EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 357 - April 20, 2014 - ISSN 1528-6703     1 of 5

From the Editor - April 20, 2014

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Every marketplace must monitor sellers' performance in order to weed out those who provide poor service to buyers. Last month, eBay announced it was overhauling its seller performance standards and instituting a new "defect rate" metric beginning this summer. On Thursday, sellers got a preview of how the new system would affect their standing.

Many sellers disagree with factors eBay considers reflect poorly on their performance. For example, a seller told me the preview shows him he has seven defects for "item not described" under the new system, none of which were due to any poor performance on his part.

In one case, for example, a buyer had purchased CDs and dinged him because they didn't work in his DVD player. "Why do I get hit with defects when I did nothing wrong," the seller asked. "If I buy a blu ray disk at Best Buy and my DVD player doesn't play it (which it won't), it's not Best Buy's fault - it's my fault for not knowing what I was buying."

Other sellers said eBay is dinging them for issues that are actually the fault of shipping carriers, and for other events outside of their control.

Julia Wilkinson was first to write about the new seller standards dashboard on Thursday on the AuctionBytes Blog - let us know what you think by leaving a comment.

Julia also published on her blog a seller's account of his attendance at an eBay "In Person" event held in San Diego in March. Be sure to regularly visit the EcommerceBytes, AuctionBytes and Letters to the Editor blog where you can read what your colleagues are saying.

We've written recently about computer vulnerabilities thanks to Microsoft ending support for the Windows XP operating system and about the Heartbleed Bug. But sometimes a business can be tripped up by their own employees, as was the cringe-worthy case described by a seller on a recent Letters to the Editor blog post.

The seller in question had given his employees an incentive to solve buyer problems. One employee took the initiative too far, confessing to the business-owner he had called eBay and impersonated buyers requesting eBay remove the poor feedback they had left. eBay was not amused, and placed restrictions on the seller's account.

PayPal is making a radical shift in its buyer protection policy in the UK by extending the time a buyer has to open a dispute from 45 days to 6 months, and it will impact eBay buyers and sellers as well. PayPal UK is also extending protection to buyers of digital goods and intangibles.

These developments are of great concern to sellers. Let us know what you think of PayPal UK's new policy (and for U.S. and Canadian sellers, what it would mean to your business if implemented here).

In today's issue, Julia looks at SixBit, which helps sellers list on eBay and bidStart. Greg Holden continues his series on paid advertising by providing 5 tips to measure the effectiveness of ad campaigns. We reach back in the archives to take a look at vintage sewing patterns in today's Collectors Corner Gold. And we wrap up with Letters to the Editor.

Thanks for reading.

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

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