eBay UK makes changes to Search

No primary category set

eBay UK has announced two new features coming to Search in the next seven days. Search suggestions will guess at what buyers are trying to type as they type it: as Whirly put it earlier, if they’re looking for baths, they’ll be told to look for bath towels. I hated this when they brought it to .com, and I still hate it now. Giving buyers help if they’re not finding what they’re looking for is one thing: trying to second-guess them from the beginning of the finding process is a step too far. Let them look for what they’re here to buy before we start trying to distract them.

There will also be some unspecified changes to Refine Your Search, “to make it easier to find and select” additional search filters. I very much hope that they fix the BIN/SIF filter, where selecting “Buy It Now” greys out the “Shops items” box. Though filtering by BIN does appear to bring up results from SIF listings, you wouldn’t know it from the form’s behaviour: this is just confusing.

I don’t want this to turn into a rant on my own pet hates on the current search, but my other pet hate is the splitting up of things that should be together: for example, searching for a pair of jeans, I can refine my search by size/brand/category/price etc., and by selling format/location/distance from me etc. – but these two sets of options are in two different pop-up boxes. Why? If I want to refine my search, let me refine it as much as I like, all at one go.

eBay UK search results
eBay UK search results : click to embiggen

And if I’m searching for something that might show up in a bunch of different categories, the situation is even worse. Try a search for “dalek“: I have some categories from Toys, and some from Collectables, and I can choose to expand either of those lists – seperately – but if I’ve decided that actually what I want is a DVD, I’ve got to spot the “show all categories” list, and click that to bring up DVDs. On this particular search, there’s a rather helpful list of things other people searched for (which in fact includes my “dalek DVD”): what a shame they’ve buried it at the bottom of the page underneath an advert for Sky TV, and another advert for wheels on eBay Motors (relevence??).

I’ve been searching eBay for more than a decade now, and all this feels horribly clunky to me. What on earth can it be like for newbies? I really don’t want to join the ranks of sellers who start screaming and crying every time eBay change a font, but honestly, if this is the best they can do, I suggest that all their designers and developers are forced to actually use the site they’re messing with. Maybe then we’ll get something our buyers can use.

25 Responses

  1. I double hate ebays search with a passion

    logical and normal do not seem to work with it,
    maybe its constructed and set up with a rampant lunatic in mind.
    I triple hate the effort thought and application involved in trying to make your items visible when you list

  2. you should not need a degree in quantum phsyics to get your item seen,
    I dont care if best match is the best for buyers, search is the one thing that should be best for sellers,
    if they cant find or see your stuff they cant buy the
    if sod!
    I should see every Dalek on ebay if I search for a Dalek

  3. The thing that really distresses me is that they’ve got some of it so right. e.g. the “all the gallery pix” search – in Crafts, Clothes, Shoes, Jewellery etc., that’s wonderful. And the filtering – I really like being able to add in and remove bits of search like newness or BINness or shoe colour or whatever.

    The contrast between what they’ve got right and what they’ve got wrong is just astonishing.

  4. The first bit sounds a bit like predictive text on your mobile and when people don’t know how to use that they end up sending some very odd messages, I have had a few in my time!! lol so god knows what it’s going to do for customers.

    In my mind hasn’t search got to be really easy???? Isn’t that why google is number 1? one simple page nothing fancy, type what you want in the box, there you go!

    I feel for you all!


  5. as an example of how difficult life is these days trying to get your item seen, and how ignorant those that set ebays search are

    on another id we list mainly in the antique and vintage jewellery section

    have they got RING in the item specifics for that category? have they buggery!
    you need to click “other” then fill in RING for item type,
    what cabbage thought that one up?
    ask any guerkin on the planet to name an item of Jewellery .
    I bet “RING” is the first thing they will say,

    only on ebay is RING classed as an item to be entered in other , for Antique and Vintage Jewellery

  6. these days ebay reminds me more and more of the sort service and effort you get from some spotty herbert that is on a youth training scheme.
    and is only interested at gawking at their mobile phone to send text messages

  7. This search does sound like predictive text, which I hate so bloody much that I can’t even send a text from my mobile (can’t fathom out how to turn it off either) so all texts are sent from the T-Mobile website where I can type what I want to type and not some bloody stupid thing suggested by a machine.

    If ebay search gets like that I give up, I’ll buy from Amazon.

  8. pretty close to packing in ebay,

    sales elsewhere are growing all the time whilst Ebay is becoming harder and harder (mainly because of the poorly thought out changes),

    Ebay really do need to get a grip

  9. Boys like girls
    Doing my normal Friday research (also known as piss about on eBay) to see what I can find I entered the search term “Like” to see how many titles still keyword spammed.

    I kid you not, eBay have got one thing right with their new search. You’re never gonna believe it’s taken search to find this out though…. but “boys like girls” 😀

    News to me – I’d never have realised!

  10. Regarding “predictive text”: I should point out that the way that this works, is that a list of “possible completions” pops up below the search box as you are typing, rather than appearing pre-selected in the search box itself. You can see a picture of how it works on this post and on Chris’s comment above, and if you’re not seeing it live on eBay UK yet, you can see it via the Playground on .com.

  11. I’m guessing North that the guys at Ebay HQ never watched Family Fortunes to see what came up in the top 5 of the 100 people surveyed!!

  12. stuart I bet
    the guys at ebay never sold anything for a living,
    they will have just went to business school or collage or university and have a daft bit of paper to say they listened to others, that could talk and write about it rather than actually doing it ,
    I sell for profit or I dont eat, this is no game to me, ebay should consult those that actually sell for a living ,not those that talk about selling for a living

  13. I used to think there were ulterior motives behind the wacky new policies and changes but now I think its shear, bungling stupdity! No other excuse for it. A bunch of mental giants who know absolutely nothing about the business they’re trying to change!


  14. someone once said ebay worked despite their staff, not because of them
    buyers and sellers managed to find ways round the problems caused by ebays whizz kids

  15. Well I have just read an intresting article in Retail Week about ebay, saying that they have made the changes to get more ‘Retailer’ onto the site AKA the big boys and it also says more major changes are to come in the Autumn, this I’m guessing will be big fee changes.

  16. I sold £2400 worth of warhammer models on ebay in april, the next month after the search changes had been brought in i only sold £700 and worked just as hard for sales.

    Even i cant find the things i want to and ive used ebay since it came to the uk.I really think ebay are making the worst possible business decisions however i fully realise that ebay wont lose money due to increased fees and barely legal,corrupt tactics (like paypal holding money for 21 days automatically now,and forcing every ebayer to accept paypal).

    I despise everything about ebay nowadays and think it’s terrible for the internet and ruins e commerce in general.Also theyve stopped allowing people to put links to their website so it’s useless for advertising your own website now.

    The best match option is a ridiculous idea as it only takes into account feedback,treats a neutral feedback for even the smallest problem in the same way as a negative for ripping someone off, and favours expensive buy it now listings over auctions.Meaning buyers miss out on auctions in the important last few minutes and sellers get far lower prices.

    Get ready for ebay to become a “no competition” market where only about 3 powersellers can exist.in each category.This means no more bargains in the long run as prices were only kept down by competition.

    I noticed that the results for the search term “warhammer” have gone down from a constant 12000 + a few months ago to a mere constant 6500 now.

    Also the only time ive ever been ripped off on ebay is since the buyer orientated changes all came in.

    I really do hope ebay go out of business to allow something else to come along to replace it.Sadly it wont happen soon.

  17. @ # 13

    Griff claims to have run several businesses (including failed ones). He also claims to be an eBay seller. Though selling an average of 2.5 way overpriced items a month hardly makes you an eBay seller in my opinion.

    (I don’t actually know how many sales he makes but I do know he got 21 seller feedbacks over the past 12 months and eBay claims a 70% participation rate in the feedback system)

  18. Funny that they have a cheap listing day just before they make these changes, ever noticed how often that happens, coincidence? I don’t think so, more like fill the site with product so we can see what happens. Sorry, i’m not paying listing fees even if they are half price to help ebay in testing.

    eBay use to be a great place to sell and I’m all for some of the things they’ve done in regards to tightening things up and getting rid of the bad sellers. But, there comes point where you have to think to yourself, is it worth all the effort in getting your product seen and sold. how much money, time and effort do I want to put into in and at the end of the day wouldn’t it all that be better spent on your own web site.

  19. 18
    Griff claims to have run several businesses (including failed ones).

    I eat fish and have swam in Loch Ness, but I am not the Loch ness monster

  20. I dislike the suggested search phrase box. It might encourage some off at a tangent and unintended category browsing by the buyer but it gets in the way of those buyers who know what they want.

    I was going to write that I disliked the new search etc. Certainly last time I looked I hated it. But, having given it another look (via the com site playground), I think it’s not so bad. I wonder if we all see the same search system when visting there or if they trial multiple versions? Whatever, the results I got on some standard searches for the items I’m familiar with got me MUCH more relevant results than I’m used to seeing. Perhaps its that I buy/sell ‘one of a kind’ items. I don’t know.

  21. I think that ebay staff just surf other popular websites and nicks things from them without actually thinking it through and asking themselves if it will work for ebay users.

    This particular new search must be nicked from Youtube who have the same thing going on. It might work for youtube (I don’t know if people hate it or love it on there or not), but did ebay even begin to wonder if it is something that ebay users will want?

    Ebay worked well because it was unique and different and original. Now they are simply copying other sites things and are making their own site so unbelieveably complicated, fidgety and stressful – to the point where people are no longer finding it at all fun to use.

    That’s what I think anyway.

  22. I now have the new search page and it’s irritating the hell out of me.
    I often search “completed items” to see what CDs sold for, that gives me an idea of what to list them for.
    Previously I checked “include shop inventory” and “completed items” in one go, and that was that, each new search showed those things. Now with the new search you check one box, wait for the page to change, check the next box, wait for the page to change…and after every one or two searches it reverts back to the default (ie not completed items and not including shop items). And now and again I’m getting annoying “best match” stuff at the top as well.

    It’s time consuming and really annoying. Another example of it wasn’t broken, so ebay fixed it until it was.

  23. Not seen on the UK s new search for music items, although showing on the
    new search on eBay France are additional choices such as artiste which is presumably being obtained from the pre-filled information.


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