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Making Search better though experiments

May 18, 2011

by hirefrank

Etsy’s mission is to enable people to make a living by making things, and to connect makers with buyers. With 8.9 million listed items, search plays an important role in realizing this goal.

That being said, search needs to improve. You’ve told us as much in the forums and with your clicks.

In order to make search better, we have to make changes. Every so often, we test new ways of searching on Etsy with a small number of people at random. If you see something different in search right now, it might because you are in an experiment. Given their nature, we don't announce these tests and we can't help you get into them either — doing so could skew our data.

Simply put: There is no better way to help us evaluate these changes than by testing them with actual Etsy visitors and members. This allows us to gather data and learn the impact of the change. Testing new approaches is a fairly common practice online and is used regularly by Google, Yahoo and Facebook.

Just because something launches as an experiment does not mean it will launch to everyone. Actually — given their nature — most will not. But all of the experiments are successful because they allow us to learn more about how people use Etsy. And in learning more about how people use Etsy search, we can improve it.

Again, search is not a solved problem for Etsy or anyone else. Tweaks and improvements to search will continue to happen. We’re trying to keep the ride as smooth as we can while still getting somewhere better quickly. Please bear with us while we work on this, and we’ll try to keep you all as well informed as we can.

Thanks,Frank & The Search Team