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The Importance of Feedback on eBay

February 13, 2011

A few months ago, I came across a post on a hobby message board in which an eBay seller was upset about having received a piece of neutral feedback comment from a buyer, which led to his feedback rating coming in at less than 100%, a damaging blow to any seller.

What was interesting to me was the context in which the situation took place.

The poster of the message began by explaining how he doesn’t feel that leaving positive feedback for his customers is an obligation, but rather an option at his disposal.  He went on to explain that he rarely, if ever, bothers to leave feedback for buyers of his items because he finds it too time-consuming and generally does not feel that it is necessary.

This was followed up by an expression of outrage at the fact that a buyer would dare to leave him neutral feedback over a transaction, particularly because the comment was not related to poor communication, a damaged item, or excessive shipping times and charges, but rather because the buyer felt as though the seller was failing to live up to his end of his sales transactions by neglecting to leave feedback for his customers.

I found it remarkable that the seller could be so upset about having his feedback rating damaged after having led off the post with a dismissal of its relevance or importance to the eBay system and his fellow users. 

While I don’t agree with the method the buyer used to prove a point in this case (a simple e-mail or message to generate some discussion with the seller would have been a better start in my opinion), I do feel that the seller is being a bit hypocritical in his stance on the situation.

Personally, I have always been a big believer in the value of the eBay feedback system, which I alluded to in the second article of my Toward Self-Sufficiency series back in December.  It allows buyers and sellers to quickly size one another up and decide their comfort level with a transaction and from a seller’s perspective it is especially important given that priority in search results is directly impacted by your feedback rating.  Ultimately, it is the single best measure of your reliability to potential buyers.

The system certainly has its flaws, most notably the fact that sellers can either leave positive feedback or no feedback at all.  In the end, however, it is an effective tool at driving change and improvement amongst users in the eBay marketplace.  For this reason I feel as though users need to embrace it for the positives that it can bring to the eBay experience rather than dismiss it as an inconvenience or nuisance.

What are your thoughts on the eBay feedback system?  Do you lean to the same side as I do and see it as a positive, if not integral part of the experience?  Or are you on the side of the message board poster that I mentioned in the first part of this article?

Let me know by leaving a comment, sending me an email at bb_bros[at]hotmail[dot]com, or getting in touch on Twitter (@bb_bros) or Facebook.

Until Wednesday, all the best in your collecting pursuits!


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