January 19, 2007 | 02:25PM a SGT
I’m Rob Chesnut, Senior Vice President in charge of Trust & Safety for eBay. I work with our teams worldwide to ensure our community of users everywhere feel safe and confident when buying and selling on eBay. It’s no secret that this is a bigger challenge today than it was a decade ago when eBay was small. Times have changed from when eBay was a small Community and we could rely on transparency on the site to keep the marketplace healthy. We’ve gone from being like a small town, where we knew our neighbors and it was safe to leave the doors and windows open, to a large city, where security is a more serious issue.
Over time, online criminals who target sites like eBay and PayPal have grown in number and sophistication. As the Internet continues to evolve, there are also many more online shopping choices for buyers. This competition means our buyers' expectations are growing.
To keep pace with the changing of the Internet, we’re evolving eBay’s Trust & Safety philosophy. Where we’ve historically put an emphasis on transparency and free choice for buyers on eBay, we’re now more actively protecting our buyers from fraud and other bad experiences on our site.
My team has been working on solutions that address these two priorities worldwide:
Take a new, more proactive approach towards Trust & Safety to protect our members from fraud.
Improve the buyer experience on the site by holding sellers to higher minimum standards.
A More Proactive Approach to Trust & Safety
In Singapore, we recently restricted members with private Feedback profiles from listing new items, a move which we hope will help to maintain a safe and well-lit marketplace.
Aside from visible changes like these, we’ve been working on others. One issue we’ve fought on eBay is counterfeits -- these are illegal and not welcome on eBay. We’ve cooperated with Rights Owners around the world through our VeRO programme to remove counterfeit listings for years, but recently we put stricter measures in place. For some items reportedly favoured by counterfeiters, we’ve started requiring additional seller verification, we’ve eliminated the ability to list these items with 1 or 3-day auction durations, and we’ve put in additional restrictions for people selling these items cross-border.
These efforts appear to working with minimal disruption to our legitimate sellers, and, going forward, we’ll be considering similar projects. We’re continuing to balance transparency and convenience with the need to keep our Community safe.
Holding sellers to higher minimum standards
It’s a fact that the majority of bad buyer experiences result from circumstances controlled by sellers. Buyers are less likely to return to the site after having a frustrating experience -- like finding the postage & handling charges are excessive, receiving an item that is not as described, or experiencing poor customer service during a transaction with a seller.
It’s clear we have a shared responsibility with our sellers to make sure our buyers have satisfactory experiences. Historically, eBay’s philosophy has been to allow practically anyone to sell, with few restrictions. Going forward, we’ll apply higher minimum standards for selling on the site. These changes will improve the marketplace for the vast majority of sellers who deliver a good customer experience.
Here are some ways we’re addressing this issue:
Private Feedback-- Last fall we eliminated the ability for sellers to make their feedback private. This was important, as it eliminated the ability for sellers with poor track records to hide their negative reputations from prospective buyers.
Cross-Border Trade Requirements-- We’ve also implemented new requirements for sellers who want to sell cross-border. To list outside one's home registration site, sellers must establish their identity by becoming PayPal Verified (sellers with established track records will not be affected by this requirement.) (Read our FAQs for more details.)
Feedback 2.0-- eBay pioneered online reputation systems with the feedback system back in the ‘90s. Although debated for its merits, the fact is, it’s a great system, but it needs to keep pace with our marketplace. In the first half of 2007, we’ll be launching Feedback 2.0 in pilot markets.. Feedback 2.0 will add to the current system, allowing buyers to rate transactions on item description, communication, shipping time, and postage & handling charges. The average of each of the Detailed Seller Ratings is displayed on the seller’s Feedback Profile page. It’s a system that rewards sellers by recognising and spotlighting the things they do to ensure customer satisfaction. We’ll share more about Feedback 2.0 soon, so stay tuned.
Finally, I want to thank our Community for your help and support in keeping the site safe. We receive reports every day of suspicious activity from conscientious buyers and sellers, and each one helps us to investigate and take action to stop negative activity where appropriate. We appreciate everyone’s contribution in making eBay a great to buy and sell.
Senior Vice President, Global Trust & Safety