EBay Feedback Cutoff Kicking In, Sellers Angry - InformationWeek

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5/16/2008
09:49 AM
Alexander Wolfe
Alexander Wolfe
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EBay Feedback Cutoff Kicking In, Sellers Angry

When eBay announced back in January that it was pulling the plug on its longtime policy of letting sellers leave negative feedback on buyers, those self-same sellers were royally peeved. Now that the policy is set to go into effect, on Monday, May 19, the ire of eBay sellers shows no sign of abating. Boy, are they p.o.'d. Here's what they're telling me.

When eBay announced back in January that it was pulling the plug on its longtime policy of letting sellers leave negative feedback on buyers, those self-same sellers were royally peeved. Now that the policy is set to go into effect, on Monday, May 19, the ire of eBay sellers shows no sign of abating. Boy, are they p.o.'d. Here's what they're telling me.First, some quick background. As I previously blogged, in EBay's Feedback Changes Are Bad News For Buyers, eBay's stated reason for the change is: The previous system prevented buyers from leaving honest Feedback since they feared retaliation from the sellers if they left a negative.

But sellers aren't buying that explanation. Initially, the thinking amongst the eBay user community was the policy somehow was intended to prop up the site's sagging performance, possibly by making eBay friendly for buyers. (That stemmed from the fact that buyers were widely perceived as being intimidated into leaving good feedback on sellers, because if they didn't, sellers would retaliate.)

However, as things shook out, the received wisdom tilted more toward the idea that eBay's concern for the average buyer and seller wasn't quite so nuanced. Mostly, the feedback change -- as well as a bunch of revisions in the seller fee structure -- was designed to make eBay more attractive to large sellers. Sadly, the newfound big-seller friendliness comes at the apparent expense of the smaller sellers who made eBay a big success in the first place.

Still, times change. What hasn't changed, since January, is the vitriol of the average eBay seller, who is mightily ticked at the new feedback policy. Here are some of the comments I've received in response to my earlier eBay post. What really hammers home the anger meme is the fact that the post, dated Feb 7, has received comments right up through yesterday (that's very unusual; commenting typically peters out a few days after a post goes up). Anyway, here's some of what they're saying:

"I used to buy and sell on eBay all the time. Not anymore. This change is completely unnecessary."

"Without the sellers there is no eBay. I am one of the thousands they lost due to their completely inept management. All the sellers should at least try the competition and put eBay's monopoly mentality to the test."

"I'm a seller on eBay and have been for a few years. The new feedback system bothers me because I can't leave negative for buyers who don't pay me. I would expect no less than a negative feedback if I took a buyer's money and then decided not to ship the item."

"I will still sell items on eBay, because eBay is still the #1 place. But go around and ask sellers, does anyone like their new stupid policy?"

"As soon as this change takes place, I am DONE with eBay!"

"We have been selling and buying at eBay for 10 years. These new changes are horrible for sellers and buyers."

"I think this is really about FEAR. So many eBay sellers do not know what it is like to actually provide customer service. This is evident when you make a purchase on eBay or ask a question about something for sale on eBay and you get no response."

"Both Buyer and Seller feedback has been a long-standing cornerstone that has been one of the key reasons for eBay's success. I have had enough. Not only because of the feedback but also the constant hiking in prices."

To be fair and balanced, here are a few comments from the other side of the argument, favoring eBay's change:

"I believe that eBay really needed to do something about feedback, and of course the solution would involve stepping on some toes. I am so sick of having to worry about retailiatory feedback as a buyer--my eBay record was ruined 6 years ago when I bought a product and it was missing a piece."

"There have been a mixed response over this eBay's feedback changes.... But these changes can be justified and it shouldn't affect consumers."

So what do you think about eBay's no policy: Deal or no deal?

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