People generally don’t like change especially when it comes to changing their business practices. As eBay has evolved over the years, they have modified seller ratings and customer feedback as well as coming up with Best Match for search results. The issue is that the Best Match search results are very focused on having 100% 5-star positive feedback.
eBay’s current search engine is called Voyager and was developed in 2002. If you think about technology from 10 years ago, you probably don’t really remember that MySpace and Facebook weren’t household terms, you still received AOL update CDs in the mail and smartphones haven’t been created yet. When put in this perspective, a change is long overdue. eBay has added and modified this inflexible search engine to the point that it’s time to plant a new engine in place.
eBay hired 100+ developers in early 2011 to begin building Cassini, a “world class” new way of searching items. Cassini still does not have a release date but they are speculating the 1st quarter of 2013. While Voyager was built to scan through 100 million listings, Cassini uses an inverted index that resembles the back of a book which will make searching much faster and better defined.
Buyers will be able to personalize their search results based on Relevance, Diversity, Trust and Value. This way the results aren’t completely siding with the DSRs. If someone searched “Coca Cola” and wanted to see a full diverse selection, they would be able to see all different memorabilia and maybe not just advertisement posters.
What does this mean for sellers?
Relevance: You want your products to match how the buyer is searching. When writing your descriptions, think about every relating term that describes the product. When creating the title, use as close to 80 characters to describe the item. When creating the description, 1-2 sentences does not accurately describe a product. Make, Model, Year, Color, Functions, Functional, Quality, Measurements… these are some of the possibilities that can be used to create a well-rounded description to be well searched and indexed by the new search engine, Cassini.
Trust: This is based off of buyer reviews from the DSRs to each word used to review their purchase. If you have 5 buyers write “Good Product” and that is all, your review is simply “Good” and not excellent, great, trustworthy, etc. After a purchase, possibly contact your buyers with example feedback they can leave so you’re not left with only two words.
Value: In the eBay Market, you have to stay competitive with your prices. Not only is Free Shipping a quick way towards the top of the Best Match search, a lower price is too. At the moment, there is nothing released about how Auction-Style vs Fixed Price listings will be shown with the value results.
Ultimately, Cassini is a good thing for both buyers and sellers. When someone searches for an iPod, they don’t want the first result to show a car that has an iPod connection. Having a search engine that is not a decade old will produce the results both buyers and sellers need. Cassini will create a marketplace environment where everyone will enjoy the results as long as the sellers are following the above guidelines.