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Wed Sept 30 2009 11:12:23

eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay sellers are now coping with the effects of some of the Seller Release 2 (SR2) changes that began rolling out on September 22, 2009, and seemed to impact many sellers on Tuesday. In a nutshell:

1) Top Rated Sellers (TRS) received notification from eBay that they qualified for the program.

2) eBay began promoting Top Rated Sellers (TRS) in search results.

3) Sellers began seeing a new Dashboard.

I'm hearing many concerns about the Top Rated Sellers (TRS) program. The first is from sellers who believe they should be top-rated but are not. Said one seller posting on the eBay discussion boards, "The only thing that's keeping me from Top Rated Seller status is the fact that I'm not a Power Seller. I thought they were doing away with that designation so smaller sellers have a shot at the badge?" But PowerSellers who feel their feedback and DSRs are high enough to qualify for the program are also frustrated.



Another concern is about buyers' perception of sellers who are not TRS. The TRS badge is appearing in search results. As one reader asked, "Does this mean everyone that's not top rated does not have excellent service and shipping?" Another reader asked, "Do they not get that not having the badge will say "This seller can't be trusted." ?"

An even bigger concern, it seems, is the purple box in search results that calls out attention to buyers that they have the ability to filter out anyone who is not a TRS. Said one user, I never thought a Top Rated Seller being advantaged in search meant there would be a filter to eliminate everyone else.




Finally, I don't see much discussion about the new seller dashboard.



Let us know in the comments what you think. Is the TRS program a good concept? What's good and what's lacking in eBay's implementation? How are you affected by this week's changes?




Comments (189) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout   eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout

by: Joe

Wed Sep 30 11:38:56 2009



eBay just cannot be trusted...EVER!!!!!

eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout   eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout

This user has validated their user name. by: Ina

Wed Sep 30 11:38:57 2009

PS: In testing the purple box in search results, I discovered that while there were 39,018 listings for nano ipod, filtering them to TRS-only showed 7,211 items - that's 18 percent of total listings for that one search term. An interesting test for a seller to conduct in their own category/search term.

eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout   eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout

by: Lo

Wed Sep 30 11:48:45 2009

This is awful!! I am a top rated seller under 2 ebay ids and my listings have now fallen in best match seach! Ebay has some very serious problems.

eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout   eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout

This user has validated their user name. by: Pete

Wed Sep 30 11:52:46 2009

Every single item we mail is international, I am deeply insulted that eBay do not get the fact that We are disadvantaged by postal and customs delays (we mail 7 DAYS A week)..not to mention the on going Royal Mail strikes in the UK over the past 6 MONTHS

eBay have lost GM today this must tell them something is very wrong with the platform

This new badge is going to damage small sellers more than ever, and many put the so called Diamonds to shame with service and price too

eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout   eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout

by: Jeff

Wed Sep 30 11:56:16 2009

The GM partnership was scheduled to end on the 30th. Nothing lost and everything to gain by eBay! Tons of advertising!
As a buyer, I like being able to select from sellers that are proven to be dependable and offer good deals.

eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout   eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout

by: Sad, we got the badge

Wed Sep 30 11:57:47 2009

Looks awful and don't want the badge virus. eBay messes up again.

eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout   eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout

by: Hardrock Rules

Wed Sep 30 12:01:35 2009

@LO == Same thing has just happened to me, Top Rated Seller, but bestmatch looks more like a time ending soonest order for auctions, not fixed price. With sellers not Top Rated, and not offering free shipping outranking the the Top Rated sellers offering free shipping ! What's up with this /

eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout   eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout

by: Former TRS

Wed Sep 30 12:02:08 2009

I WAS a Top Rated Seller 2 days ago. I have not received any new feedback and suddenly it has disappeared. I have had sales as normal, not less. Why did it suddenly change?

I also have a second newer ebay store and saw my search level bounce up and down in the same day with no sales or feedback. I JUST DON'T GET IT!!!

eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout   eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout

by: Lulu72

Wed Sep 30 12:04:09 2009

Because 1% of my bidders can neither read nor comprehend that custom items are shipped with 10 business days (despite the fact it is documented in at least 7 instances throughout the buying the process) I am not a 'Top rated seller.'  My goal was to move off eBay is favor of my own site by 12/10.  I have now moved my goal to 6/10.  Way to go eBay-- 7 years of 100% FB powerseller down the drain.  

eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout   eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout

by: 2010 or bust

Wed Sep 30 12:04:50 2009

The problem is not just how high the bar is (we currently qualify, but with an margin of error of only 1/199, it is unreasonable) but more that this is one more thing that makes selling on eBay an unstable platform for legitimate businesses.

How can any business expect to make eBay a major part of its online presence going forward when everything from product visibility to overhead (selling fees) are in play, day to day, month to month.

We are all for a safe and stable marketplace that ensures safe transactions, but this is just too much.

One more thing that pushes us into our own marketing off eBay.

On a quick aside, I think the Whitman voting record is a perfect example of the eBay management perspective: Hold others to much higher standards than you hold yourself.

eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout   eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout

by: JG

Wed Sep 30 12:05:15 2009

How come with eBay it always turns into something else.  Too many changes, too many rules, too much favoritism.  Now this.  How about eBay concentrating on getting their buyers back so EVERYONE can succeed.

eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout   eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout

by: 2010 or bust

Wed Sep 30 12:07:08 2009

Forgot to mention my main two customer service issues --

1) New eBayers are confused about how to pay for an item

2) Buyers are unaware that the email address they have on file with eBay is not current and then think we are not communicating with them

Both situations that need fixes that eBay has ignored for years.

Plus - where is the Shopping Cart!!

eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout   eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout

by: LOL

Wed Sep 30 12:07:25 2009

@Jeff

Some people just don't get it...you are one of them...enjoy the smaller pool of sellers

Regarding GM ....listen to why GM have dropped eBay

eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout   eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout

by: rjoly@cam.org

Wed Sep 30 12:07:36 2009

as a consumer, doesn't that confirm that there are loads of UNTRUSTWORTHY sellers on eBay ? Very odd

eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout   eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout

by: just me

Wed Sep 30 12:08:02 2009

Seems right to me.

eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout   eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout

by: Scotty

Wed Sep 30 12:14:13 2009

@Jeff. I can see that you are another eBay troll. Otherwise your brain wouldn't be scrambled.
There are plenty of small sellers that that have better service and prices then the badged sellers.
Would you really buy something from someone that has 100's of negs and neutrals a month just because they have a stupid eBay badge???
If you would you are  then I think.
Also I would suggest that when you go to work every day at eBay you find another entrance. That way you don't go through the brain scrambler and you might really see the true eBay.
Good luck with your badged purchases.

eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout   eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout

by: Mo

Wed Sep 30 12:15:08 2009

After selling on eBay for more than 12 years and maintaining a FB score of 99.9, eBay's recent childish game of awarding TRS badges takes the cake! I won't play & refuse to be baited by their Bait & Switch baloney.

I see thousands of sellers who are sporting those ugly TRS badges with listyings chock full of violations! Those violations range from not updating their listings with mandatory return policies and insurance to requesting cash, checks and money orders. eBay ''rewards'' those violators with glowing TRS masks. What a crock of crap!

Now, PowerSellers have been completely defrocked of their PS Logo & thrown to the wolves.

Personally, I have one too many ''1'' ratings & that buyer rated me accordingly when I finally refused to answer her 18th silly ASQ about doll collecting & I told her that I wasn't looking for new eBay PenPals!

eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout   eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout

by: Top-Rated Seller

Wed Sep 30 12:16:07 2009

We just checked our main selling category and searches for our most popular items and 18% is where we came up on almost every one.  26% was the highest and 17% the lowest.  But that is LISTINGS, not sellers.  Not really an apples to apples comparison.

I don't think eBay has provided any information on what ''Percentage'' of sellers qualify as TRS, though I did hear through a third party it was 100,000 or so.  That could be a complete fabrication over or under estimating the total since I did not hear it directly from eBay.

Some of our concerns as a TRS remain:

1: Hidden rating system that is ripe for abuse and gives sellers no ability to identify and correct causes of low ratings.

2: Low threshold for disqualification for low-moderate volume sellers, as few as 3 ratings knock you out if you have less than 600 transactions AND they can ALL be from ONE buyer.

3: What is it going to do to the search experience for buyers once the ''New'' Best Match goes live on Oct 1st?  During the testing earlier this month I saw search results with 80% or more of the mixed ''Best Match'' search results from just ONE seller that has a lot of auction and FP listings.  When a search results page of 50 or 100 listings are 80% the identical item from the same seller that creates a poor expereince for the buyer offering them little selection.

EBay's goal in any change like this is to improve the buyer expereince and overall GMV on the marketplace becuase THAT makes them more money.  The REAL determination will be in the 4th Qtr numbers come January.  Success and Failure of the TRS system can be debated for the next 3 and a half months to no end.  But once those 4th Qtr numbers are announced to Wall Street come mid January 2010.  Then we will all know the real measure of success of the TRS program.

As Top-Rated Sellers ourselves, JD said on CNBC the other day that TRS experienced ''double digit'' sales increases during eBay's trials of the program.  We certainly cannot argue if those end up our results as well.  HOWEVER, the big question is are those ''Additive'' sales to the marketplace as a whole or ''Predatory'' from the existing marketplace GMV?  And if ''Predatory'', which sellers are they coming from, the actual poorest performing sellers or disproportionally from sellers just outside the TRS qualification?

As a large volume eBay seller we would like to see results that strip sales away from the poorest performing sellers while at the same time keeping the overall health and diversity of the marketplace strong and vibrant. Can eBay achieve that with the Top-Rated Seller program?  We will see...

TRS

eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout   eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout

by: Colin

Wed Sep 30 12:18:16 2009

If you get under 400 transaction feedbacks, as I recall, the low DSR's (1's and 2's) remain part of the calculation for 12 months, not three months.  So, when you get three 2's on any DSR category, you loose the badge, you loose 20% FVF refunds, and you loose the option to by featured first.  

The quantity of 1's and 2's allowed for ''small'' powersellers under 400 feedback over three months is a very high, in fact too high, requirement.

Buyers, even by honest error, reverse rank 5's and 1's sometime, or have a bad hair day. This affects a status for 12 months?  Wow.

The threshold should be high for the badge, as a percentage, with a calculation that chops out part of the bell curve of feedback, eliminating the statistically strayed results.  Or, doing the calculation over the previous 30 day period, if a specific amount of feed backs are received that is lower than the current 133 (400 / 3 months.)

eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout   eBay Sellers React to Top Rated Seller Rollout

by: Luis

Wed Sep 30 12:19:47 2009

I'm in the UK, a small seller with a Feedback approaching 5000 and 100%. Am I going to be a Top Seller? Never! And we know why, ebay REALLY wants big sellers not the likes of you and me. We are kept as a window dressing display but in the end we are just a nuisance. Accept it or leave it.

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