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Sat Nov 14 2009 09:25:01

eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay confirmed it was considering changes to the feedback rating system, and a new survey indicates the type of changes that may be coming next year. eBay is conducting a survey in which it shows users three mockups of the View Item page. What's striking about the mockups is the way Seller Information is presented. There are no traditional feedback elements - no number of feedback, no feedback percentage, no TRS badges or verbiage, no stars, and no "About Me" logo.

Instead, the Seller Information box contains the number of items the seller sold and a graph of the seller's Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs) in three areas:
  • Item as expected
  • Arrived on time
  • Packaging
The survey tells respondents, "For this survey, you will be asked to consider three different items for sale on eBay. You will be shown each one and then asked a few questions about each of them." It then asks respondents to answer several questions for each item shown.

On a scale of 0-10, where 0 is not at all likely and 10 is extremely likely, how likely would you be to buy the item you just saw?

On a scale of 0-10, where 0 is very poor and 10 is excellent, how would you rate the quality of this item?

On a scale of 0-10, where 0 is not at all reasonable and 10 is extremely reasonable, how would you rate the costs associated with getting this item?

On a scale of 0-10, where 0 is very poor and 10 is excellent, what kind of experience do you feel you would have with this seller?

Why do you feel that you would have this kind of experience with this seller?

On each mockup, the format of the View Item remains constant, but the information - such as DSR ratings, pricing, shipping costs, return policy and payment method - vary.

eBay has confirmed that it is considering changing its feedback system next year (see Related Articles below) but has not provided details. Generally when changes make it to the survey stage, it's usually late in the process, so eBay's first Seller Release update, expected in January, should be interesting.

Related Articles
eBay Still Testing Feedback Changes (link)
eBay Tests New Feedback System in US and Germany (link)

Comments (49) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes   eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes

by: Ebay Pays My Minimum Monthly Payment

Sat Nov 14 09:45:02 2009

You know, it's funny, I was just thinking that Ebay needs to make more changes.

eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes   eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes

This user has validated their user name. by: Pete

Sat Nov 14 09:59:52 2009

I feel this shows how bad a situation eBay are in....

Personaly I like the idea..but what about seller feedback for buyers again? there has to be equal balance

eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes   eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes

by: Gary Overton

Sat Nov 14 09:59:57 2009

I LOVE it!
1st change eBay has came up with in a long time I agree with.
Been saying all along that all that matters is the # of items sold & the % of buyers that were satisfied. They could reduce the 3 questions down to 1 by asking "Would you buy from this seller again" or Would you recommend this seller to a friend?"
The star system is so outdated it's notfunny. If you want colored stars go to Sunday School or kindergarten.

eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes   eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes

by: patrick

Sat Nov 14 10:02:59 2009

You know, it actually looks good...why does it take 2 years to get it right???
EBay has already screwed too many people over. Ebay suspended people last year for low DSR's-they did this with no regard for a sellers loss of income even though they weren't even going to stick with the program as it was at the time people got suspended.
They implemented a best match logorithm that may or may not be accurate on any given day, once again having no regard for the effect on people's income.
EBay has implemented a TRS system that has affected people's income for the holiday season-once again this program may or may not be the same next year.
The point I'm making is EBay implements changes without any prior thought as to how many seller's are going to have their bottom line affected, even though they aren't even sure if it's a change they're going to stick with.
The damage has already been done by the time Ebay switches course. They lose sellers, they piss people off, they seem disorganized, and thay want small seller's to subsidize these changes like sheep folowing their shepherd over a cliff. Whatever!

eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes   eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes

by: Lisa

Sat Nov 14 10:42:06 2009

What's missing is the seller's FB percentage and whether the buyer will be able to view the seller's FB.  If the item arrived intact, packaging isn't so much of an issue.  I'd like to see the packaging issue replaced with overall transaction satisfaction or Seller Responsiveness.  Right now sellers are hostages to the FB system and precious few actually act as they normally would in a situation where a remorseful buyer isn't happy.  I've had to work with new sellers who have no refund policies to explain to them why they need to take an item back and how to resolve the situation so that it's a win-win for both or a lose for both.  Some new sellers are receptive, others get the negs.  You can't know how the seller responds to unforseen circumstances if there is no measure of their responsiveness.  Personally, that's very important to me when I'm considering an an expensive purchase. :)

eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes   eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes

by: On Lies and Secrets

Sat Nov 14 11:12:43 2009

I agree with Pete - I think reality has begun to set in among ebay management and that they are so desperate they are willing to try a few things that sellers have been requesting for years.  

I think it is a good idea to remove a lot of the visual clutter on the site.  IMO, the TRS badge is just silly and silly-looking and the stars provide nominal added assistance to buyers since a feedback number is also reported.  I hope the ebay corporation also removes all of the ads from the site - they are annoying, confusing and cause the pages to load too slowly.  From a buyer's point of view, I see little added value in ads and the ads that do appear are far too obtrusive and get in the way of finding the items for which I am looking.  If I come to ebay as a buyer, then I want to buy something from someone who is selling on ebay - not somewhere else.  If the ebay corporation must have ads, then I think they should require few system resources or bandwidth to display and that they should be at the very bottom of the page so they can be easily ignored by buyers who aren't interested in ads.  

It is hard to understand much about what the actual changes would be because the survey respondents were reacting to an image.  

I think reporting the number of items sold without supplementary information is misleading - particularly for many collectibles categories and for expensive goods.  Some sellers specialize in low cost, low risk, easy-to-mail items so it is easy for them get higher numbers of items sold.  Way back in the day when I used to buy collectibles on ebay, the number of items sold wasn't nearly as important as seeing the feedback left and the list of completed items.  This information let me know whether a seller had experience selling the collectibles (in my category, sellers with experience with the collectibles tended to be much better than a random seller).  

I think expensive items will also be at a disadvantage without more information about completed transactions.  Some sellers of expensive items simply don't sell as many items overall - a higher number of items sold doesn't automatically translate into valuable information for buyers.  If I am paying a three or four figure price for a single item, then I would like to know whether a seller has had a number of sales in those prices ranges and I don't care that they did a good job on a series of $2 items.   I am far less risk averse to buying a $2 item than in buying a $200 item.

I think a major site redesign is needed, but not particularly advisable given the last few years of confusion on the site.  Sellers and buyers are tired of the endless changes - it isn't worth the effort to many people to be constantly relearning rules, navigation and general site conventions.

I think ebay senior management has 'disrupted' ebay out of being a viable business in the long term.

eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes   eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes

by: Patricia

Sat Nov 14 13:08:14 2009

I still don't like being graded on arrival time.  We all know that is basically out of our come Ebay can't seem to understand that?  Even Amazon gives a time frame window in which the item should arrive.  You cannot even give feedback if the item arrives sooner than that time frame!  Ebay better hunker down and start getting REAL - or hire some people who aren't the village idiots!  They're losing sellers like water down a funnel and they're losing buyers the same way! Its time now for them to STOP PLAYING GAMES!  These surveys only proof desperation time has arrived - they need to drop the attitude and get REAL!

eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes   eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes

by: bookbatches

Sat Nov 14 13:23:41 2009

''Changes! We don't need no stinkin' changes!''

eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes   eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes

by: x_powerseller

Sat Nov 14 14:04:56 2009

It seems that the moron Johnny Boy is now spinning around himself trying to figure out how to lure sellers back.  Just in the last couple of weeks he changed his mind about couple of things he was determined in the past not to change despite the noise:

1) Advertizing  (TV commercials, etc.)
2) Promotions to Reinvigorate Collectibles  (Collectibles which he abandoned the minute he took over almost 2 years ago, saying eBay merchandise are no longer in peoples attics but in warehouses …)
3) Now feedback changes.

Donuthole recently admitted that he had opened eBay for the Chinese intentionally “What we decided to do a couple of years ago was to focus our China business on cross-border and export,” Donahoe, 49, said in a Bloomberg Television interview.

I have just received an email from announcing the launch of their new website: “AliExpress”  where anyone can buy directly from Chinese sellers and they even have their own payment system called “AliPay”  

The IDIOT J.D. destroyed AMERICAN sellers in favor of the Chinese crap and now they are paying him back!!!

eBay lost buyers to amazon, overstock, ecrater,  etc. and now AliExpress. Are you now having fun Johnny Boy? ..    

The Chinese are taking over the world and an IDIOT like JD in the American Corporate world is just lending them a helping hand by destroying AMERICAN businesses.

The devil, J.D. can change feedback and spin in circles trying to figure out what to do next to bring sellers back, but I am telling you it’s too late now.  He has damaged the eBay brand beyond repair!

P.S. In an interview with CNBC, he admitted that he couldn’t care less about the eBay name anyways!:

NEXT!  Could he spin eBay to the Chinese?  I wouldn’t be surprised!

eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes   eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes

by: Jeri

Sat Nov 14 14:23:03 2009

No more changes, Ebay can keep the change.  I really don't think they really do a survey asking people what they want, I instead suspect they are just desperate to do something, anything!!!  Give us sellers back the right to respond to negative feedback.  Does Ebay actually think there are no "Bad Buyers??"  This astounds me still!!!  Without Sellers, you won't have buyers, chew on that a bit Ebay!!!

eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes   eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes

by: RicRoe

Sat Nov 14 15:01:54 2009

Here we are, eBay is now in a state of perpetual change. Sellers can have no reasonable expectation that any change or revision of policy will remain in effect for longer than it takes to get it wrong with a new revision.

Trying to build a solid steady business on eBay's fluid flux system is designed to prevent sellers from constructing a business plan that will remain effective for longer than a few weeks or months.

Apparently, JD & Co are entertained by watching sellers trying to pi$$ up a rope.

One major flaw in this new feedback system is eBay's continued rating of sellers for a circumstance they can not control.

Example: ''Arrived on Time''.

Will JD and Co ever comprehend that any rating of a seller on shipping must be based NOT on how long it takes the carrier to get a parcel from seller to buyer, but should only be focused on how swiftly a seller turned the item over to the carrier after receiving payment.

eBay's misguided feedback has always misled buyers into rating sellers based on the performance of the USPS or other selected carrier.

The seller can only control the timing of how long they take to turn items over to the carrier for shipping.

Tying seller performance ratings in any system to anything other than the time frame from payment receipt to package turnover to carrier is simply misguided and shows that eBay executives still don't have the slightest clue about what they are doing..

Somehow the essential facts of this simple to understand concept escapes the MBA's that currently run the company.

If the feedback system is going to under go yet another change, the least they could do is get the terminology correct and ask buyers to rate sellers on factors that are actually under their control.

Or is that too much to expect from executives that receive tens of millions of dollars in compensation while dragging the business that pays their salary into the dumpster.

eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes   eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes

by: We Need More Changes

Sat Nov 14 15:04:37 2009

Does anyone else think they change things just to change things?

Makes one wonder just what motivates these dimwits.

eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes   eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes

by: g

Sat Nov 14 15:50:02 2009

''Arrived on time'' -- Just what does this mean?  Does it mean that it arrives within the estimated delivery time that eBay shows including the sellers specified processing time(which in most cases would probably be alright, unless things like season USPS slow downs or weather disruptions are not calculated in somehow).  Or does it mean that an inexperienced buyer buys gift on Friday evening he/she needs for a birthday party on Tuesday, and gets upset that regular mail doesn't get there in time.  There's a lot of potential problem with buyer perspective/expectation.  And don't even ask me about potential problems with international buyers (who in my case, I have to admit have been actually better to deal with over the years than domestic buyers).

''# items sold'' -- What does that really say about the seller's trustworthness.  Not necessarily much.  Now, I'd be OK because I have sold for enough years that I have thousands of sales.  But I would hate to try to be a new seller starting out on eBay.  ''Oh, gee, this seller has only sold 10 items.  He must not be as good as seller #2 who has sold 10,000 items.''  Sounds like another push in favor of the marvelous Diamond Sellers.

Bottom line, I don't think that any of these views would be likely to cause a change in my customer service.  Particularly, if, like the current DSR system, I can't identify which buyer/order is the basis for an unhappy customer.  Without being able to investigate a particular order/shipment, I still can't make any educated decision on what may or may not need to be changed.

Thankfully, I have experienced very good customer feedback over the years on eBay.  But as they say, the devil is in the details.  And without seeing the details, how can you exorcise the devil?  Well, you really can't.

More eBay change for change sake.

eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes   eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sat Nov 14 16:22:53 2009

This is the WORST of all the changes ebafia has made and will result in more ruined businesses and more sellers leaving ebay.

The factors they're measuring or displaying reveal very little about a seller's competency or customer service.

Listen up, MBAs: The quantity of items sold bears little or NO direct correlation to the seller's customer service record or buyer satisfaction.

The "Arrived on Time" measurement measures UPS or USPS customer service, not mine. If I ship when I promised to ship, THAT's what should be measured not how long it takes to arrive.

Not even ebay employees can be this stupid so we have to assume their objective is rid the site of remaining non Diamond American "noise" in favor of perhaps quieter and more polite Chinese "noise."

Tea Party ebay kiosks this holiday season. Picket, carry signs, and stage computer sit/stand ins!

These changes aren't good changes at all, IMO. They're just busy work for overpaid, clueless teenage executives.

eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes   eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes

by: Patricia

Sat Nov 14 16:23:46 2009

I equate the constant changes to an 800 lb gorilla thrashing about and gasping for breath!  JD is and has been on the wrong path - now he's simply desperately dancing as fast as he can in an attempt to do something...ANYTHING....right!  He sees a disasterous holiday season coming and no excuse for the failure in his fourth quarter report!  For him its self-preservation now - his career is at stake.  He should have thought about all that long ago when he made the first wrong turn and felt that Ebay's name alone would pull him along!  Right now Ebay needs management that is not soo darn self-serving and petty that they can't admit they were wrong!  In the end, whether they want to ever admit it or not, the "noise" was right and they were wrong!

eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes   eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes

by: On Lies and Secrets

Sat Nov 14 17:54:31 2009

This survey as described seems very flawed to me.  I can't tell exactly what they are attempting to measure  based on the description provided, but the methodology strikes me as bizarre.  It appears that the ebay corporation showed respondents pictures of items and then asked them to rate several factors on a Likert type scale: 1) an estimation of the quality of the item based on a picture, 2) a conjecture about shipping costs based on the picture of the item, 3) the likelihood that the respondent would buy the item based on a picture, and 4) a conjecture about the type of experience they expected to have with a seller based on a picture of an item.

Depending on what the ebay corporation is trying to measure, this seems like a flawed approach to me.  Whether or not I would purchase an item has more to do with whether the item itself is something that I need or want rather than the quality or type of photo that is shown to me.  If you show me a great picture of a toaster and ask me the likelihood that I would buy this item, I would respond with a 0.  This 0 rating has nothing at all to do with the picture or listing I was shown - it has to do with the fact that I simply don't want to buy a toaster no matter how cute it is in a picture.  Asking me to make a conjecture on how well I think a transaction with a seller would go based on a picture of an item that I probably don't even want to buy seems very bizarre.   I think asking respondents to speculate based on a picture is a dangerous way to gather data if the data will be used to change the site.  

It seems to me that there are a lot of confounded variables at work in this study unless the real purpose of the survey is measuring something completely unrelated to the meaning in the words and images used (e.g. if the survey questions themselves were a pretext and what they were really measuring was how long it takes an image to load on a survey respondent's computer).  The survey questions at face value seem to be operationalized poorly and at face value, there is no way to interpret the results in a coherent and meaningful way.  There is a universe of difference between the meaning of an actual tangible object  and the meaning in a picture of an object (for example, if you put a real $100 bill in my hand, I would respond differently than if you put a picture of a $100 bill in my hand).  They aren't the same things in my mind.  Since I have no idea what the ebay corporation is attempting measure, I can't really say anything definitive about the survey except that at face value, the variables seem to be operationalized poorly and the results are likely to be spurious if the variables named are what they are attempting to measure.

IMO the ebay corporation does a poor job with measurement.  For example: I think the way the DSRs are measured and calculated is not according to good statistical practices (i.e. they collect ordinal level data from buyers, but then calculate interval level data by averaging the ordinal scores rather than simply reporting frequencies.  You can't draw proper inferences about what the data means if the levels of measurement are mixed up like this).

I have little confidence in the integrity of the ebay corporation's surveys.

eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes   eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes

by: What Were They Thinking?

Sat Nov 14 18:01:08 2009

I know this sounds paranoid but I think all the changes are just to keep everyone, both sellers and employees busy while Dodohoe and company concentrate on a bigger scam, I mean scheme. He has to look like he is doing something, at least to the BOD, until he accomplishes his goal and before they boot him.

The only thing Dodohead is interested in is Paypal and he could care less about eBay. He is delusional in thinking Paypal will be taking over the world. He believes that Paypal will work without eBay even without all the small sellers. If there is still going to be an eBay marketplace then it will be only the diamonds. I read somewhere he is bringing in 50 large diamonds next year.

Regardless of what feedback changes are made it will be against the sellers. eBay is always looking for a way to not give discounts. Also, the one survey test rating from 0 to 10 is based on the Bain system where anything less than a 9 is substandard. Hopefully they won't use this as an option or in conjunction with the three ratings. The three rating is better except for the ''Arrive on Time''. That could be the one they use to hook the no discounts to. Remember nothing at eBay is simple anymore. There is always some kind of catch.

eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes   eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes

by: toby

Sat Nov 14 18:40:39 2009

What, no rating for the all important shipping cost?  

Does that meant they are going to force free shipping?(like some UK categories)

eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes   eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sat Nov 14 18:42:37 2009

What ebay is constantly trying to measure is how to improve their profitability at the expense of small and medium sellers.

They've become penny wise and pound foolish. Instead of targeting their efforts trying to recapture buyers, they're looking to save pennies by devising new ways every six months to screw more sellers out of discounts so that we can further subsidize the Communist Chinese who refuse to engage in fair trade practices.

What an incredibly shortsighted and ultimately disastruous business plan! But this is The Ho's ebafia.

Yo, Caball Street analysts! This new system will run off more sellers than you can imagine thus further weakening if not finally destroying an already shaky marketplace platform.

These sellers -- who've jumped through ebafia's fire hoops for years now -- will spread even more well deserved anti-ebay vitriol.

More government complaints will be filed. More sellers will do anti ebay videos. More sellers will blog all over the internet about what obne judge has called a "criminal enterprise." More sellers will expose the cabal of brokerage analysts looking the other way when it comes to ebafia while The Ho and The No are frittering away their clients' investments.

Sellers have and will continue to virally make the word ebay synomynous with poison. The campaign has only just begun and will become even more viral if ebay continues down this path.

Is protecting ebafia by conveniently always be looking in all the wrong places to determine value really worth your career and possible criminal prosecution for IMO probable SEC violations?

Auctionbytes readers, give The Ho those holiday gifts that keep on giving.

FILE COMPLAINTS with state and federal governmental agencies!

eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes   eBay Tests Reaction to Seller Feedback Changes

by: fast freddy

Sat Nov 14 18:52:34 2009

Ebay continues to kick the sellers to the curb while coddling the buyers. They need to educate the newbies with less than 100 feedback.

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