eBay Estimator Title Tool Will Return – Will BEST MATCH Bug be Corrected?

eBay enlists the help of PeSA/ECMTA to calm the storm of debate regarding the eBay Best Match Title Tool eBay estimator removed last week due to a story in eBay Strategies by Scot Wingo.

We followed up with a story here and added our own opinion that the removal of the tool was not due to a problem with the tool itself, but due to the exposure it gained in Scot Wingo's eBay Strategies blog and the open reporting of a serious bug in the Best Match algorithm.

Jeff King shared the following information with PeSA members in a call to Brandon Dupsky at PeSA. The call was about the title tool discussed on our PeSA/ECMTA best match community conference roundtable a few weeks back.

  1. He said that eBay is listening and agrees that the title tool is a valuable resource for sellers and that they can understand the need for such a tool.
  2. He wanted to let us know that the removal of the tool was not due to a simple title hack as rumored.
  3. He says they are working on re-releasing the title tool to the selling community but could not offer me any time frame or expectations on when.
  4. He says they want to develop the tool to be more “Commercial” grade and designed for mass-use, so expect a much simpler version of the tool to be released than the version we previously saw. Things like individual word relevancy will be hard to incorporate in the new version of the tool. But identifying which words are good and which are bad is more in line with what to expect. In a nutshell, the tool is offering too much data, making it very complex to maintain.
  5. Initially the tool will be web based, much like before, but expect it to become more embedded into tools like SYI and other eBay marketing tools down the road.
  6. Jeff said that they hope to have additional information available to us next week at our eCommerce Summit in New Orleans and they look forward to discussing this further.
Brandon sent this information out to PeSA members in an email last evening and in a open post in the ECMTA forum this morning. Brandon's comments followed up the information above by indicating he thought it was a "good thing" that eBay was bringing the tool back "sometime" in the future.

Brandon made no further comment regarding the somewhat dubious nature of the story as it was presented by Jeff King, as would be expected since his position is one of a communicator between eBay and the membership of PeSA/ECMTA. The membership had a few choice comments in response however...

The following are comments directly quoted from the ECMTA board. The names of the commentators have been removed for privacy reasons except in my case. Please add your comments below.

You know what ticks me off about eBay?

#3...He wanted to let us know that the removal of the tool was not due to a simple title hack as rumored.

WTF? The problem was NOT the tool it was Best Match! This was NOT a hack it was a BUG in best match.

Here eBay goes once again doing dumb things and making them live. It is hard to believe that the word NEW, probably the most used word on eBay bar none, flew under the radar?!?

What genius tested this BM in the first place? What keywords did they test? Why did they not test New? HELLO?!?

OMG... I just can't let eBay pull the wool over our eyes with that lame azz nonsense...please!

They rolled out an untested piece of junk once again and blame it on a lame excuse. This my friends is Store in Search all over again, lets not get this one twisted.

eBay rolled out a site wide bug in Best Match and now the geniuses got to fix it quick! They just had to take the tool down because as long as it was up you could see how long it takes them to fix Best Match. The bug is in Best Match, NOT the tool.

The result of putting NEW NEW NEW worked live on the SITE the tool just exposed the Best Match Bug. That is what it needs to be referred to as "The Best Match Bug" You can quote me on that one! eBay can sell that crap excuse somewhere else, I ain't stupid.

J***,

Don't hold back now. Tell us how you really feel.

B**

Brandon wrote:
...He said that eBay is listening and agrees that the title tool is a valuable resource for sellers and that they can understand the need for such a tool.

2) He wanted to let us know that the removal of the tool was not due to a simple title hack as rumored.....He says they want to develop the tool to be more “Commercial” grade ... In a nutshell, the tool is offering too much data making it very complex to maintain.

Brandon,

Could you double-check your notes on the above? Maybe the discussion got ahead of your notes.

eBay is after all a technology company which just closed a $2.2 billion quarter, which also operates one of the most sophisticated search engines in the world. One has to only look at the technology and productivity of eBay supplemental tools like Channel Advisor and Auctiva to realize what can be done with a tiny tiny fraction of $2.2 billion.

I'm sure there are other reasons the tool was taken down, but the one you cite must have gotten lost in the translation.

Hi B***:
I'm just the messenger here. I consider this good news and so I wanted to share.
Brandon

I totally neglected to thank you Brandon. You are just the messenger and I appreciate your efforts and candor.

This was just eating at me and it came out on this post. I was actually going to start a post about it last night almost when you posted this thread! So it was not really directed at this thread so much as it was already boiling to the surface and this became a very timely thread to state my feelings.

It was the use of the term "HACK" which everyone (bloggers and reporters) are using that is driving me crazy really...

A HACK is a modification of a program or device to give the user access to features that were otherwise unavailable to them.

While A BUG is an error, flaw, mistake, "undocumented feature", failure, or fault in a computer program that prevents it from behaving as intended (e.g., producing an incorrect result). Most bugs arise from mistakes and errors made by people in either a program's source code or its design.

This is clearly a BUG. Who knows how deep this goes? It could really be that not only did NEW repeated ad relevancy but I am willing to bet that adding any repeated high rank term has the same effect. I think it is obvious that this reaction in the BUG was NOT in response to a single keyword (i.e. NEW) but a result when any keyword was repeated. So suddenly Best Match is now the "Best MESS" I have seen in a long time.

j***

Hi J***:

No hard feelings buddy. BTW, I do agree with your assessment on the Bug/Hack messaging.

Kinda reminds me of NPB & UPI. It's not the person's fault they didn't pay, it's the item's fault.

Brandon

J***,

Sometimes I think it would benefit everyone if you and top eBay execs got locked in a room for a few hours. Something tells me that, magically, a lot of things would get worked out, real quick like.

I second your thoughts on the spin re: the tool. Hack...yeah, suuuuuure.

Brandon,

I have to agree that the "message" as it was delivered, almost verbatim per eBay's spin department, did not come off as an objective review of the situation.

PeSA/ ECMTA is an independent organization, right?

I would appreciate an objective view of the information possibly posted as a personal comment after the "press release" material is presented.

That's how we try to do it at the Trading Assistant Journal. I think John may have been more surprised at the spin being re-transmitted as a "good thing" rather than having it retransmitted in its entirety - and then a spade called a spade.

  • This tool was not in any way shape or form the problem
  • Wingo just made it known to eBay when he pointed out the gaming of the system and tied it to the tool
  • The problem is best match
  • eBay can not admit there is a problem with Best Match
  • Therefore eBay blames the perfectly simple and no effort to maintain tool
  • This equates to Spin
  • Please see it and present it as such

I know I am a new member of both PeSA and ECMTA and I appreciate your asking me to join. I hope I have not jeopardized any relationship here by posting these comments. But I must say I was surprised to see the email you sent out last night regarding this subject. Just reading your email, even though it was presented as a positive story, I found myself becoming as angry as John sounded in his response above.

The line eBay gave you is not credible and I really do not think it should be presented as being credible by a representative of PeSA/ECMTA.

Scott Pooler - Allbusinessauctions - Trading Assistant Journal

This forum post has become the hot topic of the day at ECMTA and we see a great deal of lively discussion continuing on into next week's PeSA ECMTA Summit in New Orleans.

The question remains: will eBay actually fix Best Match or will they continue to put the focus on the Tool which only revealed the problem with Best Match Search? To blame the tool is to blame the messenger and we all know that furthers only one cause: to deflect the real cause of the problem from its source.

eBay - Please Fix Best Match or Remove the Best Match Search until you can guarantee it will not be gamed as it has been.

  • As it is now, Best Match is an unfair system advantaging both high volume sellers and crafty scammers who know how to game the system.
  • Did anyone at eBay seriously believe that people would not find this very serious bug? Did eBay not test these types of search protocols before releasing Best Match?
  • Is it possible Best Match was released long before it was ready because of the management changes at eBay?

One follow up comment was placed on the ECMTA discussion board after I started this article and I think this is very important. While we here at the Trading Assistant Journal have placed the emphaisis of this story on Best Match, apparently other blogs have not focused on that aspect, at least according to this well imformed member of PeSA:

Please do not miss my point here. EVERY blog I have read is discussing the "sizzle" and not the STEAK. None of them are saying what I just said, to my knowledge.

They are all tracking the removal of the BayEstimator. But that is just the smoke. The FIRE is Best Match! So what Brandon wrote was about the BayEstimator tool and I too agree that the comments are positive.

The key here is they (eBay) moved the focus from "Best Mess" to the BayEstimator tool. It was pretty cleaver, but I just want them to know that at least some of us are NOT watching the bouncing ball, we are watching the ball bouncer. Brandon is NOT the ball bouncer here, we all are in the crowd watching the game.

But all the pundits, news and bloggers should begin to swing the focus from the tool to the real question..."How in the world did Best Match roll-out with such a glaring flaw in the CODE"?

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2 Responses to eBay Estimator Title Tool Will Return – Will BEST MATCH Bug be Corrected?

  1. Scott Pooler April 18, 2008 at 10:58 am #

    Just a follow up:

    4) He says they want to develop the tool to be more “Commercial” grade and designed for mass-use. So expect a much simpler version of the tool to be released than the version we previously saw.

    Things like individual word relevancy will be hard to incorporate in the new version of the tool.

    But identifying which words are good and which are bad is more in line with what to expect. In a nutshell, the tool is offering too much data making it very complex to maintain.

    Without individual word relevancy, what is the tool useful for?
    I mean the whole point of the tool to determine the best keyword relevancy as it relates to BEST MATCH. With that functionality removed, why have the tool?

  2. Russ June 5, 2008 at 10:03 am #

    Ebay best match has wasted me hundreds of pounds. We have 100% positive feedback, DSR ratings of 5, totally perfect account, and sometimes we rank, and then another day we dont!! They have massive bugs in best match and we are wasting our money while they get it working.

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