There have been a lot of changes on Etsy lately, including some using a personalized approach, especially on the new home page. I have been expecting them to try to personalize search next. Is that what I am seeing tonight, or is this just a bug?
I did the exact same search - "abalone earrings" - in 3 different browsers. I had no filters or preferences turned on. Each search returned 4541 items from All Items.
But each result is in a slightly different order - see the 3 screenshots to the right. In 2 of the 3 examples, I am logged into one of my shops. In the third, I am not logged into Etsy at all. Each screenshot shows the top 3 rows of the 1st page of the search (I did not show the promoted listings).
Did the search on my netbook logged into my jewellery shop & got the exact same result as for my jewellery shop on my PC. But then I refreshed the PC version & got yet another shuffle. Also tried this on a phone (not using the app) & got 8 of the same 9 items (the missing pair of earrings was in the 10th slot on my phone).
I did this search a few weeks ago & got 2 different sets of results, 1 in 2 browsers on my PC, and 1 on my netbook & on an old iPhone, but those 2 different search results were quite a bit different from each other. Yes, there was some overlap, but not to this extent.
So, is this a test, a bug or a rollout? Given that refreshing gave me a slightly different version yet again, it might be a bug, or even a planned shuffling of results to see how users respond.
I posted about it here on the SEO team. Please let me know what you are seeing, either in that thread or in the comment section below.
UPDATE: this is now a permanent feature on Etsy, where you will see a slightly different sort, shuffling the rankings by 1-2 rows at most. There is no substantial difference in the sets of results.