OK, so the feedback system on eBay.com.au has now rolled out.

The world is taking notice too, with some heated discussion on Ina’s blog AuctionBytes, and I am sure elsewhere too.

Let me start by saying it’s never going to be a perfect system. Of course there was always going to be opportunity to abuse the system, by using feedback extortion or other pressures, retaliatory feedback and so on.

But to now count a neutral as a negative? I find that a bit hard to swallow.

It has even meant that one of my accounts has dipped below 98%, and out of Powerseller status (not that it means anything to a buyer I suspect), but this is probably only the case because that account (although having over 20,000 feedbacks) had few (83) transactions in the last 12 months, and one happened to be a neg, one a neutral. That one neutral is the difference between 98.8% and 97.6% at this low turnover number. (note: neutral was deserved, neg was for courier, not for us)

I also have issue with the wording of the pop up box that buyers are presented with on the site now, prior to leaving feedback which states :

Buyers, you can no longer receive negative or neutral Feedback from sellers. You should leave honest and accurate Feedback without the fear of receiving negative or neutral ratings

I thought a while about this. How many buyers out of 100 would ever be concerned with retaliatory feedback?

If a consumer genuinely believes they are correct in leaving negative comment for a transaction then I think that is what they will do. If they are worried about getting a negative in return then I contest they may not have enough valid reason to leave a negative for the seller in the first place.

The consolation is this : every seller is in the same position, and the marketplace will find a new equilibrium. Maybe the average rating will drop from 98% to 97%, but its just that. An average. There will always be the good sellers that stand out from the crowd.

Maybe I have been a little precious about my feedbacks? As of today we have had over 110,000 feedbacks on our accounts, and until this week about 99.9% feedback ratings!

I guess we can’t afford to be precious about the 99.9% or 100% figure, but it still has to be the goal. We can only focus on customer service, pre-empting customer frustration or misunderstanding as best we can and continually trying to improve our business to keep up with a changing marketplace. Back to the grindstone!