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Mon June 28 2010 18:36:27

eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

eBay conducted another survey last week - this one asked about sellers' sales on eBay and other sites and about the eBay Top Rated Seller (TRS) program. Could it be an indication eBay is considering some changes to its TRS program?

The survey delves into respondents' perceptions of TRS sellers, who must meet minimum sales and performance requirements, and in return, receive benefits including a 20% discount on final value fees and improved exposure in search results. 

It's possible eBay is considering changes to the TRS program, perhaps making it more accessible to lower-volume sellers. On the other hand, it could be a way to get more data to help it with a carrot-and-stick approach to motivating sellers. 

eBay CEO John Donahoe has spoken several times recently about abusive buyers. The survey asks respondents if the TRS program forces sellers to give in to buyers to maintain their high detailed seller ratings, and whether they feel extra pressure to appease buyers to maintain or achieve eTRS status.




Six-Month Sales Performance
The survey began by asking sellers whether their sales had gone up or gone down over the past 6 months, and then asked sellers an open-ended question, "What do you think has been impacting your sales on eBay over the past six months?" eBay then asked which online channels sellers had sold on during the past six months, listing the following options:

- Amazon
- Craigslist
- Overstock
- Personal website
- Bonanzle
- Kijiji/eBay Classifieds
- or other, none or don't know.

This is not the first time eBay asked about sellers' sales on other sites, and listing competing marketplaces by name.

eBay then wanted to know how respondents' sales on eBay had compared relative to sales on other online channels over the past six months, and then asked the open-ended question, "What do you think has been impacting your sales on eBay, relative to other sales channels?" followed by the question, "Do you intend to grow or decrease your business on eBay in the next six months?"

Top Rated Seller Program
The questions then turned to eBay's Top Rated Seller program. The survey asked respondents to rate their level of agreement with a series of statements to measure their perceptions of sellers who are in the program.

The statements began, "Sellers that have qualified for the Top-Rated Seller program,... and included:

- Have been doing business on eBay for a long time

- Provide excellent service to eBay buyers

- Are selling items of higher quality

- Are paying a lot in seller fees to eBay

- Are more trustworthy than other sellers on eBay.

- Have been nominated by other eBay users

- Offer a bigger selection of items than other eBay sellers

- Are selling items at a good value

- Are safer to do business with than other eBay sellers

- Ship items quickly

- Pay a fee to eBay to be part of the Top-Rated Seller program

- Are also known as "Power Sellers"

- Are the largest sellers on eBay

- Get more visibility for their listings than other sellers

Respondents were able to rate their level of agreement on an 11-point scale (0 = Completely Disagree, 10 = Completely Agree).

The survey then listed 21 adjectives, such as "Reliable," "Bargain," "Worthless" and "Professional," and asked respondents if they thought Buyers associate those qualities with the TRS program and icon, and whether they themselves associated those qualities with the TRS program and icon.

Another question listed nine statements about TRS requirements and asked respondents if they agreed or disagreed with each of those statements - for example, "To be a Top-Rated Seller, you must have been selling on eBay for more than 24 months." (The survey did not state whether the statements were true or not.)

eBay asked what impact the TRS program had on sellers' sales on eBay in the past six months, and why.

It then went on to ask about the benefits of the TRS program, asking sellers if they agreed or disagreed with statements such as:

- Top-Rated Sellers receive priority customer service from eBay

- Top Rated Sellers receive UPS rate discounts

- Top Rated Sellers receive additional unpaid item protection

- Top-Rated Sellers receive expanded seller protection form PayPal

The survey then listed all of the benefits of the TRS program and asked sellers to rate how important they were to them as a seller on a scale of 0 - 10. Next, respondents were asked to rate their level of agreement with numerous statements on an 11-point scale, including:

- Buyers tend to ask fewer questions of Top-Rated Sellers

- Most buyers care more about the cost of the item than whether the seller is a Top Rated Seller or not

- eBay does a good job in providing buyers with the information they need to determine whether or not a seller is trustworthy

- Top Rated Sellers are given an unfair advantage because their listings get more prominent exposure

- eBay only cares about large sellers

- The Top Rated Seller program motivates me to improve or maintain my high detailed service ratings (DSRs)

- Having the Top-Rated Seller "badge" disadvantages sellers in some categories

- I have had a bad selling experience on eBay

- Most buyers are honest and do the right thing

- Since eBay started the Top-Rated seller program, I feel more loyal toward eBay as a sales channel

- Whether or not I am able to achieve Top Rated Seller status is out of my control

- I am afraid of losing my Top-Rated Seller status

- Since eBay started the Top-Rated Seller program, I have moved more of my online business to eBay

- The requirements for the Top-Rated Seller program are too difficult to maintain each month

- The Top-Rated Seller program forces sellers to give in to buyers to maintain their high detailed seller ratings

- The Top Rated Seller program is discouraging for small sellers

- I feel extra pressure to appease buyers to maintain or achieve eTRS status

- The Top Rated Seller program provides an unfair advantage to large Sellers

- If I were to lose my Top Rated Seller status, it would have a significant impact on my revenue



The survey ended with questions about how the TRS program could be improved; how respondents had learned about the TRS program; and how they preferred eBay communicate news of new programs to them; and finally, the ubiquitous Net Promoter Score question: "How likely is it that you will recommend selling on eBay to a friend or colleague?"




Comments (51) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers   eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers

by: 108041

Mon Jun 28 19:10:15 2010

Ebay need to develop a bad buyer algorithm. I ship using paypal, so ebay has the data that clearly shows that I ship within 24 hours of payment and charge only exact shipping yet I get buyers leaving me 1 and 2 in these categories. Thus keeping me out of the top rated program.
If the data clearly and objectively shows that a seller does ship with 2 days and charges exact shipping why can a buyer leave 1 and positive feedback? It doesn't make me not trust buyers as much as it does ebay. Just this week I had a buyer leave me a 1 in shipping time, shipping cost AND communication even though the FACTS  clearly show it was shipped and sorted at the post office within 24 hours of payment and was actual shipping AND I wrote the buyer to thank them for purchase and told them item was shipped. They leave glowing feedback then 3 ones? What more could I have done?  
I blame ebay for this constant abuse. They could easily develop a algorithm that won’t allow these types of rating abuse by buyers to count against a seller. It’s not subjective data we are talking about. Ebay has the information

eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers   eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers

by: Hardrock Rules

Mon Jun 28 19:15:33 2010

KEYWORDS: "Offer a bigger selection of items than other eBay sellers"

That is the MAIN POINT HERE FOLKS ! Offers bigger selection as in several hundred or thousand listings at once.

These are the sellers who count folks, not us medium to small to regulars.

You see I am TOP RATED, but a competitor lists 80 more items then me, they are not Top Rated, BUT in Best Match they rank way ahead of my listings, because they list MORE

Don't fall for that BULLSH*T about being good sellers, and giving good customer service, like I said I am Top Rated, one competitor is not, they list 80 more items than me, they outrank me on Best Match simply becuase they list more.

What a joke !

They writing is VERY CLEAR unless you list several hundred, or thousands of items, your wasting your time, effort and money on eBay

Best Match is like stealing in my opinion !

Unlike Robin Hood, John Donahoes Best Match STEALS FROM THE POOR and GIVES TO THE RICH !

eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers   eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers

by: Kirk

Mon Jun 28 20:30:14 2010

If you are not a Top Rated seller, you should sell your item through another venue. Otherwise you are just wasting your time and money.

eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers   eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 28 20:36:18 2010

You know.....I really don't think many small sellers care anymore.  They've been kicked around and squeezed for fees for the past 2 1/2 years.  Many of them are heading off elsewhere - so Ebay's survey may be all for nothing!  Unfortunately, Ebay is going to find out these are the sellers they NEED in order to keep buyers coming back.  Afterall, they can find an ordinary chinese widget anywhere - but where can they find the rare, the unique collectible that made Ebay famous?  Time will tell.

eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers   eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers

by: Sunday Monkey

Mon Jun 28 20:45:44 2010

My "Net Promoter" answer is "ZERO". I'd NEVER recommend eBay to anyone. Biggest goteskru I've ever seen. And the sellers are the goats.

eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers   eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers

by: Rich

Mon Jun 28 20:50:03 2010

I'm a TRS.  It means nothing because the store fees doubled and I sell media and the final value fee rose on April 1st from 12% up to 15%.  Ebay and Paypal now combine to take more than 25% of what I make; so selling on Ebay sucks regardless of TRS status.  If the Japanese company who bought out Buy.com; decide to reach out to American sellers and make a bid to compete with Ebay;  I'd leave Ebay immediately if they offered Ebay's fee structure of 2005 which was $9.95/month for a store and 2 cents per item/month with 10% commision.  Ebay can run surveys and ask a million questions but none of this matters when Ebay and Paypal combine to take anywhere from 20-35% of store owner's sales

eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers   eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers

by: My Own Website Not Quite Paying My Bills Yet

Mon Jun 28 21:03:24 2010


There are 3 things in life that are guaranteed--death, taxes, and another Ebay survey.

eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers   eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers

by: jojo

Mon Jun 28 21:17:33 2010

My Net Promoter answer is this: I would only recommend ebay to my enemies. Then I would be assured they would be punished and tortured accordingly by the ebay nazis.

eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers   eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers

by: I Don't Get Ebay Surveys Anymore

Mon Jun 28 21:23:26 2010

Odd. Ebay doesn't send me surveys anymore.

Is it just the luck of the draw? Or is it because I ignored 1/3rd of them, and didn't finish 1/3rd of them, and was brutally honest in my comments in the other 1/3rd.

I suspect that when Ebay doesn't get the answers they're hoping for, they will remove that seller from their survey list.

eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers   eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Pete
Web Site

Mon Jun 28 22:05:16 2010

Biggest flaw of the program? eBay offers no tools to identify a problem buyer, problem seller, or problem item. You can spot problem patterns, but not those single low scores that keep you out of the program by 0.1%
Net Promoter scores:  eBay is asking the wrong question (Would you recommend the site to a friend?)  It should be: 'Would you buy from this seller again?' Why?  I buy Chevy parts; my friends all drive Fords.  Why should I recommend eBay to my friends who HATE Chevys? OTOH, I have many favorite Chevy sellers who I love to buy from (and sellers on eBay I would NEVER buy from) I think the 'Would you by from this seller again' is a better reflection on seller quality.

eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers   eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers

by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jun 28 22:24:51 2010

" eBay then asked which online channels sellers had sold on during the past six months, listing the following options:

- Amazon
- Craigslist
- Overstock
- Personal website
- Bonanzle
- Kijiji/eBay Classifieds
- or other, none or don't know."

Hmmm.....is this so they know who to buy up next??? LOL

eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers   eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers

by: Sales Rep

Mon Jun 28 22:42:14 2010

Good point Pete.

I'd like to know why e-bay has not offered  sellers the option to see all the neutrals and negatives buyers leave for other sellers in one click??? They make it easy for buyers to see all of the sellers feedback yet when we want to see if a suspected buyer is a habitual bad feedback leaver, we have to dig through the list?
Bad form for sure.
Personally, I think e-bay is realizing they are sinking, they know the bad blood is running deep. Once sellers have moved on, I doubt many will ever want to come back.

eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers   eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers

by: 11 years on eBay

Mon Jun 28 23:08:00 2010

We had TRS status since its inception, but lost it in May. We feared our sales would drop but they didn't. Buyers still look to feedback and we are 100% positive with only two neutrals and no negatives. Furthermore we offer a return policy and have a friendly vibe in our listings. Whether or not we get a ribbon by our name, our customer service is second to none. The main advantage of TRS is the 20% FVF discount. Otherwise it appears to be worthless.

How we lost our TRS status demonstrates one of the problems with the TRS system. If you sell fewer than 400 items in a 3-month period, you are judged by your 1s and 2s for the preceding 12 months. If you sell more than 400 items in a 3-month period, you are judged only on that period. We sold about 420 items. Judged by 12 months, our low ratings for ''Item as Described'' were .23%, well below the .50% that triggers loss of TRS status. But on a three-month basis, we were .70% and lost TRS status. Looks like we'll be getting it back next month and we're looking forward to it only because we can save money on FVF. To be a seller whose sales volume straddles the arbitrary 400 line in any given 3-month period is not a pleasant place to be.

Feedback is still the way I judge sellers when I'm buying something, and I suspect that's the case with most buyers. TRS is a numbers game that is not always fair or logical. It's really a metaphor for eBay in general.

We're still making good money on eBay but if there's ever a realistic alternative, we're outta there.

eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers   eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers

by: RicRoe

Mon Jun 28 23:44:05 2010

There is an adage ''Never give your customers a reason to try the competition...they might not come back''.

Since John ''Noise'' Donahoe joined eBay, he and his management team have been telling customers if you do not like it here...leave''.

eBay's buyers have taken JD's suggestion. Many have tried the competition, and the competition is eating eBay's lunch. Despite the recession, sales continue to grow everywhere  while they stagnate at Donahoe's eBay.

eBay's sellers have also taken JD's advice. They too tried the competition. Some even became the competition by developing their own websites. Those sellers enjoy being free of Donahoe's micro mis-management.

Now we see John Donahoe's eBay sending out survey after survey to find out what the remaining buyers and sellers think of the mess that eBay has become.

Somehow, the surveys always seem designed to end up blaming sellers for the mess instead of giving respondents the opportunity to rate the performance of JD's eBay.

Donahoe and the rest of the MBA's still can not accept the fact that what is dragging eBay down is the continued mis-management of the company from top to bottom.

eBay's previous success gets harder and harder to recognize in the rear view mirror, and all current management sees through the windshield is a pending crash.

New leadership is long overdue at eBay.

The Donahoe led team has had their opportunities. Their arrogance and their ignorance has succeeded only in bringing a once thriving marketplace to it's knees. Their reward should be immediate termination.

eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers   eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers

by: Claudia

Mon Jun 28 23:45:58 2010

Survey?  How about a bidder survey.  eBay has sellers by the **** on credit card chargebacks.  Bidders get to keep the item and get a full refund.  Then eBay rams it up our *** by allowing the bidder to leave negative feedback and **** us on our DSR scores.  Regardless of what eBay says, we are not running a business.  We are running an auction.  What live auction house allows refunds and returns?  None that I know of around the Midwest.  Get a life eBay and quit picking on the sellers.

eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers   eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers

by: Digby
Web Site

Tue Jun 29 00:25:02 2010

I was very interested that they mentioned Bonanzle in their survey !

I am only a small seller, but wanted to be a regular seller. My listings did not get seen, I wrote to them and they said that I needed to be a TRS to be shown in the listings more.

That to me is unfair. That made me think they did not want me. So I do not want them.

I have my own site and list on 2 or 3 other sites. And ebay occassionally.

eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers   eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers

by: Jackie

Tue Jun 29 01:05:32 2010

12 years I have seen many changes on ebay.  I was always a Silver PS and sometimes even gold. I slowly lost my Silver to bronze over the last 2 years.

April 1st my sales dropped by 1/2 from what they were on March 31st and have stayed low since.

Surveys that ask the question like this one is more like closing the barn after the horses have run away.

I have sold on Amazon for more than 3 years and every month my sales have increased. If I only sold on Amazon (I have my own Website and cutting way down on ebay) I would have never know there was any type of problem with sales.  

So losing DSR due to low sales, not knowing why I even got Low 1&2s the few I have gotten, doesn't help me or even allows me to fix any problem with buyers who always give + feedback.

I have set my sites on leaving no later than Sept 1st. I have had enough. I have gone from 3500 items listed to now less than 300.  Listing more items doesn't do a thing by the way.

Is Donut Hole wanting to make + changes or pretend they are interested with surveys like this one?

I lost my TSR in May due to LOW SALES by .01%. So in June as an UN TSR person, my sales have NOT changed.  They are still 1/2 of what they were on March 31st.

eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers   eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers

by: Jackie

Tue Jun 29 01:27:50 2010

Just one last word.  

Hardrock Rules said Offers bigger selection as in several hundred or thousand listings at once.

I think what gives you a real advantage on ebay is not several hundred or even several thousand listings, but 100,000+ listings on ebay before you make a dent in sales.  And most of those sellers are the Diamond Sellers with the sweet deals of no FVF and quick removal of neg's, neut and low 1&2s.  No matter how many bad marks the Diamonds get, they are always TSRs.

eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers   eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers

by: taobaostop
Web Site

Tue Jun 29 03:26:29 2010

Seems like what taobao is doing in China, They cares more about the top sellers, they are now trying to kickout the newcomers...

eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers   eBay Survey Measures Perceptions about Top Rated Sellers

This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Tue Jun 29 05:32:01 2010

So another questionnaire to waste your time with.

You know it is not anonymous right? There's no hiding at eBay when you are complaining, or listening to the radio show - just when your DSRs get hit.

GOOD FOR YOU ALL! You volunteered for this caste system. It was fine to stomp on the little sellers. Hide their listings and make them pay more in fees. Well those little people died off or quit eBay, so now eBay is coming after the next batch!

Time for you to step up and pay the way for the Diamond Sellers. The questions on the survey help identify current sellers with bad attitudes that might spoil the new batch of newbies. Why should eBay keep people around who would not recommend the site. Why keep paying attention to sellers with items on other venues? It would be a good idea to identify these malcontents, and appease them in a minimal way to siphon off the maximum amount of assets.

What kind of ''stars'' do you survey takers leave for eBay? Oh, eBay doesn't have stars and DSRs and little games for them, manipulating their profits, wasting their time, giving them stress.

Sell more, wrap in recycled trash, put 5 star 10 star stickers on your boxes, be a Rock Star, listen to Uncle Griff and kibitz on the Super Secret Chat Board... Drink the kool-aid, drink lots of it!!!

Don't worry about sending a check or money order - eBay will help themselves right from your bank account.

You must pass this survey on to 10 friends or you will have bad luck! Ha ha ha ha!

Thank's for shopping eBay - YOU ASKED AND WE LISTENED!!!  LMAO  

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