Win Bent has been using eBay since 1998 and launched a tool to help other buyers and sellers in 2004 called Toolhaus. But over time, his passion for eBay cooled, and this week he announced he's shutting down the site.
Toolhaus was known as
the go-to source for evaluating an eBay user based on feedback. The most popular tool was the Negs tool, which let sellers easily view a user's negative, neutral, and withdrawn feedback.
Win's decision was two-fold, indicating in a message on Toolhaus.org
that he's tired of keeping up with eBay's "ever-changing world of rules for feedback and public/private information"; and - he just doesn't care anymore.
That's mainly because he doesn't buy or sell on eBay much and, when he does, he doesn't spend time worrying about someone's feedback. His rule of thumb: the Body Temperature rule: "If the seller's feedback isn't above 98.6% positive, don't bid."
In his message, he explained: "The Toolhaus Negs tool hasn't been useful to me for years, but it's been useful to other people, some of whom have supported Toolhaus, so I've worked to keep it going for them. It's also been an interesting challenge to me, keeping my web-programming skills alive as I struggled to recover from the ever-changing world of eBay. I'm doing Science, and I'm... done."
We've known Win for many years (he wrote a column for AuctionBytes in 2001), and we asked him for his thoughts about eBay and feedback these days. He said in thinking it over, he still thinks that "no Negs for buyers" was a horrible decision.
(It's interesting to note that when eBay made its controversial decision to prevent sellers from leaving negative or neutral feedback for buyers, Win added an option to the Toolhaus Negs tool to enable searching for "false positive" feedback. He certainly understood his users!)
But Win said the real answer was that he almost never uses eBay and hadn't really thought much about it for years. "I think that pretty much sums up the second half of why I'm turning off Toolhaus - they keep making it hard for me, and it's not worth the effort any more."
Providing a free eBay tool for 15 years (with the support of donors, as Win pointed out in his message) is quite an accomplishment. He ended his missive on the site saying, "I truly loved providing a useful tool, and I truly loved both the positive and negative feedback that Toolhaus received. But now I'm done, and I wish you all well."
The end of Toolhaus marks the end of an era.