Meet the Finding API: Arming Your Site with eBay’s Next Generation Search Technology

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In the introduction to this series, Meet the eBay APIs: Seamless Integration for Scalable Earning, we briefly previewed the 4 core APIs for eBay partners- the Finding, Shopping, Merchandising and Buy APIs. Here, we’ll dive deeper into the first - and perhaps one of the most widely used - API that our partners favor: The Finding API.

Used by a diverse range of partners, from deal promoters to downloadable tools and shopping comparison sites, the Finding API is powered by eBay’s own next generation search technology. Upon integration, you’ll have programmatic access to useful metadata that will help you create a hyper-relevant retail experience for your shoppers.

The Finding API is most useful for partners who want to enable their visitors to find the perfect listing on eBay without leaving their website.

■     Search for items based on a keyword or in a specific product

■     Browse through items in a specific category or in an eBay store

■     Filter their results by listing details, such as price, condition, listing type, and more

■     Refine searches by the characteristics of an item (i.e., aspects), such as brand, style, size or color

■     View category and aspect metadata

■     Get keyword recommendations to improve search results

For example, on CollectorsWeekly.com, users can search in major and sub-categories, such as Design > Fine Art > Media > Paintings.

"Thanks to the Finding API,” adds Collectors Weekly’s General Manager Ben Marks, “our users can also sort eBay auctions by Highest Bid, Ending Soonest, and even Most Watched."

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And when your users are looking for something super specific, they’ll be able to find it quickly on your site. Just like on user-friendly search engines, the search functionality within the Finding API utilizes a keywords field to build a query. By entering two or three descriptive words about the product they are looking for, your shoppers will simply be able to see the products that are the closest matches. Similar to our advanced search criteria on ebay.com, your visitors will be able to narrow their searches in a variety of ways.

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Sometimes, of course, users aren't sure what they're looking for, or they just want to window-shop and scroll through items. With the findItemsByCategory call, users can browse items in specific categories. With findItemsIneBayStores, they can browse items by eBay store.

The full list of calls for this API include:

●      findItemsByKeywords: Finds items based on keywords.

●      findItemsByCategory: Finds items in a specific category or a list of categories.

●      findItemsAdvanced: Finds items by a keywords and/or a category.  Optionally, you can have keyword queries that search the item descriptions, in addition to searching the item title and subtitles.

●      findItemsByProduct: Finds items based upon a product ID, such as an ISBN, UPC, EAN, or ePID.

●      findItemsIneBayStores: Finds all the items in a specific eBay store or can use keywords to search for items in a specific store.

For all the calls listed above, you can refine the results by eBay site, item fields, and aspect filters. You can also add seller, store, unit price, etc, as well as sort and paginate the results.

●      getHistograms: Retrieves category and/or aspect histogram information for the specified category.

●      getSearchKeywordsRecommendation: Finds the most commonly used words on eBay with respect to the keywords.

●      findCompletedItems: Finds items whose listings are completed and are no longer available for sale by a keyword query and/or category.

Before you can try any APIs, you’ll need to join the eBay Developer community, which includes over 360,000 members from 190 countries and counting. Membership is free, and you can use virtually any programming language to interface with eBay.

If you’d like to discuss further with a member of the eBay Partnerships team before joining eBay Developers, email us at AskEPN@ebay.com

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