Thursday, February 7, 2008

Switching to the Star Feedback System: A Solution for eBay's Feedback Problem?

The complaints continue to flow in about eBay's decision to disable the ability for sellers to leave buyers negative feedback. A lot of people are unhappy, and there's even a seller boycott planned the week of Feb. 18.

I'm not happy about the change, but I've felt I should try to offer a solution or solutions if I can. To that end, I've been thinking about this:  what if eBay put back the ability for sellers to leave feedback too, but only the one-to-five star ratings, similar to the DSR's or "detailed seller ratings" that sellers have been getting in addition to the positive, negative or neutrals?

You could even think of doing away with positive, negatives, and neutrals completely, and just going to the star system. This would allow for  a more nuanced system of feedback that wasn't black and white, and most importantly, include a write-in field so *sellers and buyers would know what they were doing wrong and could improve on it*.  (That last point was made by one of the many astute readers of my Yard Salers newsletter, at

I'm not saying this is a perfect solution, but it may be better than what we have now. If you think about it, many businesses rely on this star system, including biggies like amazon, the hotel industry, and Zagat's restaurant guide.

(Personally I'd be sad to see the 100% positive feedback percentage I worked so hard to get go, but maybe the star system could be implemented in addition to it for sellers to give to buyers, as buyers of course already can leave it for sellers. Just give everyone the ability to do a write-in comment).

Probably we will not see any changes until the dust settles and eBay sees if sellers will take this latest change in stride. We'll see. I just wanted to offer up that thought.

What do you think of the idea? Or what do you think would be a better solution?

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