Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Tue July 30 2013 21:00:13

eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

By: Greg Holden and Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

The executive in charge of feedback at eBay appeared on eBay's radio program today to discuss changes as part of the Fall Seller Release announced this morning. Brian Burke, eBay's Director of Global Feedback, answered questions about the new feedback removal policy along with his colleague Ismael who is Senior Manager of North American Feedback.

The segment replaced the usual Town Hall Meetings that normally follow a major announcement impacting sellers. There were a few revelations throughout the segment, for example, the executives said the new feedback removal policy is retroactive for 60 days.

In the introduction, Jim "Griff" Griffith said it was the first update in memory where there's really no bad news.

"It's all good news. It's all expansion of things. There is now a grace period if you're a top rated seller and if you're trailing 12 months, you have two evaluation periods to pick it up. And the expanded feedback policy. The last bullet on the seller update page, eBay determines the feedback criteria. eBay removing feedback ratings is "the right thing to do." Also eBay returns enhancements. They're all pretty good."

Greg Holden, our intrepid live-blogger, took a stab at covering the radio segment that included some questions from listeners. Keep in mind this is not a transcript, and please forgive any typos or mis-attributions.

Brian Burke: I think number one, we're trying to have a more globally consistent policy. We also wanted to make it more fair. Those sellers who are using our item specifics, working with the buyers, we want to protect them in those scenarios where they are doing best practices from a buyer's standpoint.

Ismael: The biggest change is that we want sellers to make it very clear,...large photos, clear photos, take all the pertinent details about the item in item specifics. If they do this, the seller will be protected from any feedback they receive.

Brian: There's a number of changes to the policy, but the significant ones are the ones where they are using structured data. If you use the item condition field and you say the item is used and the buyer leaves a negative feedback and says it was used, we're going to look at that negative feedback and say, that's not necessarily the seller's fault. There's another example that few people have run into, but, If the buyer sends an email after purchasing and says hey, can you ship to a different address, and it has already been shipped, based on data pulled from our site, and the buyer says the seller wouldn't ship to an address, we will look at that and protect the seller in that scenario.

Griff: eBay says "removing the feedback ratings is the right thing to do."

Ismael: Every seller encountered a situation where PayPal puts a hold until an item is received. Sometimes it's a number of days while PayPal investigates. There's a hold on that payment so the seller doesn't ship the item. That can result in a frustrated buyer. If the buyer leaves negative feedback, we will protect the seller.

Brian: We want to ensure that the agents, as they are looking at the cases, look at each case holistically rather than strictly by the rules. That said, we've got rules there for a reason. We want the agent to be able to say, here are some things we'd like to see you change, and in the future, we'll protect you.

Griff: You brought up a case that *wouldn't* be a case for removal. What was that?

Ismael: A new policy we have is we will protect the seller in the case of a cancelled transaction. Buyer buys item, realizes that The Home Depot is selling it cheaper, cancels the transaction. We will remove any feedback there, but we wouldn't remove the feedback if they cancel the transaction because the seller ran out of stock. That's not a seller best practice.

Brian: The buyer has a legitimate reason for leaving negative feedback in that case.

Lee Mirabel (cohost): Let's say I get negative feedback,...what do I do to get the low ratings and negative feedback removed?

Brian: If it's clear cut like that, the seller should contact customer support. Whether it's email or phone. Depending on what country you're in, you might not have access to phone, you can just email us. You can contact customer support with the item number, with the feedback that was left and the reason why you don't think you should have it, and the agent can take care of it while you're on the phone and take care of the situation while you're still on the phone.

Griff: Will I be referred to a rep who can make that decision or just a general rep who may not know the answer?

Brian: As the information comes that they know it's about feedback, you'll get routed to a queue where agents are there who can handle feedback.

Lee: Do we get instant gratification or does it take a few days?

Brian: If it meets the new policies, you will get instant gratification. But I caution that there are plenty of reasons for buyers to leave negative feedback. Also we want to distinguish between sellers who are providing great service and those who aren't.

Griff: And you should always try to work it out with the buyer first. ... Is there any message if you leave negative feedback, that tells a buyer to contact the seller to work this out?

Ismael: In fact there are two messages.

Lee: When does the expanded feedback policy take effect?

Brian: Tomorrow.

Segment 2
eBay opened the segment to questions from listeners.

Q. Lynn: I think I love the new changes. ... During holiday time, I sell a lot of brand new toys, very common toys. Say I was selling a new iPhone 5. Customer get it, isn't what they thought it would be, and they have left me negative feedback, based on the product, not on my service or what I have done. In this case, would this be removed?

Brian: I think we would need to understand why it didn't work or didn't meet their satisfaction, and what was the discrepancy between the description and what they received.

Q. When you list an iPhone 5, you use the details that are in the standard database for that item. They get it and they say 'It's not big enough.'"

Brian: In a scenario like that, the changes, if we stick with the iPhone 5 example, all the data gets pre-populated in the item Specifics fields. In that scenario if the buyer says I thought I was getting the black iPhone and there is clearly a picture of a white iPhone, we would protect the seller. Whenever you can use item specifics or create your own Item Specifics field, and you say, there is a blemish, and the buyer complains about that, we would protect the buyer. ... Going forward, make sure that in the Item Specifics field the model number and count are included, we would protect you going forward.

Griff: But not if it was just in the description, you want to create in the Item Specifics.

Brian: Yes.

Griff: Why is that?

Brian: They're kind of bulleted, and at the top of the description, so the buyer can see them at a glance, instead of I've spoken to thousands and thousands of sellers at eBay and I've seen the 7-page descriptions, and it's unlikely in a mobile world that a buyer is going to read that much content.

With the TRS program, going forward, there will be a grace period for those sellers who kept good standing for three months, if you miss one month, we'll keep you in the program.

Q. Lloyd: One, I understand the new eBay feedback system, is that retroactive?

Ismael: It's retroactive for 60 days.

Q. Two, I sell motorcycles on eBay. With a BIN or best offer available, I run into a lot of problems with buyers making an offer and then backing out. Is there anything I can do about that?

Griff: Next year, in eBay Motors, we will have an expansion where when someone makes an offer and the offer is accepted, that will close out the item.

(Editor's note: This was a reference to Best Offer that was rolled out in some categories in the Spring Seller Release.)

The entire radio session is available where other areas of the Fall Seller Release were also covered, and on Thursday, eBay will hold a call-in question and answer session from 11:00 am-1:00 pm PT - details at the end of today's eBay Announcement.

You can learn more about eBay's Fall Seller Release and post a comment in the Blog.

And please take our survey and let us know what you think of the changes.




Comments (40) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

by: RCL This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 30 21:47:26 2013

This all makes my head hurt. There is not a doubt that eBay will turn this wonderful new Feedback protection policy into a customer relations disaster. I can see they are desperately looking for a simple formula to apply.

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

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

Tue Jul 30 22:39:55 2013

I don't trust Brian Burke or anything he says until he proves he's trustworthy.

That's a long way off in the future, if ever.

This is the overpaid director who was said that a neutral was a negative because it wasn't a positive.

If ebay interprets these changes in ways that are actually and consistently helpful to ALL sellers, these changes will be welcome.

But if they follow the usual EbafiaSpeak, forget about it.

Remember, these guys really do hate us.

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

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

Tue Jul 30 22:41:22 2013

Where was this photo taken? On a $500 a day ski vacation in the Swiss Alps?

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

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

Tue Jul 30 23:10:37 2013

Ina writes: ''In the introduction, Jim ''Griff'' Griffith said it was the first update in memory where there's really no bad news.''

Wow! In an unguarded and unscripted moment, he revealed MUCH MORE than he probably intended to.

It's actually very amusing if you think about it.

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

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

Tue Jul 30 23:27:33 2013

The more I think about what ebafia has done in the last 4-5 months, the more disgusted I get.

What I hope most of us understand is that sociopathic ebafia executives have nothing but contempt, disdain, and overwhelming disrespect for the type of seller that built ebay.

The hatred and abuse of non Diamond American sellers continue for the most part to finance these arrogant millionaires' bloated salaries and stock share by backs.

Each time one of them slips up and reveals their presence here, we can see beyond any doubt how they feel about us.

And if their comments here weren't transparent enough about their true intentions, 6.5 years of tyrannical and brutal financial and psychological abuse have created a chasm so wide that reconciliation  between many sellers and ebafia will likely be impossible until such time as The Ho and his entire upper management team are shown the door along with a strong and unequivocal public repudiation of The Ho's egregious anti American seller policies and the intentional mistreatment, lies, anti small seller policies, and overall abuse.

To these authoritarian plutocrats, since The Ho's Ascension we've been nothing more than

-- noise
-- disgruntled sellers
-- failed sellers
-- malcontents
-- whiners

and so on. To them we're simply a source of never ending revenue they can they can abuse BECAUSE THEY CAN.

Ebafia could have made these changes in 2010.

Instead, they intentionally created a subgroup of criminal buyers to enhance their profitability and enlarge their financial reports while sarcastically minimizing our losses as "costs of doing business."

Of course they deliberately crafted these schemes in a sophisticated, long term bait and switch FVF discount program whose purpose from the beginning was to gradually increase ebafia profitability by designing a program in which buyers rather ebay would falsely be seen to eliminate or reduce seller discounts.

But NOW they need us and they need to attract back.

How many sellers who read this blog who left ebay beginning in 2008 would return if The Ho and his entire team were replaced with empathetic human beings willing to help rather than  abuse sellers?

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

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

Tue Jul 30 23:40:26 2013

Ming wonders: ''How many sellers who read this blog who left ebay beginning in 2008 would return if The Ho and his entire team were replaced with empathetic human beings willing to help rather than  abuse sellers?''

Not I.

The policies, rules, procedures, secrecy, algorithms and machinery that he and his cabal put in place will ALSO have to go.

Frankly, I don't think that's ever going to happen. And even if it did... the trust is gone (for me anyway). I'd have to be on some pretty hard times to even consider it seriously.

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jul 30 23:47:27 2013

''create your own Item Specifics field, and you say, there is a blemish, and the buyer complains about that, we would protect the buyer''
A seller clearly states that there is a blemish yet the seller loses if the buyer complains about it. That makes as much sense as ''a neutral was a negative because it wasn't a positive.''

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 31 00:01:20 2013

Why is everything on eBay so g_d damn complicated? Why have this rediculous system in place to start with?

Between Delta Burke, Call me Ishmael and Biff ... I have a pile of pencil shavings tha could do a better job then they do!

Biff (people - hes a sell out - hes on thier payroll - I wouldnt trust him to wash my car) tells it like it is ... THIS time theres nothing negative (BAD) in the update ... WOW!  That means (using logic, something eBay doesnt have) all the OTHER times the updates were BAD FOR SELLERS! Way to go there BIFF! Why didnt you do something to stop them then?

Delta Burke: 'we're going to look at that negative feedback and say, that's not necessarily the seller's fault" ...... you're KIDDING ME RIGHT?

1) your agents dont speak english well, arent from the US, and the last 10 I spoke to - put me on hold to go ask someone what to do - INDICATING that they dont know how eBay works - are THESE morons gonna make these decisions?

2) JD "Thinking Day Moment" .. on eBay its ALWAYS the Sellers fault - ALWAYS .... how long have these idiots been working at eBay?

eBay Rules:

1) When something goes wrong - its the sellers fault
2) even if its not, it still is - go see rule 1

There isnt an eBay seller on the planet that doesnt know that.

This update was/is a bunch of hot air. Its the Seinfeld "Show about nothing". Instead of making POSIIVE changes, its all fluff.

Way to go there eBay knuckleheads!

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

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

Wed Jul 31 03:09:06 2013

@ Annie

I'm sorry I didn't make it clear that a thorough pest extermination and the application of a company wide disinfectant would also include the elimination of the anti  non Diamond seller policies the current group of sociopaths have been flogging sellers with.

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

by: Ebay's Slow Death This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 31 03:40:36 2013


You all do realize that ABSOLUTELY NOTHING is going to change about feedback?

These executives pop up every once in a while and try to pat Sellers on the head and say, ''Now, now, you behave yourself, and you might get a treat.''

Go ahead, call CS, wait until someone comes on the line after over an hour (happened to me a couple of days ago), then try to explain your situation to them. They are either clueless or act like your mother, give you a hug, and say how sorry they are you are having a bad experience, but there is nothing they can do about it. After all, it is, ''The cost of doing business.''

Getting any feedback removed is going to be like slow walking on a bed of hot coals. Nothing is ever logical or easy on Ebay.

I wonder how much those execs make an hour? I'm sure it beats my $1.00 (if I'm lucky).

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Wed Jul 31 07:50:50 2013

Every now and then the powers that be at eBay trot out with their new updates that are always quite meaningless. The announcements that have that "look at what we are doing for you" message are meaningless. Just this week there have already been revisions to some of the things that they stated when the announcements first came out.

eBay suffers and always have suffered from a lack of transparency.  The DSR system is the best Exhibit A for that.

eBay feedback and DSR policy is like an infestation of fleas--you did everything you could to keep from getting them, you don't know how you got them, and you can't get rid of them no matter what you do.

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 31 07:52:03 2013

@ Annie
@ Ming

I'm with Annie, I doubt I would ever be able to trust them one bit.

And, in addition to Ming's disinfection plan, removals would also have to include the entire Board of Directors and moving Pierre, the dummy, to Founder - non executive status - no vote on the board.

None of that will ever happen in my lifetime so I am safe and will not have to consider ever returning to the cesspool of ebay.

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

by: Ed This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 31 09:20:00 2013

Enough is Enough Get rid of the punishment system and scrap the Feed Back and DSR system and change it to a positive system that does not cause division between buyers and sellers.

Until this happens it will be hard to trust ebay. If a seller pays for search they should get it. Stop playing games.

You don' need buyer to manage shipping time, that what a tracking number does.

You don't need a buyer to control shipping cost, ebay knows that if a buyer charges .99 cents for a $10.00 item he has to make it up on shipping but you still promote those listings. If you can manage shipping you can find the over charges.

If a seller is is misusing ebay in his description I am sure the buyer can file a case. The sellers satisfaction percent will show how they stack up with other sellers.

If a seller has poor comunication it will show up in the sellers satisfaction percentage.

If sellers can't keep buyers happy he will not be able to compete.

There is no need to have ebay try to manage the sellers. They come to ebay to start their own store.

ebay need to work on fraud and clean up the buyers and the sellers. A Buyers satisfaction percentage will help ebay find the buyers that your store owners find as problem buyers.
 

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

by: ebay refugee camp This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 31 11:24:22 2013

Whomever said all this make my head hurt is right.
What in the heck is wrong with just being honest and doing the right thing.
Ebay knows and has known for a long time that its dsr system is flawed, they cannot change it now because of the fear of mass lawsuits. The only choice they have is to scrap it completely.
All of the changes and policies that have sent sellers to other venues is coming to light.
I hope investors and the media are reading the comments and paying attention.
The paid for stock market blogs state that JD has made improvements but somehow these blogs never address the mass exodus of sellers who have been a boom for other venues, those fees are losses for ebay.
Paypal, GSI Commerce, and paid click adverting on ebay is masking the actual losses of ebay marketplace.
Sales are way down on ebay, they can say whatever but they are down and the reason is sellers have left and those sellers were also buyers and those sellers took their customers with them.
As ebay continues its testing on their new search it also no doubt has had a negative impact on sales.
Are the changes ebay is making enough to get sellers to come back, no they are not, which really brings another question to light. Does ebay really want those sellers back? I say they do not or these DSR,FEE,FEEDBACK,SEARCH,BUYER PROTECTION PROBLEMS would be fixed right now.
A 30 million dollar carrot was dangled in someone's face and this is what the result is.
Everyone who did not opt out of the class action lawsuit policy should be real sorry right now.
I predict ebay will be hammered eventually. The present TRS system that is rewarding dishonest TRS because they sell in such high volume is going to come back to bite ebay big time.
Our friends across the pond are about to feel the fees on shipping now, that could be a help to the cause to get real changes.
All Of this is just dishonest and the problem is and always will be WALL STREET

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

by: Biloxims This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 31 11:58:02 2013

Hi all! I've been Ebay FREE for 19 mo. now (sold & bought for over 12 yrs daily). Just happened upon this article and see that things have gotten worse. Ebay used to be a positive household word and now the only time I hear it is in the Ecommerce bytes email. Good luck to those that fight the good fight for I am "rooting" for you.

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

This user has validated their user name. by: monkey

Wed Jul 31 13:00:52 2013

Hi Greg and Ina -- thanks very much for covering this for us!

I do like the new Seller Update, it's definitely a move in the right direction.

Although Burke's comments were pretty scattered, it is after all a transcript of a radio program.

What stood out to me was the emphasis on the Item Condition and Item Specifics fields. Those can be easy to gloss over when creating a listing.

Burke's comments have prompted me to consider the importance of those elements in my listings.

Starting now, I'll definitely be concentrating on utilizing those fields for their most potential -- not only to better describe the item, but also to protect myself in case of bad feedback from a misunderstanding buyer.

We sellers know that buyers' attention spans are short and getting shorter. That's another good reason to fully utilize the Item Condition and Item Specifics fields, since they reside at the top of the listing. That's super important relative to mobile devices, too.

So I'll be stopping at Item Condition a little longer, and trying to pack some punch in that field.

And nobody knows, but also ... the new Cassini search may zero in on those fields as well.

Thanks again for your report.


Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

by: bunnspec This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jul 31 13:58:07 2013

5 years ago almost to the month that I've stopped selling on ebay, I've been keeping track of all the changes, Draconian or not and all I have ever seen is a change in the hoop color, the hoop size and if there's fiery pit under the hoops-and the ongoing glitches that if they benefit ebay, they stay, if they benefit the seller, they're disappeared quicker than a drop of rain in hell...
There have been NO incentives to ever re-establish a "relationship" with ebay because it is too arbitrary, too toxic and too much social engineering for me..The letters ol'JD wrote to the Secgen of the UN scared to pee outta me...

Ming is right to call this ebafia, because they always make an offer you better not refuse...  

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Wed Jul 31 14:26:24 2013

SO, even if we say 14 times in the item description that the item is blue, and show 12 huge pictures of a blue item, because it isn't in an item specific, we can still get slammed if the buyer was expecting a red item? At least he admits that buyers don't read the listings. As for creating our own item specifics, when selling OOAK and vintage, you have to do this in a lot of cases because there are no specifics for most of these things. It seems like eBay wants to focus on mobile and a catalog-like (Amazon) experience, which once again leaves sellers of vintage, used, and unique items out in the cold. Way to slap the segment responsible for your success in the first place, eBay.

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

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

Wed Jul 31 14:46:15 2013

If I recall correctly, Business 101 teaches that killing the Golden Goose (seller) off by giving a bully (buyer) a loaded sling shot, will negatively impact your business.  

Perminate Link for eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy   eBay Exec Brian Burke Discusses New Feedback Policy

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Wed Jul 31 15:46:34 2013

Tula,

You should come to terms with the reality that there is no longer a future for OOAK nor probably for antiques/vintage on the Ho's new online retail mall: only “leading retailers, brands and manufacturers across the world” are now welcome; nevertheless, as the Ho’s grand plan has not yet been realized (and probably never will be), the Ho will, in the meantime, continue to tolerate you, which in effect means that you have a long, and probably unpleasant, future ahead of you on eBay because, as another says, “the beatings will undoubtedly continue until your morale improves” … http://bit.ly/YvxFEg

“The secret of success is sincerity; once you can fake that you've got it made”—Jean Giraudoux ...
Keep working at it John, you have a good way yet to go ... http://bit.ly/12Q6xjt

Click to view more comments
1 2  [Next Page]


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.