Feedback stars will now affect your placement in search

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eBay have just made an announcement about the use of Detailed Seller Ratings (“the feedback stars”) on the eBay UK site. Here’s the gist:

The changes we’ll introduce will use Detailed Seller Ratings to make sure good sellers continue to have access to our audience of buyers, and to give less emphasis in search results to the tiny percentage of sellers who are responsible for a disproportionate number of the bad experiences that buyers have.

Back at eBay Live in June, sellers were told that DSRs would affect search results, so this is no surprise, though eBay haven’t explained how it will work: for example how DSR-based search results will interact with other search-sorting criteria, and whether search results will be entirely ranked by DSR ratings, or whether, say, the bottom 10% of sellers will just be buried: the wording of the announcement – “the tiny percentage of sellers…” – suggests that it might be the latter.

eBay justify their actions by saying that buyers want reliable sellers, and eBay want to link sellers with confident buyers, ergo featuring higher-ranked sellers further up search results should be a good thing.

Whether sellers will feel so happy at having buyers’ ratings directly affecting their sales potential is quite another question. When the majority of sellers have the majority of their stars at 4.8 , it seems that there is far too little differentiation between sellers for search-sorting on these criteria to be meaningful. Furthermore, the sorting should be under the buyers’ control: there are times when speedy dispatch is crucial, and times when it isn’t, just as there are items where you want cheapest postage possible, and other times when you’ll be more concerned about quality and care. We await the promised further announcements with interest.

9 Responses

  1. I ‘m not 100% sure how this will really work to an advantage as surely a bad rated seller, will just open a new id and hey presto better placement.

    Whenever I search on ebay I always search by ending soonest, so even the bad rated sellers will show up, or have I missed something?

  2. It’s pretty hard to say at the moment, Simon – I feel like right now I could spend all day speculating just how they might implement this, and some implementations would be superb, and some would be less so… I guess for the moment it’s wait and see.

  3. Level Playing Field….

    My arse.

    Is it even legal to charge Seller A and Seller B the same amount to list, and then deliberately disadvantage one of them on a spurious set of data?

    Another braindead idea by one of the suits who has no idea of selling for a living.

  4. Totally agree with Mark. Everybody pays the same, that’s the level playing field that allows tiny and huge sellers to sit happily together.

    The potential for a screw up is huge, how’s it all worked out? what happens when it all goes wrong, as it will.

    By doing things this way eBay think they’re going to get rid of the bad sellers, bullshit. To do that they need to manually look at sellers, act on reports and activly clean up the site, not rely on this automated crock of crap

    The sooner I pull out a lot of my stuff from this crock of crap called eBay the better. Just getting very fed up of the umpteen constant changes eBay throws up on an almost weekly basis, how the hell are we supposed to run a business? Oh I forgot eBay don’t want Business sellers, no one from eBay wants to dispute that either. Until they do I’ll assume I’m right.

  5. “he sorting should be under the buyers’ control”


    As I said ‘over there’:

    a) If the ‘unreliable’ sellers in question are really that bad, why let them sell on eBay at all?

    b) Isn’t the whole point of having visible DSR’s that buyers can make their own choices?

    c) If I were paying the same in listing fees as everyone else yet they were being given better exposure than me, I would not be happy.

    d) Surely this will this favour high volume sellers given that the fewer DSR’s someone receives, the higher the impact each rating will have on their overall score? So the ‘level playing-field’ element to eBay trading is out of the window, then?

    “[W]e will continue to educate buyers on how to leave worthwhile and accurate ratings for sellers” sounds a little Big Brother to me, too…

  6. Many of the high volume sellers will be at a disadvantage actually because their ratings for Communication, transit time, and Dispatch cost are more often than not lower than the smaller sellers.

  7. Hi Randy, I’d like to expand upon your last statement if I may?

    Many of the high volume sellers will be at a disadvantage actually because by the time they found out that their ratings for Communication, transit time, and Dispatch cost are more often than not lower than the smaller sellers it was too late to put processes in place to change and improve them. Also they have no way of tracking if one particular product line or category that they sell in is hitting their DSRs harder than others.

    In addition if you have a low DSR it will take hundreds (if not thousands or tens of thousands) of future ratings to raise that DSR up a few percentage points.

    Basically in my opinion DSRs are a disaster for sellers as there is no way to reactively address issues and improve them.

    If you’ve got low DSRs pretty much you’re screwed and have no way out. High volume sellers are just more likely to get hit as it’s easier to stop a go cart and steer it onto a new course than to turn around a juggernaut 🙁

  8. I wonder what would happen on an account that has no star ratings? I have an ID on which I occasionally list an odd item, which has no star ratings as yet.

    I know it’s all speculation at the moment, I wish eBay would release some details.


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