EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2308 - June 14, 2010     5 of 5

eBay Users May Now Filter Sellers' Negative Feedback Ratings

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As AuctionBytes wrote in a blog post last month, eBay will begin allowing users to view other members' feedback in a new way - by allowing them to isolate positive, neutral or negative feedback. This feature was already in place on international sites, but U.S. PowerSellers had successfully pressured eBay from letting shoppers easily see all of their negatives ratings in one place, preferring that potential buyers see all the positive feedback mixed in with the negative ratings.

The topic of feedback has always been a hot-button issue for eBay buyers and sellers, although less so since eBay began a campaign of changes in 2008 that included prohibiting sellers from leaving buyers negatives and neutrals.

The issue of feedback was also a political issue inside of eBay. In 2007, then head of eBay Marketplaces Bill Cobb said eBay would never roll out feedback filtering on the U.S. site while he was in charge. Cobb announced his retirement 6 months later when eBay CEO Meg Whitman appointed John Donahoe her replacement at the company, and Lorrie Norrington took over his responsibilities.

While eBay users had always had ways of filtering feedback (by doing research on international sites or by using a service from Toolhaus), most shoppers were unaware of that fact. (And what many eBay sellers may not realize is that some of their colleagues use Toolhaus to conduct research on buyers by looking at all the Negatives and Neutrals they have left for other sellers.)

A new discussion thread on the eBay boards revived the issue of whether isolating negative feedback was a good thing for the marketplace and whether the new functionality would have more of a negative impact on smaller or larger sellers.

One user with the ID "rc_clearance_center" wrote that they believed the ability to isolate negative feedback would provide shoppers with a negative impression of eBay. "Imagine going to a shopping mall, where there are 10 people screaming bad things in front of each store. Would you even bother to go back to that mall - let alone one of the stores there?"

eBay said many members had requested the new feature to help them make faster, more well-informed decisions when transacting on eBay and said it would launch feedback filtering this week. See the full eBay announcement and comment on the AuctionBytesBlog.

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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