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Thu Mar 8 2007 13:16:58

eBay Feedback 2.0 - Too Much Transparency?

By: Ina Steiner

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Now that eBay Feedback 2.0 has rolled out in some international sites, users can see the change in the way information is displayed. Going to the feedback page of a user, you can see a page of items recently purchased and sold, as the auction title and the price are displayed. 

My reaction when I first heard about new feedback system was that it would help me understand if a seller was feedback padding - buying lots of one-penny ebooks and suddenly selling $2000 flat screen TVs, a possible sign of fraud. 

But once the new system rolled out, I realized how embarrassing it could be to users - particularly buyers. Many buyers shop for particular keywords. Much as you might enter "gift" in a search box around the holidays, some people enter "gay interest." Now, those purchases will be highlighted on a feedback page. I personally am concerned about harassment and hate crimes being aided by such transparency. The online world is a reflection of the real world, after all.
 


Imagine viewing a user's feedback page and seeing a list of items of an adult nature. I think this will turn buyers off. Collectors are also likely to be turned off by having their past buying behavior exposed.

I expressed my concerns to eBay spokesperson Catherine England. She said the information has always been available, and this is true, but you had to spend a lot of time clicking on individual item numbers on feedback pages to see what the items were. It wasn't displayed 25 at a time on a page (25 is the default, but you can change it to show 200 items at a time!).

The auction titles will go away after 90 days, England confirmed, just as the feedback system does today.

England said eBay is definitely watching Feedback 2.0 closely - it's Day 2, she said, and there is a reason it's a pilot. (Though to users in the 8 countries where it's been unleashed surely don't think of it as a pilot.)

There are tradeoffs, England said, and this new system addresses concerns over feedback padding (the type of scenario I mentioned above with ebooks, for example).

"We are definitely going to watch it," England said. "We think the transparency will be better in the long run, but we are watching it."

I wonder if it would be best if auction titles and prices displayed only for items sold, and not for items purchased. We'll see how this plays out!

Here's an article I ran this week on user reaction to Feedback 2.0.

And we'll be publishing the results of our feedback survey - conducted prior to the launch of Feedback 2.0 - soon.




Comments (6) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Feedback 2.0 - Too Much Transparency?   eBay Feedback 2.0 - Too Much Transparency?

by: Chris

Thu Mar 8 18:51:39 2007

Feedback 2.0 was certainly a more than a bit embarrassing for one of the biggest charity events of the year (in the UK). Buying  1p e-book  feedback wasn't the smartest move :-(
http://www.tamebay.com/2007/03/buying-e-books-to-boost-feedback
-is-poor-advice.html

eBay Feedback 2.0 - Too Much Transparency?   eBay Feedback 2.0 - Too Much Transparency?

by: Cindy

Fri Mar 9 10:25:45 2007

I understand how some buyers might not like their recent purchases being listed in Feedback 2.0 for all the world to see but all one would have to do is search by bidder to see all the items the buyer has not only won but bid on and not won, and for the last 30 days, which I do on a regular basis as a means of researching the people with whom I am considering dealing. What's the beef?

eBay Feedback 2.0 - Too Much Transparency?   eBay Feedback 2.0 - Too Much Transparency?

by: Barbara

Fri Mar 9 15:18:07 2007

As a buyer I believe the seller has a right to see my feedback score, and I don't mind that they can also see the merchants I have dealt with.  This information, along with the frequency of my buying is enough information for the seller to have.  Exactly what I've bought is not anyone else's business and I consider it intrusive to my privacy.

eBay Feedback 2.0 - Too Much Transparency?   eBay Feedback 2.0 - Too Much Transparency?

by: firemeg

Mon Mar 12 09:35:24 2007

The money used to develop FB 2.0 should have been used for feedback reform.  Negs left by NPB's is always a hot topic for debate in each Towne Hall type meeting.

eBay Feedback 2.0 - Too Much Transparency?   eBay Feedback 2.0 - Too Much Transparency?

This user has validated their user name. by: Pete

Tue Mar 27 20:31:16 2007

I'm happy for buyers to see my selling history but I'm appalled at the way my purchases are now thrust under their noses.  It's none of other people's business so I'm now starting to use my dormant posting ID (I no longer post on ebay forums) as my buying ID.  I understand a lot of other people are doing likewise.

eBay Feedback 2.0 - Too Much Transparency?   eBay Feedback 2.0 - Too Much Transparency?

This user has validated their user name. by: Pete

Tue Mar 27 20:31:33 2007

I'm happy for buyers to see my selling history but I'm appalled at the way my purchases are now thrust under their noses.  It's none of other people's business so I'm now starting to use my dormant posting ID (I no longer post on ebay forums) as my buying ID.  I understand a lot of other people are doing likewise.



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