I’m neither a huge buyer nor a frequent seller on eBay, but when I do visit to buy, one of my guilty pleasures is reading negative feedback from sellers. You don’t learn much from the positives. You learn it from the negatives. A seller could have a quadrillion positive feedbacks, but if he’s an asshole in his replies to his 10 negatives, that’s a pretty significant red flag to me.

eBay gives you such a ridiculously small area to leave feedback which favors positive remarks. You can leave short exclamations when things are good, but try explaining a nightmare of a problem with a bad seller in 80 characters or less. You can’t.

My idea was to put up a site where users could continue the feedback conversation. It’s hard to determine fault when you can’t say everything you want. Imagine if you had to defend yourself in court, but could only use 80 characters. Pretty tough, huh?

I purchased a domain inspired by the eBay name called FeedbackHarbor. 1 Bay, Harbor, get it? Anyhoo, I think I installed Dragonfly CMS and started leaving a url linking back to FeedbackHarbor for eBay feedback in any auction in which I was involved. At the time eBay didn’t exactly say they prohibited this, but I later found in their help section where it said a user could have feedback removed that contained a url, so there was no sense in continuing that action.

I realized this idea would require a programmer to tap into the eBay API to somehow pull negative feedback so that buyers and sellers could have a dedicated thread linked to an item number. It’s not something I have the knowledge to do myself, and it wasn’t something I was ready to plunk down money on just yet.

This one needs to be done though. Someone should really take this idea because eBay has really messed up their feedback system even worse. I bought this domain almost 9 years ago and their feedback was broken back then. These days a seller can’t even leave bad feedback for a buyer. How messed up is that? Guess who’s curtailed his eBay selling even further since then? *raising hand*

I can almost see them all scrambling, knowing they’ll no longer be getting my two or three extra final value fees each and every month. Yeah, take that eBay. You can kiss that new omelette bar in the cafeteria goodbye right now. Good luck explaining this one at your next annual shareholder meeting. Pssss, burn.

OK, so in reality eBay probably doesn’t give a shit if sporadic sellers boycott, as long as buyers keep on buying. The one sided feedback has been this way for a few years now, so they have no interest in changing things to be fair again. Someone should capitalize on this severely lacking cork-brained feedback platform.

A site like this could help level the playing field again. If users had another place to air their troubles with certain people, the rest of us could be better informed about who to trust or who to avoid. It wouldn’t be ideal to have to go off the eBay site to investigate, but that’s eBay’s problem. They should have fixed their feedback system a long time ago, and they haven’t, so c’est la vie.

I understand the feedback system has never been perfect, but I came up with a better idea than eBay’s extremely flawed and one sided feedback solution. Allow feedback to be left by users for 30 days. No character limit. During this 30 day time period, the feedback is private. On day 31, it’s automatically posted. No revenge feedback. It’s still flawed, but better than what they have now.

The better idea is FeedbackHarbor. If someone implemented this as a free service, I would sign up for it in a heart beat. I’m just not sure where the money would be, but that’s your first assignment. Think about all that time you skim negative feedback. You know you do. Those eyeballs could all be on your site. We’re all suckers for a little drama, otherwise reality TV wouldn’t be so popular.

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