eBay’s new Feedback 2.0 – Winners and Losers

Posted on May 15, 2008. Filed under: eBay | Tags: , , , , , , |

On May 19th, eBay feedback scores will be calculated differently for U.S. buyers and sellers.  Neutrals will no longer be neutral but will instead, for the first time, count negatively toward an eBay seller’s percentage. 
 
Big Winners: Powersellers who have been selling on eBay a long time and whose last 12 months ratings are much better than previous years’ ratings.
 
Big Losers: new and/or small sellers, especially those who have few sales in the last 12 months or who had a small hiccup with their customer service. 
 
“Collateral Damage” Losers: buyers who currently have neutrals since these neutrals will lower their current feedback rating.
 
Make no mistake, the new feedback score calculations will favor Powersellers who have been providing good customer service in the last 12 months.  The slate will be wiped clean for everything done more than a year ago, both good and bad.  Forgive and forget all the bad customer service that sellers provided in the past.  But along with the forgive-and-forget policy which rewards sellers who have provided recent good service, the long-term good habits of smaller eBay sellers will be erased as well.  eBay is now saying “What Have You Done for Me Lately?”
 
Those of us who are U.S. sellers are able to view our “new” feedback ratings in advance of the actual implementation.  I was the first to report on the Seller Central Board and to Ina Steiner that U.S. eBayers could visit the Australian eBay website to get an advance “preview” of the things to come.
 
One question that I have, which seems to be getting lost in all the other issues, is why isn’t eBay the one to be reporting the news instead of someone like me who just happened to stumble on the fact that we could get a preview of the new things to come?  As an example: eBay expects me, as a seller, to communicate to my international eBay buyers and educate them on things such as expected transit time and customs fees they can expect to pay.  Okay, I can understand how that would make a better “buyer experience”.  So, then, why does eBay roll out all of these new changes and think it is unimportant to properly inform and educate their own community?   Why weren’t we given information about how the new feedback percentages would be calculated and more importantly, why wasn’t everyone given the opportunity to preview what our feedback was going to look like? 
 
eBay has failed miserably to communicate with, inform, or educate buyers and sellers.  eBay’s turmoil and continual bad press are a direct result of their failings to interact with their own community.  There is example after example of recent failed communications including the unclear wording and performance expecations of DSRs, the digital download fiasco, and the lack of understanding regarding the new feedback 2.0
 
The merits of eBay’s new Feedback 2.0 plan details can certainly be debated but there is absolutely no question that eBay deserves 2 Thumbs Down for their lack of communication in the implementation of the new Feedback system.   Perhaps eBay has had so little competition for so long that they don’t think it is necessary to provide good service to their customers.  Or perhaps the problem is that eBay is still trying to figure out exactly who their customer is – buyers or sellers, or Powersellers, or small sellers (their competitive advantage).  Maybe eBay is just waiting to begin communicating with their customers once they figure out who their customers really are. 
 

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