Wednesday, March 26, 2008

BMO - Best Match Optimization

I sometimes think if I just keep repeating that acronym enough times, it will become as commonplace as SEO (Search Engine Optimization). BMO is now crucial to the success of your eBay business.

As we all know, Best Match became the default sort for searches on March 3rd and is designed to surface the most relevant products for each buyers search, as well as advantaging the best sellers -- all in the name of improving the buyer experience.

It is no longer enough to just list an item at the best price and make sure it ends at the right time, with Best Match you need to consider the following:

  • "High Demand" keywords and titles, proper categorization and item specifics.
  • Ending time, price, distance, listing type, Terms of Sale and Shipping price
  • DSRs and Power Seller Status
And that is just for Best Match 1.0, future versions will be even more complicated.

Why should you, as an eBay seller, care about this? Because if you do not optimize your listings for Best Match you stand a very good chance of being disadvantaged in search.

Many of you may remember the old auction extender program, that would in essence keep your listings on the first page of search results for your entire 7 day listing, well Best Match accomplishes much the same thing. Those listings that are optimized will show up in a higher position and remain there for a longer period of time.

Please understand, in this new world of eBay, if you are not advantaged in search you are in fact disadvantaged, so if you want to get the most for your listing dollars start working on BMO.

I believe Best Match will eventually force sellers to stop selling on eBay or move 100% of their business to stores, so if you don't take this seriously you may find your business in a world of hurt.

I'm not making any judgements about whether Best Match is good or bad for eBay that is for another day, my suggestion to you readers who sell on eBay, get working on BMO for your listings and business.

One more thing: Here is a link to the PeSA slide show that accompanied the Conference call today and here is a link to a handy little keyword tool to help you fine-tune your keywords. (Unfortunatley eBay may actually pull this, so if the link goes bad, sorry)

Also, don't forget to register for the PeSA/ECMTA Summit in New Orleans on April 22 - 24th. Click here to register.

Just my 12%


RPM said...

Not too mention the BMO sucks for the buyers as well. I am not getting all the results that I used to get for things. Does that mean listings have dropped that much?

I don't want Ebay telling me what is the best match. Just give me the results and I will make a decision for me.

Ebay just ticks me off these days.

Cliff said...

I admire their effort with Best Match, but I think they need to realize that they're not like Netflix or Amazon who can work on an algorithm to sort out which movies or music I might like and effectively recommend them to me.

I just don't use it. I still search for everything by Ending Soonest and Newly Listed, so as far as I know Best Match has no effect on my shopping. Hopefully their stats show a lot of people shopping this way. And hopefully their response isn't to do away with the other search methods entirely, because that would be one of the few things which would drive me away.

If I wanted Best Match I would just run an eBay specific search through Google anyway and the match would be, and has been, a hell of a lot better.

Randy, from the seller's perspective, I tried the keyword tool and it looks pretty irrelevant for my items. As long as I keep my DSR's up I don't see any need to change. Basically it just confirmed my initial thoughts that Best Match is clueless, at least for what I'm interested in.

Anonymous said...

What will kill eBay in the end is that they never cease making everything more and more complicated.

I want simple.

Boycott Ebay said...

BMO, DSRs, feedback extortion, glitchancements,search disadvantaging, scammers and other assorted crooks, broken this, broken that...

Buyers and sellers alike need to get a clue. Jumping through the Ebay hoops is no longer worth it and it's becoming impossible to keep up.

Anonymous said...

I need to now learn "Best Match Optimization?"

This is all aversion therapy.

The thought of doing an auction listing now causes me to run off screaming into the nearest woods.

Luckily, having done my taxes early, I find my Amazon book sales are outstripping all my E sales by about three to one. The ratio increases every year.

I'm almost done with the Ehole.

Randy Smythe said...

Amazon is so much easier. Just list and price it right and you are all set.

Learning and implementing BMO will give you an advantage but you will have to constantly stay on top of it. It may not be worth it.

Cliff said...

My limited Amazon experience so far has been far from simpler.

I've had two outages in Seller Central when I've gone in to work there over the past week and a half.

They've received my first FBA delivery as of last Friday but have yet to acknowledge their receipt.

My first order came back to me because the customer was sending a CD to someone in prison and the prison refused it. The buyer hasn't responded, so my first bit of Amazon feedback is likely to be pretty bad and handicap me from the outset. That one's not Amazon's fault but has been alternating at pissing me off and amusing me over the past few days depending on my mood. (You've never seen a package come back so marked up and covered with labels!)

Regarding Amazon and "Just list and price it right and you are all set," is really my attitude towards eBay. Both venues have their rulebooks, both are pretty fat. eBay's probably offers too much info, Amazon's is always a little vague for me.

Randy Smythe said...

Cliff, you make some very valid points. My experience has been very simple I should use a disclaimer "your experience may vary" :)

Cliff said...

Randy, just so you know, that post isn't to knock Amazon as much to point out that it isn't perfect. I've already got another box of goods ready to ship out to FBA, I'd just like to see my first one accepted before I send the second one out the door. I'm very excited to begin selling on Amazon, diversification is good!

Anonymous said...

At first I was upset with Best match but I have learned to optimize it and since I have kept my 30 day DSRs at 4.9, 4.8,4.8,4.6 I have seen a dramatic rise on where my listings are placed.

No complaints here at the moment. I even qualify for the 5% discount (although I still think I pay more in fees).

The biggest move I see ebay (paypal) doing is getting rid of the confirmed address requirement for paypal transactions. That is one HUGE HUGE HUGE headache that just disappeared overnight!!

I think ebay's point is to kind of force everyone to step it up. If you do this as a hobby then maybe not for you but if you do it as a business, then I guess they do want to create the best experience to keep people coming back.

Some of their policies are f*ed up I think but I think in business you have to do this.. and not just with ebay.

1. Adapt and become creative and do or sell something no one else does.
2. Make your business better than the competition. ie "Do it better".

my 12 cents.


Tony P. said...

To Cliff: that CD wasn't the soundtrack to The Shawshank Redemption, was it? (grin)

Randy, what I have seen by researching the BM Interference Pattern, isn't pretty. The sellers that are being disadvantaged, are being done so, Big Time!

I'm not talking about absolutely horrible sellers, just ones with a DSR or two at a 4.4 or so, and a Negative level at maybe 1-4%. Course, whatever NPS are filed, we can't see/tell.

Those sellers' items are at the rear of the pack and they stay there until they end. Like, as in page 4 to page 12, and that's where they end.

Between the Advantaged getting top position, and the newbies & so-so getting the middle spots (the non-advantaged you refer to), the Dis-advantaged have nowhere else to go but to the very back of the bus. And from what I've seen, they stay there for the entire trip.

I hate the BM sort; it has far too many potholes for collectibles. It is (for now) only a default that newbies and the un-informed will experience, but that is possibly a large segment of buyers. My 'Guest User' and newbie buyers are currently running around 20% of clients.

Even so, I have to say this: it is working as ebay intended and it's very doubtful they will pull it.

permacrisis said...

There's a chain of oldey-timey restaurant called the Cracker Barrel. Old people LOVE 'em. Ever been in one? They have (real)antiques strung up everywhere, decorating the place. Not for sale. Then, down on the floor, are repros that they sell to the public. All cheap junk but

'it's oldey-timey!'

I used to like going in and seeing all the old cider presses, washboards, chicken plucker machines etc and flipping thru the tractor spotters guides and oldtime radio show CD's in the racks. But last couple times in there I felt anxious and annoyed, and I couldn't put my finger on it.

Well I'll tell you. I stood in there the other day and it occurred to me: I looked up and Ebay 2003 was the stuff hanging up on the walls. I looked down and Ebay 2008 was the cheap mass-produced stuff displayed on the racks.

That's best match.

Randy Smythe said...


This is why I believe eBay needs to create eBay Classic. To preserve what made ebay great and allow them to make the "New" eBay in their own image.

Now is the time to make this happen.