EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1380 - October 03, 2006     1 of 4

eBay Bans 'Private-Feedback' Sellers in Move Toward Transparency

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In a move to make feedback ratings between trading partners always transparent, eBay will ban users with "private" feedback from listing items for sale. The private feedback features prevents other users from viewing the feedback comments left for a member when the feature is turned on, though they are able to see the number of positive, neutral and negative comments left for the member ( eBay offers the option to make feedback private for members who may have significant concerns about a comment left for them by a trading partner.

According to eBay's announcement, the new Private Feedback policy will go into effect on October 26, 2006, and will have the following restrictions:

  • Members who have private feedback profiles will no longer be allowed to list items after this change goes into effect. Only members with public feedback profiles will be permitted to list items.
  • Any items listed before the change will not be impacted. However, they may not be re-listed by sellers who keep their feedback profiles private.
  • Members who wish to make their feedback profiles private can still do so. However, they must cancel any existing listings, and they will not be allowed to create new listings as long as their feedback is private.

In a post on the eBay Announcement Board, Senior Marketplace Policy Manager for Feedback Brian Burke wrote, "Prohibiting members with private Feedback profiles from listing items will ensure we help maintain a safe and well-lit marketplace. Whether you're a buyer or a seller, your Feedback Profile is a valuable asset that helps earn the trust of other eBay members. We strongly encourage members to keep their Feedback profiles public so everyone in the marketplace can benefit from the Feedback other eBay Community members have left them."

Private Feedback is different from Private Listings, which are unaffected by the new policy. Private listings prevent bidders' and buyers' User IDs from being viewed by anyone but the seller. Sellers listing items sensitive in nature, such as "mature" items, may use private listings to make bidders and buyers feel more comfortable. But some scammers also use private listings so that watchdogs are unable to contact potential victims and warn them of scams.

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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