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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1831 - July 10, 2008 - ISSN 1539-5065    0 of 6

eBay Takes Neutrals out of Feedback Percentages

By Ina Steiner
July 10, 2008

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eBay is making changes to its feedback system, announcing it will recalculate feedback percentages without neutrals and, in the fall, will also put in place a mechanism to allow buyers to change their feedback. Users had raised concerns to executives at its recent user conference, with many reporting that the new system - rolled out on May 12 - was hurting their businesses.

eBay President of eBay Global Marketplace Operations Lorrie Norrington posted an announcement to the eBay board on Thursday afternoon. "When we get something wrong, we want to make it right. And when you have ideas that benefit the collective good, we want to make them happen. To that end, we are making the following changes based on your input."

Effective in late August, eBay will no longer count neutrals as part of the Feedback percentage. The change will be made retroactively for users worldwide. In the interim, no one will lose their PowerSeller status as a result of neutrals being included in their Feedback percentage.

In addition, by the end of October, eBay will roll out a new process to help sellers resolve issues with buyers, even after the buyer has left negative feedback. Norrington wrote, "Unlike with our previous Mutual Feedback Withdrawal system, our new process will enable buyers to change their feedback of the seller, not just withdraw the rating. We'll provide more details of this new process in the fall."

eBay spokesperson Usher Lieberman said eBay is still defining how the feedback withdrawal process would work. "We want to get the word out now so the community knows we are working on it." eBay is making the changes to give sellers, who are already incented to do the right thing by their buyers, the benefit in terms of feedback as well. Lieberman said he believed the system would be internally developed.

In Norrington's announcement, she said the changes were "part of our overall effort to improve the customer experience, especially for sellers."

She said eBay is making progress in removing negative and neutral feedback left by buyers who violate eBay policies. "For example, since we debuted the new Feedback system in May, we have removed more than 60 percent of the negative/neutral feedback left by buyers in an unpaid item (UPI) process." She encouraged sellers to follow some well-defined best practices in using Feedback, linking to a page on eBay's site.

Norrington ended her note by thanking users for "your patience, your business and your continued commitment to eBay."

Read the full announcement 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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