Wednesday, February 13, 2008

eBay admits it has a problem

I don't trust eBay. I think the management has known for a long time that they had a lot of crooked sellers, but they did nothing as long as the money came in.

Now, as reviewed by Nicholas Carr, eBay is worried:
Rough Type: Nicholas Carr's Blog: Crowd control at eBay
... overall, the current feedback system isn't where it should be. Today, the biggest issue with the system is that buyers are more afraid than ever to leave honest, accurate feedback because of the threat of retaliation. In fact, when buyers have a bad experience on eBay, the final straw for many of them is getting a negative feedback, especially of a retaliatory nature.

Now, we realize that feedback has been a two-way street, but our data shows a disturbing trend, which is that sellers leave retaliatory feedback eight times more frequently than buyers do ... and this figure is up dramatically from only a few years ago...
No joke. I was blackmailed by a crooked seller myself. Of course that only ensured I left scrupulously honest and accurate feedback, which resulted in retaliatory negative comments on my profile. (Since I don't use eBay any more that didn't matter too much.)

Craigslist, Amazon and specialty shops are better choices for selling and buying used goods. eBay deserves to be liquidated.

What should they have done differently? For one thing, anonymity doesn't work in commerce. It was too easy in eBay to create and destroy fake personas. Reputations matter, and they need time to be established.

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