More space based comedy from ebaY! This time  with much more gravity than the recent, ridiculous Paypal Galactic space payments PR stunt.

The long ongoing ebaY Cassini search engine project situation takes another strange twist… Now it’s Hugh Williams’ turn to open up.

ebaY Cassini: To boldly troll... where no man has ever trolled before - This weeks episode - The Search for Wallet Share; part XIII 'The Failure on the Edge of Forever'

In Part One of an interview with Ina Steiner of ecomercebytes, we don’t learn too much, if anything at all from Hugh Williams, ebaY’s Vice President of Experience, Search and Platforms. We do see some great song and dance moves. I’m still deducting points off that act for strange beat, no rhythm (or rhyme).

Ms Steiner attempts to pin him down on very important aspects/issues.  The responses are generic,  yet loaded with glittering space dust, buzzwords and phrases as usual.

We do find a couple interesting statements however:

I think “fully launched” is a difficult question to answer because I think as you know from the webinar from the things we’ve been talking about, we’ve been rolling Cassini out for different scenarios for over six months.

and a bit later:

I wouldn’t use the word tweaking. I would say I see very central to our goal, the search team, is constantly innovating and improving the search experience on behalf of our sellers and our buyers.

There’s more including an admission that ebaY runs experiments during the Holiday shopping season. Brilliant!

Now, it was only a few days ago that CEO John Donahoe opened up about Cassini, and he had this (in part) to say:

“We’re testing a new user to eBay that’s never been to eBay should when they show up we only show them fixed price, brand new items from top-rated sellers. It’s a more familiar commerce experience and then as they learn eBay they get the wider experience,…”

I’m not even sure why Hugh Williams needs to be interviewed? Hasn’t Mr Donahoe really already said it all?

It’s a given, right there in plain English. Unless you [your bussiness model] meets the profile Donahoe mentioned, your items won’t be seen. It’s locked down tighter than a tick. Read the User Agreement. You’re not guaranteed anything, and you have no realistic recourse.

Are you going to keep following that shiny space and time sucker bait?

As an aside, do you get the feeling that ebaY management/staffers aren’t all on the same page?

If you’ve been following along,  first there was a bizarre April Fool’s non-joke, where it was stated that information would be shared with stockholders, WallStreet etc, and ebaY would keep users informed of changes as is their practice.

Followed by the word that ebaY Cassini was only functional on a small part of the site, and there was much misinformation regarding Cassini.

Next, it was rolled out secretly, or in “Stealth Mode“, where the obvious curiosity was that ebaY’s own blog used the Wired news article as the source for their info, rather than internally, as one might expect.(in the non-Bizzarro Universe)

The last few events have come in fairly rapid succession. It’s been a long strange trip since Cassini’s big bang, back in October 2010, highlighted with hyper-pap, marked by delay, removal of a key element [the asterisk (*) wildcard search feature] required for productive/efficient searches, and yes, lots and lots of tweaking.


CASSINI: Confounding American Small Sellers Is Now Innovation

No sign of intelligent life. Man the escape pods!