You can search online for “advanced search” or “boolean search” and see all kinds of ways to improve search functions. You will find there are a lot of conventions and similarities across many of them. Most all marketplaces allow for some sort of advanced search. Most work well enough and certainly work better than how searching on GameFlip works today. eBay seems to have an effective advanced search implementation that I use regularly to narrow searches to include exactly what I am looking for.
Below are some examples of searches gone wrong and some suggested ways to make them work better
Example #1 a Game Search:
Searching for the Steam game “Dungeons of Doom” produces pages after pages of results. None are for the game titled “Dungeons of Doom”. Though there is a game called “Deep Dungeons of Doom” that comes up in the search.
What I would like to do is search for a game titled “Dungeons of Doom” with no other results showing items that include just the word Dungeons, or just the word Doom, in the title or elsewhere in the listing. Also I would like the words arranged in a specific order so that the 3 words would not be scattered about the listing. In addition, it would be nice to exclude items with the word Deep in the title. A fairly standard way of doing this is to enclose the exact search term in quotes and preface the terms to be excluded with the word NOT (all caps) or just a minus sign.
A standard way to express a more exacting search would be: “dungeons of doom” -deep
Example #2 a Followed Search for a Movie:
I just received a notification for a search I am following that did not produce a result that included the title of interest. I had set up a saved search for the movie “The Road Within” and I got a notification for “Mad Max: Fury Road” several days later. The words “the” and “within” show up in the movie’s description and thus formed a match. This sort of thing happens a lot and is particularly frustrating when I have dozens of searches saved or “followed” as GameFlip calls it.
In this example it would be nice to search only the item title or better yet, the title and the release date. So, I would expect to see a choice of areas within the Movies category for which to apply my search. (e.g. Title, Release Date, Description, Comments,…) with a check box next to each one.
A typical way to express such a search would be: “the road within” 2014
[then I would tick the boxes next to the options Title and Release Date so that there would be a positive match if both terms showed up in only the item Title or the Release Date. Therefore, if the item title in the listing was: “The Road Within Director’s Cut (2014)”, it would register a match, even if the information in the date field was incorrect or wasn’t populated.
Another approach would be to call out the sections to be considered in each respective part of the search terms. The drawback of this approach would be, if the info is spread across different sections of the listing, no match would be found.
An example of such a search would be: TITLE:“the road within”, DATE:2014
I hope these examples help to clarify the problem and potential solutions. But, quite honestly any form of advanced search that includes exact match options would be better than what exists today. So, there isn’t necessarily a right or wrong way to implement it. If the exact search conditions only applied to saved searches being “followed”, it would be a huge step in the right direction.
On the issue of stuffing listings with key words: This sort of practice simply isn’t allowed in most online marketplaces. It would be up to the user community to report such listings and for GameFlip to suspend any blatant violators. This should stop the problem very quickly. Once people know the policies will be enforced they will abide by them.