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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2094 - August 04, 2009 - ISSN 1539-5065    1 of 3

eBay Sellers Rate July Announcement in AuctionBytes Survey

By Ina Steiner
August 04, 2009

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AuctionBytes asked readers to rate each of eBay's major changes coming to the site this fall. Sellers made it clear which changes they thought were good and which were bad, and a significant number rated many of the changes as neutral. A total of 1,113 readers took the survey.

eBay made the announcement on July 27, 2009, in which it revealed it would be revamping the PowerSeller program and introducing a Top Rated seller status, covered in this article. Throughout the week we'll reveal sellers' views on eBay's other pending changes, including a controversial Selling Practices policy and changes to its Best Match alogrithm.

Rating Changes to PowerSeller Program and DSRs
eBay said it would shift the way it looks at Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs) from an emphasis on sellers' average DSRs to their rate of low DSRs - specifically 1s and 2s - as a better way to assess the quality of buyer experiences sellers provide. Sellers were almost equally divided on whether this was good (31.9%) or neutral (30.8%), with bad tipping the scales (37.3%).

Respondents were more positive about eBay's decision to lower its PowerSeller program requirements to a minimum of 100 transactions in the last 12 months, with the sales dollar volume requirement dropping to $3,000 per year. Of those who responded, 38.3% rated the change as good, 37.7% rated it as neutral, and 24.0% rated it as bad.

However, respondents were more negative about the qualifications to becoming a Top Rated seller, a new status that eBay is introducing in the fall. To qualify as an eBay Top Top-rated seller, they need to be in the PowerSeller program and have no more than the maximum allowed instances of 1s or 2s on all DSRs from U.S. buyers (no more than 0.50% of transactions with 1s or 2s on each one of the four DSRs, or no more than two instances of 1s or 2s on each one of the four DSRs for sellers with less than 400 annual transactions). Nearly half (45.5%) thought that the change was bad, while 24.2% thought it was good and 30.3% rated it as neutral.

Here are more results of the survey in Part 1 of a 4-part series, with additional results coming throughout the rest of this week.

New Way to Look at DSRs - Questions and Responses
Only transactions with U.S. buyers will count for eligibility requirements on eBay.com.
Good: 58.2% Neutral: 19.0% Bad: 22.8%

Repeat sales (from U.S. buyers) will count for eligibility requirements on eBay.com.
Good: 70.4% Neutral: 18.4% Bad: 11.2%

Starting in October, for sellers with 400 or more transactions during the most recent 3 calendar months, the evaluation period for rate of low DSRs required for Top Top-rated seller status will be the most recent 3 complete calendar months. For all other sellers, the evaluation period for low DSRs (1s and 2s) will be the most recent 12 calendar months.
Good: 26.9% Neutral: 39.5% Bad: 33.6%

The message on free shipping that currently appears when buyers are leaving Feedback will also be stronger, encouraging buyers to leave five stars.
Good: 57.2% Neutral: 25.8% Bad: 17.0%

For listings where only local pickup is offered and no shipping charges are included, the DSRs for handling time and ship cost will be turned off.
Good: 73.5% Neutral: 19.7% Bad: 6.8%

New PowerSeller Requirements and Rewards
In April, the performance qualifications for all PowerSellers to remain in the program will change to the following: A maximum of 1.00% of transactions with U.S. buyers can have low DSRs (1s or 2s) on item condition and a maximum of 2.00% on communication, 2.00% on shipping time, and 2.00% on shipping and handling cost; and at least 4.60 average across all four DSRs from U.S. buyers.
Good: 26.4% Neutral: 35.2% Bad: 38.4%

Starting in April, there will be a new structure for PowerSeller Final Value Fee discounts. The Final Value Fee discounts will change to 20% for eBay Top Top-rated sellers and 5% for all other PowerSellers.
Good: 21.7%; Neutral: 28.7% Bad: 49.6%

The current PowerSeller icon will no longer be displayed on buyer buyer-facing pages including item pages.
Good: 12.8% Neutral: 42.5% Bad: 44.8%

New Top-Rated Seller Status
Starting in October, a new eBay Top Top-rated seller status will be added to the PowerSeller program to based on the new way to look at DSRs (very few 1s and 2s). eBay Top Top-rated sellers will receive the highest PowerSeller Final Value Fee discounts (20%), increased visibility in search results for Fixed Price listings, exclusive access to purchase Featured First and a prominent Top Top-rated seller badge on item pages.
Good: 31.0% Neutral: 27.5% Bad: 41.5%

The new eBay Top Top-rated seller badge will be displayed on sellers' item pages and other member profile pages. eBay will also begin testing the badge in search results pages.
Good 31.9% Neutral: 37.8% Bad: 30.3%

Keep It Coming
Survey respondents were divided on many of these issues contained in the first part of the survey dealing with DSRs, the PowerSeller program, and the Top Rated Seller status. The issue that got the most agreement among respondents was eBay's decision to turn off DSRs for handling time and shipping costs where only local pickup is offered. That may speak volumes about how eBay sellers feel about those two DSR criteria in general, areas that many sellers insist they should not be rated on by buyers.

The AuctionBytes survey covered additional changes in eBay July announcement, stay tuned for more results all week.

Comment on the AuctionBytes Blog

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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