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  eBay searches limited to 100 characters

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Author Topic:   eBay searches limited to 100 characters
spaced out
Member

Posts: 2750
From: Paris, France
Registered: Aug 2003

posted 06-05-2013 07:24 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for spaced out   Click Here to Email spaced out     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
eBay has apparently introduced a new policy today which limits the total length of a search string (included and excluded words) to 100 characters.

Now I don't know about other collectors but in my case I have a large number of saved searches related to specific types of items I search for. Each search has been refined over the years to include useful new terms and especially to exclude key words that allow me to cut out thousands of completely useless results that would be thrown up without these exclusions.

Virtually all of my searches contain well over 100 characters and these are all now unusable.

I really can't see how this benefits eBay. If I can't find the items I want to buy then I can't spend any money with eBay. Likewise as a seller I need potential customers to be able to find my items otherwise they can't buy them.

SpaceAholic
Member

Posts: 3284
From: Sierra Vista, Arizona
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-05-2013 07:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for SpaceAholic   Click Here to Email SpaceAholic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Possible rational(s) - complex search strings tie up more resources... multiply your activities by millions of other people and it translates into cost (computational and electrical power to operate/cool the server racks); Ebay may also be posturing to offer as a premium data mining feature for paid subscribers.

garymilgrom
Member

Posts: 1808
From: Atlanta, GA, USA
Registered: Feb 2007

posted 06-05-2013 07:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for garymilgrom   Click Here to Email garymilgrom     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Perhaps a note to eBay would be helpful to them. They've probably done this to make things easier for novice users, and would want to hear their changes may dissuade others from using their services. They exist to make a profit, so tell them how they're affecting that. Good luck!

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30906
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-05-2013 07:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
On eBay's own forums, members are discussing this, too (with quite a bit of frustration). There's another thread on the same topic here.

Steve Zarelli
Member

Posts: 485
From: Upstate New York, USA
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 06-05-2013 08:19 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve Zarelli   Click Here to Email Steve Zarelli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Why does it seem that virtually every eBay change that comes down the pike is for the worse?

I'm still peeved that they eliminated the * wildcard. This forced me to use (signature, signed, autographed, autograph) instead of (sign*, auto*). So their own prior changes forced people to use more characters!

Steve Zarelli
Member

Posts: 485
From: Upstate New York, USA
Registered: Mar 2001

posted 06-05-2013 08:29 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Steve Zarelli   Click Here to Email Steve Zarelli     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Reading through the links Robert provided a few things are clear:
  • eBay does not gather voice of the customer prior to making significant changes

  • Customer service and ease of use are not their top priorities (it seems cutting costs and making back-end processes simpler for themselves are their priorities)
Both of these issues are indicators of a business that will be well-positioned for a fall. It's only a matter of time before some 800 pound gorilla like Google makes a run at this market space.

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30906
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-05-2013 08:54 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Steve Zarelli:
eBay does not gather voice of the customer prior to making significant changes
Keep in mind, eBay has millions of users — daily. They might not explicitly poll their members, but they have the data to show how their users use search. If less than one percent are using searches of over 100 characters and those searches are causing increased server load, then eBay could be responding to what they see as the better choice for the vast majority of their members.

Not that I agree with the decision or other recent changes (such as removing the explicit search within title and search within title and description checkbox) but eBay is likely tailoring its site to meet what it sees as the majority of the users' choices.

Also, in this market space, eBay is the 800 pound gorilla. Yahoo, Amazon and others all tried and failed to compete in the online auction space. I would be quite surprised if Google (or any other company) attempted to enter this arena, unless there was a new technology that gave it a different approach.

chet
Member

Posts: 1417
From: Beverly Hills, Calif.
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 06-05-2013 08:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Though I agree with all of Robert's points, I can't believe a company that treats so many of its participants' concerns so cavalierly over such a long period of time can ultimately come through it all unscathed.

It's fairly obvious eBay has built up a large reservoir of frustration, anger and resentment among many, many of its customers (primarily sellers) over the years. When a good chunk of the population that makes your business tick feels not only no loyalty, but downright alienation, it's a pretty good bet that same population will bolt to a better viable alternative at the first opportunity. eBay seems to be relying on their 800-pound gorilla/de-facto monopoly status insofar as the way they respond to customer complaints, and it shows. Frankly, I'm surprised they haven't been investigated under anti-trust statutes long before now. In my opinion, it'd be a welcome development and a well deserved shake-out; I know I'd be happy (no, make that ecstatic) to take my business elsewhere.

Greggy_D
Member

Posts: 798
From: Michigan
Registered: Jul 2006

posted 06-05-2013 08:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Greggy_D   Click Here to Email Greggy_D     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by chet:
Frankly, I'm surprised they haven't been investigated under anti-trust statutes long before now.
In what manner? Either you use eBay's services or you do not. It's the consumer's responsibility to choose how they sell/buy their items. Don't like eBay's or PayPal's way of doing business (or fees)? Then go elsewhere.

Hart Sastrowardoyo
Member

Posts: 2613
From: Toms River, NJ
Registered: Aug 2000

posted 06-05-2013 08:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hart Sastrowardoyo   Click Here to Email Hart Sastrowardoyo     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yep. I've been with eBay since they were AuctionWeb in 1997, though my current feedback number doesn't reflect that, because I've closed my accounts only to start a new one as for better or for worse, they were the only ones to use. I've even closed my PayPal account once, only to have to open a new one.

chet
Member

Posts: 1417
From: Beverly Hills, Calif.
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 06-05-2013 08:47 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Greggy_D:
Don't like eBay's or PayPal's way of doing business (or fees)? Then go elsewhere.

Any cursory examination would make clear that eBay is virtually unchallenged insofar as their online business model; their position is comparable to Microsoft's before Apple staged a huge comeback and challenged Microsoft's position in the marketplace. eBay currently has no such rival, so where exactly should any disenchanted individual go?

Robert Pearlman
Editor

Posts: 30906
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 06-05-2013 09:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Microsoft's legal troubles began when it used it position in the market to undercut competition. eBay isn't doing that: companies are free to operate competing services, as Yahoo!, Amazon and others have in the past. The market bolstered eBay and resulted in its competitors failing.

PayPal has competition. Google Wallet and Amazon Payments are both active (all Kickstarter transactions, for example, are handled by Amazon).

eBay has competition, too. Craigslist competes with eBay's Buy-It-Now model. Etsy and Amazon Store services are competitors. Traditional auction houses compete for the higher end collectibles.

chet
Member

Posts: 1417
From: Beverly Hills, Calif.
Registered: Nov 2000

posted 06-05-2013 09:37 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for chet   Click Here to Email chet     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
As far as I know there is no requirement any enterprise must be using its position to discourage or unfairly undercut competition to come under anti-trust scrutiny. eBay, by virtue of its market share and name recognition, is a de-facto monopoly, and is thus subject to anti-trust statutes.

eBay is notoriously and maddeningly unresponsive to legitimate customer complaints, mainly, it seems, because they can be (because of the de-facto monopoly they enjoy). I understand that may not be a reason for triggering an investigation, but it's a symptom of the disease affecting eBay; a bit of a comeuppance for them would, to my mind, be a very good thing for consumers and the many thousands (if not already millions) who now depend on eBay for their livelihoods.

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