Sunday, June 22, 2008

New (and Improved?) ebay Feedback Rules

I was pleased when I saw recently that ebay had changed one of the rules for leaving feedback. The change was that sellers are no longer allowed to leave negative feedback for buyers. This was to address the age-old problem that you could never leave bad feedback for a seller, because the implicit threat was always that they would just retaliate with bad feedback for you, which would destroy your feedback rating.

So I liked the change, until my first winning bid after the change. I was considering a possible comment about the low quality of a product I received. Then I got an e-mail from the seller which said “once we receive your positive feedback, we will leave positive feedback for you”. So much for the idea of my being able to leave negative feedback. Once again, I was faced with a disincentive to leave negative feedback. Not as bad as before, but still imperfect.

I hate to complicate things, but I think what might work best is to give both parties 7 days to leave feedback, then reveal all of the permanent feedback at the same time. In addition, there could be some small incentive to “reward” leaving feedback, plus maybe something that shows how often you have left positive and negative feedback for others.


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