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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1789 - May 14, 2008 - ISSN 1539-5065    1 of 3

New eBay Feedback Changes Scrutinized by Sellers

By Ina Steiner
EcommerceBytes.com
May 14, 2008




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Buyers and sellers are getting their first taste of the new feedback changes eBay is rolling out globally to its marketplaces by peeking at the Australian site, where changes rolled out on Monday. Users are finding their positive percentage scores are changing, and eBay has rolled out new messaging on to the site to inform buyers of the new policy.

When buyers leave feedback, eBay Australia now serves up a pop-up box on users' computer screen stating, "Buyers, you can no longer receive negative or neutral Feedback from sellers. You should leave honest and accurate Feedback without the fear of receiving negative or neutral ratings."

Sellers have expressed fear that the incidence of unwarranted negative ratings will increase as buyers realize sellers are unable to give them anything but positive ratings in return. Compounding their fears, last week sellers learned eBay was doing away with Online Dispute Resolution and Mutual Feedback Withdrawal, which also removes incentives for sellers to make things right with unhappy buyers once feedback has been left (http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y08/m05/i08/s01).

Getting much of the attention on discussion boards is the seller's positive feedback percentage, which changed due to the new way eBay calculates the score. Many sellers complained their ratings go down, asking why neutrals would count as negative ratings. Others were thrilled that negs or neutrals received years ago no longer counted against them (http://forums.ebay.com/db2/thread.jspa?threadID=2000567131&tstart=0&mod=1210715125113).

Said one seller on the Australian boards, "How could this possibly encourage buyers? It makes honest eBay sellers look less trustworthy and can have no other effect than reducing buyer confidence" (http://forums.ebay.com.au/thread.jspa?threadID=500082937&tstart=0&mod=1210716268588).

Another seller pointed out the risks of limiting feedback to the past 12 months. "You could be a terrible seller and just let the ID go dormant for a year and come back with 100%. Gear up and do it again on multiple IDs. Stupid, stupid, stupid! Makes this site more untrustworthy for buyers. I won't be buying here anymore."

AuctionBytes launched a tool on Tuesday to allow sellers outside of Australia to compare their feedback percentages under the old and new systems (http://blog.auctionbytes.com/cgi-bin/blog/blog.pl?/pl/2008/5/1210707187.html). Entering an eBay User ID brings back both scores. The new Feedback changes will roll out on eBay.com next week.

Ironically, buyers have also expressed frustration with the new percentage scores. "It sucks doesnt it? i got a stupid neutral from a stupid seller when they sold me a broken tv. now my 100% has dropped to 96.3. I am not impressed with ebay at all" (http://forums.ebay.com.au/thread.jspa?threadID=500082799&tstart=0&mod=1210716171226).

AuctionBytes readers commented about the new feedback changes on the AuctionBytes Blog.

http://blog.auctionbytes.com/cgi-bin/blog/blog.pl?/pl/2008/5/1210707187.html

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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