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Changes at eBay have People Talking

Bay has been in the news recently for a variety of different reasons, ranging from boycotts arranged by angry sellers who feel betrayed by the online auction site's decision to not allow negative feedback on buyers, to the eBay Live conference, held in Chicago this week, that brings together eBay sellers for an opportunity to network with others, hear directly from company executives, as well as attend educational seminars on how to be more effective in their eBay endeavors. 

The Issue of Feedback
Feedback issues, along with eBay's decision to permit only PayPal or payment-on-delivery for certain overseas markets, has sparked a heated debate amongst those in the community. Many feel the feedback change puts sellers at a permanent disadvantage because they no longer have the option of leaving a "neg" on a buyer’s record. Many complain that this exposes them to extortion and fraud attempts by unscrupulous buyers who threaten to leave negative feedback if they don't comply with unreasonable demands or actions taken by the buyer after the auction has closed. Some examples of this kind of “feedback extortion” include:           

·         Demanding the seller through email to lower the price before payment is made.

·         The buyer makes payment as agreed to and receives the merchandise, but then calls PayPal and claims the item was "not as described", he then returns an empty box to the seller with proof of delivery, and receives his money back from PayPal.

·         The buyer threatens to either hack or create multiple accounts and then win auctions on the seller’s items, but never pays on any of the winning bids.

·         The buyer already owns a broken or damaged item and searches eBay for the same item. Buyer wins an auction and receives merchandise from the seller but claims the item was damaged upon receipt, and switches it with the good one.


eBay contends that the changes are being made for the benefit of the community as a whole. This from their website:

The eBay Feedback system was originally designed to provide a simple, honest, accurate record of the buyer's and seller's online experience to ensure safe and satisfactory trade. It was driven by the belief that through a transparent reputation system, members could hold each other accountable. Over time, we found that the transparency of the Feedback system made some buyers reluctant to hold sellers accountable. For example, buyers fear retaliatory Feedback from sellers if they leave a negative

Therefore, we've made a number of changes to eBay's Feedback system to continue to improve accuracy and accountability. These changes should help to differentiate and reward sellers who provide a positive buying experience on eBay.

The previous system prevented buyers from leaving honest Feedback since they feared retaliation from the sellers if they left a negative. This made it harder for buyers to distinguish between sellers while making bidding or buying decisions. In addition, when buyers received negative Feedback, they reduced their activity in the marketplace, which in-turn harmed sellers.


eBay Conferences in Chicago
At the eBay Developers conference in Chicago earlier this week, eBay has announced that it will open up its Selling Manager tool to outside developers. The move is seen as positive by everyone involved, as it will give eBay sellers more options in developing ways to market their products to buyers, as well as giving developers easier access to the people that would use their applications.

Expected to speak at the eBay Live Community conference later this week are long time internet guru Seth Godin, author of "The Ten Golden Rules of Internet Marketing" Jay Berkowitz, "The Little Red Book of Selling" author and sales mystic Jeffrey Gitomer, and master of marketing Andy Sernovitz. The conference will wind down to the Closing Gala, giving those in the community a chance to kick up their heels and mingle in a much less formal way.

Welcome to Chicago, eBay-ers! Enjoy the Lakefront, cultural sites, and local flair, but most all, have fun!