Monday, 29 January 2007

Some Mothers do 'ave Em

Dan Wilson is the former Community Manager for and is now a freelance consultant and writer. He blogs at

It's been three months this week since I left the warming arms of the eBay bosom to a world of freelancing and freedom. Three months after leaving eBay is an important time for any former eBay employee: you have three months to flog your stock options after leaving and my time is up on Friday.

But one eBay buyer has decided to commemorate this milestone with an eBay first for me: a negative feedback. Now I really feel like I'm truly mortal, and just another humble seller amongst the Community millions.

It's time to swallow that advice I've dispensed for years on the boards and at eBay University. Stay calm. Dispense a factual, calm response, try not to worry.

And OBVIOUSLY it's unjustified. The justified negative feedback is a rare, rare thing. I sold a book and despatched it swiftly. I was let down by an impatient buyer, the Royal Mail and not spending every waking moment hunched over My Messages responding to buyer queries.

Still, I'm in good company: most sellers have a few here and there and most buyers are intelligent enough to work out what's happening. After all, sometimes however hard you try to please a buyer you can't succeed. It's also a salutary reminder of how Feedback 2.0 might play out when it comes.

You simply cannot legislate for the hasty neg-leaver. No matter how you break down the scores, some buyers will never be satisfied and will always want to make their complaints heard. In this case, I would have been marked down on communications and postage time. One is under my control and one's not. It's up to buyers to decide what's reasonable or not and there will always be people who will think delivery is too slow, however swift it is, right up until they invent the instantaneous teleport.

The only comfort we have is most people really are intelligent, forgiving and praising and we'll have to hope that they learn how to use Feedback 2.0 sensibly too.

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Blogger Biddy said...

Congratulations, Dan! If it makes you feel better, in the last Town Hall, Bill Cobb put an argument against retiring old feedback - because it would mean that Griff would lose his neg. :-D

29 January 2007 at 15:26:00 GMT  
Anonymous Uncle Sam said...

"The only comfort we have is most people really are intelligent, forgiving and praising..."

Please don't ever sell consumer electronics. It's horrible to see innocence shattered ;-D

29 January 2007 at 16:11:00 GMT  

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