TAOBAO: Guide To Searching


  • Google Translate: Text on the page
  • Google Translate: Text in images using the phone app
  • Google Translate: Creating bespoke search terms
  • Taobao: Reverse image search
  • Taobao: ‘Get the same’ and ‘Find similar’
  • Putting it in practice
  • Beyond Taobao


Google Translate basic – text on page

You can use the google translate button in Chrome (I suggest turning on auto translate if you are a rep whore).  It is on the right hand side of Chrome’s address bar:



Google translate text on images

If an image contains text that you need to translate, you can do so using the Google Translate app on your phone.  It is available for Android and Apple.  It allows you to take a photo of the image and then the app will convert that to text (and translate it for you).  Very useful.


Google translate advanced

Don’t be afraid to create your own ‘bespoke’ search terms.  If you are looking for orange sweatpants, you can translate ‘orange sweatpants’ from English to Chinese and search for it on taobao.  To do this, simply use Google Translate.  Be aware that some reps use the actual brand name in the listings (Vetements being a good example of this).  In this case you would want to translate the piece of clothing you are looking for, e.g. to search for ‘Vetements purple hoodie’ you would want to search for ‘Vetements 紫色连帽衫 ’, also consider the common acronyms for brands, e.g. Givenchy can be found with ‘GVC’.  In the future I will make a post with acronyms used for designer brands.


Taobao reverse image search

This is a popular way to find listings of products you want using an image.  You find a stock picture of the item you want, and use the reverse image search feature on Taobao to find listings that either contain the same image, or similar ones.  Note: reverse image search is only available on the Chinese Mainland version of taobao.  You can change to this version from the homepage:



Once on Chinese Mainland, you can use the image search by pressing the camera icon on the right side of the search bar:



While the taobao reverse image search seems simple in practice, it’s a bit more complex, and works differently to google’s reverse image search.  To use it effectively it’s worth knowing the following:

Google’s reverse image search (AFAIK) is quite crude in the sense that it’s taking the whole image, and looking for similarities.  The taobao image search is different – it’s looking for an article of clothing in the image, cropping to that area, and THEN searching.  You can see this in practice if you do a taobao reverse image search, and then press the ‘Marquee body’ button:



You will see that the background of the image has been cropped out, so that only the shirt is selected.  This selected region is what Taobao will search for, and you can change this crop region in the open window:



There are also more features available to help you filter the results:



These obviously pertain to the type of clothing it is, i.e. a coat, underwear etc.  Sometimes these will replace eachother e.g. instead of ‘coat’ it may say ‘shirt’ depending on what the image search has assumed it to be.

Clicking on one of these buttons will change the crop regions of my original picture, and change the search results accordingly.  This particular picture is a bad example but you can see that the crop region has changed after I’ve switched to ‘accessories’:



This will override any alteration you’ve previously made to the crop region, so if you click one of these buttons, remember you will have to manually set the crop region again.  I don’t know if the buttons help categorise the search results (e.g. the seller has listed an item as ‘toys’ and by pressing the button ‘toys’ in your image search you are more likely to see toys in the result, or whether it’s purely looking at the image).

Google reverse image search can be useful to search for Korean stores and bunjang listings, but that’s a guide for another day.

Note: you will notice that sellers use images of celebrities wearing the clothing sometimes (e.g. Kanye wearing the bomber you are looking for).  These images can also be useful to search with.


‘Get the same’ and ‘Find Similar’

There is a big fucking reason why these will help you a lot.  The Taobao reverse image search won’t show you 10 stores that have the same listing (for different prices).  If Taobao detects that the 10 stores are selling the same item, they will show you just one.  How do you find out what the other 9 stores are, and their pricing?  You can use the ‘Get the same’ feature

Using the search listings can be very powerful as it gives you the option to either ‘Get the same’ product or ‘Find similar’ products.  You can find these options by hovering your cursor over the picture of a listing:



Get the same will take you to a list of the same product, from different sellers.  I’m not sure how Taobao creates these lists yet:


Find similar simply shows you products that Taobao deems similar to the one you selected.  This can be great for finding new stuff.


NOTE: ‘Get the same’ and ‘Find similar’ are NOT available in the reverse image search results.  In order to use them it has to be done from a generic search.  But how do you find the results of the image search in the regular search?  Here’s how:

Choose the listing you want to ‘Get the same’ for, open the page:


Without translating to English, copy the Chinese title of the listing:



Search for that listing on taobao, and find the thumbnail of the listing:


(Note: this time it was the only result, which is helpful.  Sometimes it will be several and some times you won’t find the listing at all.  In that case, try removing some of the words and trying again)


Hover over the listing and press ‘Get the same’ in the usual way:



In this case, I found 2 other options for a total of 3:



Find cached listings for dead links on DDB aka Superbuy

In your time spent hunting for products, you may find a link some dead links you would like to check out.  Fortunately, Superbuy (formerly DotDotBuy?) has access to cached links of listings.  You won’t be able to purchase these (as they’ll be out of stock) but you can still view the old listing, and perhaps take the pictures and/or the name of the listing and reverse search with them to find active listings.


Putting it all in practice

Example Situation 1

You are looking for a jacket.  Someone shared a link for a good one, but it was a long time ago and the link is dead.  What can you do?

-First, I would put the link in Superbuy and  see if there is a cached page of the old listing.

-Hopefully there is, and we can scour it for stuff to search with: images, the title of the listing, or the store that was selling it

-Reverse image search using the pictures from the dead listing

-Get the name of the store (Chinese version) and do a search for it on taobao.  Make sure of the ‘find similar’ option if you get something close

-Talk to the seller of the dead listing on aliwangwang, see if he’s got more stock or knows where to get it

-Make a [W2C] thread with your progress so far and pray to the rep gods for assistance


Example situation 2

You like a jacket and you want to see if you can get it on taobao.  You go on google images and grab some commonly used stock pictures of the product (ideally the official stock images as they are the most likely to be used)

-You do a reverse image search on taobao and you find some active listings, but they are too expensive

-Go to the listing page and copy the (chinese) title of the listing, search for that in taobao

-Find the thumbnail of the expensive listing you were just looking at, but this time use ‘Get the same’ or ‘Find similar’

-Hopefully this will get you some cheaper options, and show you all of the stores selling that specific item


Beyond Taobao

OK so you’ve done all the above and still not found decent reps.  But you aren’t ready to give up (lol), time to venture deeper into the rep dungeon:

Korean stores (list the major players, where to get more)

Yupoo – what it is and the search feature

Alt sites: Ali, Dhgate, 1688, google reverse image search results (and how google rev image is a lot better)




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