How likely are you to be a Top Rated Seller in your category?

No primary category set

Across all categories on eBay 21.73% of listings are from Top Rated Sellers (TRS), but that’s not the whole story. The number of TRS listings varies enormously with categories such as Art (50.57%) at one end of the scale and Mobile and Home Phones (9.79%) at the other.

It doesn’t make sense to presume that all sellers in some categories offer significantly better or worse service to those in other categories, so a reasonable conclusion appears to be that buyers are simply harder to please and more likely to leave low DSR scores in certain categories.

There are some big differences between the percentage of TRS listings for all and for used products. In Art, an exception new/used makes almost no difference at all. In Music (CDs) there’s another anomaly where there are a bigger percentage of TRS listings for used products than for new items. At the other end of the scale in categories which are notoriously difficult to trade in such as Phones and Mobile Phones, just 1.68% of listings for used products qualify as TRS.

Across all eBay categories just 13.45% of listings for used products are from TRS sellers compared to the 21.73% for all products which gives a base point to measure your category against, to find out how hard it is to maintain the top level of standards.

It’s reasonable to expect TRS sellers to be businesses and so list in greater volumes than casual sellers who won’t qualify, but even taking this into account it definitely appears less likely that you’ll be a TRS if you trade in used goods.

It would appear reasonable to assume that buyers are likely to rate you higher and that it’s simply easier to gain TRS status in some categories than others and easier to reach high standards for new products than it is for used. The products you choose to sell could have a big impact on how your customers and ultimately eBay rate your business.

Calculations based on Number of TRS Listings/All Listings and Number of TRS Used Product Listings/All Used Product Listings
Items not tagged as “Used” in Item Specifics were not included in the Used TRS data
Data collected on 21st February 2010 from all eBay UK categories

27 Responses

  1. Antiques is very odd… how can there be such a difference between all and used in that category?

    Is it me, or wouldn’t you assume that ALL antiques would be used by now?

  2. We work in the computing section selling mainly used/refurbished items and its a constant challenge. The only real thing we fall down on DSR wise is our postage charges bbut we have raised our prices this week and dropped P&P.

  3. Some products are harder to sell well. I don’t see that different categories have a different percentage of TRS sellers as being a problem.

    (hijack alert) What definitely is a real and ongoing problem on eBay is 99p listings from overseas sellers. eBay UK staff seem to acknowledge that this is a real problem and have been talking about resolving this problem for months but still nothing seems to be done. How much longer?

  4. Maybe a “bit” OT but did you know that when you send a buyer a feedback revision request, whilst they can only change a neutral to a positive, and a negative to a neutral or positive…

    …They can change the DSR’s in any way they want, either up or DOWN! 😯

  5. I am just writing to say how gutted and physically sick I feel over not achieving top rated seller this time, How can I be marked down on item description when I get one negative. And not ONE comment stating the item was not as described or description poor etc.
    I have raised my feedback from 99.2% to 99.8% I post the same day always, I answer emails same day, I list the items in a very formal unbiased manner.
    The DSR system does not work, it is very hard to sell in a category that people buy from because they have to purchase the item in comparison to a category that they want to buy from.
    Example: that’s a lovely painting, it will look nice on my wall, ill buy it.
    Sugar the cars broke down again, it’s going to cost me a fortune, I can’t afford it and really could do with out having to buy it.
    The figures point this out and obviously a totally useless concept.
    I feel this is just another way to remove more money from the seller.
    This is causing people to leave or be selective about there listings, I actually searched for an item on eBay Friday and it was the first time ever there was not one listed, I even searched worldwide.
    When we spoke Friday the idea of opening another eBay account and split new from used was suggested however I will have to pay for 2 lots of selling manager and shop fronts so is not viable.
    I also feel we are a very good customer for eBay, we cause very little hassle, we deal in the manner you expect, we do not generate problems, we ALWAYS pay on time, and we use Paypal as the method of payment. We gave £33,000 to eBay and paypal last year, seems a big shame.
    What will happen to eBay when someone like Google or face book open a new auction site, it will happen. My space was a top site a few years ago and now no one even mentions them since the launch of face book, and now twitter. Do eBay think this is not possible and do they think all these sellers that are controlled by eBay’s outrageous fees and aggressive manner will not jump ship at the drop of a hat?????

  6. I don’t buy into the argument. The reason being that books is down there next to mobile phones. Most people that sell books will aknowledge that it is a benign category in which it is easy, with a certain small amount of knowledge (and honesty) to keep good scores. So why is it down there? My argument would be that at the moment, in the wake of the free postage disaster, it is over-run with 99p listers still hiding the postage in the body of the listing – and putting up illiterate listings with such edifying titles as “book” 🙁 So – the last thing I want to see from ebay (as a bookseller with standards) is them drop the bar. The reason that so few booksellers are TRS in books right now – is that the category is over-run with cowboys and so-called private listers. Dropping the standard would allow a couple of large (but bad) mega-listers in that category to achieve a status that they don’t deserve.


  7. TRS is a busted flush – I lost it on Christmas Eve, despite having 4300 positives, 1 neg and 100% FB. The level of TRS membership will continue to dwindle as long as Ebay persist in setting the bar impossibly high.

  8. Can someone tell me for sure, if I change the title of a listing will it loose its best match rating?I have tried reading the help pages and it seems to say no , but others have told me yes it will.
    Has any one done it?

    Re Chis’s graph, I think books are low because people list a whole catalogue and order them in when sold which delays posting.
    Hair and Beauty and Baby are two cats where people would prefer to buy new , not secondhad,which explains those low figures.
    Regards Rosie

  9. DSR are a joke
    How can you expect a buyer that can’t read and understand an auction to leave appropriate DSR’s

    50% of most bad ratings are unjust or ill-informed buyers.

    TSR’s are a joke – the bar is too high

    BTW i have had TSR since it started on one of my a/c’s

    Its real simple and even a child can understand(ask one)

    The more money a seller makes the more money EBAY makes.
    A good salesman will not pee of his customer.
    So for good sales you need too dump the bad salesman and the bad buyer or educate the buyer.

    These should be the only goals.
    Current sittuation is beat the seller with a big stick by ebay and occasionaly get the pee taken out of you from the buyer.

    Another prob is having to compete against private sellers that should not be private.

    The only thing that matters is sales, we are on ebay too make money.

    Ebay just do not listen.

  10. Outstanding chart, Chris.

    This an exceptionally accurate illustration of the zero feasibility buyers and sellers encounter, when confronted with various ‘one size fits all’ philosophies in numerous architectural, policy and other functional eBay issues.

    However, there are several even larger matters to consider.

    – Standards can only be considered materially viable if they are relevant. Your excellent chart deomostrates the urgent need for category based indices on several levels.

    – And, your chart speaks to the very extent of the secular value that remains literally untapped across eBay’s diverse markets.

    The message to the buying public is that 3/4’s of the merchandise on eBay is not to be trusted. That is not the intended message eBay wants to send. It is certainly not what buyers want to hear. And it absolutely what sellers, who are doing exemplary work in their respective markets find so disturbing.


    Joe Cortese
    Founder/Chairman PESA
    Professional eBay Sellers Alliance
    C0-Founder/Chairman ECMTA
    eCommerce Merchants Trade Association

  11. I’m actually surprised DVD is so low on the chart. I know there are a lot of drop shippers on eBay, or people who sell items and don’t have the stock, but considering that DVDs are as commiditised as CDs, quite why the difference is so great I have no idea. But then, the greater the percentage of non-TRS DVD sellers there are, the better our sales our as a TRS so I’m not complaining!

  12. I have to chuckle sometimes at all these anonymous posters who claim to be the be creme da la creme of of eBay sellers.

    You would have thought if they were SO wonderful and there products were SO fantastic they would like a bit of free advertising on Tamebay everytime they tell everyone how wonderful and important they are.



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