Buying e-books to boost feedback is poor advice

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Buying feedback is against eBay’s policies. Many sellers bend the rules with e-books priced from as little as a penny. Even worse there are e-books which advertise how to gain feedback – i.e. buy more e-books! It’s time eBay banned all e-books, as other sites such as Tazbar have.

One of the few good side effects of Feedback 2.0 is that it instantly shows a seller who has artificially boosted their feedback with buying. Buying cheap e-books may boost your feedback score but Feedback 2.0 instantly shows this ruse for what it is. Unfortunately the guys organising Comic Relief on eBay didn’t realise that no feedback is worse than inflated feedback and boosted their score in this manner.

The first account, comicrelief-rednoseday2007, purchased several e-books to give their feedback a start. eBay have taken the unprecedented step of removing the feedback to clear the account – with such high profile auctions a feedback score of zero really isn’t a problem – obviously someone advising Comic Relief thinks feedback is more important than it actually is! Currently although the feedback score is zero you can see 14 feedback for the last month but the comments have been removed.

Comic Relief Feedback
Click to embiggen

Now although it’s highly irregular for feedback to be adjusted, removed or hidden it’s understandable in this case. It would be a shame for the charity to suffer the consequences of some numpty advisor! Sadly the errant purchases are still available in public view in the buying history.

Sadly it appears that a second Comic Relief account has been ill advised in the same manner. . rednoseday2007_fundraisingdvd has purchased feedback e-books from the same group of sellers. In this case eBay have yet to remove the feedback and the e-book purchases are still on view for the general public.

Comic Relief Feedback
Click to embiggen

There are two lessons to be learnt from this:
1) e-books should be banned entirely from eBay.
2) Feedback 2.0 instantly highlights any anomalies, all the e-books telling you how to get 100 feedback are now useless.

At the end of the day feedback doesn’t pay the bills, lack of feedback won’t stop you selling, but fiddling the system makes you look untrustworthy and will drive buyers away. If you want a high feedback score then sell some real product, or buy your packaging and office supplies on eBay and earn it legitimately!

3 Responses

  1. I disagree that ebooks should be banned altogether. While most of them on eBay *are* the same old get rich quick dross, there is at least the potential that people are self-publishing original, decent material. Banning ebooks from eBay cuts off an important sales channel for these people.

    I also strongly disagree that the charity in this case should have had their feedback “cleaned up”. No other eBay seller would have had that favour done for them – and in view of the extreme unpopularity of Fb2 amongst sellers right now, it’s a bit of a kick in the teeth.

  2. Have to say having been daft enough to buy e-books the charity would have been better to grin and bear it and admit a faux pas rather than have eBay clean up after them.

    Wonder if there’s anyway to restrict sales of the con e-books and yet allow the original material? Sadly I suspect not 🙁

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