Back in August I wrote a few posts about reputation and problems people had getting Ebay to remove bogus ratings. My view on this topic is threefold:
- A reputation systems is vital for community building, and in Ebay’s case it is clearly the metadata that gives buyers/sellers a sense of ownership that translates into repeat usage. The rating system is proprietary, which in this case simply means that it is not portable to another system, and that is clearly a strategic asset for Ebay.
- Performance ratings in a transaction system need to be detailed. The "A++++++" seller/buyer rating model that Ebay feedback 1.0 featured was, simply put, gamed to the edge of irrelevance. The raw number mattered because it ensured access to the market, but the fear of retaliatory feedback meant that it was pretty rare to get a negative feedback. Experienced buyers and sellers knew this and handicapped appropriately, but new Ebay users were abandoned by this system and it became something other than it was intended to be.
- Reputation systems have to have arbitration processes that are effective and timely, a point that spurred the post I wrote.
Ebay was clearly taking this issue seriously last August and we can now see the fruits of that effort. Ebay Feedback 2.0 (link via DailyTech) is out and it addresses many of the concerns that Ebay’ers have with the experience that Ebay is providing.
While there is feedback withdrawal there still isn’t an effective arbitration process for dealing with comments that are retaliatory in nature and that needs to be addressed.
Finally, Ebay needs to set their feedback system FREE so that it can become one element in identity systems to establish trust. Imagine how much more effective identity systems would be if they could encapsulate reputation, as in "my name is Jeff Nolan, I work for Teqlo, my Ebay rating is x, I belong to these communities where I am level ‘I’ve climbed a cell tower’ on HowardForums, I am a Second Lifer" and have that data attached to my OpenID URI which can then expose it to relevant systems.
Tags: Ebay, Reputation, Identity, Ebay Feedback