Feedback 2.0 and You
OK, let's talk about Feedback 2.0. You have Web 2.0 everywhere these days, so of course there had to be Feedback 2.0.
I've looked over the statements from Bill Cobb from the Jan. 17 "A Message from Bill Cobb - eBay eCommerce Forum Highlights" message, and here's a summary of what they say and what I have to say about them:
Cobb says that later this year, feedback percentages will "be based on just the last 2 years of activity. All comments older than this will be archived." (Your total score will remain, but the critical percentage part will be based on just the last two years).
"For years, members have asked us why we don't retire old feedback that has lost its relevance, especially old negatives," Cobb explained.
I think this change is a good thing, although of course until these things play out in real life, it's hard to anticipate all the issues that will crop up for people when they are implemented. But my sense is, people who maybe had a few rough edges starting out, but learned from their mistakes and have great recent feedback, will enthusiastically embrace this. I don't see a big downside to it yet.
Feedback 2.0: A Can of Worms?
However, I find Feedback 2.0, based on what little seems to have been said about it so far, a bit more worrisome. Per Cobb:
"eBay pioneered online reputation systems with the feedback system back in the '90s and since then, our members have loved to debate its merits. The fact is, it's a great system, but it needs some refinement to keep pace with our marketplace. Today I announced Feedback 2.0, which we'll be launching in pilot markets next month. Feedback 2.0 will add a new dimension to the current system, allowing buyers to rate transactions on item description, communication, shipping time, and shipping & handling charges. The average of each of the Detailed Seller Ratings is displayed on the seller's Feedback Profile page. It's a simple system that rewards sellers by recognizing and spotlighting the things they do to ensure customer satisfaction. We'll share more about Feedback 2.0 in the coming weeks, so stay tuned."
OK, well…that, as written, worries me. It suggests that now we sellers will have four times as many things to worry about as we did before.
I think I see what they're trying to do here; it's obvious. They want to break down the transaction into its individual units so buyers can get an idea of how sellers rate not just overall, but in those specific areas of shipping, communication, etc.
But I wonder if breaking things up into so many components is mainly giving buyers too many chances to ding sellers. Maybe some of the dings will be deserved, but I feel that the bar is set pretty high now in what buyers expect as a feedback percentage. If that total dips down quite a bit based on it being the sum of so many parts, I wonder if sellers will feel the sting. This remains to be seen, though, and I will be watching carefully in the coming weeks to see exactly how eBay plans to roll this out.
Julia Wilkinson is the author of "The eBay Price Guide" (No Starch Press, 2006);"eBay Top 100 Simplified Tips & Tricks" (Wiley, 2004-6); "What $ells on eBay for What"; and publisher of the free newsletter, Yard Salers and eBayers. To read more advice for sellers, please see her blog, "bidbits."