The eBay Feedback Theory – Busted

Back when Pierre first conceived the eBay idea, he decided that the community should police itself. He did not have time to mediate disputes between buyers and sellers, so he instituted “feedback.” The concept was that buyers and sellers would leave each other honest feedback, which would weed out the bad community members.

New ebayers could easily see the feedback of a seller and decide whether or not to buy from this seller. The theory was if the seller had a lot of negative feedback, the buyers would go elsewhere to bid. In other words, Pierre made the assumption that humans are able to look out for themselves.

It is my opinion this theory has been proven wrong over and over again. One only has to have seen the feedback for the now infamous seller “Bargainland” to know that people cannot look out for themselves. With feedback at 90% and many times lower, they continued to sell 100’s of items a day. Burned buyers would post to the eBay boards regularly whining that they got “taken” by Bargainland. Seasoned eBayers would ask these buyers why they didn’t heed the feedback? It’s right there, pasted in the auction, why didn’t you heed it?

Maybe for the same reason the government had to make it a law that motorists wear seatbelts, or that manufacturers of hair dryers put a warning on the cord not to use it in the bathtub. What appears to be common sense, is not always so.

Because the Feedback theory has been busted, eBay is now taking matters into their own hands, well, sorta. Sellers will no longer be able to leave negative feedback for buyers, even if the buyer threatens and harasses the seller, or files chargebacks, or doesn’t pay for the item. eBay is also stating they will “disadvantage” sellers with poor DSR’s in search. DSR’s are not even a year old, yet they are being given more importance than a sellers feedback, which in many cases has been built over many years of selling on eBay. That feedback you worked so hard to build will now basically get you nowhere, except kicked out of the Powerseller program if it falls below 98%.

So the Feedback myth is busted, and DSR’s are now the wave of the future. Since they are anonymous eBay feels they are more relevant. However, with only a 10% difference between sellers with the highest DSR’s and those with the lowest, how relevant are they?

That’s my opinion, what’s yours?



  1. says

    A well considered and written view. DSRs will become more relevant in future without doubt. I find it interesting that eBay has now linked the discounts volume sellers can received to their DSRs. With the absence of buyer feedback it seems likely eBay expect the reviews of sellers to become more realistic. If that’s so it looks to be a cynical move designed to quickly cut back the number of sellers able to qualify for discounts.

    As ever with eBay… buyer beware.

  2. bob peskorse says

    There are a couple of things that are being overlooked. Ebay states The No. 1 reason buyers cited for decreasing or ceasing their activity on eBay was negative unwarranted retaliatory feedback they received from sellers,” The key word in that statement is “unwarranted”
    Does Ebay really know how many neagative feedbacks were unwarranted?
    The key question is How many of those individuals did indeed deserve that feedback? Probably most of them. It seems to be an ever increasing problem in our culture. That an ever increasing number of people simply don’t want to play by the rules. Or take responsibility for their own decisions. And are the fist to scream foul. When they feel they have aren’t given the right to play by their own rules. Or that they have to except the consequences of their own decisions.
    I’ve been on Ebay for almost ten years now. Both as a buyer and seller. I don’t believe that the majority of people on Ebay intensionaly
    try to defraud on another. But there are some that do. And now Ebay has decided to revamp their system to accomidate the few. And in doing so is going to open the door for more buyers to abuse the system with no fear of being held accountable. Ebay is giving in to the desires of the few. And in the process will destroy what has made Ebay work. They think that they have found a solution that will curb the decreasing number of buyers. Well they haven’t. In May I personally am going to state in big bold print. That payment is due within 48 hours. After that time has expired. The item will be relisted or offered in a Second chance offer. I am not going to wait 10 days as suggested to get paid. After already waiting 5 – 7 for an auction to end. If I no longer have a voice to protect myself and others from deadbeat buyers. I am not going to waste me time dealing with them. If you want an item be ready to pay for it, or don’t bid. As the trend seems to be now a days. The fair players get the burdens while the few bad apples get their way.

  3. says

    Why is it that if I go to any brick & mortar store or other online store I can evaluate them and determine whether or not I would like to buy from them without seeing every comment or complaint ever made about them, whether reasonable or not?

    Let’s say you went to shop at Nordstrom. They have always been known for their great customer service. However, let say new management of their parent company came along and created a policy where if a customer became unhappy with them for any reason, they could spray-paint their complaint in graffiti across the front of the store. This includes the customer who bought something they didn’t like and didn’t even bother to ask if they could return it. It also includes the customer who purchased something from the mail order division but didn’t like that they didn’t use environmentally-friendly packing materials. All of this would be bad enough, however, a new policy also came into effect that the store was never allowed to clean up the graffiti on their building, even if they worked the problems out with the buyers. Do you think this would make you more or less likely to shop there?

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