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Mon May 30 2011 22:23:53

eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown

By: Ina Steiner

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Numerous eBay sellers have reported seeing their status change for the poorer in a span of several days on and around May 20, 2011, and I wondered if eBay had decided to crack down on sellers in May.

Some sellers saw their status drop from Above Standard to Standard due to a new eBay policy, and other sellers reported a drop in seller standards or change in PowerSeller/TRS status due to a fall in transaction volume. Other sellers found eBay began placing restrictions on their accounts, and one seller said eBay's Trust & Safety had manually placed restrictions on their account for unknown reasons.

Selling on eBay has gotten complicated, but what's clear is that eBay is relying heavily on DSR feedback ratings in order to make decisions about sellers that impact their exposure in search, their seller fees, and how many items they can list.

eBay classifies sellers using two programs: PowerSeller status (Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum, and Titanium) and Global Seller Standards (eBay Top Rated Sellers, Above Standard, Standard - which is new, and Below Standard).

I asked eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff if eBay had made any changes with regard to Powerseller and/or TRS status aside from the new global standards. She said:

"We changed to the 100 transaction/$3,000 GMV requirement in April 2010. (http://pages.ebay.com/sell/July2009Update/Details/index.html#1-2.)

More broadly, since the launch of Top-rated seller status for PowerSellers, there had been inconsistencies in the way eBay evaluated sellers, such as focusing on Transactions requirements for the Bronze level, but maintaining Sold Item requirements for higher tiers.

So, starting May 18 (2011), PowerSeller criteria has been changed to simplify the program and make it easier for sellers to understand and track.

Changes include:

- Removing the 100 Feedback since PowerSellers must already have 100 transactions to qualify

- Changing Sold Items requirements for Silver, Gold, Titanium, and Platinum levels to Transactions requirements, as Bronze requires 100 Transactions

- Removing the three-month GMV and Transactions criteria and using only the 12-month GMV and Transactions criteria

It's important to note that no sellers lost their status during the change. Some sellers switched tiers inside the PowerSeller program (Silver to Bronze for instance) but benefits aren't linked to tiers in the U.S."

I asked her for clarification on the second bullet point, and she replied, "We have made requirements for Silver, Gold, Titanium and Platinum levels consistent with the requirement for Bronze level ­ they are now transaction-based, as opposed to sold items-based."

Johnna provided additional information about the new Global Seller Standards:

"As part of our Seller Release in March, terminology around standards was aligned globally. (Previously, the U.S. didn't have Standard level in the dashboard.) The update impacted only a certain population of sellers, and no seller lost eTRS status as a result, so we included the information in an FAQ that was part of the spring (2011) announcement: http://pages.ebay.com/sellerinformation/news/globalstandards.html.

I want to especially highlight that whether sellers have an "Above Standard" or "Standard" performance rating, they are meeting eBay's minimum selling standards and are in good standing. There are no consequences for moving from Above Standard to Standard.

**********
Q. What is the difference between Standard and Above Standard seller performance?

A. If you look at the Global standards preview in your dashboard right now, you may notice the addition of the "Standard" performance level. This will be coming to the main dashboard in May for US, UK, Germany and Global standards.

Both Above Standard and Standard seller performance levels have the same requirements for the rates or counts of 1s and 2s on DSRs. However, Above Standard also requires a minimum average DSR of 4.60 across all four DSRs, as well as 100 or more transactions over the past 12 months. Whether you have an "Above Standard" or "Standard" performance rating, you are meeting eBay's minimum selling standards and are in good standing. There are no consequences for moving from Above Standard to Standard."

eBay has been raising the bar for sellers, which on the surface sounds commendable. Two of the obvious drawbacks is that low-volume sellers can not become Top Rated, no matter how many years they've been selling on eBay (as of April 2010, you must have 100 transactions AND $3,000 in sales over the previous 12 months from U.S. buyers only). The other is eBay's reliance on anonymous DSR ratings, which is troublesome since eBay has yet to find a way to rid the site of bad buyer behavior.

Sellers have also been reporting within the last week new restrictions on their accounts - see some recent letters from seller on the AuctionBytes Letters to the Editor blog, for example.

An AuctionBytes reader has an explanation for why Powerseller status and TRS status change complaints seem to arise around the same time:

"What I have documented is that feedback updates on a daily basis, but DSR counts are frozen from the 1st or 2nd of the month through about the 20th or 21st of the month. After that, DSRs update on a daily basis until the end of the month. Once the first on the following month rolls around, DSR counts are frozen again.

"I believe eBay did this so that sellers would find it more difficult to run reports and get granular transactional details by lumping 20 days of DSR scores together and posting them in a lump sum. This creates a sudden change in status when a sellers monthly evaluation takes place and the effected sellers are taken by surprise by a bunch of low scores which might have appeared all at once. Sellers are led to believe dashboard is updated daily when in fact only feedback is updated on a daily basis."

It's not only low- to medium-volume sellers who are running into eBay's into issues with seller standards and account restrictions. A high volume seller told AuctionBytes Trust & Safety manually downgraded their account. The seller said they were told it's been happening to other top accounts as well.

The seller says the account has not seen any increase in buyer complaints, but because eBay downgraded their account's Global Seller Standards status, sales have plummeted due to less exposure in search results.

"Regardless of whether you meet the performance standards that eBay has set in place, they can manually descore you, and that scares the hell out of me," the seller told me.

Leave a comment and let us know if you're experiencing any of these issues.

I found this chart helpful in reviewing some of the changes eBay has made to the PowerSeller program since October 2009.




Comments (64) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown   eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown

by: Phil DeBasquet

Tue May 31 00:31:40 2011

Ebay is doing everything they can to deny sellers their fee discount.
ebay is making it impossible to make money selling on Ebay. They are on the road to self destruction. That Dona hoe is some businessman.

eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown   eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown

by: Chaz

Tue May 31 00:48:31 2011

As regards Powerseller, I checked my account and only the 12 months standard is there, so yes, the 3 months review standard is gone.  As regards frequency of updating feedback and DSR's, feedback does seem to update on a continuous basis as given, but the DSR's that are given with feedback sometimes update daily and sometimes skip some days.  This can be seen when running seller reports.  If you update every day, which I recommend, then you can see if your total DSR count has changed for a given time period.  For example, May 1 to date.  Update this to a later date each day and you can see if there is a change.  So DSR's do update more frequently than the letter suggests.  What updates as the letter states, namely about 2/3 through the month, is the Seller Dashboard.  So you can see some changes before they are on the Seller Dashboard if you run daily seller reports for yourself.

eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown   eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown

This user has validated their user name. by: Mercy the Mingless

Tue May 31 00:57:26 2011

Ebay repeatedly states that buyer feedback is only an ''opinion''.  However, eBay transforms the ''opinions'' into facts and uses them to punish sellers and damage or destroy livelihoods.

What a friend we have in eBay.

eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown   eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown

by: pete

Tue May 31 01:34:24 2011

eBay are on a road to nowhere..what ever the dumb managemant believe sellers will only take so much.

With 7 eBay account (all on UK, AU, COM & CA) we are already out selling all of them with just 1 single Amazon account ....that tells me something is very wrong over in eBayland

They are welcome to it as I actually like going to work again

eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown   eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown

by: Daized & Confused

Tue May 31 02:11:34 2011

After 10 years on Ebay, and being knocked down to a ''Bronze''  seller...I am even more confused than ever!  After reading this article, I checked my Powerseller status..and it shows that I do qualify up to a Silver/Gold level. I have met ALL sales/requirements for this....except something called ''minimum global standards''.  Hmmm...the catch is, we have never sold outside of the United States in over five years.  So whats up Ebay??

eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown   eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown

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

Tue May 31 02:11:59 2011

Just how many sellers does ebafia think it's going to have left in two years after their semi annual seller exterminations?

Just keeping on doing more of the things that don't work and less of the things that do work, ebafia.

It isn't that ebafia can't figure out how to deal with bad buyer behavior aka criminal conduct, it's that ebafia does NOT want to deal with it.

They encourage it. They have to have to generate outright theft of innocent sellers and keeo the crooks returning for more free merchandise.

Buyers are NOT ebafia's buyers. They are OUR buyers!! What the hell does ebay sell besides line afer line of BS?

Between ebafia's Machiavellian dysfunctional behavior and PreyPal's new competition, this may be the year that ebafia as we know it dies.

eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown   eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown

by: Digby

Tue May 31 05:19:24 2011

Why would anyone bother to sell on a site that has such complicated standards and ones that change all the time.

Why should top rated sellers get better viewing ?

I say all that a system should do is penalise proven bad sellers.

Let the number of feedbacks and the buyers decide who to buy from.

The sooner sellers get established on other sites the better.

eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown   eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown

by: anonymous

Tue May 31 07:22:12 2011

Just my 2 cents (for whatever it's worth-AKA NOTHING)

If those dingbats over there in CA wanted to make more money, all they ever needed to do was HELP US SELL.

They have access to tons of data that could be mined to find out what people are buying, so we can list accordingly, they could tell us what day to list, what day/time to end our auctions, what format to use, start price, and more.

BUT THEY DON'T.

Instead of spending a few bucks asking ADULT IT people to find a way to give us this info, they CHOOSE to try to make money by simply taking from the sellers.

They could also give us professional templates (which we have to design on our own, IF we know how) they could give us the number 1 spot of Google shopping, they could design and run a DECENT TV campaign.  (remember those, from years and years ago?? anybody??

But HELL why waste any money on stupid stuff like that, when we can do it the easy way, and just skew the fees so that the seller gives up a good 20-30% of the sale?? (or more) Who CARES that these idiots (poor us) spent actual MONEY to acquire the items, they act like we buy this stuff for nothing!! So, depending on what you sell, you might make 10%, MAYBE.

Why WORK, when we can just STEAL??

Good thing the vast majority of Americans don't take this attitude, or we'd ALL be in trouble, ebay sellers or not.

eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown   eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown

by: Gypsy This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 31 08:02:05 2011

I am beyond furious with this latest garbage ebay is dumping on sellers.  Yesterday, I was Above Standard. I've always been Above Standard ever since this idiotic Sellers DSR ratings came out. Now all of a sudden, as of today, I have dropped down to Standard. In all the years I've been selling on ebay, I have been fortunate enough to not ever have a single Negative. I have not ever had FB retracted. I have never ever had a single low rating in any of my DSRs - they have always ranged from 4.9 to 5. I not only pay my fees in a timely manner, I usually pay extra so that there's a minus balance towards new listings. And now ebay has hit me with a grossly unfair Standard!  I'm going to look into moving over to Amazon.  I have never counted solely on ebay & more than ever, am glad that I also sell on several other competitors. ebay sucks more than ever these days!

eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown   eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown

by: Moonwishes
Web Site

Tue May 31 08:11:20 2011

As I keep seeing articles and threads like this, the only thought that keeps running through my mind is this:  WHY are people still selling on Ebay? Plenty of other good places to go even if you have to have set prices instead of auctions, I would think you would still be ahead. I know I am.

eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown   eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown

by: jd

Tue May 31 08:28:22 2011

I am thankful to eBay for the DSR program. It has made a priority for us to put our products on every other marketplace. Otherwise we would have taken years to do so. We had ZERO desire to list on Amazon until these countless stupid changes over the last few years, now Amazon sales are plentiful.

eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown   eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown

by: PM

Tue May 31 08:48:35 2011

@Moonwishes
People are still selling on ebay because, for now, that's where the eyeballs go.  There are other good places to go IF you have set prices instead of auctions, not "even if".  Auctions absolutely require high traffic levels. Fixed prices don't; you either sell or you don't.  If you run an auction on a low traffic site, you will be guaranteed to either lose money or make minimal profit. When any auction site reaches even 1/4 of the potential bidders as Ebay, I'll be the first to flee their abuse. As it is, their policies may put me under anyway, but I'd be a goner for sure if I tried to sell on any of their so-called competitors.  I hear that this or that site has millions of listings or sellers or whatever.  All of that means nothing. Only the number of buyers matters.  None of them have even 5% of what ebay has. That's the sickening truth and that's why people like me, who depend on the auction format, must continue to tolerate the abuse meted out by that disgusting venue. BTW, I would never in a million years buy anything from there. Not because I don't like the sellers, but because Ebay sickens me and I'd sooner patronize my local thugs and gangsters. But until buyers wise up and leave in droves, both domestic and international, they are the only game in town for collectible auctions. I pray daily that that changes.

eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown   eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown

by: a1

Tue May 31 09:07:57 2011

My shipping cost DSR went down almost overnight during the period mentioned by Ina. I don't think that it was mathematically possible but was done manually according to somebody's orders in order to get higher fees out of my sales. It used to happen a lot when DSRs first came out. And there was a lot of blogging about the issue at that time. Of course it is criminal. But nobody ever goes to prison for these 'white collar crimes' so excecutives are not worried about it. Also the visits to my site are obviously manipulated to show higher amount visitors than there actually are. There is a clear pattern of this manipulation. No, I am not paranoid, I just know enough math to calculate what is possible and what is not.

eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown   eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown

by: Unhappy Seller

Tue May 31 09:12:00 2011

FWIW, I can still see three months worth of data. But now I have even more reason to live in fear of eBay doing something to hurt my business. It seems everything they do is calculated to push the small seller off their site. Makes me sad, I've been there since 1998.

eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown   eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown

by: V Dude

Tue May 31 09:47:49 2011

Recently Ebay took over Emailing customers.  What I'm waiting for is when Ebay takes over my computer and automatically lists all my items, packs & ships sold items and goes out to find new collectibles to sell.  Then I will have all kinds of free time.  They want to control every aspect of MY business so why not just take over everything. Would any business in any strip mall across our great country put up with Ebay's kind of garbage from their landlord.  I THINK NOT  

eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown   eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown

by: MIKE

Tue May 31 10:17:07 2011

Quite simple ... by design eBay is ridding itself of the low profit small sellers of Auction format, used items.  Just a look at their Main page hows "deals" on new brand name commonplace items (Fashion, camcorders, ipods, tickets ? etc etc....) a RETAIL environment of "Vendors and Customers" ..... No longer a trading "community" , small sellers have no place on eBay, DSR,s are just a handy tool for eBay to get rid of low volume sellers.

eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown   eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown

by: BM

Tue May 31 11:22:51 2011

@PM

I'm with you 100%! I would love to have an alternative site that actually tries to HELP you make a profit, instead of seeing how much they can siphon off, but, to this point, THERE ISN'T ONE!!
I sell vintage toys and that market has gotten deadly competitive. Go to any auction and you see Dealers playing a very dangerous game of ''chicken'' to see who is willing to accept the least amount of profit on any vintage item.
Also, so many new Dealers (read that as people out of work who are looking to make some kind of living and selling toys seems ''easy'') are in the market that every item goes high, even the worthless stuff.
Under that scenario, you cannot afford to put it on an Auction Site that doesn't have solid upper level viewing and buying power.
I am registered on 4-5 other sites currently, but the only things that goes on there are cost controlled items, that I can accept one bid results and still survive.
I have made my living (mortgage and groceries) on eBay for over a decade and I cannot tell you enough of the frustrations involved with selling there, BUT, I still like eating and having a roof over my head, so I stay and try to be ridiculously careful with everything I do, and pray that some whacko buyer doesn't give me all 1 stars for some reason out of my control.
That is a bad way to have to work, but, that, for now, is life.  

eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown   eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown

by: ebay doesn't care about selling on their site

Tue May 31 11:46:28 2011

Ebay doesn't want to bother with the ebay marketplace. They don't want to deal with petty transactions that they have to attend to.

They only want ad money from large stores and a cut of transaction money which they believe paypal has locked up.

Its all about mobile comparative shopping now.
Retailers will eventually suffer because they have to compete in this comparative market.
This was eBay's  only way to overcome the competition from China.
When they failed to get the Chinese market in China, they brought China here.

In a matter of time big retailers will suffer the same fate as small ebay sellers. They can only lower their prices so much before they're eating rice.

eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown   eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown

by: One more thing

Tue May 31 11:50:34 2011

"Ebay doesn't want to bother with the ebay marketplace. They don't want to deal with petty transactions that they have to attend to."

They are sending people off the site to retailers. That way eBay has   no skin in the game at all. The stores will have to deal with bad buyers or bad sellers.

eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown   eBay Uses DSR Feedback Ratings in Seller Crackdown

by: Steve

Tue May 31 12:02:34 2011

Can  you imagine if eBay put in as much time helping to make their sellers successful as they put into destroying their sellers.

This must be the first company EVER to do everything in their power to run their customers (yes, the sellers are your customers eBay) off.



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