A Tale of Two Feedback Systems: eBay vs. Amazon

by Joanna Lupo

Amazon and eBay are two of the world’s leading eCommerce companies, and Amazon holds the top spot worldwide in terms of revenue. Each has its own offerings to attract different types of merchants looking to sell new and pre-owned items online.

For instance, Amazon and eBay have feedback systems that enable users to describe their satisfaction with trading partners. An integral part of both the Amazon and eBay marketplaces is feedback, which enables users to describe their satisfaction with trading partners. The two websites are different, however, in terms of the type of feedback system they employ to establish trust between merchants and buyers.

The importance of seller reputation is greater today than it was several years ago. Buyers might pay attention to a merchant’s feedback and reviews as well as their pictures or product descriptions, but we know that both eCommerce platforms themselves care about a seller’s feedback. Because user comments greatly impact product buyability, Amazon’s and eBay’s feedback mechanisms have undergone changes to keep up with the demand for intuitive user interfaces.

While buyers certainly pay attention to a merchant’s feedback, we also know that both eCommerce platforms themselves care about a seller’s feedback. Because user feedback is so critical for ensuring marketplace health, Amazon’s and eBay’s feedback mechanisms have evolved since the early days of each marketplace. At the same time, each marketplace has established and retained its own distinctive feedback culture.

In a nutshell, the main difference between the two online marketplaces is that Amazon focuses on seller feedback, while eBay’s feedback system allows both buyers and sellers to comment on their trading partners.

Here’s a closer look at the feedback systems of the two eCommerce platforms:

eBay Feedback Profile

eBay features the Feedback Profile, an online “reputation” that develops gradually based on other users’ comments and ratings. It has four aspects:

  • Feedback Score – this score is calculated using a point system. Buyers and sellers get one point for a positive rating, zero points for a neutral rating, and minus one point for a negative rating. These points are added together to comprise the feedback score, which is represented by stars. It takes time to build a score - users don’t even get a score until they’ve received 10 points. That means that new members have no stars.
  • Feedback Percentage – this refers to the percentage of buyers reporting a positive trading experience with a seller.
  • Detailed Seller Ratings – Buyers can rate specific aspects of transactions such as accuracy in the item description, communication, shipping speed, and shipping and handling charges.
  • Feedback Reports – Other members can read more information in comments from others who have traded with the user.

Feedback Profiles are searchable by member ID. eBay’s feedback system is most likely accurate when it comes to seller profiles, but the buyer profile model might need some work. That might be why Amazon sticks with one type of feedback over another. In fact, since 2008, eBay sellers can only rate buyers with a positive rating and a short comment. Reportedly, sellers used to post retaliatory negative feedback for buyers and the scores became skewed.

Amazon Seller Feedback

Seller feedback is a vital indicator of an Amazon merchant’s performance, especially when it includes negative feedback as a percentage of the total. It gives potential buyers a holistic view of a seller’s business. An Amazon merchant’s profile also includes the Feedback Rating, which shows the rating for the past 12 months, percentages and feedback counts. Another component to Amazon’s system is Current Feedback, which shows actual feedback and additional ratings from buyers.

Seller Feedback follows a 5-star system:

  • Positive feedback: 5 or 4 stars
  • Neutral feedback: 3 stars
  • Negative feedback: 2 or 1 stars

Feedback percentages are rounded off to the nearest whole number.

Amazon’s counterpart of eBay’s Detailed Seller Ratings is the Seller Performance Measurement. The metrics include Order Defect Rate (ODR) where a high percentage of negative feedback will have a huge impact on seller performance.

How Feedback is Solicited

Amazon: The site itself often sends a reminder within 2 days of the maximum estimated delivery date. Amazon also encourages sellers to request feedback, resolve issues, and systematically improve the customer experience. Many sellers use feedback solicitation tools like FeedbackFive to manage this aspect of their business. A seller can respond to a negative comment through the platform. This, however, does not guarantee that the negative feedback will be removed by the buyer. An appropriate response can be useful, nonetheless, since the response can be noticed by other buyers and by Amazon, in the event your account is under review.

eBay: The buyer leaves a comment after receiving the item. The seller then leaves a feedback for the buyer. Feedback is a permanent part of sellers’ records. Buyers are encouraged to reach out to sellers to sort out issues with them before leaving negative feedback.

Amazon: Feedback can only be removed, not edited.

eBay: Buyers can revise feedback.

How to Remove Negative Feedback

Amazon: Buyer feedback is not removed by Amazon except those that include:

  • Words that are obscene or profane
  • Specific information including personal details, email addresses, full names or telephone numbers
  • An entire product review

If a buyer leaves inaccurate feedback, the seller can reach out to the buyer to resolve any issues with the transaction and request a deletion. Only professional emails are allowed. Pressing the buyer to remove the negative feedback may land the seller in hot water since it is a violation of Amazon’s policies.

eBay: Sellers are allowed to request a revision of buyer feedback. The buyer could either agree to revise the feedback or decline the request.

Removal of Seller Privileges

Amazon: After a review process, sellers with poor performance are given up to 60 days to improve. Sellers with very poor performance are immediately removed without any “probationary” period. Sellers can also be suspended for policy violations.

eBay: Suspension of accounts can only be caused by non-payment of fees or a violation of a rule or policy.

Advantages of Good Feedback

Amazon: Sellers with good feedback performance are eligible for the Buy Box. Sellers with this status earn placement advantages. The ODR customer feedback is one of the criteria considered by Amazon.

eBay: Aside from selling significant volume of items, offering a high-level service, having a positive Feedback score could qualify a seller for the PowerSeller program. Benefits include credit for certain listing upgrade fees and promotional offers.

eBay and Amazon may treat feedback differently, but both offer a beneficial culture of communication. Without a solid feedback system, an online marketplace would not gain the safety and trust of its users.

Ready to take control of your Amazon seller reputation? Try FeedbackFive for free today.

Originally published on June 9, 2015, updated June 13, 2019

This post is accurate as of the date of publication. Some features and information may have changed due to product updates or Amazon policy changes.