EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 5 - January 08, 2000 - ISSN 1528-6703     6 of 9

EBay's Revised Feedback Policy

By Mike Marino

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When deciding to place a bid on an item, how do you know if a seller is reputable? Feedback. Feedback points are the single most important factor when determining whether or not to bid on an item. Ebay recently reviewed its feedback policy and approved the following changes for the first quarter of 2000:

1) All feedback will be transactional - in other words, related to a successfully completed auction. Non-transactional feedback will no longer be allowed. It will also be easier to leave transactional feedback by automatically matching sellers, buyers, and transaction numbers.

This will stop the soliciting of feedback to build up user profiles artificially. Also, being able to match sellers, buyers and transaction numbers will make it easier to identify retaliatory feedback incidents.

2) There will be no time gap requirement when leaving multiple comments to the same users - as long as there is a valid transaction number associated with each comment.

3) Feedback from permanently suspended users (NARU) will NOT be converted to neutral, but rather kept unchanged as part of your Feedback Profile. They will be identified as NARU.

This is a good change. Just because someone has been suspended, doesn't mean prior transactions are now invalid. Unfortunately, this policy will not be applied to past feedback. Any positives changed to neutral as a result of non-registered users will remain neutral.

4) A 6-month bid retraction history will be displayed in each user's Feedback Profile. It will be linked to a new page that will explain whether the retraction was acceptable or not.

This should help identify users that make a habit of retracting bids.

5) Users who elect to make their Feedback Profile private will have their Feedback Rating replaced by the word "private," and the star icon will not be displayed. You can click to see a tally of their feedback.

This is the best change made yet! Previously, the only way identifying users with "private" feedback was to actually click on their Feedback Rating number. From the listing, it looked no different

6) Clear guidelines for exceptional situations where eBay will remove comments from a user's Feedback Profile will be established and posted on the site.

eBay Will Not Change Access to Negative Feedback
eBay will not allow users to readily access all negative or neutral comments in a Feedback Profile. I think this is too bad. It's safe to assume most of us are interested in the cases of what went wrong with a transaction.

A Suggested Change - Ability to View Feedback in Summary Form by Category
It would be helpful to see feedback ratings by category. By looking at the following chart, you can see that the travel category seems to be a problem area! I'm sure this is not a new request to eBay.

Category Positives Neutrals Negatives
Travel 200 40 20
Antiques 55 0 0
Computer 25 0 0
As Buyer 250 0 0

Being involved in the computer/database field myself, I'm sure there's concern over site performance, but it should not become more important than giving users the tools they need to buy and sell online.

Feedback FAQs:

Using Feedback:

Policy Changes -1st Quarter 2000:

About the author:

Mike Marino can be contacted at orioles35 @ He is registered at eBay under the same name, where he specializes in sports memorabilia, namely baseball and football trading cards.

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