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Tue Jan 5 2021 20:36:11

Is Feedback on eBay Really Still a Thing?

By: Ina Steiner

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Feedback seems so 1990s, but it's alive and well on eBay in 2021. As sellers know all too well, it's evolved into something that looks quite different from when it first rolled out.

No longer can sellers leave any type of feedback. They're limited to leaving only positive feedback for buyers, who in turn can leave any kind of feedback they wish for sellers - positive, negative, or neutral.

The topic came up during a podcast hosted by the grandaddy of ecommerce. The hosts of the eBay for Business podcast, Jim "Griff" Griffith, Rebecca Michaels, and Brian Burke, tackled the issue in this week's episode.

A seller had written to the show asking why eBay's feedback team only gave canned responses when he asked to have certain feedback removed from his account. The seller wrote in part:

"Do either of you have issues with submitting for feedback removal when the feedback given is false erroneous or just downright wrong and not truthful? What about the feedback given as a result of the buyer not reading the description of the item they had purchased? I've had several occasions where this has happened to me recently. I wrote to the feedback team requesting removal. The response was a canned one: "We've looked carefully at this feedback and see that it doesn't qualify for removal.""

Rebecca Michaels responded by stating feedback on eBay was not required to be truthful. "It's the point of view from that particular buyer. It's opinion-based and it's really the chance for the buyer to share what their experience was buying from you as a seller here on eBay," she said. "So it is by design, just one person's opinion, given that, feedback is never removed on the basis of veracity. It's not about whether it's exactly true, but again, it's an opinion channel. It's not really meant to be a source of truth."

Griffith said that's the way it has been since the very beginning, adding, "We never remove it on the basis of its accuracy. To that extent, I want to make it clear that the team that is on the feedback team, they are doing their job 100%."

Michaels compared it to a person telling their friend or neighbor about an experience they had shopping at a local store.

Griffith then asked Brian Burke, "is negative or neutral feedback - does it play a part in a seller's business?"

Burke responded by suggesting sellers look at negative feedback as an opportunity to evaluate their business and business processes. Beyond that, it doesn't really have much of an impact on a seller's business. "Most buyers aren't necessarily looking for that negative," he said.

"Oftentimes what buyers will do is, they're going to look for how does the seller respond to a negative, because then that tells them a lot about the seller and how they'll be treated as a buyer, if something does go awry. And if you sell enough on eBay, at some point, something will not go exactly as planned from a buyer's perspective. And remember, as Rebecca said, it is the buyer's perspective on this. And so that buyers providing you some feedback, take advantage of that."

It no longer has any impact on seller performance metrics, Burke added. "So you don't have to worry about it impacting your Top Rated Seller Standing or anything like that."

Michaels said eBay data shows that occasionally getting a neutral or even negative feedback has really little impact on the seller's business.

In fact, she said, having a 100% positive feedback rating might be suspect: "I think that there's also some research to show that the occasional negative or neutral actually makes an overall store feel a little bit trustworthy. No one out there is a hundred percent perfect all of the time. And so having once in a while an occasional neutral or negative over many years really just shows that you're a human being running a store and is likely to increase the trust that you have in your store."

Michaels said there are some occasions when eBay will remove feedback, but it's not about whether it's true. For example, "if there's feedback about shipping times and the seller did everything right, that's the kind of feedback that may be reviewed for removal," she said.

Some marketplaces are eager to make their sellers look good, but on eBay, feedback is a different beast.



Comments (24) | Permalink

Readers Comments

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by: askeladden This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 5 21:30:30 2021

With all the tools scammers have at their disposal i sure wish us sellers had a meaningful way to mark problematic buyers.
The shills over at the ebay forums will of course defend this unfair system if you try to discuss it.

I really wish a new ecommerce site would appear where feedback is meaningful and transactions non-reversible. Buyer beware type situation where buyers no longer have the right to screw the seller out of time, product and money, a system where you will have to evaluate what you are buying and from who.

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by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 5 23:35:10 2021

"The beatings will continue until morale improves."
...that's not just a joke at eBay. It's a business philosophy.

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by: plcombs This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 5 23:40:43 2021

Feedback on eBay is a joke...and just silly and meaningless  

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by: Jeff12671 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 6 00:59:08 2021

I agree with plcombs, Ebay should just end the whole feedback system. It's of questionable value and Ebay should just abandon it all together. It's outlived its usefulness, is pretty much meaningless today and it just encourages bad buyer behavior.  Ebay already has plenty of metrics to measure seller performance and it just creates unneeded headaches for good sellers.

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by: COVID-19 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 6 05:05:57 2021

eBay ITSELF is a joke!  Idiots who defend eBay are even bigger jokes!

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by: Snapped This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 6 05:12:11 2021

‘Opinions certainly seemed to matter to eBay when their executive ‘team’ decided to wage their campaign of terror against the hosts of this blog a few months ago. But that’s just typical of eBay’s ingrained hypocrisy.

And so is the fact that if they truly wish to contend that FB is of so little importance, why are sellers not allowed to express theirs? And why doesn’t eBay establish a FB path for it’s users to comment on eBay’s own performance? Why are they so quick to censor and censure those who use their forums as an expression of ‘opinion’ platform?

These people are more full of it than an overflowing outhouse.

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 6 05:50:46 2021

The three stooges in said article ALL deserve negative feedback on their performance as executives.

Griff sleeps all day ans his much vaunted Feedback team is as useful as an ice maker is to Eskimos.

Burke is a D level exec as is Michaels.

Once 2 way feedback was eliminated it became just more eBay garbage.

MP deserves a negative review (along with an FBI look at its RICO aspects) as do the 2 dolts from Walmart.

eBay obviously doesn’t care what sellers think or say or how false statements impact a sellers business/life - where are the eBay cheerleaders NOW?

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by: 227272 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 6 08:27:04 2021

''In fact, she said, having a 100% positive feedback rating might be suspect''

This is quite a spin!

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by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 6 09:47:41 2021

"In our opinion, condoning irrationality is rational."

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by: OnlyPollyPocket This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 6 10:35:28 2021

What a load of Krap!!!!

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by: Frank Abagnale This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 6 11:46:56 2021

This from a company that turns off comments on the Ebay You Tube channel.  

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by: zeek6228 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 6 12:03:49 2021

Why does anyone even listen to what these scumbags say. Ebay cares about one thing and one thing only.

53.77 USD +1.74 (3.34%)

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Wed Jan 6 12:30:51 2021

"It's not really meant to be a source of truth."

If that is the case, then why have feedback in the first place? Like buyers who boast they have 100% positive feedback, when we know sellers can't leave any other form of feedback. Since there are many buyers who rely on a seller's feedback prior to purchasing from him/her, perhaps it would be beneficial to all sellers if eBay inserted a banner at the top of every seller's feedback page along the lines of "Feedback comments are really not meant to be truthful."  

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 6 14:24:44 2021

eBays 2020 advertising tag line

"We are not really meant to be a source of truth"

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 6 14:29:36 2021

Zeek - it went up because of idiots like Siyu LI on Seeking Alpha.

He like the other 1/2 wit analysts swear that eBay is "A Deep Value Buy". However even after you explain HOW eBay works and the fake numbers they hand out (eBay said in the other article posted here that they are NOT about truth) - still swear eBay is all good.

As long as the top brass and stock holders make their numbers - its all good. Its like watching Margin Call or any of the other Wall Street movies - pump and dump - its all about selling the stock based on fake information and sitting back while someone (aka eBays sellers) take the hit.

eBay = Enron 2.0

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by: 4yourinfo This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 6 16:11:13 2021

Ridiculous - if feedback doesn't affect a sale, so then why are you showing it to my customers? It's "to help a seller evaluate their business" if it doesn't affect sales why would a seller even look at it? Why become better sales aren't affected!  As a buyer I always try looking at the feedback - it's true I look at responses but if another seller has a better rating or I can't take any chances on the item I will go to a different seller or site. EBay let's buyers write item is broken when it's sold as broken write all kinds of negative things when it's in the description and EBay does nothing - and then you get annoying buyers asking for feedback before you even ship the item - get rid of it ebay - once you at it get rid of reviews on items from multiple sellers - one item was sold opened I can sell it new - but reviews say they got an opened one.. and it doesn't include the seller unless, your on the desktop site...

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by: DevilishlySarky This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 7 03:07:16 2021

If feedback doesn't matter , why have top rated sellers ?
Why make the feedback rating one of the metrics you have to stay above ?
If feedback doesnt matter , why not let sellers tell the truth about their buyers ?
AS a buyer, as well as a seller , I very occasionally leave a neg , maybe once a year.
The fact that an ebay exec says it doesnt make a difference if feedback is truthful or not , gives a true insight into ebays ethos about announcements and the rational behind it - it may be so 2019 but its Trumpism  at its best , and worst.

 IT DONT MATTER IF ITS TRUE , AS LONG AS IT MAKES US MONEY

Staple that motto to your company label Griff , see where it gets you.....

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by: Casmige This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 7 04:51:58 2021

So taking their logic to its logical conclusion? It should be “equal”!, after all the LEFT wackadoodles assert that they’re all for equality and all, right??.

IF Feedback is just somebody’s opinion then restore the ability for sellers to have the equal right and ability to voice their opinion about buyers & their transactions.

That would be equitable and fair.....

I know I know if I don’t like it I can go to other selling platforms......Because maybe I eBay as a platform is just not a good fit for me and my belief system.

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by: Jono77 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 7 06:26:23 2021

So I have 6 eBay selling accounts all with 100% feedback because I give 100% Grade A customer service and thought I was doing the right thing by maintaining a 100% positive rating.

I'm disgusted to find that eBay thinks having a 100% positive feedback rating makes the seller look suspect. Such ignorant remarks no longer surprise me. It just proves how out of touch these people are. Griff, Michaels, and Burke have clearly been promoted beyond their intelligence.

eBay definitely needs to cull idiots like this but that's not going to happen with the blind leading the blind. I am a veteran seller from back in 1998 and by far the biggest favour eBay have done for me is force me to open my own website. I no longer rely on them which is such an incredible relief.

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by: shut1968 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 7 06:41:52 2021

There are plenty of times when looking at a sellers feedback is important in deciding to buy from them.. I will NEVER purchase from a seller without looking at feedback first.. been screwed too many times.

THAT being said, being able to leave feedback for bad buyers will always be something I rally for, there are simply some people out there who should NEVER be allowed to shop online.

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