eBay have announced that Feedback 2 will launch on eBay.com next week. The system, which allows buyers to rate sellers anonymously on accuracy of description, communication, speed of dispatch and reasonableness of shipping charges, was introduced in the UK and seven other countries in March: it will now roll on .com and all other eBay sites globally.
I have to admit that while I originally thought FB2 was a disaster for eBay, I now largely fail to care about it one way or the other. It’s typically buggy in its implementation: my own total number of star ratings received varies by about 150 either way from hour to hour, and I’m not the only seller to report this. Moreover, as a buyer myself, I’ve largely found that I really can’t be bothered to click on all those stars on the majority of my transactions, an attitude I know my buyers also share.
The belief was once expressed by some in eBay’s management that FB2 would allow buyers to distinguish between sellers, but this seems to be largely fluff. I’ve rarely seen a seller who scores lower than 4.5 on any criterion, and because scores are averaged by the half-star, it takes very little to up your score if it does fall lower than you’d like.
Where FB2 *might* have succeeded is in allowing disgruntled buyers who daren’t leave a neg for fear of retaliation, a platform for expressing their unhappiness. I’d argue that an anonymous, non-specific comment is fairly pointless, but if it cheers buyers up and keeps them on the site, I don’t think it hurts anyone.