What eBay’s Artificial Intelligence Says About The Challenges Of Marketplace Big Data

eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) has announced in several of its recent stockholder reports (e.g., here, here and here) that it is investing heavily in artificial intelligence technology for understanding related products, which it calls its Structured Data Initiative. The basic idea is simple: When two people (or 2,000 people, or 2 million people) use eBay to sell the same thing, each in different condition and each with minor variations, eBay wants to know that they are the same product or related products. Until now, however, eBay and other marketplace sites have struggled with having identical or related products given very different names and descriptions by different sellers. This is inherent to marketplace sites – while retailers have precise names and product codes for each product, people that are selling their old things…


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