Live Town Hall: it's all about the feedback

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“I’m going to ask a question again that I asked yesterday,” said Larry Phillips from the IMA, which really set the tone for most of today’s Town Hall: there was really very little said that we haven’t heard before, though the feel of the meeting was positive and civilised, and the eBay execs responded enthusiastically to a number of suggestions from members.

Griff commented that of the seven Live events he’s attended, this is the one in which he’s learned the most: attendees are generally very well informed about eBay and full of constructive criticism on how eBay and their own businesses can move forward together. It was suggested that eBay find a way for bricks and mortar stores to offer the facility for their in-person customers to bid on their eBay listings without falling foul of the shill-bidding rules; this received a positive response, as did a request to give Giving Works greater prominance on the site.

There were two questions relating to the wording buyers see for feedback and DSRs: Larry’s first question asked why “4” scores in DSRs are labelled “good” and “acceptable” when in reality, they’re fail. Brian Burke said that wording on the feedback overview page which states that neutral feedback doesn’t impact a seller’s feedback score should be added to, to reflect the fact that it does now affect the feedback percentage.

There is a definite plan to introduce more granularity into DSR results so that sellers can see exactly where they have been marked down. Brian Burke said that anonymous DSRs had been introduced to counter the possibility of retaliatory feedback, but now that retaliatory feedback is no longer possible, eBay will revisit the question.

A detailed question was asked about the new links policy: may sellers “promote” off-eBay stores without linking to them? Can links still be included in classified ads? And aren’t eBay’s own Yahoo ads contradictory of the new policy? Brian Burke stated that the policy had been announced prematurely, and details were still to be worked out. This is certainly true: I called by the Trust & Safety stand yesterday to ask whether linking to an eBay blog or cross-promoting your own IDs would be permitted. Three Pinks told me they didn’t know, and though the fourth told me that both were permitted, I got the distinct impression that was his personal opinion rather than actual policy.

Responding to the point about Yahoo ads, Stephanie Tilenius said that the long-term goal is that sellers would buy advertising on the site, but she admitted that the current advertising is taking sales off the site: this is a welcome change from previous statements from eBay which have bizarrely tried to claim that ads don’t cost sellers sales.

eBay do seem to be recognising that their sellers are business people and making changes accordingly: a possible future development is a facility to control administrative rights for businesses with multiple IDs. There’s also a hint that merchant credit card accounts could be integrated into eBay Checkout. And PayPal’s Monroe Labouisse stated definitively that PayPal-only will not be introduced in the US.

Ina liveblogged the event if you want more detail.

19 Responses

  1. “There is a definite plan to introduce more granularity into DSR results”

    wassat mean??

    Is granularity another Simpneologism?

  2. I’m assuming that “definite plan to introduce more granularity into DSR results” means something like:

    We’re trying to find a way to stop most people leaving straight 5s.

  3. Or in other words to remove the last vestiges of possibilty that sellers will qualify for discounted selling fees.

  4. I think we are in great danger here ,of the tail wagging the dog!

    information is only useful if it can be used,
    there is bugger all I am going to alter now ,
    I have tweaked and twitched everything I am going too,
    whats after grains, soon we will all need a microscope to conduct our ebay business

  5. I agree with northumbrian (6). There comes a point where nothing else can be altered or improved.
    Granular data won’t make it easier, just more tails to chase for the poor seller who is at risk for the uneducated/unwitting buyer.

    Ebay have placed such a massive responsibility on buyers to give accurate and honest ratings so that the sellers they buy from can stay and keep selling, and they don’t even know!

    Creating high buyer confidence is good but not at the expense of seller confidence.
    I think ebay are forgetting that sellers are people too, not machines or programs that can be “optimised”

  6. Interesting comments about granular data here :

    this refers to radio, rather than eBay listings, but the principle is the same… you will get to guess at all sorts of spurious reasons why people are doing what they are doing, but it won’t help a jot in making them do what you want them to do.

    as he says:

    “Don’t take my word for it, or Jonah’s. Listen to what this guy has to say:

    “Of what value is he who, in order to abbreviate the parts of those things which he professes to give complete knowledge, leaves out the greater part of the things of which the whole is composed? Oh, human stupidity! You don’t see that you are falling into the same error as one who strips a tree of its adornment of branches full of leaves, intermingled with fragrant flowers or fruit, in order to demonstrate the the tree is good for making planks.”

    Not my words. The words of a famed engineer, artist, sculptor, architect, athlete, scientist, anatomist, and radio industry consultant.

    The words of Leonardo da Vinci.”

    (p.s. from me, don’t really know what Leo meant, but it reads good don’t it! )

  7. Regarding granularity: the idea is that we will have more information about what *sort* of buyers have left what *sort* of DSRs, so the scores may be broken down by category, or postal service or whatever. So you would be able to see if it’s your courier prices or your RM prices that are causing a ding in your P&P DSRs.

    They’re also opening up the DSRs with an API, so that third party developers will be able to make tools to display the data in different ways. I think that should lead to some exciting developments.

  8. I agree with North to the extent that I’m not going to change anything, I already do everything I can, and its reflected in my 100% feedback on all my accounts and 4.8-5.0 DSR across the board.

    But I’m still a stats junkie and the more detail the better as far as I’m concerned. I have all the Terapeak, Omniture, Sellathon statistics, plus the access_log from images loaded off my own domain.

    While it might not change how I do business I’m still nosy enough to want know how each viewer found my item, what keywords they searched for, what order they listed the results in, what os they run, what browser they use, what other items (of mine) they looked at, and every other bit of information I can get!

    This information may or may not be commercially valuable, but I still want it just to satisfy my own curiosity.

  9. #10: Thanks Sue for the translation into English.

    Goodness only knows why couldn’t they have said it in English in the first place!

  10. LOL, FenLex – I think it’s just a word that Dinesh likes, I heard him say it a few times during the week.

    *ignores the mean children*

  11. I guess Monroe Labouisse failed to mention that Paypal only is already in the U.S…. for any seller who wants to offer items to the U.K. or Australia. But then eBay and PayPal have failed to notify anyone of that requirement. It’s only when an seller attempts to list an item without Paypal that they would learn of this new U.S. PAYPAL ONLY policy.

    His definitive statement was a little lacking in the details…. U.S. sellers who ONLY offer items to U.S. buyers will not have not have to offer Paypal if they are NOT a new seller or if they are NOT a seller in a high risk category or if they do have a merchant account, etc. If the seller or the seller’s items do not fall within that narrow window then it is PAYPAL ONLY for the U.S.

    eBay and Paypal are great at putting a really good spin on things as long as they don’t have to delve into the details. They promise the moon and deliver cheese instead.



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