'Best match' made default on eBay France

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eBay France have just announced that “sort by relevence” will be implemented by default in three categories. Known as “best match” on eBay UK, this way of sorting search results is designed to show those most likely to be what the buyer is looking for at the top of the search results. It utilises not only title keywords, but other factors like item specifics, to present most likely matches first to potential buyers.

The French announcement takes pains to emphasise that this is a method of sorting only: it does not remove any items which would normally show in the search results. That will be some comfort to sellers, but those who currently rely on the vaguaries of keyword searches – sellers of accessories for mobile phones, PDAs and iPods spring to mind – might need to look at new ways of getting themselves seen on the site.

Only three categories – CDs/Records, Crafts and Coins – are being tested with this new sort so far, but with similar tests being run for some buyers on eBay UK, it seems that this is the favourite for the future of eBay. Results for those who browse by category – who seem to have slipped eBay’s mind recently – will continue to be sorted by time remaining.

Full translation of the announcement:

Hello all,

For some months now on eBay.fr, we’ve offered a new sorting criterion for search results: sort by relevence. This criterion is available amongst the other criteria in the drop-down menu at the top of the search results pages.

In order to improve the efficiency of the search engine, from now on we are going to test this sort criterion by default for three categories: CDs/Records, Crafts and Currency.

What’s changing?
From now on, when you use the search engine to look for an item belonging to one of these categories, the search results given will be sorted by relevence.

Users who want to sort items by other criteria, for example price or time remaining, can continue to do so with the help of the drop-down menu situated at the top of the search results. Likewise, if you browse these categories without using the search engine, results will continue to be sorted by time remaining.

What is sort by relevence?
Unlike the other sorting criteria available on eBay, which are only based on a single criterion like time remaining or price, sort by relevence combines several factors. It allows those objects which best match what users are looking for to be shown at the top of the search results.

So sort by relevence changes the order in which items are displayed on the search results page. But we make a point of specifying that no item is removed or added when sort by relevence is used. In the same way, listing options such as “gallery featured” and “category featured” will continue to function.

Why implement sort by relevence by default?
We’ve carried out a number of tests which have shown that sort by relevence helps users to find the item they’re looking for more quickly and more easily. We therefore decided to implement this functionality by default in some categories, in order to confirm the results of these tests.

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