|Tue Nov 20 2012 10:14:31|
Dispute Resolution a Missed Opportunity for eBay?
By: Ina Steiner
If anyone could be called experts on disputes, it's eBay and PayPal. Whether they're experts on successful dispute resolution is up for debate, but it certainly appears they let a lucrative opportunity slip out of their hands.
eBay has tried a lot of ways to figure out how to determine which party is in the right when it comes to claims of items not received, items not as described, whether feedback should be removed, and other disputes involving buyers and sellers.
Initially it used feedback to keep members in line. After many tweaks, including taking away sellers' ability to leave negative or neutral feedback and adding Detailed Seller Ratings, along with adding buyer and seller protection programs, disputes still arise, and parties to disputes still feel dissatisfied in many cases.
eBay has even tried "community courts" to resolve disputes.
At the center of all the initiatives was executive Colin Rule. He left eBay and PayPal to start his own company, Modria.
We caught up with him Rule again as Modria launched its online dispute resolution platform. In this interview in today's Newsflash newsletter, he provides some insight into what's going on with eBay's dispute resolution programs.
But most of all, the interview shows that eBay missed an opportunity. With its insight into buyer and seller behavior and experience attempting to resolve disputes, eBay could have added a powerful tool to its services offered to online merchants.
When John Donahoe took the reins at eBay, he promoted the idea of "disruptive innovation," and since then, he's acquired his way into some innovative tools, including Hunch. But his inability to hang on to executives is problematic. This week, for example, eBay lost Chris Dixon of Hunch to Andreessen Horowitz. (Often such acquisitions are called "acqui-hires" in recognition that companies may be acquiring the founders as much as the technology.)
How would you rate eBay's dispute resolution, and what do you think of Modria's solution? What is the key to effective resolution on a platform like eBay?