Feedback changes coming soon

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We know that eBay in the UK, US and Germany will be announcing changes in fees next week, but it seems changes to feedback are also coming. Richard Ambrose, eBay UK’s head of trust and safety, just posted this cryptic comment on the Q&A forum:

We’ll be making some significant announcements about feedback next week.

I’m hoping that one of the eventual outcomes of them might even be an end to feedback threads.

Coupled with the cancellation of Community Court, the “feedback jury” to which members could appeal to have unfair negatives removed, this seems to open up a number of possibilities for feedback:

  • Blind feedback: Both parties have a limited time in which to leave feedback. Neither party’s shows until both have left it, but if you wait too long, you lose the right to leave anything. Brian Burke said at eBay Live last summer that this was something that was being considered.
  • Automatic positives for buyers on payment: eBay surveyed members about this last year. I suspect it would be linked to PayPal payments, so would they lose their auto-pozzie if they then did a chargeback? Who knows. I think sellers would hate this one possibly even more than blind feedback, but I doubt that “sellers will complain” would put eBay off!
  • Abolishing buyer feedback: I’ve seen a fair amount of speculation that eBay will move to an Amazon-style system where feedback is only for sellers. I don’t think this will happen in practice – buyers *like* feedback – but in theory, it’s already here. Buyers’ feedback rarely matters: the only time I ever look at my buyers’ is if they haven’t paid, I just don’t have time or opportunity to vet everyone who BINs a bead or three from me. Sellers’ feedback, as we all know, is being made to matter more and more.

As if this weren’t enough, there are hints that a new feedback system for PayPal might be coming. Scot Wingo links to an interview with Meg and JD, in which Meg says:

We wonder if there is a way to embed reputation into Paypal. Is there a way to travel across the Web with your Paypal wallet and some other aspect of reputation?

UK PayPal wannabee payment service Nochex already has a feedback system, used by almost none of my buyers: what do other Nochex users find? I must admit though, I find the idea of a “reputation system” on PayPal intriguing: something more extensive than the current ‘how many transactions have you done’ numbers could be useful for small merchants trying to build a reputation online.

No doubt we’ll see. Next week and the coming months should be very interesting times indeed.

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