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Wed Jan 25 2012 15:59:07

Using Google to View Private Feedback on eBay

By: Ina Steiner

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Dear Ina,
It's been my experience that most eBay Buyers who have "private" (hidden) feedback are likely to be problem customers.

Indeed, there are valid reasons that a Buyer would want to hide their feedback (probably for privacy regarding the nature of items they had purchased). However, the most likely reason to for a Buyer to hide feedback is because they have a history of being unreasonable, irrational, demanding, hostile, and/or threatening customers who leave a lot of negative or neutral feedback.

I agree that I'm making a generalization about Buyers that isn't always true... and it's probably not fair of me to make such broad-brush assumptions. Unfortunately, Buyers who are habitually problematic are not merely annoying... they are expensive and risky!

Wouldn't it be nice if there was a way to for Sellers to peek through the veil and get a good idea of the type of feedback that the Buyer is leaving for others?

Well... Google to the rescue! As long as a Seller know the proper way to construct a Google search query...then the Buyer's "hidden" feedback comments can be coaxed-out of the Google search results.

Even if a Buyer has decided to hide feedback on their own Profile Page...they cannot hide the feedback that IS STILL VISIBLE on the profile pages of ALL the Sellers they've dealt with. The Buyer's feedback history is out there... but it's scattered throughout the publicly visible feedback pages of many different Sellers.

The following Google query will help to put everything together so that you can get a good idea of what the Buyer is trying to hide.

site:feedback.ebay.com "Member id UserIDgoesHere (private)"

A few notes:

1) Enter the search query exactly as shown (including the quote marks) and replace the sample UserID with the one you want to research.

2) On the results page, Google will give you a link/s to a Seller's feedback page... but the link may be a few days old and the page numbers may have shifted. The actual feedback comment you're searching for may have been pushed further down the list, and you may need to page-through to find its new location.

3) It's not a perfect solution, and the Google results may be incomplete. But even if it's only partial data, it gives Sellers a sample of the type of behavior that the Buyer is hiding from view.

4) I've only tested this on eBay.com... but it may also work on non-US eBay sites.

Just a reminder...you're not breaking eBay rules, and you're not breaking-in to someone's hidden profile page. Instead, you are collecting together the PUBLIC feedback comments from many different Sellers.

The more you know, the easier it is for Sellers make good business decisions about the type of Buyer they want to deal with. And it's entirely possible that a Seller may discover that the Buyer is reasonable, and any suspicions were unjustified.

Sincerely,
A Loyal Reader




Comments (12) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Using Google to View Private Feedback on eBay   Using Google to View Private Feedback on eBay

by: Willie This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 25 16:18:49 2012

Your letter was interesting BUT sellers can not leave any feedback now except positive.  Buyers with negative have long since changed their ID.  I have had numerous deadbeats since ebay changed their feedback policy, but can not leave negative to warn others.

Using Google to View Private Feedback on eBay   Using Google to View Private Feedback on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Wed Jan 25 17:30:15 2012

Willie says: ''Your letter was interesting BUT sellers can not leave any feedback now except positive ...  but can not leave negative to warn others.

That's true! But the OP is describing an ALTERNATE WAY to find out what type of person the buyer is.

If buyers can only receive positive feeback, you need to examine other clues to find out what type of person they are.

So, if you use the OP's method to review the type of feedback that they LEAVE for sellers, then you get an idea if they are a reasonable person or a chronic complainer.

Using Google to View Private Feedback on eBay   Using Google to View Private Feedback on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: silent anarchy

Wed Jan 25 17:38:48 2012

Wouldnt matter much to me, people only have hidden feedback if they have something to HIDE.

Using Google to View Private Feedback on eBay   Using Google to View Private Feedback on eBay

by: BetterThingsToDo This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 25 19:07:43 2012

Easier to just block them and move on. Don't have the time to wander the net for information that may or may not be important.

If they want to keep their feedback private that is their right but it is also my right to block them.

Using Google to View Private Feedback on eBay   Using Google to View Private Feedback on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Wed Jan 25 19:23:52 2012

“eBay prepared a guide for its sellers on "social media selling," advising them on how to use social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogs to promote their eBay listings. "Stories abound of how messages (on social media sites) have been propagated out to hundreds of thousands of people in just hours," according to the guide.”

http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/cab/abn/y12/m01/i25/s01

Here is eBay explaining to its long suffering sellers how they (the sellers) should use social media to promote eBay’s Marketplace. In all the circumstances, if it was not so desperately pathetic it would be funny. This really is just one more demonstration of eBay in its final death throws. Needless to say, none of this “advice” would have been necessary before the cretinous Ho got hold of the tiller.

And remember, Donahoe did his “apprenticeship” with the same firm of corporate wreckers as Mittless Romney—now that is frightening …

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

Using Google to View Private Feedback on eBay   Using Google to View Private Feedback on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Wed Jan 25 22:29:56 2012

Great way to break down the wall of private feedback, but not worth much since eBay allows sellers to only leave positive feedback.

Maybe the person who figured this out can use the concept to help sellers see through anonymous DSR scores.

Now THAT would be a great tool!

Using Google to View Private Feedback on eBay   Using Google to View Private Feedback on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Jan 25 22:50:35 2012

I disagree, it can be worth a lot.  Just because sellers can't leave negative or neutral FB, doesn't mean they leave only glowing FB.

I for one do not.  If I have a serious problem with a buyer, I reflect that in my FB that I leave.  Not 100% of the time, but as often as I think I can get away with it.  And I know a lot of other sellers that do the same thing.

You can also get an idea of what kind of FB the buyer leaves for sellers.  You can see if they retract bids often.  

I don't think "private" FB has any place on this type of marketplace.  I understand there may be very good and honest reasons to hide the FB, but I think there is a much stronger argument for having it visable.  I further think that Ebay should do away with the Private FB or give us the ability to block all of them.

For those members that have a legitimate reason to hide their FB, possibly Ebay is not the place to be shopping.

Using Google to View Private Feedback on eBay   Using Google to View Private Feedback on eBay

by: blaumann This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 26 00:35:01 2012

I have had satisfactory dealings with buyers that have private feedback.

Using Google to View Private Feedback on eBay   Using Google to View Private Feedback on eBay

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 26 00:44:54 2012

I had a buyer who had private Fb and who turned out to be a colossal PITA.  ANd I had one that told me that they HID their FB so "Other family members could not see what they bought so they didn't know what gifts they were getting".  Hmmm---Okay. Isn't that what a PASSWORD is FOR???   But BOTH of these people were pains in my butt.

And I have seen FB turn to PRIVATE after I have had poor dealings with them.

So I refuse to deal with a private FB seller--OR buyer.

BLOCK BLOCK BLOCK

Using Google to View Private Feedback on eBay   Using Google to View Private Feedback on eBay

by: fvh This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 26 05:20:02 2012

@RIC:
"Maybe the person who figured this out can use the concept to help sellers see through anonymous DSR scores."

DSRs are absolutely NOT anonymous. If you set up a  report by item number in your seller dashboard with at least ten DSRs that you know are all 5s, you will have created a tool/reference from which to discern the DSRs for every  subsequent feedback you receive.

Once set up, its easy. I almost always block any buyer who leaves me less than 5 stars, even if they left me three 5s and a 4, I block them. I don't need buyers who make running my business more costly.
And I say ALMOST always because, in rare instances, I may feel their rating was justified.

Should you or anyone need more details on how to do this, please shoot me an email. Knowing what DSRs your buyers have left you is information no seller needs to be or should be without.  

Using Google to View Private Feedback on eBay   Using Google to View Private Feedback on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Thu Jan 26 14:04:18 2012

Are people as fearful on the other sites where they sell?

I do not see how this would work with a Buy It Now or a snipe.

Using Google to View Private Feedback on eBay   Using Google to View Private Feedback on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Fri Jan 27 07:25:49 2012

Ed Gadfly wonders: ''Are people as fearful on the other sites where they sell?''

I'm not. Although the possibility exists that the scammers and abusers do exist on other venues... they aren't coddled, they aren't encouraged, or welcomed with open arms in the same way that eBay does.

--- ''I do not see how this would work with a Buy It Now or a snipe.''

You're right, Ed. It wouldn't. For BIN or sniped items, the seller could only learn about the buyer's temperament after the fact.

Of course, this would not allow the seller to avoid the situation in the first place...but in the event of difficulty, the seller would have an idea of what type of buyer they were up against.

The seller would be able to make a determination of the buyer has a history of being unreasonable and would know whether or not any efforts to make the buyer happy would be worthwhile.



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