Why is TPT not working?

This post is written in November 2022 and it’s relevant regarding some changes that have happened during the last two months.

There are two changes that may lead to a feeling that TPT is not working and the first one is related to the search and the other with ads connected with free products.

TPT’s search algorithm change

The search in Teachers Pay Teachers used to work so that everyone doing exactly the same search (same search term and parameters) got the same results. Now it’s starting to show personalised results. That is the big picture.

A brief history and background

During this process, I would say in September-October 2022, there have been times when many people haven’t been able to find what they are looking for. By this I mean that the search returned more or less irrelevant resources. That is most likely a hiccup that is due the massive change.

All buyers have not been introduced the personalised search at the same time. So, from your point of view it’s possible that one day the search have been working  and other day it doesn’t work. And maybe there is or will be a third day when it’s working, although maybe bit differently than the day one. I’m sure much of this information can be found somewhere on TPT’s vast net site, but you can also find about it from a smaller company That is the company that has architectured the change. is mentioning the soon to be published case study of TPT search change on their front page, so they are surely involved. Maybe the case study is ready when you read this.

What to expect in the near future?

Until the change is finally complete, some people might still see the traditional search results. I don’t think there is a way to know beforehand when this is exactly complete. But I’m slightly hopeful that after this people are able to find a better mixture of results, something old and bestselling and something new and fresh.

Can you opt out from the personalised search?

If you are a seller, can you opt out from this? No you can’t, because the search is from buyers point of view, and each buyer will be shown only one set of results and no single seller can affect that. (Theoretically even if the buyer had options about the search, they would still be the buyer’s choices, not the sellers.) The bad side of this for sellers is that you can’t test where your product ranks with certain search phrases, but I guess that’s just how the world goes round these days.

Third party ads

Another recent change causing issues are the adverts that TPT has been placing to free products for some buyers/downloaders. There are couple ways this harms the experience:

  1. You may have to click to close the ads several times before you can move on with the resource. This is of course astronomically annoying. This is not happening to all buyers/downloaders now, but it’s possible that it will in the future.
  2. Some sellers have been deactivating their free products to avoid their products being used for third party ads. This will naturally lead to situations where you have a link to resources which are not there any more.

What do we get from all this? I don’t guarantee these are the only reasons somebody can run into problems with tpt websites, but there are surely some causes you may have experienced. I believe the personalised search will get better over time. What it comes to the ads, I surely hope they will come up with some better way to gain some marketing dollars than this current system.

What kind of problems have you had lately or is everything running smoothly? Let me know in the comments!

By thebrigh

Hi! My name is Jenni and I used to be a math teacher in Finland. I have a master's degree in math and also studies in computer science and pedagogy. Talented students are close to my heart, hence the name of the site. But I also might write about other stuff.

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