged, but eBay would still get the same amount of sales. Instead of evenly spreading sales across their entire seller base, as in the past (ending soonest) they are now advantaging some sellers over others, without any rhyme or reason to who gets the benefit.

If the problems continue you will see a reduction in listings, as sellers with slower sales have to recalibrate their businesses.

eBay had been running "Best Match" as the default sort in Germany for a couple of months, so you would think they had worked out many of the kinks. Stay tuned this ride could get bumpy.

I wonder if they will deal with this topic openly and transparently at the "eBayInk" blog when it launches.

If you are experiencing an increase in sales since "Best Match" was launched please use the comments section to let me know or you can eMail me.

6 comments:

Dave said...

We've seen a dramatic decrease in the amount of traffic and orders, actually for the entire month. We have 100% positive feedback and high DSR's. It's been like flipping a switch.

We had expected an increase, even if slight, so this is quite surprising.

Talal said...

I have seen slowed sales as well. I've had to resort to tactics which I don't like to use in order to keep sales going.

I tried using a brand new account and that account shows up higher in the searches with the same keywords. Theres also a problem in the category that I sell in with things such as 'XBOX Mystery Auction' and 'Free XBOX 360' spam auctions. These auctions are created with zero feedback accounts and show up higher because there are no DSR's tied up to it.

Explain to me how this is good for the buying experience?

I think the problem with best match is that with relevance alone it is a wonderful system. However by adding the DSR, shipping, etc it jumbles the listings with no real rhyme or reason.

I doubt that the creator had DSR's in mind when he created best match.

I wish I had more positive things to say but I think that best match will go the way of stores in search did in 06. Good idea but poorly implemented.

I can't wait to hear the headlines when they roll it back..

Talal said...

Oh by the way my TSAM acct manager had little to say other than 'get your DSR's up'.... which in itself is really frustrating.. if you have several thousand feedback its hard to see any noticable changes in the dsr scores.

Why would ebay roll out best match without putting the seller dashboard together and rolling it out so sellers would have at least SOME kind of clue as to what is going on?

I think ebay is run by a bunch of monkeys...

Randy Smythe said...

Dave, I think your experience is common but if you are down it probablt means that another sellers is up. If that wasn't the case eBay wouldn't wait very long before they pulled "Best Match". If eBay's GMV is affected you can bet they will pull it.

Talal,

Thanks for the info and I agree, especially with this statement:

"I think the problem with best match is that with relevance alone it is a wonderful system. However by adding the DSR, shipping, etc it jumbles the listings with no real rhyme or reason.

I doubt that the creator had DSR's in mind when he created best match."

They are trying to use Best match to control sellers not just surface the best product. Ultimately its like everything else they do.

Anonymous said...

DSRs are NOT I repeat NOT currently part of the best match sort. It will go live several weeks from today

http://www2.ebay.com/aw/core/200803.shtml#2008-03-03105742

"Coming soon: More Exposure for Great sellers
In several weeks, sellers with Detailed Seller Ratings of 4.6 and above within the last 30 days will get higher visibility on average in search results than sellers who have lower rates of customer satisfaction."

Right now it looks at time remaining, and then to calculate relevancy it looks at your title first and foremost

here's a great article on how to optimize it http://www.auctioninsights.info/ebays-best-match-made-simple.html

Randy Smythe said...

Anonymous, thanks for mentioning the additional impact of DSRs is weeks away. I neglected to include that in my post.

I too would recommend the article you linked to..

Thanks
RKS