3 August 2007

eBay’s Meg Whitman on improving the finding and auction experience

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Meg Whitman, President and CEO of eBay, said during her Q2 analyst conference call that “making improvements to the user experience is one of our main strategic priorities.”

“As you have correctly pointed out, making improvements to the user experience is one of our main strategic priorities. Let me tell you about a few of them.

First is to improve the finding experience, what we call finding 2.0. You can see that we have actually done some work in something we call DefMatch, which is in fact a relevant and algorithmic search engine that actually, based on your prior searches on eBay and what we know about other people who search for those same items, we think we can get you to the items that you’re looking for faster and better.

You might recall in the old age of eBay, you’d do a search for Madonna and you’d get 20,000 items, everything from T-shirts to books. Now we’re able to get you there much faster. So the first bucket would be finding.

The second would be making the auction experience even more fun. The first is something we call Bid Assistance, which is really great. We heard from a lot of buyers that they were scared to bid on more than one item because God forbid you won five iPods instead of the one that you really wanted. So we have created something called Bid Assistance that allows you to bid on multiple items. We manage that bidding for you, and you will not win more than one item. That actually has come across with great results.

We have something called eBay Countdown, which actually visualizes the fun of the end of the auction with avatars and showing the race towards the end. We’ve got Feedback 2.0, which is launched and expanded now in virtually every country. We’ve got a new homepage layout coming. We have also increased customer support for both buyers and sellers. Also, by the end of the year, we will have a 360-degree view of the customer, so that if you are a PayPal customer and you have issues around your eBay account, we can help you on that same phone call or same chat as opposed to having to transfer you between centers.

Those are probably the highlights. I would direct you to something called www.playground.ebay.com, where we have a really fun site for users to test a number of the new products that we’re launching and provide feedback.”

(via Alex Kurtland’s Usable Markets and Victor Lombardi’s Noise Between Stations)

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