Time Ending Soonest tests on eBay UK

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Some sellers have raised concerns on the PowerSeller board that search results are being presented as Time Ending Soonest* rather than Best Match.
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Click image to embiggen
Even though the sort order is stated as Best Match both auction and fixed price listings are clearly sorted according by end time. If wide spread this could be a serious concern that listings at the top of Best Match are being disadvantaged and benefits of recent sales, best price, free shipping and relevancy are being lost.
 
eBay have however confirmed that only a very small percentage of users will see search results sorted with Time Ending Soonest and it’s routine for them to run tests on a small percentage of search results as a control in order to monitor the efficacy of search results.
 
Sellers shouldn’t worry that their buyers will see search results in the same format that they do, the vast majority of eBay users (buyers and sellers) will see search results sorted with Best Match as per normal. Just because you’re part of a test group doesn’t mean that the majority of buyers will.
 
Clearing your browser cache and cookies will opt you out of the test group, and in fact some users have already reported seeing different search results simply by using alternative browsers such as IE, Firefox, Opera and Chrome.
 
Many thanks to Steve for the screen shot

8 Responses

  1. Cheers Chris,

    Considering the number of pc’s here in two warehouses that show the test version I’m not so sure it’s such a small test but we will have to see. It’s certainly big enough to have an affect on some our best match positions.

    I also think it’s devious to not inform the user that the sort order is not being displayed as best match but time ending soonest when it clearly states the order is best match on the page.

  2. I don’t beleive they are running any tests.

    They just simply can’t handle or know how to operate best match effectively.

    When someone reports best match not working, ebay will always reply saying “tests”, as they have no idea how to fix it.

    When I buy goods I always sort by cheapest first including p&p. These have also never been 100% accurate. I regularly find cheaper prices further down the listing. I admit that 90% are in price order, but definately not all of them.

  3. #2

    Yesterday I informed eBay that our listings were not appearing correctly when I searched by price + p+p lowest first. I was told I would get a call back, but that never happened.

    I have no faith in eBay’s searches. No one at eBay has been able to explain Best Match to me with any degree of confidence.

  4. They certainly are running this test. Best Match was very stable until recently.

    We really need to know how long they intend to run it and how big a group are involved. If they are using buys running IE8 as their test bed then that’s a bad move as MS updates are upgrading peoples browsers to the new version very quickly now.

  5. #3

    I have reported this to ebay loads of times. They fobbed me off for a while and then said they would send it to their IT team and would let me know.

    They have never come back to me and I have just given up.

  6. I am with #2 on this.

    3# whatver drives ebay search results can’t add up. Whenever there is a differential of 1p it will display the item listed earliest regardless of whether it’s 1p more expensive.

    Please also remember folks that best match is not only keyword based it’s also the ORDER of the keywords too 😆

  7. Clearing your browser cache and cookies will opt you out of the test group

    some users have already reported seeing different search results simply by using alternative browsers such as IE, Firefox, Opera and Chrome.

    That’s because those accomplish the same thing. You are using a different set of cookies.

    I’m a bit worried that eBay really is running a test and will find that best match actually harms the marketplace. Didn’t they run tests like this before making best match the default?

  8. If ebay really were running a test, surely there would be some sort of announcement pre-testing.

    It’s just a load of “codswollop”

    If they can’t even get price+p&p sorted in the right order, how on earth can they operate “best match” correctly and effectively.

    I’m not just talking about 1p price differences not being in the right order. In categories DVDs, and Video Games, some items which are 50p cheaper are lower down page. This can’t be to do with non seller performeance as it shouldn’t be sorted by best match at all, and my own dsrs are all 4.9 or above, with no outstnding issues. Many other sellers are the same in these categories.

    It’s late and i’m about to go to bed so please ignore any spelling errors or incorrect grammar 🙂

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