Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
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by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue Oct 23 2012 08:13:49

Should Online Marketplaces Allow Buyers to Block Sellers?

By: Ina Steiner

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Online marketplace sellers are familiar with blocked buyer lists, but should buyers be given the ability to block listings from certain sellers with whom they wish to avoid?

Auction sites like eBay have blocked bidder/buyer lists, and chances are most sellers have hundreds if not thousands of buyers on their lists to avoid entering into a transaction with those users. Last week, online auction site Delcampe went further by creating a blocked seller list so that buyers could avoid certain sellers.

When blocking a particular seller on Delcampe, buyers can select a reason from a drop-down menu to indicate the reason they are blocking the seller, including, Prices are too high; Quality of the descriptions is not good enough; Quality of the items is not good enough; and There are too many of those items in the list.



Many shoppers have written on discussion boards that they have created such "blocked seller" lists manually and would like to have the capability to automate it through the marketplaces on which they shop.

What do you think of such a feature, have you used it on other sites? Would you like to block certain sellers on eBay, Amazon, Etsy, Bonanza or other marketplaces? Why? And how would you feel if you were on the receiving end of such a list?




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Readers Comments

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by: Deltamaster This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 23 08:50:55 2012

I think it is a good idea.  In the real world of B&M a buyer/shopper can walk past a retailer with whom they do not wish to do business.  On sites like eBay, Etsy, Amazon and the like it is often very difficult to determine who is actually selling the item.

If a buyer has a bad experience with a seller they should have the ability to not ever see items listed by that seller again if they wish.

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by: alaska This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 23 08:52:40 2012

YES YES YES! I'm plagued with having to wade through masses of ink-jet reproductions of photographs when I only want to find antique photos. I have 15 or 20 of these sellers excluded in my searches but more are showing up each month. eBay has check boxes for New, Used, & Not Specified. Unfortunately way too many sellers don't specify. It would be great to have a site-wide preference of a list of sellers that I never want to be included in any of my searches, like a black-list of sellers.

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by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 23 08:55:46 2012

YES!!!

While the majority of my interactions with other eBay sellers has been positive, there have been a few sellers in my 15 years on eBay who I would prefer to forget.

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by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 23 09:10:06 2012

If you don't like the goods or services of a particular seller, don't go back. Is a list really necessary?  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Tue Oct 23 09:11:40 2012

Brilliant idea! This would go a LONG way to help buyers make their search results manageable and relevant.

My ONLY suggestion would be that buyers could add ''expiration dates'' to the blocking preference.

Why? It may be that the seller is blocked because of outrageous prices, high shipping costs, or because they've FLOODED a category with too many listings. --- And, optimistically, it MIGHT COME TO PASS that the aggressive seller gets a clue and adjusts their policies and practices.

I could see myself blocking a seller for two months... giving them time to adjust (assuming other buyers also blocked them) and then ''un-blocking'' them to see if their listings might be useful again.

Assuming that I needed to block the seller a 2nd time, I'd choose ''indefinitely'' as the time period (and first-time blocks would get a time-period of 30 or 60 days.)

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by: WhoKnewIt This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 23 09:13:37 2012

Sure, why not...but I also think the SELLER should be able to block a particular BUYER.  Sometimes a ''buyer'' is a real issue and you don't want to have to deal with them in the future....why is it the ''buyer'' is so protected all the time.  While I fully understand the need to make a buyer feel comfortable and safe while shopping on line it should be equally comfortable for the seller to do their job, especially since it's the SELLER that has put so much time and money on a website setting up shop, paying to list items, paying a percentage of their sales to said website etc.  When the Seller has a rough time with a Buyer and the Seller has lost money/time/feedback ratings etc. the Seller should be able to say ''no, I don't have to deal with you again'' by blocking them!

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by: Joanbet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 23 09:15:32 2012

I would bet even money that most of the buyers searching for "how to block sellers" are NOT trying to block them from search lists but rather trying to block them from messaging them..  either because they are non paying bidders who don't want to be asked about their non-payment or they had some other issue in a transaction with a seller.  When I block a buyer I cannot block him from seeing my sale items..  I can only block him from bidding on one.  The same should be true for buyers..  they should be able to block themselves from ever bidding on a product but search should not be a blockable thing... unless, of course, eBay wants to stop charging us for listings.  So long as we must pay to list we should be guaranteed that our items are searchable by everyone.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Tue Oct 23 09:29:05 2012

Yes! As a buyer, I have had such extreme experiences with a few sellers that I emailed them to ''Please, add me to your Blocked buyers list so I don't accidentally buy anything from you in the future. ''

Can be useful for weeding out unwanted items from saved searches. I don't have anything against those sellers, they just don't have what I'm looking for.

Interestingly, eBay does offer this on the new search pages that keep changing. On one test page it was off to the left. On the one I see now, it is under advanced search. You scroll down to ''sellers'', from the drop down box that says ''include'', scroll down to ''exclude'' & then type in the seller username.  It will, of course only be good for that search. IMO, it would be more convenient to have a list that is ongoing which you can revise as needed.

Seller-wise, I have enough buyers that are repeat, and state through feedback they have had positive experiences that if an individual has serious problems with my policies or business I would prefer they simply block me as opposed to buying an item then punishing me for my stated policies.

Another example,  I have dogs - if that person is allergic to dogs then that is an easy way for them to avoid my items.  I don't smoke but the same could be done with smoking households.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Oct 23 09:41:48 2012

May I block all eBay sellers from China?  That would get me on board.  Tired of seeing fake high-end designer labels from Chinese sellers.

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by: Pat Gray This user has validated their user name.
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Tue Oct 23 09:45:08 2012

Oh yes please! I buy a lot of my supplies on eBay. Unfortunately, there are several sellers I've purchased from, who's products don't live up to the pictures/descriptions. I'd just as soon not have to weed through their very tempting (but IMHO deceptive) listings every time I do a search. I'd also like to block sellers who are lousy communicators, or have s-l-o-w-w-w-w delivery times. BTW, I usually give sellers a second chance...

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by: Shawn This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 23 09:51:28 2012

WhoKnewIt, any seller can make a blocked buyer list on ebay.

I am mostly a buyer, and I have made nearly 1,000 purchases on ebay over the past 11 years. There are definitely a couple of sellers that I never want to deal with again, and I don't remember who they are. I wish there was a list so that I wouldn't accidentally bid on any of their items.

As for search, I would like more control. For years, what I really have wanted is a way to exclude categories. For instance, I would like to search the collectibles category but exclude the anime subcategory. But that's probably never going to happen. :(

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by: Beth This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 23 11:10:22 2012

I wish eBay would creat this ability (instead of mucking with wildcard searches, say?)  because I'd block all the people who have sent INAD stuff to my buyer-husband or who didn't bother to respond to inquiries he made like "where's my stuff" 3 weeks after it was supposed to be mailed.  Seriously eBay.. PlEASE and for that matter, you too Amazon.

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by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 23 11:21:51 2012

I think it's a fine idea. But I do worry what eBay will do with the data in such a case. Sell it to other sites to provide seller qualifications? They are already mining our seller-buyer communications. Maybe I'm getting paranoid.

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by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 23 11:24:58 2012

I missed something--I don't think a black list of sellers would remove them from your searches. You just wouldn't be able to buy or bid. Anyone?

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue Oct 23 11:29:04 2012

eBay already has this functionality available in advanced search.

When we run a search and see sellers we prefer not to see in the future, we go to the left hand column, find refinements then sellers and enter the sellers ID, alternatively, we use the Advance Search link and scroll down the page to where sellers can be included or excluded.

When we update the bookmark in our browser, our search is saved with that seller excluded.

One caution about eBay deploying a blocked seller list.

eBay always makes assumptions which are rarely if ever correct.

Case in point was when they assumed that neutral feedback was negative feedback, or that they still consider any post transactional communication to automatically indicate a problem with the transaction.

If eBay allowed a blocked seller list, eBay would likely make assumptions about sellers based on the number of times their ID appears in blocked lists. Given their history of making incorrect assumptions, this data in eBay's hands could be wielded as yet another seller extermination weapon in eBay's arsenal.

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This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles
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Tue Oct 23 12:25:52 2012

Good idea to block sellers. The searches can be better in special when the same seller has duplicates.  

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by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 23 13:55:35 2012


My opinion is that if you are that bothered by having to look at all the choices on an auction site, you should just go the mall. You can close your eyes when you pass a window that disagrees with you. We do not need, yet, another round of paranoia by buyers who are very discriminating in their habits and like Ebay, make a decision that the rest of us should be just like them.  

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by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 23 13:55:36 2012


My opinion is that if you are that bothered by having to look at all the choices on an auction site, you should just go the mall. You can close your eyes when you pass a window that disagrees with you. We do not need, yet, another round of paranoia by buyers who are very discriminating in their habits and like Ebay, make a decision that the rest of us should be just like them.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Tue Oct 23 14:03:57 2012

I think a blocked seller list for searches is a great idea. I don't, however, like the idea of giving a reason, like on DelCampe. RCL & Ric make a good point. Want to bet ebay would use that as yet another hammer against sellers, perhaps penalizing those who appear on multiple buyer lists with the same negative reason, like "Prices too high" or "Quality not good enough"? It seems like it may be just another mechanism for buyer complaints, if it isn't used properly.

On the other hand, if it were an effective way to screen out the purveyors of junk and fakes, I think I'd enjoy that. How better to penalize these scofflaws and sellers of garbage than to not have their stuff show up in searches? If a buyer were to block me for any reason, I think I'd be relieved, since I'm a good and fair seller and if they're blocking me, they're probably not someone I'd want to do business with anyway. The only question is how ebay will use such data. Their track record doesn't inspire confidence.

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This user has validated their user name. by: KiOui Apps
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Tue Oct 23 14:13:26 2012

Simply YES. And block by location as well

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