Some Mothers do 'ave Em

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Dan Wilson is the former Community Manager for and is now a freelance consultant and writer. He blogs at

It’s been three months this week since I left the warming arms of the eBay bosom to a world of freelancing and freedom. Three months after leaving eBay is an important time for any former eBay employee: you have three months to flog your stock options after leaving and my time is up on Friday.

But one eBay buyer has decided to commemorate this milestone with an eBay first for me: a negative feedback. Now I really feel like I’m truly mortal, and just another humble seller amongst the Community millions.

It’s time to swallow that advice I’ve dispensed for years on the boards and at eBay University. Stay calm. Dispense a factual, calm response, try not to worry.

And OBVIOUSLY it’s unjustified. The justified negative feedback is a rare, rare thing. I sold a book and despatched it swiftly. I was let down by an impatient buyer, the Royal Mail and not spending every waking moment hunched over My Messages responding to buyer queries.

Still, I’m in good company: most sellers have a few here and there and most buyers are intelligent enough to work out what’s happening. After all, sometimes however hard you try to please a buyer you can’t succeed. It’s also a salutary reminder of how Feedback 2.0 might play out when it comes.

You simply cannot legislate for the hasty neg-leaver. No matter how you break down the scores, some buyers will never be satisfied and will always want to make their complaints heard. In this case, I would have been marked down on communications and postage time. One is under my control and one’s not. It’s up to buyers to decide what’s reasonable or not and there will always be people who will think delivery is too slow, however swift it is, right up until they invent the instantaneous teleport.

The only comfort we have is most people really are intelligent, forgiving and praising and we’ll have to hope that they learn how to use Feedback 2.0 sensibly too.

3 Responses

  1. Congratulations, Dan! If it makes you feel better, in the last Town Hall, Bill Cobb put an argument against retiring old feedback – because it would mean that Griff would lose his neg. 😀

  2. “The only comfort we have is most people really are intelligent, forgiving and praising…”

    Please don’t ever sell consumer electronics. It’s horrible to see innocence shattered ;-D

  3. Commiserations, Dan, The first is the worst without a doubt. I raged for weeks over my first which was retaliatory. A non-payer to whom I had sent the goods as well. So I have changed my approach and in the last 12 months or so I have negotiated with the people who gave hasty undeserved negative feedback.
    As long as you allow them to keep their pride you can probably save the day and get the feedback withdrawn by eBay. On one occasion I confess to retaliating with negative feedback and then offering to remove it in return for theirs.
    BUT it is worthwhile trying to get it removed – all of mine have done that since I started trying.
    On the other hand there have been occasions when I initially I probably deserved negative feedback but eBayers were forgiving and left good feedback so, in my case, the system balances itself out.
    Should add that the new system especially on delivery time is unfair -especially as you cannot determine who has left it so cannot resolve
    PS surprised to see no comments on the lack of visibility of UK listings on US site.


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