AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Sat Dec 19 2009 22:37:14

AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

In October, AuctionBytes surveyed eBay sellers about the new Top Rated Seller (TRS) program and other changes that eBay began rolling out site-wide in late September, and in December, we conducted a follow-up survey. After two months of watching the effects on their listings and sales, respondents' opinions varied very little from when the program first rolled out.

A minority thinks that the program meets its stated goals of rewarding good sellers. Rather than having to meet minimum average Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs), sellers are now measured by how many low DSR ratings (1s and 2s) they accumulate. In theory, it sounds good that if sellers receive poor marks, they should not be featured as highly in search results. In reality, however, "bad" buyers can target sellers more easily.



What jumps out is the large number of respondents who can't measure the effect of eBay's fall changes on their search standings or sales.

You can see full results in Sunday's AuctionBytes Update newsletter, please leave your comments below.




Comments (61) | Permalink

Readers Comments

AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program   AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program

by: bobo belinksy

Sat Dec 19 23:34:08 2009

Well-- this shouldn't be a surprise. Traffic was down in November 7.7%, my own sales have been just barely holding on overall, and are actually WORSE this December when they should be soaring!

TRS  has NOT been a help, that's for sure--and possibly a hindrance.

AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program   AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program

by: gaz

Sun Dec 20 00:10:46 2009

This year, for the first REAL time ever during Nov & Dec, eBay was a non-viable, loss-making channel for us.

This follows a consistent downward performance from their sites since late 2006, but this year it has nose-dived rather than slid downwards, crashing completely in the last quarter.

As many others have said, when the channel is no longer viable - get out of it.  That's what we're doing, we'll be off completely between Christmas and New Year, and just leave all the IDs dormant with no residual subscriptions to accrue fees - solely to enable access to past feedback as a reference for new customers.  We'll be adding all the eBay email domains to our spam filters too.

Gaz

AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program   AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program

by: Patricia

Sun Dec 20 01:23:34 2009

They had a good and simple yardstick for measuring the worth of a seller - the old feedback system and the seller's percentage rate.  DSR's TSR's, ad nauseum were all unnecessary!  All this meddling is just busy work that accomplishes nothing!  They need to stop trying to reward sellers - it should be a given that a seller have a good reputation or the seller needs to go.  Nothing more is needed because every one of these sellers are paying Ebay for space on their site and nothing more than that!  It shouldn't be a "popularity contest" or a "competition" of any sort!  Ebay needs to spend a GOOD DEAL OF TIME perfecting and streamlining the site so that it accomplishes its main purpose - make it easy for buyers to find things and for sellers to SELL things!  They need to get out of the manipulation business before they manipulate themselves right into the ground!

AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program   AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program

by: Martin

Sun Dec 20 05:18:48 2009

Ebay should go back to the the time wherein there were no rapid changes. Especially the feedback system. Sellers should be allowed again to leave negative feedback because there is an increase of bad buyers who extort money for feedback.

AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program   AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program

by: KISS EBAY GOODBYE

Sun Dec 20 05:51:03 2009

TRS =  more Tiresome Ridiculous Sh*t  that eBay keeps rolling out!

All the bells and whistles, hoops and hoopla, are simply distractions designed to justify a paycheck and keep sellers focused on something other than their declining traffic. They are not necessary, and in no way contribute to a better buyer experience.  In fact, all these badges and bobbles do is slow down the site…. it is painful to watch now.

The whole system is broken. Search is a misnomer, TRS is a joke, and eBay continually fiddles with everything from directing traffic to preferred sellers to adjusting DSR before invoice time (I’m not the only one who has noticed this!). One of these days an ex eBay employee is going to step forward and spill the beans on all this “fine tuning” that eBay does, and they will lose even more creditability in the marketplace….  if that’s even possible!

Yes - the site needed a good clean up, though I'm not sure they've gone about it the right away. What’s different today? Fraud is still rampant, counterfeit goods abound, shill bidding hasn’t stopped and it’s still a real cutthroat environment, with nothing to stop sellers from hurting one another.

Have eBay succeeded at ANYTHING with all these changes, other than aggravate an already aggravated community? In my mind, a big fat NO.  

KISS. Keep it simple stupid - it works every time.

AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program   AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program

by: Bad sites don't change

Sun Dec 20 07:09:01 2009

Bad people don't change as bad business practices won't change. We are on corrupt ebay because we have to be , to move more product. Waiting for Bonanzle and iOffer to grow a little more ..then we are gone forever. I suspect most sellers that have been abused by ebay feel the same way. Love to see ebay crumble and the dirty deeds exposed more than just in a Delaware court room.

AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program   AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program

by: Dawn

Sun Dec 20 07:57:25 2009

This has nothing to do with the survey other than to state that the low return rate probably has to do with the number of people who didn't receive the request to repeat. Like me.

AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program   AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program

by: SQ

Sun Dec 20 08:03:23 2009

Finally some recogition from those that go out of their way to take care of the customer. As a seller, and a buyer I know how poor some sellers operate, and as a TRS it is good recognition, and was very good for my business.

Maybe others should work so hard.

AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program   AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program

by: stryker

Sun Dec 20 08:55:39 2009

I think the survey Is not correctly titled, the correct title should be "has the TRS badge helped YOUR sales'

The reason I say this is because obviously the trs and modified dsr rules have forwarded eBay’s goal. The goal of course is the promotion of their preferred partners at the expense of the legion of long-term loyal smaller sellers .

EBay says they want to reward "Good sellers" , ok fine, but what’s a "good Seller" in eBay’s eyes is the important question.   It seems the answer is the platinum and diamond 100k plus poster who can flood the site with generic merchandise

 The new programs with the silly little badge was of course designed to insure that their pampered pets will always have the badge, while the vast majority of fee paying plebeians will not.

The dsr "1-2" rule, in its design  guarantees that all small to medium size sellers must now live in fear of even a single buyer knocking out their business, (eBay is still in the winnowing mode) .

  Any program wherein a seller with ten plus years selling and an outstanding selling history can be put out of business by a disturbed buyer or sly competitor who purchases say four small items and destroys the sellers feedback, has to be either deliberately designed to destroy small sellers, or of such poor design it could only be done in a millue of absolute incompetence.

And another question we must ask is : what were the result of the latest changes,

I have NOTICED TWO:

By reading the message boards I have noticed a substantial up tick in "buyer Blackmail". A portion of buyers, knowing that not only are they immune from bad feedback, but they can destroy a seller easily, have "gone wild". the instances of empty box claims, questionable defect claims, and re-negation has skyrocketed as helpless sellers are faced with a choice : do I pay off this obviously false claim or do i allow my Fb to be destroyed.


Second, it seems that most sellers have seen a decline in sales, the site is down overall, and with a larger percentage of the diminished sales being funneled to the "good Sellers", the rest of the herd finds buyers few and far between ,

So my answer to this to this survey , which questioned weather the dsr modifications and the silly little badge forwards eBay’s goals of promoting good sellers (remembering good seller means a platinum or diamond) I would say yes

Soon the site will be filled only with ebays idea of "good Sellers" I can hardly wait

AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program   AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program

by: MsFish213

Sun Dec 20 09:24:33 2009

The theory behind the TRS was a good one.  THe main problem, IMO, is that sellers assumed their sales would skyrocket with this feature. Sales cant skyrocket when there are no buyers. Sadly, it doesnt matter at this point if Ebay rolls back the changes and tweaks to the site, the damage is already done and Ebay is yesterdays news.

AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program   AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program

by: Sue @ TameBay

Sun Dec 20 09:47:12 2009

The problem with TRS is the problem you have whenever you try to grade eBay sellers any more finely than straight f/b percentage - that most sellers, most of the time, are superb, and that most buyers, most of the time, leave as good feedback as they're able.

NOWHERE else in business would 98% approval rating be considered failing. But on eBay, it's a poor score. So eBay concentrate on refining and refining it, trying (I think, in fairness, they really are trying) to help the best sellers float to the top - and yet by doing that, they create these crazy systems where buyers are asked to grade sellers on 92,456 different criteria, and sellers are put in a position where one grumpy buyer can end their eBay business.

There has to be a better way to do it that this.

I don't know what that way is. I keep coming back to Pierre's comment some years back that what the system needs is more eBay buyers prepared to complain. Or to say ''meh, it was okay, nothing special''. Neutral feedback ought to be the norm.

If the average eBay seller had a REAL ''average'' approval rating of 70-80%, and could trade quite happily on the site, unpenalised, for that, then we'd have room to promote the true stars with a realistic 90% approval rating above them. But on the current system, we can't. And I really can't imagine eBay sellers getting behind the idea that more neutrals might make the site a better place to trade ;-)

AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program   AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program

by: Ron

Sun Dec 20 10:29:40 2009

We have a TRS designation and really have not seen any impact at all.  Our sales were down 20% for the first half of this year and are now down 49% for the second half.  
We sell antiques and vintage collectibles and only by auction.  It's obvious that a lot of these "disruptive" changes that were instituted over the last two years were geared towards enabling fixed priced selling of new inventory.  My business hasn't been affected by any one device that eBay has come up with, but rather by the sum total, which has changed eBay into something that it wasn't.  It was born as a collectibles and antiques/second hand merchandise community marketplace and that community was a great place to do business.  We never had problems with buyers, and I doubt that most buyers had any problem with most sellers.  It's when they started expanding the offerings into cars and luxury items, and multiples of cheap new items that the scammers came out to play.  These types of things aren't a good match for the auction process and eBay just should have started a different type of marketplace for that type of thing.  Instead, they've lumped everything into one marketplace and have tried to institute rules and processes to cover every type of transaction.
As I said, we practically never had problems with any buyer prior to a couple of years ago.  We do know how to service a customer, so despite some buyers now being more "surly" and demanding, we still manage to provide them with what they need.  It just isn't as pleasant anymore, and if sales levels remain as they were these past 6 months, we'll have no choice but to leave altogether.    

AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program   AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program

by: ex silver powerseller

Sun Dec 20 11:46:14 2009

SQ, I have 5.0 in 2 DRS & 4.9 in 2 DSR and no negatives but still no shiny TRS badge, there's something wrong with the system. But BUY only got their TRS midmonth after getting f/b massaged. EBAY ARE CROOKS.

And Ron, they had that place. It was called Ebay Express & was a huge failure. So thanks to the jackahole, he decided to take the whole site down by bring ing this failure to core & Frankensteining it on top of the good site ruining it. Ebay is thru. I'm not listing there anymore, since Amazon , Ecrater & Bonanzle gave me a very merry christmas while Ebay COULD NOT DELIVER.

AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program   AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program

by: bookbatches

Sun Dec 20 11:48:11 2009

Happy holidays everyone! Drive safely and put the cell phone in the glove box.

AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program   AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program

by: Henry

Sun Dec 20 12:22:33 2009

There are some large PowerSellers that did not receive TRS status.  Perhaps it was their fault - poor ads - poor customer service - slow shipping. Honestly, I don't know. What I do know is that it has helped our sales.  It has helped our positioning in search results and eliminated the pressure to sell higher volumes. Is the system perfect - no. But neither was the system in place before.  

I think the one change eBay made that has created any buyer extortion, increased unpaid item claims, and altered the selling experience was not allowing sellers to leave neutral or negative feedback. We used to have one or two unpaid item claims a year.  Since eBay stopped allowing negative or neutral feedback for buyers our unpaid item claims have skyrocketed (more than 40 in the last year). Sellers used to be able to block buyers with too many negatives - now we cannot, which simply allows some few buyers to attempt to manipulate the system.

Personally I like eBay as a selling platform.  We do not use Amazon for several reasons - higher selling fees, inability to build brand identity, inability to write custom item ads/descriptions without sharing them with other sellers.

eBay is not perfect - none of us are, including Amazon - but it is the best selling platform available - especially for the small to medium size sellers.  I cannot prove this but I believe that part of eBay's problems are created by all the people or businesses who write negative comments, blogs and articles about eBay and promote other sales channels ahead of eBay.  There is a law of visualization - if your view is negative, you will get negative results. Conversely, if your view is positive, you will get positive results. Einstien defined insanity as doing the same thing and expecting different results. If your attitude toward eBay is negative and your reults are poor - try changing your attitude to positive.

I could write a book about this and perhaps I will one day.

AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program   AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program

by: JoeS

Sun Dec 20 13:53:13 2009

I positively got out of eBay 2 years ago and I'm positively doing well at other positive selling venues.

Is that positive enough for you Henry?

AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program   AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program

by: eGag sucks

Sun Dec 20 17:21:07 2009

I don't know how anyone can say that egag is great.  Many of the items I used to purchase, are either gone, or the quantities to choose from have diminished to the point that they are hard to find.  To make matters even worse, they allow many fake items, or forgeries on the site, and management won't do anything to get rid of them.  All management cares about is $$$, whether it comes from legitimate sales, or fakes, and forgery sales.

I used to sell on the site, but after many rate hikes, and bad decisions by the poor management team, I moved elsewhere, and am doing just fine.  At least now, when I sell something I don't have to worry about giving the site 25% of my sales, just to cover the fees.  eGag is dying a slow painful death, but I guess some sellers will ride the dead horse to the ground, before they start trying to figure out what's happening.  It's pretty obvious that the management team doesn't care much for the sellers, especially with taking away from the sellers, the option to leave neutral, or negative feedback for bad buyers.  How many more of these "great" changes are the current sellers willing to put up with, before they finally open their eyes, and engage their brains???  No amount of positive thinking is going to change the lousy ways of the current mis-management team.

AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program   AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program

by: On Lies and Secrets

Sun Dec 20 18:48:52 2009

IMO, the whole TRS program is pretty worthless to me as a buyer and is possibly damaging to the entire ebay brand.  The presence of the TRS designation seems to imply that there is something wrong with sellers without it; this isn't the case at all in my experience buying things from sellers on the site.  If I was a novice buyer, I wouldn't think badly of the sellers without the TRS designation, but I *would* think that ebay was behaving irresponsible for allowing any sellers on the site that they didn't absolutely trust.  IMO, it is a bad business move on the part of the ebay corporation to signal a lack of confidence in *any* seller whom they allow to remain on the site.  IMO, the TRS system makes ebay look bad and irresponsible as a venue.

The TRS icon itself is unappealing and does nothing to enhance the visuals of the page.  It gives very little value added information, IMO.  The meaning of the emblem isn't intuitive and quick descriptions of it doesn't convey concrete information (the description is vague - exactly what does ''trusted'' mean coming from an untrustworthy source?) The Powerseller symbol used to be marginally helpful as it indicated that the seller sold a certain dollar amount or volume of merchandise per month - for purchases where that information actually mattered, the powerseller symbol was somewhat useful.  

IMO, the TRS designation is useless if you are buying collectible, rare or hard-to-find goods which is one of the few reasons to bother to look on ebay anymore.  If the item is truly rare, then only one or possibly two sellers have it for sale at any given time - there isn't any choice of sellers so the TRS doesn't matter.

I think ebay management needs to leave gimmicks and special programs alone and concentrate on improving the fundamental aspects of the business.

AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program   AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program

by: whatever.

Sun Dec 20 20:06:19 2009

@on lies and secrets (and perhaps silence too?)

Well said.

Although I am a bit more pessimistic with novice buyers seeing through the charade:

One, because of that ''limit your search to TRS sellers'' in your face purple box that Uncle Griff™ our Advocate swore wasn't being considered ''at this time''--two weeks before it magically appeared on the site.

And two, even more, with the infuriating boilerplate on the listing:  
   * Consistently receives highest buyers' ratings
   * Ships items quickly
   * Has earned a track record of excellent service

Really? And I don't? Just because I don't have the time as a hobby seller to sell three grand worth of books and collectibles in a year or three month period or whatever the he

AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program   AuctionBytes Latest Survey Results on eBay TRS Program

by: keeper

Sun Dec 20 20:42:12 2009

It's very hard if not impossible to find a seller who is happy with eBay.  The rapid and rediculous changes only cause havoc on the site. I used to say I have a business on eBay....well I don't have a business.  eBay dictates how you run YOUR business~it sends reminder notices to YOUR buyers..it interfers with every aspect of YOUR business...there will be a mass exodus of sellers after Christmas....we have been selling on eBay for 9 years and we took a beating on sales in Nov. and Dec.....we cannot afford operate in the red......

Click to view more comments
1 2 3 4  [Next Page]


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.