eBay: Cassini search now live on all eBay sites

John Donohoe confirmed this week, as part of eBay reporting its Q4 results, that the new search system Cassini is now live across the world on all eBay marketplaces. It’s been live in the UK (we think) for some months although it’s clear that there’s been tweaking and optimisation over that time.

It’s been a long time coming and has been much heralded, and eBay have been very cagey about what has been going on so it’s good to have an unequivocal answer that it’s now out there, everywhere.

But what does it mean? The previous search architecture that was used (voyager) was a fairly primitive and old search solution. Cassini is supposed to provide better, more targetted results to buyers using the site. Plenty of sellers are unconvinced about that. You’ll notice that eBay like calling their search systems after NASA satellites.

There’s a lot of speculation out there on how it works and these articles will likely be of interest:

Auctionbytes: From the trenches: an eBay seller’s guide to Cassini search

Make eBay’s Cassini search work for you

Terapeak How-To: Crucial Factors in eBay Search for the New Cassini Platform

I’d say that there are two action points for eBay sellers. Firstly, try it out and see how you find it and discover something about how it works and what items it shows you. And secondly, how are your items faring? As we say, we don’t know exactly how it works, so it’s best to make sure you’re items are showing and getting top billing. If not, it’s time to start remedying that as best you can.

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If this is already live then it isn't very good. It seems to have just exacerbated the problems with the previous search engine. I checked a couple of listings over the last few days on quite specific search terms and here what I found for identical items. I offer Ebay Premium Service, Fast and Free, 1 day shipping, 100% feedback, best prices on many items, and identical or fuller title than the comparative product. I am beaten out in Best Match results by sellers who do not offer any of these or only some of them. I don't have a problem if a seller is as good as me. That is competition. But to be beaten out by a seller with much higher price, worse service record, no Fast and free, no Premium Service, slower shipment and delivery is frankly very poor. I do everything ebay advise to achieve good search results, and the least they could then do is deliver on that investment I make. There is no point in making that investment in time if a higher priced seller with 98.6% feedback, no fast and free, no premium service, slower shipment can outrank me in Best Match Has it ever occurred to anyone that if ebay promote a higher priced product as Best Match, they actually make more money? We know that many buyers don't look below the so called Best Match item. Yet surely what Best Match means to most buyers is the best option for them, but ebay doesn't actually provide this time after time.

admiralhardinge • 25th January 2014 •

I buy 5x what I sell on eBay, search has gone down the pan, eBay has become a spammer. I have one account for buying trade goods, a very specific type of goods, the general search for it used to return 4K results, now it returns 7K, all the extra are superfluous BS as far as I am concerned. I have two dozen searches for nuances, items in wrong categories etc with lots of - and OR operators, these searches are failing by producing hundreds of results instead of a handful. EBay now includes results from USA when the sellers "may not ship to UK". Hasn't affect my selling as far as I have seen, but I only sell maybe a couple of dozen per month, mostly seconds/rejects, with a few expensive buy it nows to show I don't only sell junk. EBay was pretty good up until about 2005, then it started going down. It hasn't stopped. There are some improvements but with all the changes the downside is more than the upside.

old hand • 30th January 2014 •

Well said. Search is shot to pieces and either misses relevant items or more usually includes loads of irrelevant results. Plus the items now listed in the wrong category by 'spamming' sellers is now completely out of control. If you thought Amazon were bad then eBay are clearly catching up real fast on category mis-management. But don't worry the software kiddies and the automatic algorithms will get it right one day - not.

Cambridge_Blue • 30th January 2014 •

I guess cassini is coverting lookers to buyers then, at a percentage ebay are happy with. I think if cassini likes you, your getting a hell of alot of sales and if it doe not and you relied heavily on ebay for income then maybe its time to cut stock levels, overheads and look for a part-time job. Ive been on ebay 11 yearsand thats exactly what ill be doing in a few months

Davelovesebay • 25th January 2014 •

AT last, now I can finally close my business safe in the knowledge that it cannot be saved as all hope has gone of a return to good times on ebay. After 7 years full time, employing 4 members of staff and by ebays own figures selling over £1.3 million in goods via one ebay channel alone (we have 5 platforms) the time has come to cut our losses and get the hell out of dodge city. Ebay, your system does not work. Your customer service are ignorant, lie and do all they can to avoid their duties if it takes an hour to avoid and frustrate when to fix an issue should take 5 minutes. Ebay do not know how to boost your sales. They are subject to Googles algorithms the same as any other website now. Any 'proper' ebay businesses must grasp this or face ruin. Ebay do not have their own market anymore, they just make sure they tie you up to work on their listings rather than your own website which can achieve equal standing with google ad investment. Ebay just make up new rules and trust their best sellers (like us) to do their system testing for them to find out if something works or not. Well ebay after 2 years of empty promises of 'boosts' 'international markets' and multiple status names of powerseller, TRS, premium rated etc with ever reducing rewards for each change that requires massive upheaval, your times up. Your misleading has lost me money, placed my home at risk, lost hard working employees their living and furthermore your staff aggravate your sellers to the point of near mental and physical illness through a wilful intent to avoid dealing with reported issues. Congratulations. By stating Cassini is your sellers ticket to wealth and glory, you just confirmed that you are a dead duck marketplace with only an ever shrinking pool of buyers and ever increasing burden on sellers for ever reducing returns. Like Davelovesbay says, time to focus on amazon and small websites and pick up titbits from ebay as a sideline and get a part time job. The boom time is over on ebay, the wild west has been tamed and google rule the roost. You either stand in front of the incoming waves shouting at them, and drown, or you walk away with your life and shirt on your back and let the waves reclaim your once vibrant business to the tax dodging, cash in hand mob and chinese/usa import duty evading flood that is underway in the UK. RIP ebay, I give you 2 years once Paypal income is split from ebay and therefore from falsely propping up your balance sheets before you are sold off to a venture capitalist group as another dot.com has-been.

wotnobadge • 26th January 2014 •

What a load of tosh. eBay comes up higher on Google than almost any other site. If your stuff isn't selling, you're either doing it wrong OR NO ONE WANTS YOUR STUFF!

John • 26th January 2014 •

Well this guy doesnt think so https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-25855056 he also thinks paypal should be spun off and ebay run separately, if you never heard of him hes worth $20.3 B and is self made. All the value at ebay inc, is paypal. Buyers seem not like it that much, auctions are dead or your lucky to break even. Most make a loss, quality plays 2nd fiddle in buying choices and sellers are fed up and being bullied off. Carl Icahn knows it and wants the value in paypal to be released back to share holders.

davelovesbay • 26th January 2014 •

I think the problem here is, if you sell good value slightly dearer stuff your pretty much screwed. People aren't spending proper money on ebay and you will be drawn down on search by Chinese and other dodgy sellers, as well as UK sellers. Stocking items similar to yours but made of completely low standard materials in some sweat shop by 5 year olds. Example If your selling phone cases and other tat for 1.99 for 1p profit your sales on ebay are probably booming. Even if it will fall apart after 6 months. But if you sell top side leather, well made phone cases for 14.99 and making a small but decent profit then your not going to sell any on ebay, despite the fact your product will last longer than the phone. Thats just the ebay platform for you im afraid and with buyers so tight on funds especially the type of buyers ebay draws in, and bigger spenders not on eBay..... well. Lets leave it there..

davelovesbay • 26th January 2014 •

I agree with both points made. The upshot is ebay has taken a wrong turn by annoying it's core customer, the seller, and Amazon is now the seller of choice by the buyer. I always maintain the on ebay the buyer is also a seller and pissed off = pissed off both ways. Ebay can't sell off Paypal because that is all that's keeping it afloat.

mw • 26th January 2014 •

we agree with john if your not selling its so much easier to blame ebay, rather than your stock or methods

northumbrian • 27th January 2014 •

It is impossible to go from ebay hero to zero overnight. It is easy for costs to overtake sales when a brick wall is hit if the brick wall is not spotted early enough. It is high risk to place all your eggs in ebays basket. Diversification is required for a stable empire.

Gary • 27th January 2014 •

It is "we're" or "we are" not "were" and learn the difference between "you're" and "your". oh and "can't". If you 'cant' (sic) punctuate basic sentences yet claim your listings are blindingly popular and making you 'millions' then that says all we need to know about cassini rewarding the wrong searches "doesnt" it. If that is what is ruling the roost on ebay no wonder the search algorithms are screwed and nobody (as reported by tens of thousands) can find anything anymore.

wotnobadge • 28th January 2014 •

"John" , there are clearly vastly experienced sellers on here who know very well what they are doing and talking about and who use vast ranges of tools and software in such matters to analyse how their business run and can back up their claims with hard stats. We know, to quote the song, when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. We are not casual, wannabe sellers who think 2000 feedback is amazing, we are hardcore high volume professionals with software and experience to match running tens of thousands of feedback over multiple accounts. We also diversify over amazon, own website, ebay and play.com amongst others to know when traffic has desserted one marketplace and NOT because "noone wants your stuff". It is, to correct you, because NOONE CAN FIND OUR STUFF on ebay but have no such issues elsewhere. Unfortunately as you like to dismiss such informed opinon with a 1 paragraph wave of blissful ignorance you either work for ebay, or if not then you should consider it as your obtuseness to sellers valid evidence based concerns is a perfect match it seems.

wotnobadge • 27th January 2014 •

I think we have here parties for whom cassini works and those for whom it doesn't. Ive been on ebay for eleven years and wotnobadge 7 years and all of a sudden we are in trouble and need to make serious changes or even close our ebay businesses, Because all of a sudden people don't like what we sell. Even we need to find part or full time work, to sustain our ebay selling to clear stock. We got it so wrong and our stock desirability changed so much in only 3 months. (We have one day despatch, and are TRS BTW) Yeah we are to blame, our stocks wrong and methods are bad. How dare we have 100% feedback and TRS and now change our stocks massively after 11 years within the last 3 months.

davelovesebay • 27th January 2014 •

yeah right! we can see it now in every shop doorway , ex ebay seller hungry and homeless a victim of ebay any spare change, TRS and 100% means bugger all

northumbrian • 27th January 2014 •

Yeah but your a pro. So im not worried. As long as sellers like you are happy. Thats all that matters. eBays just perfect. ! 'every shop doorway , ex ebay seller hungry and homeless' I guess you never worked out what a 'part time' job is.

davelovesbay • 27th January 2014 •

thick as pigs dung we are! we even make a profit on ebay

northumbrian • 27th January 2014 •

Yeah you make so much, and so easily you can spend mondays flaming people on this thread. A real eBay winner ! More like an ebay weaner !

davelovesebay • 27th January 2014 •

no flames just fact, if millions of people can make money using ebay we would be looking in the mirror for the reason we were unable to, not blaming ebay

northumbrian • 28th January 2014 •

It is that level of complacency and arrogance 'northumbrian' that suggests you are either small time, sell general marketstall/house clearance junk at clearance prices or just enjoy trolling forums and are a hobbyist. None of which makes you a success, it just makes you a chancer who is currently getting lucky. If you are not then I of course apologise however your apparent absence of attention to established marketplace performance reports evidencing ebays rapid decline in traffic and 40% reliance on paypal commission means you very quickly will be pulling your head up from staring into your pig dung wondering where everyone went

wotnobadge • 27th January 2014 •

ignorance is bliss

northumbrian • 28th January 2014 •

How do you know millions of people are making money on ebay. You'd probably say a million people became millionares on ebay and everyone on the high streets in profit. So all those massive companies that failed you would of saved if you were in charge. Your completely ignorant and closed minded, words can't explain and dim witted you sound.

davelovesebay • 28th January 2014 •

thats us were proper Dim wits, so pleased we dont have normal intelligence ,

northumbrian • 28th January 2014 •

The truth at last !

davelovesebay • 28th January 2014 •

may be not the whole truth at last but certainly makes the doom and death of ebay prophets look silly https://tamebaynew.wpengine.com/2014/01/ebay-inc-q4-results-round-up.html

northumbrian • 28th January 2014 •

Amazon share price. 2013 28th jan to 27th jan 2014 +36.02% at 386 down from high 400 (only reported profit this year after ages due to heavy investments and still its very small) same time period ebay. (minus) -6.46% at 52 high 56. With earnings per share at 2.18 northumbrian thinks he knows more than the stock market. No one says ebays going to die ! Why dont you start reading the thread from the start, and get a dictionary and perhaps pull you head out your backside at the same time. (give it a wash before you begin) Maybe sign up for evening classes, read a few books that kind of thing. Then come back in couple of years (your a special case so maybe need more) so you can post intelligent comments.

davelovesbay • 28th January 2014 •

we cant post intelligent comments were dim wits though we could possibly learn to post ignorant and insulting comments if we took your example

northumbrian • 28th January 2014 •

Yes indeed you are dim. Your posts are not really related to one one above and you present facts that are backed up with no evidence.

davelovesebay • 28th January 2014 •

EH! your the silly sod thats ranting and raving lol

northumbrian • 28th January 2014 •

Cassini, Best Match etc are also discussed by various experts on my blog post here: https://www.webretailer.com/lean-commerce/ebay-business-sellers-need-know-now/#cassini I'll add an update now this has been confirmed!

Andy Geldman • 27th January 2014 •

Andy Gelmans link is very interesting. The upshot from the "experts" is effectively "try lots of different things and see what works and what doesnt. If it works keep doing it". Well, really, I had never thought of that. And there was me following ebays stated guidance on images, shipping, handling, dispatch, titles, description, item specifcs in the suggestion as it was their system this would resolve the issue. Turns out we have to ignore, and re-start our businesses with trial and error. My advice, as before, is to abandon ebay and spend the same amount of trial and error on your OWN website and spend your fees on google ads instead. Had I known this a year ago, when the brown stuff hit the ebay fan, I wouldnt be contemplating walking away. Instead ive been duped by false promises and goal posts being shifted on a system the inventors dont even know themselves how to utilise.

wotnobadge • 27th January 2014 •

I think the problem is some people sell quality products that cost a bit more, so will struggle will cassini as they will have less buy through, even though you deliver a better product and buyer experience in the long run, these type of products will always do better on Amazon or a sellers own website, On amazon for instance product reviews will always show a better product to be genuinely that. How ever if you sell cheap tat, its ebay all the way. Platform of choice, you have a high sell through giving seemly amazing bargain, and cassini will love you.

davelovesbeay • 27th January 2014 •

I think a large part of every business is trial-and-error. When a platform hits the scale of eBay (or Amazon or Google) it tends to behave organically, rather than following a simple set of rules. Even if the rules are transparent (often they aren't) then the interaction between them gets really complex. So yes, test, monitor and adjust whether on eBay, Amazon, your own site, or anywhere else.

Andy Geldman • 27th January 2014 •

I wholly agree Andy. Having identified things would not get better circa October/November after swallowing ebays 'guidance' since March we began restructuring. Like davelovesbeay sometimes the clock just runs out. We both seek alternative jobs whilst we complete this, which surely demonstrates we are both realists as well as committed entrepreneurs who know how to fix things when we have honest partners. For all amazons questionable tax and supplier snaffling at least they are open and honest about it. Our issue with ebay is the pure rejection anything was wrong when clearly MASSIVE upheaval was going on which they now admit they were pretty much making up as they went along. Hindsight is indeed a wonderful thing and had I known March-August was not a 'blip' (which after 7 years you expect ebay foul ups now and then) then I would have hauled up the anchor and got out no question. The problem comes when your landlord (ebay) tells you some street works are going on and not to worry, then proceeds to rip up the pavement, brick up your shopfront and redirect traffic with a bypass to the nearest retail park whilst putting up your rent. That, however good a shop you have, is sometimes just unassailable in the short term. I wish davelovesbeay all the best as I know he will bounce back as he has a level of realism and understanding that will mean once bitten twice shy. In this case, once bitten, never go back. Our story is one of thousands and nothing to do with the recession having survived since 2008, hence our confidence ebay is in deep doodoo and is no longer a business partner to be trusted in future dealings.

wotnobadge • 27th January 2014 •

Our sales on amazon have been really good. Many of the exclusive products we sell may cost perhaps 10 or 5 per cent more than similar products, but also have 4 or 5 star reviews. To be honest because of my location, I can easily get a job for £10 an hour which would be considerably easier. Stressful and risky than doing this business at the levels its currently running at. Ill still carry on off course but not with these levels of stock and not this level of commitment. I could perhaps reinvest some of the funds into a local business perhaps. We did rely heavily on ebay amazon was always a 'bonus' not amazon is the core of our sales and only the cheaper stuff sells on ebay. I'm not really intrested in selling 2nd hand market stall stuff. Or low quality tat, designed to be the cheapest product possible. I don't find this intresting. Challenging or any benefit to civialisation. Infact I find it a waste of resouces, time and quite insulting as a human to find so many poor quality products for sale on platforms like ebay. Then we have had the ebay random bannings, the constant changes and policy changes. Promotions of outlets, the death of auctions and loads more. I think its time I put on some nice clothes had a shave, and worked with the public and start enjoy being human again. Than stuck in a cold warehouse on my own collecting now meaningless feedback and jumping through various hoops. I can't remember the last time I worked with someone who was funny, or a real character or worked along side a good looking woman. Time I joined the legions of ebay 'hobby sellers' and became human again.

davelovesebay • 27th January 2014 •

davelovesbeay, I echo every sentiment you have and my experiences and plans are the same as yours (in the short term). Like you, I too know the difference between a retreat and a tactical withdrawal. We have a realistic approach as proper businesses based on hard earned battle scarred experience achieved through 11 and 7 years. To dismiss or mock our informed opinions demonstrates a lack of experience on the part of the writer that we know is clearly bluff and likely a small time trader who probaly sits in fear of "the knock" at the door from HMRC. We know a brief hiatus re-structuring our sites without the pressure of wages, paye, rent, vat, corportation tax and dishonest ebay buyers and ebay listing wet nursing to cover the bills and we will be back, using other more modern markets, with ebay becoming a backup dumping ground for our junk, b stock and damaged returns that we cant shift elsewhere. We need time, nothing more, to adapt as we always have. Ebay fooled us into trusting them after 6 years with false guidance, empty promises and 12 months at the mercy of the sea waiting for a breeze that never came. The key is to learn from that and never sail in those waters again. Ebay does not produce the level of traffic and income to justify the energy required to run it. It does not give us the time to grow other markets, indeed it actively sucks it which suggests a tactic to keep us too busy to notice whats going on behind the curtain. It no longer offers a consistent or long term secure market to trade in with dwindling traffic, reducing membership and ever more demands for ever little rewards, hence bye bye baby. To those on here who boast of short term glory and mock the positions proven sellers have been forced into then if you are currently making easy money Id paraphrase HG Welles. "minds immeasurably superior to yours regarded your recent seller histories with envious eyes; and slowly, and surely, drew their plans"..

wotnobadge • 28th January 2014 •

£10 per hour? Isn't that about the going rate for a Bus Driver?

Chris T • 6th February 2014 •

Nice to hear it's been live for a while in the UK, as traffic is up. Sales have been fantastic, post and pre Xmas and with the recent fee cap eBay is now more profitable than ever. 2014 is looking really good.

Whirly • 27th January 2014 •

If you don't know Cassini has been live in the UK for almost a year whilst endearing, I wouldn't be confidently popping the champagne 'for 2014' when it is trading week 4. If you are doing better now than in 09,10,11 or 12 then you either buck the terrapeak/omniture evidenced decline since that is reported by thousands of very large sellers or you havent been trading long enough to know the difference. Also the 'fee cap', for reference, follows reduction in seller FVF discounts as powerseller/TRS from 35% a couple of years back to a maximum 15% now. I expect that to drop further and be removed entirely for lower fee categories such as yours faster than you can say "im gonna be rich rich rich". Thats certainly not "more profitable than ever", again unless you have not been around long and are basing your position on one season. I assume you trade in electronics, or another short term 'amazon attack' discounted ebay category recently announced. As long as you have sandbagged for 'the rivers' wrath (which will be tenfold) which will no doubt result from them analysing and taking the uk distributor and undercutting all sellers in that ebay category you may well still be sipping champers this time next year if you can buy in bulk, sell at 12% markup and live off the 2% after fees after trying to price match amazon. That is unless ebay follow their recent foray into office equipment/stationary and add on light electronic goods under 5kg with their new distribution partners and beat them to amazon it in lifting your best sellers using your own sales data to beat you with. Sorry for pouring cold water on your optimism but 2014 is the year the two beasts start tearing lumps out of each other, encroach further into their sellers supply chain whilst those in the know shore up their own independent sites. There is no such thing as a free lunch, and never more so than "fee capped" categories which are a mousetrap, not a meal ticket.

wotnobadge • 27th January 2014 •

Whirly, When it comes to Cassini. Who knows? That's my line and I'm sticking to it. ;)

Dan Wilson • 27th January 2014 •

"3) Sales. The $10 item we just discussed that sells more if it's priced at $15 with free shipping will sell even more if it's priced at $20 with 25% off. The sum of this, by the way, is still $15. This is basic marketing. Just remember, Cassini likes sales, which is the reason why you should like them too." Dam. Slight downside is that buyer receives a $10 item when they were expecting a $20 item.

big • 29th January 2014 •

get real Cassini is there to make ebay money not any particular seller , were owed nowt were all just hitching a ride as it orbits past

northumbrian • 31st January 2014 •

Thanks for a very informative article and some good links. Very useful. I frequently get caught in all the ebay initiatives trying to do too much in too many different ways. Rationalisation of energy is so important. There are some great tips to maximise sales but they seem to involve ditching GTC listings and tinkering with item titles to make ads a little different each time.

Rich • 6th February 2014 •

Sales collapsed on ebay - only £90 sold on a Sunday! Amazon running as normal....

Tony • 16th February 2014 •

Tony, We had a poor Saturday and a pretty poor Sunday on eBay. Are eBay messing about again?

Chris • 17th February 2014 •