eBay seller feedback on mobile screen

eBay announced that it’s increasing the character limit for Feedback eBay users can leave about their transaction experience from 80 characters to 500 characters.

eBay said that “Feedback between sellers and buyers is a crucial part of keeping eBay a trusted marketplace,“ but it seems that is an “upgrade“ to a system about two decades too late.

When eBay started, and for many years after that, the only way buyers and sellers could leave feedback for a transaction was to squeeze their responses into the 80 character space. The feedback was useful for buyers to gauge if sellers were good or bad before deciding to bid or buy an item on the marketplace.

Also, in those days, sellers could leave honest feedback about buyers, with the most valuable information being if a buyer paid quickly or not at all. Today, most sellers automate feedback because many believe the information has become meaningless as eBay takes little to no action on bad buyers, and sellers are no longer allowed to leave negative feedback.

Over the years, the eBay feedback system changed, and today, it uses many different data points, summed up in a simplified 5-star Feedback Score. Even branded products now have ratings, similar to product ratings on other marketplaces like Amazon.

For the most part, the company has experimented with ideas to summarize feedback more succinctly, effectively admitting it also believed most users were not reading feedback. Therefore, will increasing the feedback to 500 characters make a real difference to users on the platform? Even in its announcement, eBay didn’t provide much of a benefit pitch for this change.

eBay says the new 500 character limit will go live next week and will be available on the web, mobile experience, and the eBay app. However, users should update the eBay app on their mobile devices to see the new feedback experience.

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