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eBay Muddies Feedback Despite Promising Transparency

Five months after acknowledging the importance of transparency in its feedback system, eBay has made another change that actually reduces it by removing the date and time stamp on users’ feedback pages. The change suddenly appeared on users’ feedback pages on Wednesday, with no notice or announcement.

Users say the change makes it harder to find feedback from trading partners since eBay has removed the date that the feedback was left and replaced it with very general time periods, such as “Past 1 month.”

Some users – including buyers and sellers – expressed dismay at eBay’s decision to remove the information. Other users said they didn’t use the data, while others were more concerned over the fact eBay gave users no warning or reason for the change.

In a March announcement about Detailed Seller Ratings, eBay told users that sellers needed transparency in feedback. “While the current system of anonymous ratings provides sellers a general indication about their service, they need details to address any issues effectively.”

But last year, eBay eliminated purchase details from feedback, and this summer, eBay took away the ability for sellers to check bidder history.

One EcommerceBytes reader suspected some of the change were due to articles about buyer privacy, such as this one from last month: Researchers Say eBay Feedback Leads to Privacy Breach.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.