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Online auction giant eBay is introducing some much needed changes to its search functions, making it easier for users to find what they want and filter out what they don't.

eBay search

The changes will go live on the UK site in the next month but are already available to try out on eBay Playground

With such a massive range of items on display via the auction site, users need effective filtering tools to help them find what they want.

The site has now added more tools to help users narrow down their choices. When searching for an iPod for example, a search which returns 50,000+ results, effective filtering options are essential.

In this case, users can narrow their choice according to the type of iPod, colour, storage capacity, price range and more:

eBay filtering options

The amount of matching products in each filter category is also displayed, which is useful to prevent users from returning no results:

eBay filtered search

Filters can be taken off or altered easily, and eBay has provided useful tools like this slider bar for price range, to refine searches:

There are also some alternative options for how search results are displayed. Users can view items matching their query by viewing as a list, gallery, or by this visual window shopping display:

eBay window shopping view

Using this view, they can hover over a picture with their cursor to see more details:

The changes look pretty good so far; eBay is one site that needs effective filtering options, and the new search system should help users avoid irrelevant results.

This should save users time spent plowing through results, as well as benefitting sellers by making it easier for buyers to find their items.

Related stories:
eBay vs Craigslist: double Web 2.0 standards?
Feature filtering - what is it and why do you need it?

Graham Charlton

Published 24 June, 2008 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

2565 more posts from this author

Comments (26)

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Disgruntled Powerseller



Why don't you do some research, before trying to "BOOST" ebay.

If you HAVE to talk about the new search thingy, why don't you say how the NEW nest match search works. Since the new, "negatives are now neutral rule", started, sellers have been knocked down, in their ratings, even from neutral feedback that says " Didn't send thank you note, after payment" "Doesn't match my skirt" or "Thanks" but then a new user comes on, goes right to 100% after their first transaction and then they are now higher then the seller, who has been there for 10 years. It's just not right!

Ebay is causing sellers to leave in droves, with the new policy changes and tens of thousands are upset and will be protesting at Ebay Live 2008, this week.

The changes are idiotic. Sellers can no longer leave negative or neutral feedback, even if a buyer bids, wins your item, ingores your emails and doesn't pay. What right do they have to leave any feedback, if no transaction has taken place? We have sellers, bidding on competitors items and ruining their feedback, just to get a boost, on their own items.

Ebay went in and retroactively turned all neutrals, to negatives. Neutral, means just that, how can ebay call neitral, negative? They swtarted giving new discounts to people with good ratings, but they knock them down first, with the neutral change, so that many can't even meet the requirements, for the discount.

That is not the worst of it. We have thousands and thousands of sellers, who have closed their stores and we KNOW that the listing count should be going down. But, we have uncovered the source of the raised listing counts and I can't see it being anything, but fraud.

The seller BUY or Buy.com was taken on by ebay, right at the time ebay KNEW they were going to lose sellers. They are using buy.com, to pad the listings, to make it look like the count is up, when it really isn't. We have found thousands upon thousands of fake listings, that have no description and you can't even buy them. I found them ending tens of thousands of listings early, saying they are no longer available for sale and then immediately relisting them. Most likely to keep the sell through rate up and then relisting them again, to up the listing count 2 fold. They don't even pay any fees, being owned by ebay, so all the listings that they are padding, aren't even bringing in revenue???? Something isn't right here!

Isn't this making the stockholders think that listings are up, when they really aren't? We have all the proof documented. I even have it documented of when I was talking to Ebay Live Help and asking them about all the ads, being ended early and it immediately stopped, when they found out that we knew about it.

Please help us in exposing them, for what they are trying to pull. The boycotters should have a fair chance, to show what is really going on, behind the scenes.

Thank You
Tracy Fair and thousands of other ebay sellers.

P.S. You can find the revolt going on at: http://forums.ebay.com/db2/forum.jspa?forumID=113

over 8 years ago



The eBay user community would not agree with you that the changes to eBay searching are "much needed". The new approach is poorly conceived, badly executed, and is causing a furore amongst both sellers and buyers. Searches take more steps to complete, with umpteen pop-ups needing to be filled in (when these work), and a screen refresh to wait for after each step. The changes made are not sticky, so it is all to do again for every search. The new application makes the simplest search slow and time consuming, and then throws up apparently random results that some supposedly "intelligent" set of searching rules have decided match the terms used - to the total confusion of most users.

As the roll-out of the new search gets underway the main topics on the bulletin boards is how to find the opt-out button (which is not where eBay help announces, but hidden at the bottom of some screens), and how to persuade eBay not to end the option to keep the original search after the end of July.

Frankly, your article reads as a straight copying of an eBay press release. There is a much more interesting story out there - look at the discussion about this topic on the eBay site, or any of the many user comments on different discussion boards across the internet.

over 8 years ago




As you have noticed that eBays search page layout has changed recently, and that the opt-out function to keep the old layout is being removed in three weeks time.

If you've not seen it yet you can check it out at http://playground.ebay.co.uk/. It's based around lots and lots of very annoying pop up java windows. It looks and feels like an interface that's in Alpha testing, let alone a finished product.

This topic has caused a massive stink in the eBay community over the past couple of days, and if you use eBay a lot and this really annoys you, and you would like to keep the old layout, or at least keep the option to opt out of the new layout then maybe you'd like to sign this petition.


Hope you don't mind me posting this here, but we need to get as many signitures as possible.

over 8 years ago



The new Ebay search sucks.
No-one can find what they want anymore, hence no-one buying.
The pages look messy and are complicated now.
Why oh why have they done this?
Pretty much the entire Ebay community hate it and sellers are losing money as no-one can find their listings.
Please sign the petition

over 8 years ago



The author of this "article" clearly has had *NO* actual experience using the new search. He can't possibly have done as he would never have written this utter nonsense if he had.

The new search is appalling, so bad that I can only compare it to how search engines used to be before Google. Yes, THAT bad. It's complicated, doesn't show all of the results that it should (meaning that sellers are paying fees for items that buyers will never find!), and as a result items are selling for far less than they were before the change. I can personally vouch for this.

Thousands of Ebay sellers have complained about this on the Ebay mesageboards, but is Ebay listening, does Ebay care??? No, of course not! Oh, and you think I'm exaggerating about the number of severely p*ssed off sellers? Well, look for yourself and you'll see that over ONE THOUSAND people have made the effort to sign a petition demanding that Ebay remove the new search and put the old one back permanently.

You can check it here (http://www.petitiononline.com/eBaySch/petition.html) if you don't believe me....

over 8 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

Admittedly, I haven't been looking at the search from a seller's perspective, but as someone who buys regularly on eBay, I have found the new search tools useful.

The filtering tools are all about eliminating irrelevant results from searches so, if I want to find an 80gb iPod in black for instance, then I can avoid searching through too many listings.

The java 'refine search' windows are a bit annoying after a while though...

over 8 years ago



Check out this Ebay forum,


There are nearly 2300 postings of people who are at their wits end with this new search. It is totally crippling the Ebay searching experience and it's now just a painful slog of 'more options', 'more options', 'more options'.

And they've blended all their auctions, Buy-it-now and classifieds together, presumably to make people read them, so searches are just a mess of jumbled listings.

I've been buying and selling on Ebay for years, and I simply can't believe what they've done to it. I'm absolutely gutted.

over 8 years ago


Censored by Ebay

The new search is hated by thousands as their own discussion board proves but Ebay ARE getting twitchy and using their Usage Policy to delete adverse posts. Haven’t they heard the Net is bigger than them!!!!

over 8 years ago


Kevin Sanders

You have named yourselves well. 'e-consultancy' - in my book consultant = asshole so you fit right in. Well done.

over 8 years ago


Ian Robinson

The author of this article clearly doesn't use eBay. The new search engine stinks! Nobody asked for a change - it was imposed despite repeated crticism during the test phase. Take a look at the bulletin boards on the UK and US sites and see the level of dissatisfaction that eBay continues to blindly ignore.

over 8 years ago



Ebay new search is a load of rubbish , I did like to watch motorcycle auctions ending today , each auction had a milage column saying how far away the motorcycle was . ITS JUST TOTALLY GONE , THERE IS A TOTALLY USELESS COLUMN THAT SAYS POSTAGE NOT SPECIFIED ON EVERY SINGLE MOTORCYCLE !!!! I used to be able to flick through hundreds of motorcycles in minutes by just looking at the milage column , then obviously if its close and I like it , bid . The milage column has just gone , dissapeared , who the hell is ever going to post a motorcycle !!!!!!
Tim , not very happy motorcycle dealer .

over 8 years ago


Gerald Ellis

I agree with the other comments, Why have ebay found a need to change something that worked. Searching is now far more complicated, & doing a simple local search is an headache.Before you just typed in what you wanted Now youi have to go through lists. TOTAL RUBBISH PUT IT BACK AS IT WAS SIMPLE

over 8 years ago



I can only agree with virtually every comment expressd already with regard to the rediculas new search. I too have been on Ebay for years selling and buying. Apart from hating all of the new look search, One of the things that really annoy`s me is why there is now a third of the screen is not used, i.e. a big blank gap either side of the search page. I`m am comming to the conclusion that Ebay are just bullshitting members these days in saying that changes and so called improvements are to suit members - CRAP!. I`m quite sure that changes are to suit Ebay and that the gap either side of the search page will be filled with corporate advertising before too long. Ebay, until you start getting members in droves complaining about how bad the current old search system is, LEAVE IT ALONE! WE LIKE IT JUST HOW IT IS!

about 8 years ago



WHAT HAVE THEY DONE ? have been using ebay for years.
Takes so long to find items I wish to by now just give up.
I've even given up selling .

What a cockup. The old system was excellent, with the opption to search for items in the TITLE or IN THE DESCRIPTION. The golden rule of selling is keep it simple and quick to find the item the buyer wants. Wonder what will happen now, profits are down and Ebay is loosing sellers and so loosing buyers.

The company must consider Who has made it what it is, Just to remind them its all of us ! and not the fools they employ.

Once carried out some service work in there office in the UK, you could sense the attitude of some staff there, Total disregard for ebay users who have made it what it was.

about 8 years ago


Gary Hicks

What a slow, dithering mess!

Bring back the classic search form and results listing. Ebay is making the process of finding items harder and adding unnecessary loading times and clicks to do so!

about 8 years ago



I hate the new search system! It's as though ebay thinks its buyers are too stupid to use normal search engines that we use everywhere else on the internet. Since ebay's new intelligent searches try to include or exclude everything ebay thinks the buyer might want, a smart searcher can no longer control what he/she sees. This is very frustrating for the experienced user!!!! Their changes insult our intelligence. Any smart company knows they should make their changes based on what their users want. This company always seems to make changes based on what it thinks will improve its own bottom line; then they tell the users the changes are being made as a favor to us. We're not that stupid! I wish Google would start an auction service!!!!

about 8 years ago


Philip Danaford-Knight

Graham Charlton,
Do you understand what good journalism is all about, or did you just cut and paste the crap that eBay PR department handed you?
Redeem yourself!
DO some research for yourself, then come back and tell the world what the new eBay search is really like.........

about 8 years ago


Mark Harris

UNBELIEVABLE!! Well, ebay have done it to us again. Do they not realise that the sellers are the ones who keep ebay's pockets lined?

I have been selling on ebay since 2004 with a rating of 18000+ and I am also VAT registered, at this time of year (Christmas approaching) I should be doing around 50+ sales per day, with the changes I am down to about 10 if I am lucky.

With the credit crunch here and Christmas around the corner I can not believe ebay and done this. The only thing they have done is given sellers a hugh kick up the backside to explore all other selling channels. BUT to do this to us at the start of the golden three months is completely unacceptable. I could go on about this all day but, chin up and crack on ... there's money to be made somewhere!

about 8 years ago


Senkun Musashi

Graham Charlton is a shill.

Econsultancy is an eBay whore.

This 'article' proves it.

End of story.

over 7 years ago


David Haskins

I have mainly bought and sold musical instruments over 4 or 5 years and the new "intelligent search" pops up suggesting I might like to buy china animal ornaments! I am stupified at the arrogance of this lot - I teach computer systems design and their behaviour over this matches that of...

Microsoft on just about everything... Apple on the MacBook Pro intermittently random keyboard...

Trouble is these corporates are so squirreled away in their little worlds thay really DO NOT KNOW OR CARE

over 7 years ago


Ex ebay buyer

I have used ebay as a buyer for over 11  years(feedback 700+, all positive), but no more. The new search is useless, and now the new My Ebay is the final straw. There are plenty of other options out there, that are easier to use and avoid shill bidding and dodgy sellers. 

over 7 years ago


James Dixon

Ebay is very great site to deal. I am regular custormer of ebay. Some ot the ebay tools really very helpfull just like this. http://www.varologic.com/eBay-Store-Management.aspx

over 7 years ago


Ed Joy

I have been a Ebay menber for ten years. The new search has caused all my searchs (cookies), of which I had around 200 to disapeared. All I needed to do was type a letter in the search box and a drop down list of searches begining with that letter would was listed for selection. This was a great time saver. All these are gone. What is wrong with these people? They are always trying to fix things that don't need fixing. GIVE US BACK THE OLD SEARCH SYSTEM...

over 7 years ago



The author of this article sounds like a NuLabour politician: 'We know best, you don't, and you will agree with us.  But if you don't, it doesn't matter, because that's what's happening.'

The discussion boards are full of frustrated and once-loyal users of Ebay.  Don't just post here, sign the petition, and WRITE TO EBAY.  There is a link asking for your opinion.  LET THEM HAVE IT.

I have written (several times over the period they have tried to foist this rubbish on us), and they haven't listened.  However, the groundswell of opinion and inevitable loss of revenue will mean they HAVE to listen.

Otherwise, some enterprising person might just set up a rival auction site - and guess what?  Ebay will be full of tumbleweed.

over 7 years ago


Ricardo Puertas

Used Ebay since 2000, seen a few changes in that time, until recently all for the good. However the latest round of tinkering is causing major grief. There is a very good adage, 'if it aint broke don't fix it'; obviously Ebay have never heard of that. I get a distinct impression the development was done by backroom staff using vertical typesetting monitors, if we all had these 90% of the new problems would be resolved; yet another example of geeks living in a different world from most members. Ebay is certainly not as much fun as it was, and my visits are far less frequent. I would often remain connected all day, now up to a week may pass before I login again. Perhaps I'm not alone in this, which is why so many sellers are complaining of lost business, the credit crunch could be to blame, but the lion's share is due to the appallingly designed new front end.

My biggest gripe is how information is displayed, its too large, Ebay suggested resizing my browser zoom - yep GREAT, except all other web sites are now minute!!! Whether its one's home page or search results, due to advertising pop-ups taking top priority there is now an incredible amount of unneccessary scrolling, pointing and clicking.

Vital columns of information in listings have disappeared which means more time wasted opening up individual auctions to see the info you need.

In the run up to this flawed rollout a search opt-out was available, this has been withdrawn. If Ebay were truly interested in their members needs they should have left the search opt-out in place and introduced a new opt-out for your home page. Opt-out statistics would quickly let them know which the majority of members preferred to use. PLEASE LET MEMBERS DECIDE ON DISPLAYS AND SEARCH METHODS - NOT EBAY!

over 7 years ago


E James

The new search is a nightmare for people with a visual impairment and/or a range of other disabilities, including epilepsy.

To use the new search page means having to scroll through a jumbled mass of jumping 'tick boxes' and irrelevant sections, all presented on an over-long and over-cluttered page.

Clear text is so simple to achieve, why on earth can't eBay understand that?!

over 7 years ago

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