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Mon June 14 2010 23:11:26

Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?

By: Ina Steiner

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As we wrote last month, eBay is launching a new policy that will allow users to filter a seller's feedback by positive, neutral or negative. eBay said it was a feature that many members had requested "to help them make faster, more well-informed decisions when transacting on eBay."

eBay no longer allows sellers to leave negative or neutral ratings for buyers, so this policy is all about helping shoppers to isolate a seller's negative feedback ratings.

What's fascinating is that President of eBay Marketplaces North America Bill Cobb had told us that he would never allow such a feature on the eBay.com site as long as he was in charge - that was in 2007, six months before CEO Meg Whitman handed the reins over to John Donahoe, at which point Bill announced his retirement.

Since it's easier for buyers to scroll through the feedback from a low-volume seller and find negatives and neutrals, but harder to find the negative ratings of high-volume sellers, it seems the latter would be most impacted by the new policy. This is counter-intuitive given eBay's current strategy of wooing high-volume sellers to the site. On the other hand, skeptics might say very high-volume sellers will have an easier time getting eBay to remove negative feedback since they have account managers and special relationships.

Beyond the big-seller/little-seller debate, will this new feedback policy make eBay a better marketplace for shoppers?

And do eBay sellers and buyers really care about these policy changes the way they used to?

See full news story here.




Comments (57) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?   Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?

by: evandriel

Mon Jun 14 23:49:06 2010

Well, from a seller's perspective I think this is yet another ''...at least as useful as tits on a boar hog...'' eBay innovation. The never ending avalanche of BS rolls on and on and on.

Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?   Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?

by: The Whine Seller
Web Site

Mon Jun 14 23:55:46 2010

I'm a seller, obviously, but as a frequent buyer on eBay, I've wanted this option for forever which is why it surprises me some people are against it.

To me, it helps most sellers. For instance, if your handling time says items take 7 days to arrive and all of your bad feedback says "items took a whole week to arrive" I know to just discount those people as illiterate and that you delivery as you promise.

Getting to see all the negs at once lets you get a general idea of a seller at his or her worst and if that total picture isn't that bad, it makes me more likely to buy from someone after discounting petty complaints than if all I see is a big scary red number.

Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?   Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?

by: ZZTopshlf

Tue Jun 15 00:01:01 2010

Hey that's great!

Yeah, that one negative feedback I got 3 years ago from a buyer trying to extort me, who's feedback Ebay says I need a court order to remove, can now come back to haunt me in perpetuity and potentially cost me sales!

What a wonderful idea!

Really really really dumb people making really really really dumb decisions!

This is what Ebay is today and it just keeps getting worse.

They keep making changes that KILL sales and KILL success on their platform for many sellers.

What we need is one big can of RAID. These cockroaches have to go!

Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?   Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?

by: Rich

Tue Jun 15 00:11:11 2010

This change focuses on negs and neutrals so it hurts sellers; especially big volume and mid level sellers.  Business 101 teaches to stay positive and not focus on anything negative. I didn't like Bill Cobb, but at least he knew this was a stupid move.  Do sellers care about changes?  The answer probably is less and less--for me; I work more hours at regular job and lately just pack and ship store sales, without adding new items

Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?   Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?

by: jono794

Tue Jun 15 00:15:07 2010

In Oz, we have always had this - in my opinion, if U sell on eBay, you will get Negatives, usually from unreasonable people who U never hear from before they leave the Neg. I use the right of reply as a selling tool by listing what I do when someone is unhappy and how I fix probs. Takes the sting right out of the Neg comments. The majority of people can recognise a nutter when they see the comments left by the buyer. Only 1 Neg this last 12 months, but standby for the next Feedback. Jono

Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?   Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?

by: Troglodyte

Tue Jun 15 00:31:32 2010

The last conversation I had with my former TSAM, he/she admitted that only Diamond powersellers now have TSAMs.

IMO, we now expect even more egregious and aggressive negative/neutral feedback removal for the Diamonds.

Does this new system cover only the last year or does it go back to the very beginning of a seller's account?

At glassdoor.com, past and present ebay employees give Donahoe only a 30% approval rating.

NARU Donahoe now.

Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?   Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?

This user has validated their user name. by: Bob

Tue Jun 15 00:33:30 2010

Unlike DSR's, listing fees, FVF's, etc...this would appear to be more transparent, and it will be interesting to see if the larger sellers have the links to negative & neutral feedback.

We all know that diamonds don't pay listing fees (thanks Stephanie for that little tidbit), and of course, DSR's are like the Colonels Secret Recipe. However, this is something that is either available or not.

For example...will I be able to click on the ''2145'' negative feedback for the last 12 months showing for BUY (buy.com's ebay store) and see a listing of all the feedback? How about EFORCITY's ''2171?''

With all the speculation over what the diamonds don't have to endure, vs what the small-mid level sellers do, this will be a great test-case.

My bet is ultimately, this will not be implemented for the diamonds.

Lets take a vote....Yes or No?

Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?   Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 15 00:52:41 2010

We've had this for years now.  Its calle toolhaus.org!

Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?   Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?

by: eBuyer Feedback This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Jun 15 01:18:52 2010

Even Griff claimed he didn't want this feature on the site and continually fought against its inclusion (or so he said).

However, this is actually a good thing for sellers.  Recently eBay removed the page that warns buyers that they are about to leave negative or neutral feedback.  This has resulted in numerous non-positive feedbacks left with positive comments.  Now when a buyer clicks to see your negs they'll see all those should-be positives.  Before they'd see 2 - 3 negs but never find them and assume the worst.

Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?   Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?

by: CustomerServiceRep

Tue Jun 15 01:34:00 2010

With all the back door deals e-bay offers mega sellers, it will be hard to tell how much of an impact it will have on them.

I don't think making negs visible all in row is good for business. Not on e-bay or anywhere for that matter.

The bottom line is this- when I shop where they offer a lot of ''rating or feedback'', I have found I normally change my mind and don't buy the product. When I can see how many people are dissatisfied by filtering, it ends up being a big NEGATIVE bomb which just turns me off to making the purchase. Even if it was something I really wanted, suddenly I no longer want to purchase it. In all reality, it's great psycho therapy which deters making un-needed purchases.

Yea, ebay has gone to the dogs for sure. Although I have 100% feedback at this moment, I don't plan of continuing to sell there to the extent I once did. With a new website which is making more and more sales, I continue to build a larger customer base which I wouldn't have bothered with if e-bay had not become so difficult to sell on.
I suppose we should all thank ebay for teaching us what today's buyers wanted and how to satisfy them. Had ebay not been so transparent which their intentions to coral its sellers into rows, it would have taken longer to develop such internet savvy.

Myself and associates refuse to buy on e-bay, even if a seller has a lower price then what can be found elsewhere. In the past we used to always find the lowest prices on e-bay but these days, with all the fee's they impose on sellers, better deals have become more common elsewhere. Personally, it's kind of sad, ebay has been their own worse enemy by squeezing their best resource (the unique seller)  to the point of moving to buy and sell elsewhere but nothing stays the same and I suppose this is just more of what we should expect. Heck, I don't  even get mad anymore about it. Kind of like when you know it's time to divorce.

I love to read Auction Bytes, never a dull moment when it comes to how many different ways e-bay can beat up on their sellers. Unfortunately, when seller profits tumble, moral goes out the window, service and attitude suffers which leads to more unhappy buyers. Merchandising is dynamic, buyer happiness is only possible if the ebb and flow  from the top down remain fluid. I doubt ebay can loosen the clamps enough to salvage their position in the marketplace. Meanwhile, us sellers should all continue to build our own sites and prepare for the future. Certainly none of us should sit around and do nothing. The cost and ease of building your own site has never been easier.

Abundant sales to all!

Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?   Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?

by: Mister Tubbles

Tue Jun 15 02:00:49 2010

The new system is designed to put pressure on sellers to accept returns or do whatever it takes to make a seller happy. ebay does not want to deal with SNAD's and INR's. It costs them too much money. Hence the push to ill off small sellers. Only now ebay realizes it's the big sellers with the highest complaint rate.

After years of letting big sellers get away with crappy service or just plain selling crap, word of mouth is taking it's toll. So now the birds have come home to roost and ebay is playing catch up. What they should have been doing was enforcing policies already in place. Had they done so they wouldn't need to roll out new policies, and lies, every 6 months.

Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?   Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?

by: steve

Tue Jun 15 02:15:36 2010

First off...whoever told you Diamonds only have TSAM's is a moron. We aren't diamonds and we have TSAM's.

Second off...let me give you guys the reality of feedback. If you have over a certain amount of feedback....I would say 10,000 or so....VERY FEW buyers will look at your feedback. It's as simple as that. How many of you have looked at the seller with 60,000 feedback and looked at their negs? Not many. It's just a given in most buyer's minds that if you have that many positives that you are a good seller.

Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?   Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?

by: mickeyfinn This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 15 02:29:00 2010

For all the doomsayers on this topic, I have some news for you.... This facility has been available on eBay for a long time. You have been able to get to it through the Australian site (ebay.com.au) - and have been for a year or two, I think (it's been there that long, I forget when it came in)

And, YES, it works for ANY eBay ID in the world.

I use it quite often - and I can tell you that the biggest danger is with buyers who DON'T read the comments, but just look at the numbers. If you want to feel uncomfortable about anything, then you should be freaking out at the 1/6/12 month summary. THAT is worse, because it is blind numbers.

Someone has said above and it is the case for me, that being able to group the negs and the neutrals allows you to see what goes on by reading the COMMENTS - and let's face the obvious, that is the only reason FOR clicking on the number. There is where you will see if there is a pattern with buyers or with the seller.

While the argument can be made that it will turn off some buyers, I would suggest it actually helps decent sellers - because the comments made in negs against shonky traders will have a common theme that will be noticed.

The other thing that happens, too, is that by grouping the negs/neutrals, the 'follow-up' comments are also brought together - and this is where sellers can shoot themselves in the foot.  If I see a seller go ballistic at a neg, alarm bells start ringing.

That used to be easier when sellers were allowed to leave negs on buyers. I loved that. It was like a beacon you could quickly zoom in on to find out what the seller was like under pressure - but with that gone, buyers have to read between the lines more.

Has anyone heard if Aussie sellers found this facility detrimental?

I haven't.

Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?   Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?

by: retail business software
Web Site

Tue Jun 15 02:31:59 2010

eBay's new feedback policy probably has you upset - and with good reason. While this new feedback system won't be the downfall of all sellers out there, but it goes to show once again that eBay seems to favor their buyers more than the sellers.

Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?   Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?

by: mickeyfinn This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 15 02:32:26 2010

"And do eBay sellers and buyers really care about these policy changes the way they used to?"

......Do they care the way they used to?


No.

Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?   Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?

by: mickeyfinn This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jun 15 02:47:59 2010

@steve

I may be unusual, but I look at the feedback of every seller I contemplate purchasing from. Using ebay.com.au allows me to pull the negs and neutrals together for an easy read.

Also, I understand the red dot is the BUYER's opinion - and I have great reservations about the sincerity of many buyers, especially since seller issued negs were eliminated.

I look for the meat and the relevance to me. If the biggest whinge is slow shipping and I'm not in a hurry, then as long as the other complaints appear as normal issues, then I will be happy to buy from that seller.

But, I suppose I must admit that, as a buyer, I am becoming more and more the minority.  I take responsibility for my choices.

Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?   Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?

by: Jack

Tue Jun 15 02:51:32 2010

eBay shows you why people living under communism so hated their government! The state {and on the internet ebay] is always right. Peoples {sellers} rights are irrelevant. If you are making money on ebay you might want to keep going but you will find that no matter how much you are making it is never enough and ebays greed will destroy you eventually.
 I just sold my first item on 'EBID', sold it for less than I would have gotten on ebay but fees were negligible and it is the first time I enjoyed selling on an auction site in years - it was like ebay used to be: I was my own boss again {not ebays slave} and the customer was a pleasure to deal with. It may take awhile but unless we start giving ebay competition that now evil company will eat us.
 You might want to give ebid {was rated 2nd to ebay in number of listings and rated highly for profit by some sellers} a chance - ALL I AM SAYING IS GIVE HOPE A CHANCE - EBAY LIKE COMMUNISM CAN BE DEFEATED!!!

Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?   Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?

by: dutch buyer-formerseller

Tue Jun 15 03:08:06 2010

As far as I know this 'clickable neg/neutral' feature has been available on all European eBay sites + on the Australian site for years already (or maybe even 'forever'?).

Any US or Canadian seller who has been selling internationally in the past years has been 'subjected' to this already, as their feedback profiles appear on the local non-com/ca eBay sites with this possibility to easily click on the negs or neutrals. (try your eBay profile with e.g. ''de'' or ''co.uk'' in stead of the ''com'' or ''ca'')

When I search on my local eBay (nl) site, I get the internationally available items that ship to the Netherlands, and I also can see the sellers profiles on the ebay.nl site, with negs and neutrals 'clickable'.

I, as a buyer, actually like this, so I can quickly see what negs and neutrals there are and which might be possible reasons for concern with a seller, or which seem like unreasonable  ratings  from 'pita' buyers - which I try not to be, since I've also been a small time seller on eBay, and I know how tough it is for a seller to 'perform' according to the new eBay 'standards' ;-)

As a (former) (small time) seller, I've always been sort of 'neutral' to these clickable ratings, but that's probably because I've never known otherwise....  

... just my 2 cents...

Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?   Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?

by: steve

Tue Jun 15 04:14:21 2010

@Mickeyfinn....I don't see the point. You pull all the negs and let's say there are 400 negs from people who say the seller is a slow shipper.

Do you disregard the 42,000 comments that say shipping is fast?

Trust me....this does nothing good for sellers. Most of us want to be on a site whose decisions actually help sellers profit more. It's been a long time since Ebay has made any decisions positively affecting buyers. They all are positively affecting buyers at the seller's detriment.

Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?   Will eBay's New Feedback Policy Impact Large Merchants?

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen

Tue Jun 15 04:41:27 2010

Been able to do this in Australia for a while now; maybe they were trialling it here? Good idea for buyers to be able to easily review any negs.

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