Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Should eBay sellers be trusted?

Date:
November 13, 2009
Source:
Inderscience
Summary:
A new study suggests that unscrupulous vendors on the online marketplace eBay can easily buy a good reputation and so circumvent recent efforts by the company to prevent feedback fraud.

A new study to be published in the International Journal of Electronic Business suggests that unscrupulous vendors on the online marketplace eBay can easily buy a good reputation and so circumvent recent efforts by the company to prevent feedback fraud.

Related Articles


eBay, the online marketplace has grown considerably since its inception as an online auction service. Today, there are millions of vendors using the service to sell everything from gadgets and gardening tools to staple guns and computer chips. After each transaction buyer and seller alike have the opportunity to leave feedback about their interaction. If a transaction goes well and the buyer is happy with the item received, then they will usually leave positive feedback. The more positive feedback a vendor accrues the better their chances of getting the next sale if there is a competitor with poorer feedback.

eBay recently revised its feedback policy to avoid retaliatory feedback from both sides arising from minor complaints. It also endeavours to police the reputation system as a whole to prevent both buyers and sellers from garnering unwarranted positive feedback.

One loophole, known as "feedback purchase," however, still exists. In its crudest form this might amount to a seller offering ten low-value items with a very low "Buy It Now" and free shipping. They fulfil each purchase quickly and gain ten positive feedback points. Then, after accumulating this positive feedback, they immediately start selling their more expensive target good, such as plasma televisions. Given that they gained positive feedback for selling paperclips, for instance, it might be said that they have essentially bought their good reputation.

Some sellers are so unscrupulous as to simply sell dozens of virtual items to "associates" in order to increase their positive feedback. The cost to such vendors are the transaction fees taken by eBay for the "sale." One can imagine that a large degree of positive feedback could be purchased very quickly using hundreds of dummy buyer accounts in this way. Unfortunately, eBay has lowered listings costs so that this type of fraud is even more attractive.

Now, Federico Dini of Consip S.p.A., and Giancarlo Spagnolo of the Faculty of Economics, at the University of Rome Tor Vergata, Italy, have carried out various field experiments with the eBay system to demonstrate that feedback purchase is very much a reality.

"One potential long-term consequence of feedback purchase, and more generally of feedback manipulation, is to compromise the reliability of information produced by, and trust in, the feedback mechanisms," say the researchers. This could apply equally to other ecommerce sites involving feedback systems, such as Amazon Marketplace and others.

"Our policy suggestions for eBay are to increase the fixed fee component to make extremely low value exchanges more costly, possibly reducing the proportional fee component, and to display the transactions' value with no limits on time," the team adds. Moreover, as was ever the case in ancient Rome: "caveat emptor," let the buyer beware.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Inderscience. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Inderscience. "Should eBay sellers be trusted?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 November 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091111121742.htm>.
Inderscience. (2009, November 13). Should eBay sellers be trusted?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091111121742.htm
Inderscience. "Should eBay sellers be trusted?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091111121742.htm (accessed November 27, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins