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Tue May 20 2014 11:58:59

eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than Top Rated Sellers

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
It is no secret that eBay's image among its best performing sellers has taken a severe beating since the announcement of the ill conceived Defect Transaction seller rating system.
 
eBay has publicly admitted that they have more Top Rated Sellers than they feel they can afford, and their new rating system is designed to cull that number down to something eBay management finds more financially affordable.
 
If eBay truly has too many sellers who qualify for and receive Top Rated Seller status, then why have they failed to use that information to build buyer confidence instead of creating new and tougher metrics to browbeat and defeat those top performing sellers?
 
Why are they demoralizing their Best Sellers through a system of ever tougher ratings?
 
Does anyone at the top of eBay's management ranks realize that word of mouth about eBay suffers seriously, and that the loudest, most damaging voices are those of eBay's own sellers? 
 
When the people who stand to benefit the most from increased traffic on eBay are the ones bad mouthing eBay, then how does management expect sales to grow?
 
eBay management claims they want to improve the buyer experience through these heavy handed draconian changes, however it is obvious from their all past metric raising they have the wrong approach because sales are not growing on eBay at the same pace as the rest of the eCommerce industry.
 
If eBay is concerned with the costs associated with too many sellers earning discounts, then I agree they need to address that issue. However, as usual eBay management is applying financial pressure on the wrong end of the fulcrum.
 
Management is so focused on trimming the costs associated with the Top Rated Seller discounts that they have lost sight of how they could improve seller performance exponentially if they approached the problem from the bottom up instead of from the top down.
 
If management really wants to improve the buyer experience, then instead of demoralizing and demonizing their best sellers with new and tougher standards, they should have thought about leaving their best sellers alone to do what they are already doing so well and finance the TRS 20% discount program with increased fees on eBay's worst performing sellers.
 
I believe eBay should end the seller purges, and also scrap most of the ill conceived Defect Transaction program. Keep the minor improvements such as better transparency, but scrap all the rest and replace it with..... ( wait for it )
 
The Robin Hood Final Value Fee Schedule.
 
eBay has 3 classes of sellers. TRS (Top Rated Seller), ASS (Above Standard Seller), BS (Below Standard) .
 
Intelligent, forward thinking, and connected management would look at eBay's existing fee schedule and apply current existing rates to the TRS and ASS's and continue to offer the 20% TRS discount to all qualifying TRS. Sellers rated as Below Standard would pay slightly higher Listing Fees and higher Final Value Fees for their completed sales.
 
The additional revenue paid by the bottom performing sellers would offset the costs associated with the higher than expected number of Top Rated Sellers.
 
The Robin Hood Final Value Fee Schedule would address many shortcomings of the existing system:
Below Standard Sellers would now have financial motivation to improve their game which in turn would improve buyer satisfaction which would lead to higher GMV figures for eBay. If they choose to leave eBay, then it is their idea to do so, and eBay avoids the negative aspects of all the purges.

Sellers in the Above Standard Seller ranks would have motivation to avoid letting their performance slip. This would also help eBay buyer confidence.

Top Rated Sellers would be relieved of the stress and demoralizing aspect of eBay's constant squeeze downs on seller performance leading to a more satisfying relationship between them and their trading partner.

Now I do not have an MBA, and I did not sleep in a Holiday Inn Express last night either. I am simply an eBay seller who has been observing eBay's over paid MBA's attempting to solve the buyer satisfaction problem by attacking from the top down instead of from the bottom up and failing to accomplish their stated goals of growing sales.
 
The demoralization of eBay's Top Rated Sellers needed to cease at least two seller updates ago.
 
If eBay really cared about increasing buyer satisfaction rates, they would do more to motivate the bottom performing sellers to improve their performance instead of finding new and even more draconian ways to punish their Top Rated Sellers who then have nothing positive to say about the meat grinder they find themselves caught in.
 
Regards,
Ric




Comments (41) | Permalink

Readers Comments

eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To   eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To

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

Tue May 20 15:27:35 2014

Excellent letter. (Thanks, Ric.)

eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To   eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue May 20 19:47:31 2014

OP says "If eBay truly has too many sellers who qualify for and receive Top Rated Seller status, then why have they failed to use that information to build buyer confidence instead of creating new and tougher metrics to browbeat and defeat those top performing sellers?"

Because eBay is run by arrogant idiots.   No other explanation. Their actions defy logic.

And it is an excellent letter indeed.

eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To   eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To

by: benterry This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 20 21:11:20 2014

LET'S BOYCOTT EBAY
we are the reason ebay even exists and all they ever do it step on us some more. and now these new stupid nonsense standards?
The reason why they are  changing the entire system is to kick a lot of us out of the TRS and not give us the 20% we work so hard for.
Let's boycott them, let's show them we are not their slaves. here is my email benterry121314@gmail.com. let's get together fight together and fix this.
please share my email with any other seller you know and lets start to fight back.

eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To   eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 20 21:23:05 2014

Brilliant.
MH

eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To   eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To

by: LinneyPinney This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 20 21:28:38 2014

Boycott? Yeah! But for me a permanent one. I am moving items off of eBay everyday and those items are selling elsewhere. There is life after eBay. I have learned that I do not need them. If we all left and went elsewhere, the other sites would grow fast and eBay would be nothing.  

eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To   eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To

by: NetWatch This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue May 20 22:01:00 2014

A number of online selling sites (Bonanza, Atomic Mall, Webstore, Unisquare) have literally grown exponentially from the purges of thousands of small sellers from eBay in the past 9 months, purges by eBay that ousted many good decent "mom and pop" sellers who do not fit eBay CEO Donahoe's "vision" to transform eBay over to big-box retail.

eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To   eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Tue May 20 22:29:33 2014

Great letter Ric!

I would love to shake the Bain out of Donahoe. Pilfering and monetizing by squeezing every cent ebay can get from sellers and giving less and less in return. The ebay marketplace is (was) a consumer site made up of real down to earth people and not a conglomerate corporation where he can waltz in, takeover and cut it up for parts. Sorry to say that as long as these soulless excuses for human beings remain running ebay, ebay will continue to deteriorate until it is just a shell of what made eBay ebay.    

eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To   eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To

by: expertbenefits This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 20 22:38:58 2014

Great idea Rick. This system creates unnecessary anxiety for those who care & do not need the noose tightened to serve customers or the KYAH rawhide for motivation to run a business with high customer satisfaction & reduce expenses  I had a dream I bought a place next to the post office so I could have my items scanned faster & not battle traffic! I am laughing thinking about that!  

eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To   eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue May 20 22:56:13 2014

I think one has to understand 2 things about these standards.

1) its a copy of Amazon PLUS the usual eBay one upsmanship game. On Amazon you get 2 days to ship unless you specify that you ship in 1. That puts ALL sellers in the same boat - NO ONE gets better treatment. If you dont ship in the required 2 days, you get a late shipment violation. Too many of those and you're gone.

Along comes eBay and says .. we cant beat Amazon in any case (service, selection, value) so lets make eBay sellers to it in 1. Not only that but we will use USPS tracking info to make sure we keep "sellers honest"

2) eBays mantra is the seller is always wrong. That being the case, when theres an issue - bother your sellers about it.

eBay cant make USPS go faster, cant force people to take back goods beyond a certain point and cant completely transform itself into Amazon since eBay unlike Amazon doesnt actually sell anything (GSI Commerce stores dont count).

Sure it make sense to penalize the bottom worst performng part of your seller group - but when (eBay) you feel that there are MILLIONS of people just lining up to sell their stuff on eBay, you can afford to purge as many as you like - since theres "an endless supply of sellers".

I think everyone here knows how slow eBay sales are - its all over the forums - even on places like Linkedin. They know somethings "rotten in Denmark" as we do.

So if you are eBay management - who's fault is it? USPS .. well maybe but they are your partner in crime - they allow you to make money on the "slice" in the shipping they charge to sellers - so you cant hammer them.

You cant hammer buyers no matter how bad they are - since there arent enough of them anyway.

So whos left? SELLERS.

WE all can go on and on but it will never change. Each seller update brings more misery to eBay seller base - there has never been (since Ive been here - 1998) a seller update that was POSITIVE - where eBay gave back. Every thig they have ever done was to hurt sellers ... talk about bitting the hand that feeds you. BUt, eBay believes BUYERS pay the FVF not sellers (through their purchases) so they are MORE THEN HAPPY to let you leave - since its not YOU who provide the revenue.

Sick and twisted is eBays management philosophy - but since they have no other options, know no other methods ... it will continue forever.

eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To   eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 21 02:14:07 2014

This sounds like a good idea in theory. The reality is that eBay would simply create MORE Below Standard Sellers to generate even more fees.

eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To   eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Wed May 21 06:03:10 2014

Looks like a sound idea to me. It makes sense. A normal company with a healthy self-image would probably look seriously at adopting it.

eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To   eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To

by: kzeeman This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Wed May 21 09:35:23 2014

Good Post Ric. I have been saying something similar for quite awhile. Pull up te bottom to improve buyer perception. I am not sure I agree with the solution but the premise is spot on. Maybe an education process for those not hitting the mark. I dont care about the discounts I get but I do care about search placement. This is all fixable.

eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To   eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Wed May 21 09:46:51 2014

>>If eBay is concerned with the costs associated with too many sellers earning discounts, then I agree they need to address that issue.<<

The easiest way to fund the TRS program is lower JD's salary and compensation package which is highway robbery. He is destroying a company and people's lives as well and getting paid handsomely to do so. Put him on a defect scale that directly impacts his salary and bonuses. But ebay is too good at cooking the books to show exactly what they want them to say at any given time so he comes out smelling like a rose and getting salary increases that aren't in line with how well the company is actually doing.

eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To   eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed May 21 09:55:51 2014

''If eBay is concerned with the costs associated with too many sellers earning discounts, then I agree they need to address that issue.''  I would disagree if your idea of dealing with it is to make it harder to obtain.  Under the current rules, the discount is hard to obtain and even harder to maintain.  I think you may be looking at this in the wrong direction.  If Ebay were banking the fact that they have a good amount of TRS Plus sellers and advertising that fact.  More sales would come.  With more sales is more fees for Ebay.  Making this harder to obtain isn't the answer in my opinion.  Advertising the current levels of TRS Plus sellers is.  What a great advertising tool that would be.  Well if it is really true that there are a great deal of us out there.  That of course may not actually be the case.

''Intelligent, forward thinking, and connected management would look at eBay's existing fee schedule and apply current existing rates to the TRS and ASS's and continue to offer the 20% TRS discount to all qualifying TRS. Sellers rated as Below Standard would pay slightly higher Listing Fees and higher Final Value Fees for their completed sales.''  YIKES, now that is scary.  Perfectly good sellers can fall into the BSS rating under the current rating system or the upcoming one way too easily.  And to charge them more money for the privilege of being lowered in the searches I find just plain wrong.  Not sure how legal it would be either.  Charge them more for less services rendered.

Sellers that promote and achieve multiple sales to any given buyer is at a much higher risk of running into problems than a seller that doesn't do multiple transactions.

For example.  You have two sellers, Each sellers sell about 100 transactions per month.  Seller A typically has one off sales, so all separate buyers mostly.  So if they get 2 low DSRs it won't be as harmful as Seller B that frequently sells multiple items to the same buyer.  2 buyers each buying 5 items and rating the seller low, well that seller racks up 10 low DSRs vs Seller's A's 2.  Both terrific sellers.  But due to a poor rating system, one seller is punished and the other is not.

''The additional revenue paid by the bottom performing sellers would offset the costs associated with the higher than expected number of Top Rated Sellers.''  I personally and I only speak for myself, would not want any part of making some sellers pay higher fees in a program as the OP suggests so that I may be allowed to keep my discount.  There would be so many perfectly good sellers damaged by these higher fees.  And it is likely they really didn't do anything wrong to fall below standard.

Of course there are still bad sellers out there.  I get that.  I just don't think this is the answer.  Using a faulty rating system to rate a seller and then charge them more money to me seems like something Ebay already does.  While the fees stay the same, they have less sales because f rankings in the searches.

''Below Standard Sellers would now have financial motivation to improve their game...''  I guess some have forgotten all the complaints that have been around since DSRs were started.  How unfair they are.  How they don't tell us anything.  They don't help us improve.  They are opinions not necessarily based in fact or even reality.  Some are not even within our control.  So some of you feel this is a good idea.  Exactly how is a seller suppose to fix some of this.  How did you do it?  Lets say you got 5 low ratings for communication.  No bad FB, just 5 low ratings.  You answered every email the buyer sent, yet you got rated low and were rewarded with a Below Standard status and higher fees.  Now you are expected to go fix that.  Fix WHAT?  What more can you do if you responded politely and professionally to every email sent.

Or say it was Shipping Time, yet you shipped the very next business day, it just got slowed in transit.  Somehow all these issues go away with the Robin Hood method.  How exactly is that going to happen?  However the name is excellent as it is exactly what would be happening.  

''Top Rated Sellers would be relieved of the stress and demoralizing aspect of eBay's constant squeeze downs on seller performance...''  I wouldn't.  I'd feel very guilty that I was still getting my discount at the expense of others sellers required to pay higher fees because of things that are unfair and in some cases not at all within their control.

I firmly agree that the way sellers are rated needs a complete overhaul.  But throwing some sellers under the bus so that others can continue to get a discount to me is not the answer.  

If any of you have ever been through watching your dashboard closely as it appears you might hit Below Standard for reasons not at all within your control, then you'd understand this a little better.  Again I understand some sellers may deserve to be there, but there are a good many that may not.

All just my opinion.  Nothing can be fixed at Ebay until the management's opinion of sellers is adjusted.  As long as they see us as defective, there isn't a lot that can be done with them.  All they have done over the years since JD took charge was develop a poorly designed DSR system into what we see today.  It was bad in the beginning and it is worse today.  They just keep revising it to keep us off balance and to justify why they started it in the first place.  Micro management isn't the answer.    

eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To   eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To

by: Glor This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 21 10:00:58 2014

Ric -

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Also, maybe I'm looking at the new rules subjectively rather than objectively, but I feel that eBay is wasting it's time going after TSR's who have maintained 100% positve feedback over a 10 year period, with # of feedbacks left in the 4 digits and above.

eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To   eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To

by: Casmige This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 21 10:15:26 2014

I am reminded of my days at CSC that culminated with me winning the Gold Customer Service award in 2008 for all of N. America Division only to be told by my supervisor during the year after that I should LOWER the bar on my cusstomer serice delviery because I was making the rest of the "Help Desk" look bad because if the Client-callers calling did not get the level of service that I provided them from the rest of the Help Desk then it would make them disappointed.  My Supervisor also told me that I could not work on my days off (Although I did not clock in & incur company expense for doing so) for the same reason....that I was raising Client-Caller expectations. After 5 years of working at CSC as a Tri-lingual Technical support Analyst (Something very rare here in the States) and after getting DOUBLE the Kudo Letters & ratings than any of the other CSR's on the Help-Desk??  I was summarily Laid-off in October of 2009 due to "Company down-sizing".  I was devastated...but with eBay thought my days of having to be dunned for doing an Above-&-Beyond job would be over.....I've apparently traded working for a Tiger for that of a Grizzly-Bear.

UNBELIEVABLE this crap that I've got to put up with as a Top Rated PLUS Seller now.

Thank you eBay for ruining my endeavours to be all that I oughta be & for lambasting me into wanting to leave eBay at the earliest possibility for some other sort of forum that should have been here & on scene by now to replace such fascist short-sighted crap that eBay is shoveling out to caring & concerted Sellers.

Phooey on the eBay thimble-rig skulduggery-thuggery!!.

eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To   eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To

by: redheadedlady This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 21 10:19:41 2014

Your letter makes a lot of sense.  Ebay seems to only want the big stores selling now instead of us "little people".
Case in point - Vera Bradley -They opened their store on October 13, 2013.  They already have 133 negative feedbacks in 7 months!!  I have been selling over 10 years and have ZERO negative feedbacks but I am not a big store.  I sell approximately 700 items a month.  I have a 100% positive feedback and 5 stars across the board.  Vera Bradley has 99.6% feedback and stars are not that great. With this being said, if I even had one negative feedback, I would probably be kicked off while Vera Bradley has NOTHING to worry about.  To me, this is not fair.  How about all the companies in China that scores of negative feedback and ebay keeps them on.  You are right Ric, there is something wrong with this mode of thinking.
I wish I could find another venue to sell my items to get off ebay.  But right now it is my bread and butter so I am staying until they kick me out.  I do have a website (very slow sales), ecrater, Bonanza, Addoway and now etsy.  None have done the job ebay has done.

eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To   eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To

by: handmade by martha This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 21 10:20:52 2014

will the defect ratings effect sort return performance?

now, if a shopper creates a search and you have an item listed in that category, i think that your item will appear higher than those with lower ratings.  okay, clearly i need more coffee :)  

eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To   eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To

by: ellisdtripp This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 21 10:21:26 2014

The beatings will continue until morale improves.

eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To   eBay Should Penalize Below Standard Rather Than To

by: redheadedlady This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 21 10:23:53 2014

One more quick thought.  People who sell 30 or 40 items a month are TRS's also.  I remember when I started selling - way back when - that you had to sell a minimum of $1,000 at that time to become a power seller.  Took me almost 4 years to build up to that and I was thrilled when I EARNED that distinction.  Now all you need to do is sell 20 or 30 items and you are a TRS.  What is wrong with this picture!!!!!!!!!!!!

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