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:



Well you could almost knock me over with a feather. After all sorts of lies and secrets, going back literally years now, ebaY finally reveals they launched their joke of a search engine, Cassini.

One of the most interesting aspects is…  (more…)

Wow! auctionbytes/ecommercebytes posting shows a very stunning quote by John Donahoe regarding how items are presented via the controversial search and finding project Cassini, which has been bamboozling shareholders and disappointing users since October 2010.   (edit <—link deprecated, see here)

…   Donahoe said eBay was testing how it exposes listings in search results. “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,…”

That’s just the beginning… click through and read it and the article they link to fully. Oh my!

If someone were looking for a way to drive their Mom/Pop, and casual auction sellers (and buyers) away, I think they found it.

It smells awful funny, (like other recent ebaY-centric events) but may prove to be highly entertaining.  ;p

Maybe frenetic is a better term? Ebay is hard at it again, making fairly significant site changes, apparently live in realtime from what I’ve seen.  This is truly a[nother] case of ad ridere, or is that ridere ad?


Listings Changes

The first couple changes are this tab over the image which says n person is [or ‘are’, where n= more than 1] viewing this item per hour.”

(thumbs open for larger view in new tab or window)

There has also been slight variations of the verbiage reported, as noted on the ecommercebytes blog regarding this. I’ve seen at least a couple, among them was a tab which faded out, another which didn’t, and the “X” close button didn’t function.

The other thing is this “More Like This” tab, which stays fixed in place on the side of your browser. As you can see there isn’t any close button for that. These types of things… (more…)

Sometime, when the braintrust at ebaY wasn’t too busy playing on their smartphones, they seem to have found time to further  degrade, err… uhm … I mean enhance the search  and finding experience on ebaY, by removing the often used “Buy It Now” and “Auctions Only” along with the “Products & reviews” ^Beta tabs on search result pages.

Also removed is the drop down “search within category” menu in the search bar and the “include descriptions” checkbox.

Features removed are highlighted with green arrows. Click to enlarge image, opens in new tab or window


ebaY announced it’s Cassini Search project in  October 2010. (edit <—link deprecated, see here)

Maybe it’s just me, but I think they are losing ground.

I call absolute fail on ebaY’s “new search technologies and initiatives, designed to vastly improve user experiences at the company’s sites”.

The users can only hope this is but another “glitch”or unannounced beta test.

Update 01-10-2013

cluster  eBay_20130104_bin_auction_e

I thought I should update this as I had made a mistake originally.

The “Buy it Now” and auction only selections have been placed on the the menubar on the left, under the categories. and changed form from tab to checkbox. I just plain missed that at the time of original post. That’s a location and a visibility level where obviously no one will see it if they don’t scroll down a good ways.

It’s also a major, unannounced change because those features where always right at the top, in tabs for years and years. I can’t ever recall them being anywhere else.

To get title and description in search you now need to click through to advanced search. That isn’t ‘sticky’ anymore. Each time you want to search both title and description you have to go back through advanced search.

There may be other things changed too, and ebay is shuffling these page formats around like chipmunks on crack. I thought I had seen one other version where those checkboxes were on top of the category links, so ymmv.

You can find plenty of valid complaints on the search and technical issues forums, and note here that the wildcard (*) asterisk  feature removal “score” is a telling minus 281 out of 289 votes [-281 rating,  289 votes]

I think ebaY has selected a terrible time to start tweaking their search features.  Here’s what I just found searching first for chain saw, then for chainsaw. Clearly, there is a big problem. Nice to see the sponsored ads are still working though.


There have been numerous complaints as of late with regards to the borked search & finding on ebay. A quick trip to their search forum shows alot of upset users, both buyers and sellers. A visit to the Technical Issues forum looks bad as well.

It almost seems like the site is hacked if you asked me. There aren’t too many other explanations for all the troubles they’ve been having. The only thing missing is some mad hacker taunting ebaY on their own forums. But I’m pretty sure it’s really just ebaY’s incompetent staff causing the issues. LoLz!

Recently ebaY even removed the wildcard asterisk (*) search feature, and seem to have picked a search engine technology which is not only ridiculously difficult and inefficient to use, but also more geared towards spying on users’ habits so as to sell/share their data to some other parasite corporations rather than finding items.

Please note that your results may vary, from one minute to the next as ebaY is apparently shuffling things around like there’s no tomorrow. But the sheer number of complaints cannot be dismissed.

As an ebaY critic, I must say it’s awful fun to watch. ;p