The eBay Feedback System IS Broken

Thursday, 31 January 2008 at 12:27 pm Pacific USA Time.

The changes eBay are looking to make to Feedback prove that it is broken. And we know it’s broken because:

  • If buyers are afraid to speak their minds about their seller out of fear of what that seller can do, then feedback is not honest. The comments future buyers would need to see won’t be there.
  • If sellers aren’t reviewing buyer feedback while they’re bidders, and then cancelling bids from people they feel have too many negatives as a buyer, then leaving feedback for buyers is meaningless.

Look at Amazon. That’s a marketplace many people like, and many sellers are happy on which to sell. You can’t leave feedback for buyers, and somehow, life goes on. :) Sales happen, people get things, it flows. Maybe that can happen on eBay, but here are the differences:

  • Amazon doesn’t put the buyer and seller directly in touch. When I buy a book from some other seller, I’m not given a way to contact him directly. That means that as a buyer, I have no chance to be the jerk who demands crazy stuff from him. Without that power, I’m just going to not leave feedback or I will rate the seller, but I won’t have had the chance to imagine my own power in there.
  • Too much power for buyers on eBay. I think that any imbalance of power can lead to dishonesty, extortion, or just badness. If sellers can’t speak their minds, then you have an imbalance of power.

I want to see Feedback changed. I agree that it’s broken. I’m not sure how to fix it. I’m not sure this will work. It works on Amazon, but that’s without connecting a buyer directly to a seller.

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Categories: Just An Observation

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