Seth Godin is always interesting, but reading this post was a eureka moment for me: he put into words something that’s been bothering me for a while now. Go read it. I’ll still be here with my half-assed observations when you get back. But pay special attention to this paragraph:
The temptation is to … insist on eternal vigilance against the possiblity of getting ripped off. To act as if everyone online is a criminal. To assume that the moment you are generous or trusting, squadrons of bad actors will exploit your generosity.
As eBayers, we see this every day. The seller’s terms and conditions that guard against every single little thing that might ever go wrong. The buyer who acts like a crazy person because, they say, “I’ve been ripped off before”. The endless argument about who should leave feedback first. As Seth says, “I don’t think that’s the answer.”
I’ve been running an experiment. I had a little selling ID where I was leaving feedback first, just to see if that meant I got more non-positives from buyers. I know, I know – you don’t want to do that, and that’s your perogative. But I just wanted to mention an email I got from a buyer: “Thanks for leaving me feedback straight after I paid. That doesn’t normally happen. I’m going back to your shop to buy some more things now.” And he did – five times the amount he’d bought on the first go.
And I wonder if five times the happy, bringing in five times the money, isn’t worth the risk of the odd neg now and again. I wonder if saying “I trust you” to your buyers isn’t, in itself, a unique selling point. I wonder if, if we all assumed everything was going to go right, it might not do so more often.