Marks out of 10 for feedback

eBay are testing more changes to feedback with new feedback flows to be presented to selected sellers customers over the next four to six weeks in the US. eBay Ink has some screen shots as well as an interview with Brian Burke, eBay Director of Seller Standards & Feedback.

Options could include scrapping the almost universally hated Detailed Seller Ratings (no surprise there – regularly getting 4 stars out of 5 for free shipping pretty much shows they’re not working that well). Coming in with a marks out of 10 score is the simple question “How likely is it you would recommend this seller?”

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Brian Burke, said today “When we have information about an aspect of the transaction, such as delivery confirmation within the time specified by the seller, we don’t need the buyer to rate the seller“.

That, to be honest, is possibly the most important feedback question that could be asked. Forget the fact buyers may have overpaid for postage, returned the item for refund or even had an item go missing or damaged in transit. It’s all about how the seller handles their customers and did they leave the customer happy enough to recommend them to others.

Having said that just how many more changes to feedback will there be? DSRs have come and they may well go, for selected sellers if not for all. DSRs are a pain for buyers to complete, especially for multiple purchases and some sellers still feel victimised that they can’t leave negative or neutral feedback for buyers if they feel it appropriate.

The good news is that regardless of the test results there are no feedback changes planned for this year. Tests normally result in changes though, so what sort of feedback changes would you like to see? Do you want to be ranked out of 10, have you grown to like DSRs, or is there another feedback option that you’d prefer?

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Does anyone actually need feedback at all? does a bad rating mean you will be a bad seller or buyer in your next deal? Is there any point at all to buyer feedback other than a number and a little star? no, no and no. scrap feedback altogether and make Mr Burke do something useful instead.

board_surfer • 20th May 2009 •

I have actually got to the point now where I like the existing system. It took me a while to improve my customer service to what is considered an acceptable level by eBay, but I have been performing consistently above 4.7 & 4.8 recently in all categories. Obviously the system isn't perfect but it's been most effective in weeding out the crap sellers. I am used to it now and would be nervous about a major change to the system. The only reason why sellers should even be bothered about DSRs is if they're not performing above the level to get their discounts, and if that's the case they need to rethink their strategy and/or customer service.

James Wakefield • 20th May 2009 •

Hey James I'm pretty used to it now as well... but you should dig back on TameBay and read some of the stuff Sue and I wrote about DSRs before they were implemented ;-) To be honest I'm more fed up with constant tinkering than with feedback per se. I never bothered much about it when it was pos/neg/neut and the only times I tend to look at DSRs is when experimenting with delivery services/free post etc. Other than that I'm still much of the opinion that if a seller looks after their customers that their feedback will look after itself and can be ignored on a day to day basis (especially as I still need about 13k more until my star changes colour again ;-) )

Chris Dawson • 20th May 2009 •

IMO the comments have to go. It's these that cause most of the problems. I have received over 17000 positive FB and when 1 item gets "lost in the post" I get called a scammer! even though we send out replacements etc. One massive flaw with every kind of FB system is that it assumes the buyer is subjective. I would rather my buyer phone or email me if they have a problem however whilst they can simply leave a faceless comment down that will mostly never happen. When I buy from Play or Amazon (Direct) or HMV etc I can't leave FB and don't want to. I really don't see why eBay should be any different. The comments have to go.

Pete • 21st May 2009 •

I remember speaking to Doug McCallum at an eBay do a few years back & he said that eBay were keen to create more differentiation between sellers (using feedback). I imagine this is what eBay were hoping for with DSR's & other changes, if anything the reverse has happened.

Jimbo • 21st May 2009 •

Reading between the lines they probably want to abandon Detailed Seller Ratings as an excuse to drop the seller discount.

DEL • 21st May 2009 •

Wasn't this chap the guy who invented the DSR system, the system so totally flawed that it has been causing good sellers grief since it was launched, now the same chap who gave us 4 is Good but (really its total crap) etc is now going to come up with something else..... I can hardly bleedin' wait.

whirly • 21st May 2009 •

I'd imagine it would be something like: 10: Very Good 9: Poor 8: poorer 7: even poorer 6: worse than 7 5: bad 4 badder 3: even worse 2: even worse+1 1: naff

pete • 21st May 2009 •

This is worse. If I have 10 possibilities I choose something nearby the middle. Stefan

Stefan • 21st May 2009 •

I like the question "Would you buy from this seller again" But I would like the simple "Yes/No" answer choice even better. I guess that wouldn't be granular enough for eBay statisticians to differentiate between good and bad sellers though :shock:

Chris Dawson • 21st May 2009 •

The shipping DSRs (both time and cost) are the two pain points for most sellers. They are also the two areas where sellers have the least amount of control. We don't set the postage rates, we don't control how fast they deliver. And those two DSRs also hurt Cross Border trade, as fewer and fewer sellers are willing to put up with lower international DSRs when items are delayed by customs or customers are angry over the ever-increasing cost of international postage. I don't think we need eBay micromanaging our businesses, but since they feel the need to do so, they should focus on the customer satisfaction question. The other points I saw--such as asking if an item was delivered on X date--seem even more ridiculous than our current system. The US Postal Service does not guarantee date-specific delivery and eBay has yet to correct their overly optimistic delivery guidelines.

Amber • 21st May 2009 •

Sorry to repeat myself on this issue: sellers who complain that DSRs are hurt by international trade are, frankly, just not doing it right. My "to the UK" ID has higher "dispatch time" DSRs than my domestic delivery one - because I make damn sure that UK buyers aren't expecting things delivered overnight from France.

Sue Bailey • 22nd May 2009 •

Also, it should be noted, that in all of the versions, the entire feedback is anonymous--not just the DSR aspect.

Amber • 21st May 2009 •

This is basic NPS (Net Promoter Scoring) that a lot of companies are using at the moment. On a scale of 1-10 anyone scoring 1-6 are classed as detractors, or people who would not recommend or go as far as actively deterring others, 7-8 are passively satisfied, with 9-10 being active promoters. The percentage of detractors is deducted from the percentage of promoters to give the NPS value. Simple, but quite effective.

Steve • 22nd May 2009 •

#11 I'm with Chris, I think a simple yes/no would be better

Pete • 22nd May 2009 •

I never leave feedback on Amazon, As a buyer on eBay I still do but it is totally perfunctory & it is almost done like a bit of tidying up. When I shop I just want to shop (no surveys thank you).

Jimbo • 22nd May 2009 •

As #2 I've grown to quite like the DSRs, they seem to have settled down into something quite usable from my point of view. As a buyer I find them more useful than normal feedback. The "Item description" and "Communication" DSRs are IMHO the most important for buyers and I personally won't buy if they are less than ~4.6. Generally I expect those DSRs to be 4.8+ (judging by my own standards :cool: ). I only use the "dispatch" DSRs if it is something I want particularly fast and I'm not at all bothered with "P&P" DSR. That said a seller who has any DSRs below 4.0 is also one I avoid as it shows a lack of care. As a seller I like the new DSR report functions as it has helped me isolate any problems. It has reassured me that most of the dips in my DSRs are beyond my control. For example when a customer recently complained about an item, and left me 2 stars for item description, I was able to verify that the other 11 customers had all left me 5 stars. This gave me confidence that my listing was accurate and that her expectations were unrealistic. So, even though it matters squat what any of us think, I'd quite like to keep it like it is....

Louise • 22nd May 2009 •

While the call for a simple yes/no to "would you buy from this seller again?" sounds reasonable, again it is way too open to misunderstanding. A no may mean "no becuase goods or service were crap" or it could just mean "no, I don't need another widget so won't buy from them again". A would you RECOMMEND this seller to others is a much simpler question. I think ebay should scrap the p&p star for those FORCED to provide free (ahem, inclusive) p&p as it's not relevant and causes confusion. AND Scrap the dispatch star as ebay already know by seller marking as shipped whether the seller has dispatched within thier stated dispatch times.

Bunchy • 22nd May 2009 •

Not sure if I agree with #18's last point - a seller marking as despatched does not necessarily correlate to when it was despatched - and this works both ways. I can think of a number of times where I've had a batch of 20+ auction format items items going out, where I've not updated the despatched status for a couple of days or longer....

mutley • 22nd May 2009 •

My opinion is that good sellers should not be worried about DSR's. I personally have only made one change since DSRs came in - that was to lower my postage rates. I did this by looking at and negotiating with couriers and Royal Mail, so that any savings could be passed onto customers. I am now happy with services from Royal Mail (Tracked) and Interlink. Both of these companies allowed me to lower postage charges by on average 20%. So without DSR's I would never have known customers were not happy with the levels I was charging (even though I was below average for my category and never profited from postage)...since lowering charges, my DSR's have gone from 4.6 to 4.8 on a 30 day average. The people who should be worried are sellers who do not meet their customers' demands. We should all be driven by the needs of our customers!

John Pemberton • 22nd May 2009 •

Regarding international trade. I again negotiated with Interlink to enable me to ship UK to Zone 1 Europe within 2 working days, at a price which was as cheap as some of their domestic sellers were charging. International DSR's for me are on average 4.8 / 4.9 for most ratings.

John Pemberton • 22nd May 2009 •

John Who did you contact at Royal Mail to negotiate a reduction in postage rates? Thanks

Hereford United Fan • 22nd May 2009 •

Hi "Hereford United Fan", I spoke to a Royal Mail business manager, if you don't have one and are able to make it on the 5th June, there will be a senior Royal Mail Director who can help you at the seminar. RM are specifically talking about Royal Mail tracked services that I am now using, and saw the cost reduction on. Hope this helps. John.

John Pemberton • 22nd May 2009 •

My 30 day DSRs are 4.95, 4.92, 4.92, 4.87. What that does not tell me - or anyone else - is how many of our customers have (despite clear info on the view item page and dispatch emails from both ourselves and the couriers) not been in to take delivery, and then marked us down because (they claim) they have not been carded and before they have done anything about it the item is coming back to us. I know our website customers are happy - not only do many of them take time to email and tell us so, they come back and buy again. What they do not do is waste my time with stupid questions, fraudulent claims, and ridiculous offers. Ebay is already too time consuming - and therefore even less profitable - without asking sellers to deal with even more "interaction" and the increased hassle it will bring. DSR's are a waste of time. They give ebay the opportunity increase fees with the left hand before discounting them for some of us with the right hand, and they give (some) buyers a handy tool with which they think they can blackmail genuine sellers. Unfortunately however ebay will never do away with feedback because if they did they would have to work harder themselves to root out deadbeat sellers and scammers.

Ian I • 22nd May 2009 •

#23 John Just signed up. See you there. Thanks

Hereford United Fan • 22nd May 2009 •

our DSRs are all 4.9 except postage cost which is 4.7. we find that sending items with parcelforce (one flat charge) gets worse feedback than sending with Royal Mail (a few different charges, based on weight. having said that, most people imagine it's a lot cheaper to send something than it actually is. Also, we send items the next working day after payment, make this clear at every stage, and send everything with parcelforce 48hr. With Royal mail, we say we're sending 2nd class, but actually send everything 1st class, meaning it arrives quicker than they expect, pleasantly surprising them. :) Our feedback is dominated with things like 'fast delivery' 'super quick postage' 'really quick delivery!', which we believe is a reassurance to potential customers (that and our 100% rating! :) ) I see nothing really wrong with the DSRs as they are at the moment, however they could re-name the tags for each of the stars to Awful, Bad, Poor, Average, Good. I just wish they'd stop changing things and stop micro-managing.

eqixx • 22nd May 2009 •

I sell occassionally but buy regularly. I preferred it when a seller could leave negs as my feedback as a buyer meant something. I received 2 negs as a buyer both were retallitory but didn't do me any harm. One was for a pair of jeans with huge frays in the hems that were described as excellent condition (sorry fray = damage which to me is not excellent condition when not designed that way) seller would not give partial refund for me to keep or agree to any postage for me to return. The other seller took 17 days to post & only after I escalated dispute by the time itt arrived 22 days after auction end it was too late for purpose. Neither seller said I didn't pay so really nacked me up with their comments. I once got a neg on my main ID from a NPB. He ended up NARU'd so it got removed but he did trash my DSR's. I don't like the current system so much because the DSR's are annonymous I would have no idea of how to improve as I don't know why the person was disatisfied. My DSR's stand at 4.7 for P&P but 4.9 for evrything else yet I know someone marked me down to a 1-2 in the last 15 sales for unreasonable P&P don't know who as everyone else must have been happy ish so how can I improve it as it could have just been a whinger. I have only sold 50 items n last 12 months so this 1 person can have a large effect.

Kerry • 23rd May 2009 •

The problem with the current system is just how much damage someone leaving all 1's can do or some nut leaving all 3's for an N/A. Get a couple of loons in a row and you could end up suspended -- 30 days is too small a window for even a moderate seller. The other problem is if everyone is expected to leave a 5, what does someone leave for the truly exceptional? I mean you specifically sent the item out on the same day the person bid to get it to them by their kids birthday and giftwrapped the thing. As it stands now you get the same 5 as a normal item except that if the post office messes up you get the splat. What they should have had from the beginning was a SIX rating in a shaded form for above and beyond. One would only be allowed to leave a limited number of 6's and they would be only for special things. Having a 6 there as a special option might also stop the "nobody is perfect" 4 feedback when they should be leaving a 5.

Richard • 23rd May 2009 •

The problem is that a stupid buyer can ruin your business. One buyer just left me a neutral for not sending clip on earrings. The listing clearly says please let me know if you want clips. They never contacted me either when they bough them or before leaving feedback so this was the first I knew that there was a problem. This could really damage me with ebay. I not a bad seller, if the buyer contacted me I will happily change to clip on earrings.

Kate George • 23rd May 2009 •

And another thing, it's still necessary to have a buying and a selling ID even though sellers can't leave bad feedback for buyers. I bought a CD, the seller didn't communicate well, told me he had posted it when he hadn't, charged £2 for postage then sent second class when the listing said first and the condition wasn't really as good as stated either. I emailed asking for a response on all these issues and got no reply so I left a neutral. (He was lucky as many people would leave a neg). The feedback I got as a buyer was "Very hard buyer to please" and the reply to the (factual) feedback I left was "go away and annoy someone else". Obviously this seller is an idiot but I wouldn't like comments like that showing up on my selling ID.

Kate George • 23rd May 2009 •

"sellers who complain that DSRs are hurt by international trade are, frankly, just not doing it right. " Sue, I've been selling internationally for 6 years now. I am quite sure I know how to mail internationally--and communicate with my buyers--correctly. Mailing from France to the UK is not in any way the same as mailing from the US to the UK or the US to Australia. (I am a US seller). Distance alone would account for longer delivery times that you are probably experiencing. The USPS drastically changed international postage options in 2007--coinciding almost exactly with the introduction of the DSRs. Surface mail was eliminated. Those who shipped via surface methods saw their shipping prices quadruple. We went from having relatively inexpensive international rates to having nearly the same rates as other countries. As for dispatch time, my DSRs have absolutely taken hits from international buyers despite messaging them in every possible way that overseas delivery can take weeks. Please don't use the false logic that because YOU don't see any issues with CBT, those that do are somehow doing something wrong.

Amber • 23rd May 2009 •

> Sue Bailey on May 22nd, 2009 9:12 am > sellers who complain that DSRs are hurt by international trade are, > frankly, just not doing it right. Now I'm curious too. What is "doing it right"? Out in the middle of the Pacific, where there's a 2500 mile gap between land masses, our DRSs are Shipping Time (4.87), Shipping and handling charges (4.85). Those are the cumulative ratings from U.S. buyers, with no International ones. Shipping from Hawaii is at the high end of the post office shipping rates, versus the low end for most sellers in the middle 48 States. And we get marked down accordingly. Still these are good numbers. When we did ship Internationally, buyers tended to rate the two shipping DRSs at "4". This due to longer delivery time, and more expensive than say shipping from France to Great Britain. Of course the numbers given above were much much lower. While in real life a 4 out of 5 rating is good, on eBay it's a disaster for a seller. It was much more prudent to stop International shipping ON eBay and ship Internationally OFF eBay, than risk a 4.5 DSR and be completely banned from selling on eBay. That choice of course due to Brian Burke's actions, and NOT our International customers. Incidentally our last International "buyer" skirted past the International blocks and didn't bother to pay. They left a Neutral and DSRs of 3 3 3 1 (unlike eBay we can do simple math), resulting in a warning from eBay and reduced search standing. Miracle of miracles we managed to get the feedback and DSR removed. The warning disappeared and the 30 day average shot back up to 5's across the board. So what exactly is "doing it right" for this 1 in a 1000 International buyer? In the matter of one Brian Burke: "No sooner does man discover intelligence than he tries to involve it in his own stupidity. " Jacques Yves Cousteau

EventHorizon1984 • 25th May 2009 •

As a buyer, I hate DSR's. An extra step and I will loose the will to leave feedback forever.

Liz • 25th May 2009 •

@EventHorizon1984 EventHorizon1984While in real life a 4 out of 5 rating is good, on eBay it’s a disaster for a seller. In reality being a long way below average is what's a disaster for a seller. In the UK the average DSRs for the last 30 days are 4.76, 4.73, 4.69 & 4.66. In the US the averages are slightly higher at 4.80, 4.77, 4.73, 4.74. All a seller needs to do is set buyers expectations for service and then meet or exceed those expectations and the DSRs will most likely look after themselves.

Chris Dawson • 25th May 2009 •

it is interesting to read the comments at ebay INK, but I am sure they do not care ...

Stefan • 26th May 2009 •

in every other company they would say: "Mr. Burke you failed, you are done, good bye".

Stefan • 26th May 2009 •

"In reality being a long way below average is what’s a disaster for a seller." And this is something I take issue with. Comparing eBay sellers based only on DSRs does them a grave disservice. For example, the DSRs for a US only seller are not the same as the DSRs for those who also ship internationally. A person who sells in a category with notoriously picky buyers (Video Games) isn't the same as one who sells books. We've had several instances where a seller with two ids--one for each type of merchandise--has wildly variant DSRs. Despite having the same business practices. The differences were because of the different buying demographics. A video game seller with a 4.6 in item as described is not the same as an antique seller with a 4.6. One is primarily a young demographic. The other is a more mature demographic. They do not rate sellers the same way. Prior to the shipping caps, I sold directly on and The AU ratings were always higher than the UK ratings--despite having the UK listings having lower postage costs and faster transit times. The messaging was exactly the same. So even destination on CBT played a factor. I have no confidence that Brian and the rest of the feedback flunkies will get this one right, either. Unless they stop the ridiculous use of 'averages' to compare one seller to another.

Amber • 26th May 2009 •

Hi Amber, It's a good point you make - I've long thought there's room for category based DSR levels for things like discounts. Sellers supplying items such as furniture or baths or cars have very different service levels than another who's items fit in a jiffy bag.

Chris Dawson • 26th May 2009 •

To be able to accuratley rate a seller you would need such a complex system that no-one would now how to use it. At the end of the day, if a buyer doesn't actively complain about a sale then they are happy (generally). Anything that tries to measure "how" happy or "how" unhappy they are is doomed to failure from day one due to the reasons mentioned above. That's why the old system of positive and negative worked so well, it was simple and easy to understand, use and analyze. You were happy or you were unhappy.

pete • 26th May 2009 •

don´t miss the comments on ebay ink.

Stefan • 28th May 2009 •

How would you give feedback to someone when their stupid checkout system (Channeladvisor) won't let you pay via paypal. I think eBay should remove such systems and keep with the standard ebay checkout. Here's a pic of what I am faced with....a 4 hour wait until I can pay...cheers Channeladvisor:

John Pemberton • 30th May 2009 •


EbayIsGoingDownTheToilet • 30th May 2009 •

Hello, please let your comments at the ebay Ink blog. This is maybe nearer by the company. Also the editor of this blog promised to give it to the responsable people:

Stefan • 1st June 2009 •

#41 John Pemberton on May 30th, 2009 8:26 am "How would you give feedback to someone when their stupid checkout system (Channeladvisor) won’t let you pay via paypal." Should take that up with ChannelAdvisor CEO Scot Wingo. However with eBay perhaps owning from 15% and up of ChannelAdvisor (, and perhaps meaning the ChannelAdvisor process is okay with eBay, don't expect much. "At ChannelAdvisor, we’ve been diligently studying the Spring Changes that eBay announced last week and talking to both sellers and eBay for more information." Scot Wingo, 23 April 2009

EventHorizon1984 • 1st June 2009 •

#44 I think you'll probably find that it was a rare but scheduled update to the CA Checkout process. Unfortunately with users around the world there isn't ever a convenient time of day for maintenance that won't inconvenience someone - a bit like in the UK eBay and PayPal maintenance always falls on a Friday morning just as sellers want to process their last orders before knocking off for the weekend...

Chris Dawson • 1st June 2009 •

#44 - I met Scot Wingo after the CA catalyst 2009 (a great event for sure). I was impressed with him as an industry figure and individual, and we had a very informative conversation about my experiences with Channel Advisor. I have to say that their(CA) checkout system is good if you have an off ebay site, but there are so many processes to go through to make a payment (7 ???), and then once you get to the end of it, you then have to log into paypal and then pay...= more stages!!! With the particular transaction, I had massive problems paying, and thought I would leave it for a few days....of course I totally forgot to pay and after a polite reminder from the seller I went to pay. I found to my horror that after waiting 4 hours for their site to work, I was faced with a message that the checkout was disabled, as the time to pay had expired. After the seller removed this block, I then paid. Thing that annoyed me was I was forced to go through the CA checkout and there was not other way to make a payment. A further frustration is having to retype in all my address details onto their checkout...when really it should be clever enough to import it in from the ebay sale? I know why its used - its to manage the inventory on the sellers multi-channel sites. My view is that ebay should make the buyer experience homogenised with just the ebay and paypal checkouts. If I see "powered by channel advisor" I may consider buying from another seller in the future, as it really put me off. J

John • 1st June 2009 •

#42 - I hear you loud and clear - the thing you have to remember is that bad sellers put off buyers for life. No buyers = lower prices and ultimately lower sales. As a seller, I have increased my customer service and standards....right down to packaging, postage costs, speed of postage and handling times, clarity of information etc (its something I will be taking about at ) its right ebay puts the pressure on sellers to perform to the highest standards....we need the buyers to have positive experiences. Ebay is not going down the toilet, if you look at the data that is out in circulation, you will see that buyers are coming back to they have my support for the actions they are taking. Sure they will not please all the people all of the time...but you have to ask the question as to whether you are achieving the mark to be selling on ebay if you are suffering with DSRs etc. Ebid, QXL, tazbar, cqout etc etc - they all tried it and failed....the buyers just are not there. Also their sites are littered with fakes and more fakes. ebay has made gr8 strides in removing fakes...this tough attitude is the direction we all need them to take, to restore confidence in the site....just my thoughts. J

John • 1st June 2009 •

#46 - Years back several of us Were ChannelAdvisor/MarketWorks customers. Nice, simple, easy to use, and buyer friendly. Move forward a tad, perhaps coincidentally when eBay began investing heavily in CA, that became okay, eBay-type software improvements, eh, and buyer complaints (regarding checkout) went up. Thank the "Maker" for niche competition. Do let your seller know of the checkout experience. They may be blissfully unaware of the problems. As were we. "It's when things are going just right that you'd better be suspicious. There you are, fat as can be. The whole world is yours and you're the answer to the Wright brothers' prayers. You say to yourself, nothing can go wrong ... all my trespasses are forgiven. Best you not believe it." Ernest K. Gann

EventHorizon1984 • 2nd June 2009 •