eBay to Overhaul Search

Developments aim to deliver faster, more flexible and adaptive searches.

by Auctiva.com staff writer
- Oct 20, 2010

eBay is vigorously testing its search engine, and will "overhaul" it in the next year to provide users with a better experience, according to a company official.

At least 50 user experiences are currently being tested on the site "at any one time," and tests will continue over the next 12 months, says Hugh Williams, vice president of Search Engineering at eBay and the testing lead. During this time, all eBay users will test out at least one of these new user experiences, though they may not notice it.

The search redesign is a complete overhaul, Williams adds.

"Over the next year, several big things will happen in search," he says. "One that I'm super excited about is that we're going to introduce machine-learned ranking."

This type of ranking system will look at more data factors to determine the order of listings in search results. The re-engineering of eBay's search engine will make it "much faster, and more flexible," he explains, adding that "The results will be more relevant to our users, and our search engine will adapt more easily, quickly and accurately to what our customers are doing on the site."

Williams says the site is already testing machine-learned ranking with a small number of users and is having a lot of success with it. But it's also testing other possible adjustments to search. In fact, currently, the team is testing 15 different algorithms on the U.S. site.

"We're going to have a very modern search engine that delivers great results, and I'm excited about our customers being able to experience that," Williams says.

About the Author

Auctiva staff writers constantly monitor trends and best practices of those selling on eBay and elsewhere online. They attend relevant training seminars and trade shows and regularly discuss the market with PowerSellers and other market experts.

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