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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1679 - December 06, 2007 - ISSN 1539-5065    2 of 4

eBay UK Filters Search Results by DSR Feedback Ratings

By Ina Steiner
December 06, 2007

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eBay UK announced it will begin changing the way it displays search results based on Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs) for postage & packaging charges. Those sellers who consistently receive the lowest scores on postage & packaging costs - 3.9 or below - will receive "considerably reduced visibility" in default search results by appearing much further down the list of items. DSRs are feedback ratings that buyers can leave anonymously for their trading partners (sellers). DSRs consist of four criteria: item as described; communication; dispatch time (called "shipping time" in the US); and postage and packaging charges ("shipping and handling charges" in the US).

eBay UK said sellers who receive ratings of 3.9 or below for the postage & packaging DSR criterion account for roughly 0.5% of all sellers on the site. "This small group of sellers are responsible for a hugely disproportionate number of buyer complaints about overcharging for postage & packaging, and taint the vast majority of good sellers who buyers agree are charging fairly." It's noteworthy that eBay does not collect commission fees on postage and handling charges.

eBay UK will be introducing the changes during the week beginning December 17th, "after the main Christmas trading period is over." The company said the vast majority of sellers' items would continue to be featured as normal in search results. However, it warned that it expects to make further changes to the display of search results in 2008, including extending the use of Detailed Seller Ratings to "other areas of concern for buyers."

eBay spokesperson Nichola Sharpe said that the change announced in the UK is only effective for all listings appearing on the UK site, but it will not impact them as they appear on all other sites. She added that the visibility of non-UK sellers' listings would not be impacted on the US site but could be impacted on the UK site.

"While we cannot comment on exact plans for the other markets, specifically eBay.com, we have been communicating for several months with our sellers about DSR ratings and their potential impact and we may consider using other DSR rating scores in the future," Sharpe said. Indeed, eBay.com had announced in October that beginning next year, it would use DSRs to influence search results (http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y07/m10/i11/s01).

Many users reacted to the announcement. Said one poster on an eBay UK message in reaction to the policy change, "It's about time ebay clamped down on their own fees. Their constant price hikes have forced people to increase postage." (http://forums.ebay.co.uk/thread.jspa?threadID=1200176292&tstart=0&mod=1196871395637)


About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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