EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1715 - January 29, 2008     6 of 8

eBay Bans Sellers from Leaving Negative Feedback for Buyers

Email This Story to a Friend

eBay is making sweeping changes to its Feedback program, including prohibiting sellers from leaving negative or neutral feedback ratings for buyers. The changes come a year after eBay introduced controversial Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs) in which buyers are able to leave anonymous ratings for sellers based on four criteria.

eBay will announce today that beginning in May, sellers will no longer be able to leave negative or neutral Feedback for buyers. eBay said the current system prevents buyers from leaving honest Feedback as they fear retaliation from the sellers if they leave a negative. "This makes it hard for buyers to distinguish between sellers while making bidding or buying decisions. In addition, when buyers receive negative Feedback, they reduce their activity in the marketplace, which in-turn harms all sellers."

While this will be highly controversial, sellers may be pleased at one part of the changes: eBay will remove Negative and Neutral Feedback left by members who are suspended or who fail to respond to the Unpaid Item Process (deadbeats). Negative or neutral Feedback left by currently suspended members will be removed in late May/June. eBay is also increasing the number of buyers a seller can block from 1000 to 5000.

In addition, buyers and sellers will be able to earn up to one Feedback rating per week from the same trading partner beginning in February in order to encourage repeat transactions and reward good service - another change sellers may welcome.

Positive Feedback percentage will be based on the past 12 months of Feedback, rather than lifetime. Buyers must wait three days before leaving negative or neutral Feedback, and instead of 90 days, members will be able to leave Feedback for 60 days.

eBay's rationale for the changes are:

One, Buyers will be more honest when they leave Feedback since they will not fear retaliatory negative Feedback.

Two, Buyers will bid more and higher since their trust in the Feedback system and the sellers will increase.

Three, Our best performing sellers will be able to differentiate themselves from all other sellers and increase the amount of business they receive as buyers gravitate towards them.

Four, Sellers will leave Feedback upon payment more often in order to increase their chance of receiving positive Feedback.

Leave a comment on the AuctionBytes Blog:

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

You may quote up to 50 words of any article on the condition that you attribute the article to and either link to the original article or to
All other use is prohibited.