Yes, I decided to go with the dreaded asterisk in the title of this post. CNN has a story about the first seller on eBay to surpass 1 000 000 feedback. No, he doesn’t sell sports cards. He sells electronics accessories. Heck, he even offers free shipping within the US. CNN fails to mention what should be the first thing people need to do when they check out a seller on eBay – look past the big number and the shiny star by the seller’s name and dig deeper.
He has almost 8000 negative or neutral feedbacks in the last 12 months. That’s slightly over 2 % of his transactions. A quick browse through the feedback that has been left for him reveals a lot of yellow stars (the lowest star you can get from eBay). Obviously, eBay’s ‘Best Match’ search feature has been snaring these users and directing them to this guy. I always search ‘Newly Listed’ myself, but some might say I spend way too much time analyzing eBay. If you care to browse through page after page of feedback you can find people who didn’t get the item that was pictured (bad), or who got an item that shorted out the electronics device they were trying to accessorize (worse). There’s a lot of weak positives in there as well.
Its great that people are using eBay this much, but the move towards huge volume sellers (who might very soon be the only ones willing to stick with eBay) isn’t always the best thing. If I want to buy from a seller that treats me like Wal-Mart treats me – I can just go to Wal-Mart. A million feedback is great, but a million feedback with a 98.9 % rating isn’t as good as it might seem.