Will Image Search Become a Thing on eBay with Its Acquisition of Corrigon?
There has always been a ton of stuff to search for on eBay. Now it looks like there will be coming a new way to search, by image. Image searching is something people have been doing via Google's search for a while now when they have an item that they can't find by searching on words describing it. If you have a "whatzit," as the Kovels used to call it, or a thing that you don't know what it is, you could plop the image into the Google search and select "images."
In the announcement of the acquisition, eBay said, "eBay has signed an agreement to acquire Corrigon Ltd., a pioneer of visual search technologies. Corrigon helps identify objects within an image, matching both visual and textual elements to ensure that the image is recognized, correctly classified and best-matched to its corresponding product. With more than one billion live listings on eBay’s platform, Corrigon's expertise and technology will help match the best images to their products so that shoppers can be confident that what they buy is exactly what they see."
And, "As we continue to evolve the eBay shopping experience, Corrigon's technology and expertise will help buyers find the best results when shopping on eBay through experiences that were not possible a year ago, before our investments in structured data,” said Amit Menipaz, Vice President and General Manager of Structured Data at eBay. “Corrigon represents eBay’s third acquisition in the structured data space this year, further underscoring our commitment to powering deeper inventory insights for our sellers and compelling new user experiences for our buyers.”
Sometimes words alone cannot describe a thing adequately, and that's where image search comes in. There also may be some subtle differences between, say, one type of antique sword and another, and that's where the image search technology could come in to help someone find just the item they are looking for,
I have sometimes advised friends to do an image search on Google if they are not sure what that item they picked up at an estate sale is. What do you think the acquisition of Corrigon and its move into visual search will mean for you as a shopper? Or even as a seller? Is it something you anticipate using? Post a comment here!
What Could Be Better About EBay Search?
Do different shoppers get the same results when conducting identical searches? Not according to this article in EcommerceBytes, where they conducted a test with multiple shoppers entering the exact same search words.
For example, one set of searches entered the term "black cocktail dress," and these are the results they got:
Black Cocktail Dress:
63%: 453,000 listings (+/-2000 listings)
21%: 363,000 listings (+/-1000 listings)
8%: 376,000 listings (+/-1000 listings)
4%: 472,000 listings (+/-1000 listings)
4%: International participants
Other search terms with inconsistent numbers of results included "Diaper Bag," "Tackle Box," and "Star Wars Figure."
You can see the results on the EcommerceBytes Blog post. It also explains the methodology and numbers of people who participated in the study.
The question here is why would a search using Best Match bring back different numbers of results for different people? Is eBay somehow tailoring the search results people see based on their past buyer behavior?
One other thing that troubles me about eBay search is that they got rid of the use of the asterisk, which I found very helpful in conducting searches. Anybody else with me in wishing eBay would bring back the asterisk for search? Post a comment here!
What other changes would you like to see made to how eBay search works, or are you fine with it as it is?