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Relevance and Most Populer ! Does anyone know how these work.


Smokey Newman
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Does anyone know what relevance is and most populer in the market place. Seems to me the most populer only partially works and I have no idea about relevance, relevant to what ? I also eesomeone with new items from just a week ago going straight to the top of most populer something I doubt is right but the again they may know how Linden are working these statistics out.

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it´s broken, and has been ever since on the new marketplace.

also sort by best selling shows the best selling products at the end of the list, and the "no sellers" at the beginning. reversed order.

told LL a couple of times, but looks like they can´t fix it...

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Relevance to the search term used. Connected to tags, titles and terms used by merchants.

I would guess most popular begins with quantity sold, number of page views, ratings, comments, product delivery success percentages, searched by exact name with matching purchase.....

I could think of hundreds. 

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Recent sales is always part of it. In my "field," if I do a generic search, about half the items on page 1 have actually sold well, and the rest are there because they sold recently. They're all relevant, of course, because it's a niche market.

As for relevance, it searches the item name, keywords, avatar name, store name, all sorts. So a search for "Bunny" will give you rabbits, bunny outfits, things made by Bunny Foxdale (if one exists), bunny slippers, Playboy bunny items, all sorts. Tragically, it's still a mess even when you break it down sometimes. Like my searches for medieval outfits used to give me useful results on XS and now gives me a lot of Victorian lingerie or something.

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Relm Foxdale wrote:

Recent sales is always part of it. In my "field," if I do a generic search, about half the items on page 1 have actually sold well, and the rest are there because they sold recently. They're all relevant, of course, because it's a niche market.

As for relevance, it searches the item name, keywords, avatar name, store name, all sorts. So a search for "Bunny" will give you rabbits, bunny outfits, things made by Bunny Foxdale (if one exists), bunny slippers, Playboy bunny items, all sorts. Tragically, it's still a mess even when you break it down sometimes. Like my searches for medieval outfits used to give me useful results on XS and now gives me a lot of Victorian lingerie or something.

And that is what is a big part of why an effective RELEVANCE search is broken in SLM.  Not only is there likely a technical bug/limitation that LL cant wrap their heads around - the bigger issue is LL's understanding of what RELEVANCE means.  Sadly Relevance is actually a much more simple and straight forward type of search that LL (and even many merchants) believes it should be.

Search and Sort Order Results base on RELEVANCE should be purely focused on the query input that the shopper provided.

We all need to remember that the "SEARCH" that we are all complaining about is actually two parts and when we all complain about Search Relevance not working - we are actually only complaining about the 2nd of the two parts.  The two parts are - in order of how they are executed during a Shopper's query - 1) SEARCH & 2) SORT.

SEARCH = The function of finding all SLM Item listings that in any way match up to the query inputs provided by the shopper.  Based on the fields used to search and match the input to all items with ANY matching relevance - the initial bucket of results could be either to narrow (i.e. Merchant Name results not returned if Merchant field is not included in the search) or too broad (i.e. basically almost everything can be returned if fields like description are used).  As such, fields like MERCHANT NAME & STORE NAME should be inlcuded for search and DESCRIPTION must always be excluded from search.

Once the search function has filled the bucket, the next function is used to provide effective order to the massive bucket of results:

SORT = takes this huge bucket of results and sorts the results into an display order to the Shopper that is useful and best meets the Shopper's likely intent of what he/she was looking for.  In this function the function of WEIGHTING becomes critical.  And this wieghting can change depending on the kind of search that the Shopper asked for: i.e. Search by RELEVANCE vs Search by POPULARITY vs Search by Price.

For "Search By Relevance" the results must be sorted in a way that the listings with the strongest direct relationship to the query input are placed on the top of the search results. Why? because the shopper is asking for results that best fit his/her queried words and no other implied order (i.e. he/she is not looking for the most popular product - just the best functional fitting items). 

As such, for Relevance Search the fields of TITLE & KEYWORDS should have very heavy primary weightings on the order before any other field is considered in the sort.  Consider the other fields as minor sort order tie breakers (fields like FEATURES, MERCHANT NAME, and STORE NAME in that weighting order).  Remember that even though these tie breaking fields are minor weighted sort orders to the two major fields, it doesnt mean that when a shopper looked for TOYSOLDIER THOR that my items wont get to the top.  Why?  Because even though TOYSOLDIER THOR would not be found in mine or anyone else's TITLE or KEYWORD fields, the initial SEARCH function filled the bucket with all items that have my merchant name in the merchant field.  therefor during the sort ordering, when the two primary fields fail to sort any remaining listing with items of TOYSOLDIER THOR - it will have to then be sorted by the weighting of the minor fields.  In this sort my items will bubble up to the top (unless another merchant happens to have name in their title or keywords which I doubt).

Also, the intimacy of the Query input word or words or phrase to the item's words/phrases in these two fields fields is also a major factor to an effective Search Result.  The listings first displayed to the Shopper should be the ones where the Input phrases perfectly matched the phrases or words in the title and keywords fields.  First by perfect matches and then by phrase components (i.e. if I am searching for PURPLE PUMPKINS then listings that had PURPLE PUMPKINS as adjacent word phrases in these two fields should be on the top of the results - then any listings that had PURPL & PUMPKINS in the fields but not adjacent - then listings that only had one of the two words in the phrase bu not both).  If the phrase was found in both the title and kewords - that should also be added to the listing being a first page result.

There is always a lot of debate on whether more popular items should be on top and of more importance over non popular selling items.  I will say with extreme passion that POPULARITY OF AN ITEM MUST NOT BE A FACTOR FOR SEARCH/SORT BY RELEVANCE.  There is a search by popularity already created and that shoppers can use for this kind of search.  Search by Relevance is meant for shoppers looking for the items that best fit their function need - NOT WHICH IS MOST POPULAR. 

Niche products that do not sell well would not be presented fairly to a shopper that was actually looking for that "brown cow that clucks like a chicken".  They dont want any cow nor a farm animal item that happens to sell very well.  They want the niche item they asked for and they want it presented to them FIRST before all farm animals.

If this kind of logic were considered in SLM's search/sort service, then the results would be fair.  But sadly I dont think LL will ever grasp these concepts PLUS LL Commerce Team has historically always catered to pushing items that are already popular.  They really have never placed much effort in helping the smaller merchant who doesnt have good item sales yet.  I believe its more because the large established merchants of SLM have had a private say into the LL Product/Service development and search has been aligned to promoting big sellers.

There - off my TOYBOX now...

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The problem existed before the new maturity ratings--the old general/adult system was always there, of course, even on XS.

I don't pretend to be an expert on relevance or sorting systems. Not even an amateur. All I know is that if I did a search for something on XS, I got meaningful results.

Let me ask a question directed at the relevance/sorting gurus, though: Should terms without quotes default to what would be results for the quoted term? In other words, if I search for "bunny shoes," without quotes, should it default to giving me, well...shoes shaped like bunny rabbits, shoes with rabbit ears attached, whatever? And then after it's done with those, give me the rest (shoes and bunnies)? Because it's not doing that.

I did a search for "medieval store" on the SLM (without quotes), and these are the results, in order (left to right and down): an outfit, a railing kit, a mansion (twice), cobblestone textures, castle wall parts, a house/store (!), some sort of real estate thing (three times), an outfit (different version of the first), and roof textures.

Now, with quotes, I get actual medieval buildings. But to be blunt, I'm a lazy person and hardly ever use quotes unless I'm searching a potentially obscure term that I know the engine will louse up. Like recently, one that it kept defauting to a "corrected" spelling when that's not what I wanted, as it's a particular thing in D&D. And I assume I developed this laziness because most search engines treat the words as if they were meant to be together.

Sorting is another issue, yes. Part of me just can't complain about the recent sales bump, as I suddenly get all these sales of something because one person bought it. But the tendency to put cheap junk at the top is a real problem that hurts the merchants and the customers.

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Relm, if you search for red shoes you get everything red and every shoe.

Now, about a year ago Xstreet got itself fixed so that 2/3 of the search terms had to be present for an item to appear in the search results -- thus both red and shoe would have to appear in an items keywords.

But with the forced migration to MP, that crucial bit of progress (and so much more) went out the window.

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Relm Foxdale wrote:

Let me ask a question directed at the relevance/sorting gurus, though: 

 

I can answer from a non-guru perspective .. but I think it's a relevant answer anyway *cheeky grin*

I'm standing in the kitchen, the wife is in the dining room setting the table. She calls out to me "Hon, would you bring me the salad forks please?"

What do you think her reaction would be if I came trundling in with lettuce, tomatoes, bean sprouts, Ranch dressing, BBQ tongs, tuning forks and ... salad forks? And why would I bring all those things? Because "salad" is found in the description of some of those things .. and "forks" is found in the descriptions of the rest.

But is that what she wanted?? Oh heck no!

So why does the Search Engine on Marketplace bring all those irrelevant things up? One word ... Lucene.

(For those proponents of Lucene that swear it is the greatest search engine since the dawn of time .. explain to me why there is no built-in method for prioritizing phrase searches above single word searches ... and do so in less than a Master's Thesis please.)

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