eBay’s Dilemma

Ebay feedback changes
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From May 2008 eBay sellers will no longer be able to give negative feedback about buyers. The change is intended to eliminate retaliatory feedback. Some sellers delay giving feedback until they have seen how the buyer has rated them. If the buyer is negative they respond in kind, then offer mutual feedback withdrawal to protect the reputations of both parties.

eBay - The Chatter

eBay – The Chatter via kwout

In the new system sellers will be unable to give negative feedback about buyers, though they may still optionally give positive feedback. As a balancing protection eBay will suspend buyers who use the threat of negative feedback to extort changes in agreed conditions.

Upcoming Changes to Feedback

Upcoming Changes to Feedback via kwout

The aim is to improve buyer trust and confidence. With the fear of retaliatory negative feedback removed, eBay believes that buyers will be more honest and open in their rating and commenting. Consequently the best performing sellers will be able to distinguish themselves.

eBay Feedback Profile for colourmartuk

eBay Feedback Profile for colourmartuk via kwout

At the top end of the performance range, it is difficult to see how a store like Colourmart could improve it’s near perfect, and wholly genuine, feedback score. Colourmart is a UK cashmere supplier that combines superb quality, low prices and excellent customer service. Their quality of service can be seen not just in their eBay statistics but also in their Yahoo Group discussions.

While Colourmart’s score could not become more perfect, others may fall further behind. Whether or not an individual supplier has been intentionally gaming the system, any delay in giving feedback after payment can look like a veiled threat to a buyer, resulting in false positive feedback or the absence of negative feedback. With that perception removed eBay’s change should result in a broader spread of feedback scores. Whether the desired results are achieved will become apparent after the introduction of the new system in May.

Meanwhile, with the opening up of the social graph it is now possible to manage and monitor reputations outside of mainstream auction and merchant sites. Rapleaf, for example, collects positive, neutral and negative ratings from buyers, sellers, swappers and friends; making the ratings available through their website, or through buttons that you can embed in your own sites and profiles – though not on eBay where RapLeaf is banned.

Rapleaf: Better World Books

Rapleaf: Better World Books via kwout

Some eBay sellers may rebel and adopt an alternative rating services. Alexa statistics show that RapLeaf has experienced a noticeable increase in page views following eBay’s announcement.

While any system can be gamed, it’s the processes and networks within and around the system that limit the extent of the abuse. At the moment eBay’s feedback system looks more like a round of Prisoner’s Dilemma than a rating tool.

2 thoughts on “eBay’s Dilemma

  1. Anonymous

    I have been reading a lot about e-bay sellers going on strike through out weeks of February. I believe that in addition to this, that e-bay sellers should also start instituting changes to the way they handle business.

    For example: E-bay “encourages” buyers to contact sellers prior to purchase. This is not enforced and certainly all questions would be answered as the Seller would then perhaps actually put hands-on to the item in question to best answer. For myself, as a small seller, I would like to TURN AWAY customer’s who do not contact me first. Having them contact me first would ensure that if they were not satisfied with what they have received that they would also then contact me again prior to leaving any form of negative feedback for customer satisfaction resolution.

    When a person writes to you, you are then able to click on their feedback to see if they have negative’s on THEIR feedback ratings; at which point in time you can also turn them away and / or add them to your blocked listings.

    MONEY: Should PayPal deem that money is to be held for a certain amount of time for any buyers, that is when the transaction would go to dispute resolution by Seller in that if PayPal and E-bay feel this would be a risky transaction, I should also, with the transaction being STOPPED and the money refunded; which PayPal would have to do if the Transaction is no longer in play.

    It would not be enough to boycott or strike at e-bay if we too, are not putting PayPal in their place. In the past six months I have had money held by PayPal for clients who have a PayPal account but do not have more than one back up resource such as a credit card to back up the money which is within their bank. When I contacted PayPal about holding these money’s they gave me the above definition. So a person who actually has money in their personal off-line bank makes a payment of cash which PayPal HOLDS for 7 days prior to releasing because that person does not have a credit card also on file. In these days of recessive economics; what person wants a credit card? Lets put PayPal to the same task that we are putting e-bay to and hold them accountable.

    I believe that there are other ways we can unite to protect ourselves as sellers from the viscious attacks of buyers who know that if they can complain simply to get a partial refund or an additional item. In as much, the seller then becomes enslaved to the stroke of the Buyer’s whim.

    I would like to see an open forum of suggestions towards this end, that would inspire Sellers to Unite in way’s that would follow as well as create POLICY & STANDARDS that better protect us within our online existence.

  2. WandaLou

    I have been reading a lot about e-bay sellers going on strike through out weeks of February. I believe that in addition to this, that e-bay sellers should also start instituting changes to the way they handle business.

    For example: E-bay “encourages” buyers to contact sellers prior to purchase. This is not enforced and certainly all questions would be answered as the Seller would then perhaps actually put hands-on to the item in question to best answer. For myself, as a small seller, I would like to TURN AWAY customer’s who do not contact me first. Having them contact me first would ensure that if they were not satisfied with what they have received that they would also then contact me again prior to leaving any form of negative feedback for customer satisfaction resolution.

    When a person writes to you, you are then able to click on their feedback to see if they have negative’s on THEIR feedback ratings; at which point in time you can also turn them away and / or add them to your blocked listings.

    MONEY: Should PayPal deem that money is to be held for a certain amount of time for any buyers, that is when the transaction would go to dispute resolution by Seller in that if PayPal and E-bay feel this would be a risky transaction, I should also, with the transaction being STOPPED and the money refunded; which PayPal would have to do if the Transaction is no longer in play.

    It would not be enough to boycott or strike at e-bay if we too, are not putting PayPal in their place. In the past six months I have had money held by PayPal for clients who have a PayPal account but do not have more than one back up resource such as a credit card to back up the money which is within their bank. When I contacted PayPal about holding these money’s they gave me the above definition. So a person who actually has money in their personal off-line bank makes a payment of cash which PayPal HOLDS for 7 days prior to releasing because that person does not have a credit card also on file. In these days of recessive economics; what person wants a credit card? Lets put PayPal to the same task that we are putting e-bay to and hold them accountable.

    I believe that there are other ways we can unite to protect ourselves as sellers from the viscious attacks of buyers who know that if they can complain simply to get a partial refund or an additional item. In as much, the seller then becomes enslaved to the stroke of the Buyer’s whim.

    I would like to see an open forum of suggestions towards this end, that would inspire Sellers to Unite in way’s that would follow as well as create POLICY & STANDARDS that better protect us within our online existence.

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