Is 0.01 worth stressing over?

No primary category set

ChannelAdvisor are fueling the Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs) debate with the launch of a new site allowing you to monitor any sellers ratings. Upon entering an eBay User Id DSR Watch instantly retrieves the four DSR ratings from eBay to two decimal places.

If you’re going to use DSR watch bear in mind that the rating tiers it uses are US based. The averages for UK sellers are slightly lower.

It’s a cute tool, but I have to wonder just how many sellers will now be agonising over a 0.01 change in their ratings rather than a 0.1 change. I can almost hear the groans “I’ve gone down 0.01 on my Dispatch Time star, don’t buyers realise the Christmas post has slowed deliveries and it’s out of my control?”.

All sellers know (or should know) that DSRs are likely to become increasingly important in the future. We already know that as of next Monday sellers with the lowest 0.5% rated sellers for postage charges will be disadvantaged in search results.

I would be more interested in a tool which could compare my DSR ratings against the average in the categories I trade in, rather than against eBay as a whole. It’s unrealistic to compare the DSR ratings of a DVD seller or clothing seller to those of a car trader or seller of fine ceramics. Sellers should be comparing themselves to their immediate competitors if they want to assess how their customers are rating them.

The real question sellers should be asking themselves is “What can I do to improve my customer service”, not have they gone up or down 0.01 DSR star. No matter how good your service is there is always something that could be done better. I’ve long taken the attitude that, if I give the best customer service I can achieve, my feedback would take care of itself. Look after your customers and your DSRs will look after you.

29 Responses

  1. just ran thru all my ids, and its quite interesting to note that
    nearly all of them are middle 50% for every category the difference between being in the top 10% and the bottom 10% either side of the middle 50s a decimal or two,
    so I am not going to give them another thought
    money in the bank is my criteria to judge my business

  2. I’ve got to say, while there is a “middle 50%”, I find the entire thing meaningless. “Everyone’s average” isn’t exactly the most thrilling message eBay/CA/whoever could be preaching.

    I was just about to write “the only numbers I’m interested in are in my bank account”, but I see Norf got there first 😀

    But I *would* like to know where CA are getting the data from. eBay only displays the average to 0.1, so that suggests that CA have access to info behind the normal screens, does it not?

  3. Interesting – definitely seems to have access to further info.

    I also noticed that the total number of ratings for me is vastly higher than the number shown in my FB profile, which appears to confirm my suspicion that multiple purchase ratings are only counted once in the FB profile. Whether this is once per set of purchases or once ever isn’t clear though.

  4. the rewards and possible penalties of these stars are so unobtainable or remote I cant see their point, other than buyers being able to vent a grudge on the sly

  5. Chris – thanks for mentioning DSRWatch. The big-picture idea is to give sellers a simple to use tool for looking up and monitoring their DSRs. One interesting aspect is that we are able to track it to the hundredths. For 95% of sellers that is overkill. For the 5% of sellers that are in the “Bottom 10%”, those hundredths really matter, especially if you have been ‘disadvantaged’.

    On the competitive side, DSRWatch allows you to monitor any seller. We leave it up to you to research, define and DSRWatch who your competitors are.

    northumbrian – that’s great. Our guess is that eBay will neither advantage you or disadvantage you with a median DSR. HOWEVER, you may have competitors in the top 25% or even 10% that will be advantaged. Thus (here’s where it hits your bank account) in the future your competitors with higher DSRs will get more traffic (for the same price). While this is speculation, it’s possible this could become a ‘self fulfilling prophecy’, which is to say that if your competitors already have high DSRs and get more traffic, they will have a higher chance to keep their DSRs. If you have median/low DSRs, you will be starved of traffic/sales and thus your ability to improve your DSRs will go down and you’ll essentially be ‘starved’ out of the market.

    Sue – It’s important to note that everyseller is not average. For example, look at the user ‘bargainland’. This is a seller that eBay has severely disadvantaged (PC talk for NARU).

  6. DSR’s have been nothing but trouble and heartache from day one. I’m getting very fed up (for want of a better word) of how eBay are using these more and more to beat sellers over the head with a big stick and in turn sellers stressing thelmselves out about the blasted things. I’ve no doubt these will be used even more in the coming year as well.

    There’s only so far you can push sellers and keep taking the mickey before they think enough is enough.

    As each new change is introduced the well worn phrase “Fiddling while Rome burns” keeps coming to mind. I seriously think eBay are getting more clueless and lost about what really matters with each change and daft idea they come up with.

  7. I am middling, which I am actually relatively happy about, I do think that a 50% bandwidth in the middle is far too large, and it should be further broken down.
    The only trouble I can see- as has been mentioned above is exactly what is happening with reviews and Guides, you work your socks off, build up a great reputation and then someone comes along and deliberately sabotages you, which happens all the time.
    Shame really, as a tool – maybe handy for the buyers, to avoid the seriously dodgy sellers, but how many buyers are going to find out about this? Unless eBay publicise it on their pages…..
    Suz x

  8. scott
    its all overkill you make your living on data and statistics i make my living by selling,
    it dont matter one hoot what my stars are if your product is cheap enough or good enough, it will sell
    plus ebays a great market place though I wont starve it fell of the edge of the world,

    it a does not matter what my stars are now or what my competition have

    because I can do bugger all about it, I do my best now I cant improve those stars other than giving my goods away sending it for nothing with cash back

  9. sorry about the previous syntax these touch pads are the pits,

    when your parked on a dark edinburgh street,
    and yer eyes are worn out with gawking at ebay all day,

    to make myself clear

    there is sod all more I can do about my stars, short of turning into a charity

  10. The only problem I have with how this while things work is that feedback hostage sellers are preventing themselves from getting bad dsrs. If the buyer can’t being themself to leave a positive they don’t leave anything to avoid the retaliation…and if they would have left a neg/neutral there would have for sure been low dsr rating with it. Hopefully that will be fixed soon and we’ll have a more fair comparison between sellers.

    I suppose the ones who have left negs when they detected a tenth fall in their stars will go nuts having the extra decimal now…

  11. if its cheap it sells
    so who knows !those at the bottom of the pile may just sell more
    in a reverse logic sort of way,
    I can only really see this affecting those that sell things there are trillions of, all at the same price

  12. “Top 10% – WOW! The top 10% sellers are a rare bunch and you should enjoy the fruits of your labor. Look for lots of perks as a top performing seller.
    Top 10-25% – Congratulations! You are in one of the top tiers and most likely will enjoy several advantages to the competition. ”

    ERM am I missing Something
    I have an id in this 10% and so far its got less than nowt
    its not even a powerseller

  13. Nort – Check this out:

    You could have the lowest price, but if your DSRs are in the low-tier, your items won’t show on eBay. That’s where data meets sales.

    As for if you can live without eBay, that’s your business, we’re assuming that people that want to sell on eBay will care about their DSRs, if you don’t then that’s fine too.

    Toby – I agree there are elements of DSR that are troublesome. The reality is that a) eBay loves them and b) they are here to stay and in fact are going to go from ‘moderately interesting’ to ‘determine if I am successful on eBay or not’. Thus unless you are like Nort where you can turn off eBay if it gets too painful, then its something to keep a very close eye on.

  14. if your DSRs are in the low-tier, your items won’t show on eBay
    Sorry, Scot, that’s not quite correct. Only the bottom 0.5% of sellers will be disadvantaged in search placement – it’s not something that the vast majority are even going to have to think about. You don’t need to ‘keep an eye’ on the DSRs particularly, because if your Postage and Packing charges are so bad that your score is 3.9, you already know you’ve got a problem: in fact, it’s probably something you’ve manufactured yourself by fee avoidance like charging £30 postage for a 99p item.

  15. scott your DSR thing is great fun and an interesting amusement
    but DSRs will never affect sellers like me to any great degree
    and that means 80% of ebay

  16. Sue’s right it’s only the sellers who are taking the mickey in a big way that will be affected. Currently from what I hear a couple of dozen UK PowerSellers at most will be affected by the 3.9 P&P DSR visibility limitaion.

    Out of the thousands of PowerSellers out there (anyone know how many there are in the UK? About 70,000 people make their living on eBay so there must be a fair few….) a couple of dozen is so insignificant most people can totally ignore the limitation and are nowhere near the levels that it’ll ever affect them even if eBay jack it up slightly in the future.

  17. Toby, they’re not doing *anything* at the moment to the advantage of the top 10% or 25%. The ONLY people being deliberately moved in search results are the bottom ~0.5%.

  18. For montioring the competition and who is doing well with things it has it’s uses, and I have made some interesting discoveries today, and will amend my strategy accordingly (however, I am not posting them in an open forum!!!)

    What would be helpful if is Channelworks developed this so you could type 4 or 5 users in and then a handy little comparison table pops up populated….

    Maybe one to suggest?
    Kindest wishes
    Suz x

  19. quote: “Out of the thousands of PowerSellers out there …. a couple of dozen is so insignificant most people can totally ignore the limitation and are nowhere near the levels that it’ll ever affect them even if eBay jack it up slightly in the future.”

    When you consider that with 4.88 on both the top DSR cats we are STILL only in the top 50%, not the top 25% even, that means that there are a lot of people with high marks. I do wish someone would make a bigger hooha about the fact that most eBay sellers are good, reliable, honest people….:(

  20. I do wish someone would make a bigger hooha about the fact that most eBay sellers are good, reliable, honest people….

    Too right, in general most eBayers do a fantastic job, which is why the spread of DSR’s is just 0.6 out of five stars from the top 10% to the bottom 10%

  21. laughs! knew it was channel something – long day
    And agree that good sellers need more publicity – has been too much poor PR recently
    Suz x

  22. Shame, seems the DSR’s have been chopped to 1 dp not 2
    Was considerably more helpful with 2 dp – as the new format tells me nothing different than hoovering over the stars in eBay itself – so the new site is defunct
    Suz x

  23. Oh. Well that was fun while it lasted. eBay do have a bit of a habit of closing down API calls that reveal more info than is on the site – remember whoever it was who made private feedback visible? – so I guess it’s not a huge surprise. Seems daft to put the info. out and not let people use it though.

  24. Here’s where hundredths make a difference in the US, during the PowerSeller Challenge.

    Here are eBay’s terms for getting the production bonus:

    1) A credit equal to 1% of the difference between your individual sales target and your actual eligible sales during the 6-week PowerSeller Challenge.

    2) If your Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) scores are equal to or greater than 4.5 in all four DSR scores, and the average of all four DSR scores is equal to or greater than 4.8, then you will receive a credit equal to 1.5% (instead of the 1% credit) of the difference between your individual target and your actual eligible sales for this period.

    So in my case I have 4.9, 4.8. 4.7, and 4.7 which comes out to 4.775. That qualifies me for a 1% bonus

    But is my real numbers are 4.93, 4.83, 4.73 and 4.73, then I actually have 4.805. That would qualify me for a 1.5% bonus.

    Always follow the money trail on the lack of information.


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