Sunday, January 9, 2011

Soft Positives

Note:  This post was originally written on October 5, 2010 but was not published.  The reason it was never published is because I changed my opinion about the second feedback.  Here is the original post as originally written except for the third paragraph from the end, which I have changed to indicate my new opinion.


I am now getting soft positives from buyers on eBay. A "soft positive" is a positive feedback comment that contains a slightly negative slant regarding the transaction.

I just knew those Nancy Drew books in rough condition with dust jackets were going to be trouble all the way. First, people did not want to buy them on Bonanzle. Second, I sold them on eBay and received soft positives on both transactions.

The first one came from a buyer who likes to pick all sellers apart. That buyer takes three to four minutes to leave each feedback so that each seller can be adequately critiqued. I was left the comment, "items as decscribed, fairly prompt shipment." Considering that the buyer stated that other sellers were prompt, I interpreted "fairly prompt" as a soft positive. Additionally, I was left low DSRs, since my averages dropped.

In the case of this transaction, I generated the shipping label eight hours after payment was made and mailed the package the next day. I guess I would have to mail the same day in order to be considered "prompt."

When I looked at the rest of the feedback left by this buyer, many positives were soft positives, and the buyer left a number of neutrals and negatives. After reviewing the feedback, I was shocked that I received a positive comment.

The buyer complained about lack of information in some sellers' descriptions. I have to wonder why the buyer made those purchases without the desired information. If an eBay listing contains inadequate information, I either hit the back button or ask a question. What I do not do is buy without the information and then complain about it later.

The buyer also complained about the condition of some books in which the condition was made apparent by the seller. In one case, the buyer complained about torn pages that were not mentioned in the description, thus lowering the value of the book. The seller's description mentioned the torn pages. I love the seller's response to the feedback: "Read description. Torn pages clearly noted to indicate value of your $2 book."

I blocked the buyer on both of my IDs. This type of buyer needs to be avoided at all cost. My primary ID on eBay is the same as my ID on Bonanza. You can find this buyer's feedback easily.

In the other transaction, I received the comment, "As described but presented better than expected. My girls are thrilled!"  I at first interpreted it as a soft positive, but I have since decided that the feedback was meant to be totally positive.  My other feedback caused me to be paranoid about this one.  The following two paragraphs describe what I originally thought about the feedback.

I thought the buyer meant that I described the books accurately in the written description but that the photos made the books seem better than they were described. It is true that I could have provided photos of the books without the dust jackets so that the heavy wear to the books could have been seen. Point taken.

But it makes me wonder... Why is it that other sellers can get away with minimal photos that make the books seem better than they are or rave about the condition to the point of lying, and they do not get soft positives?


Amy's Stocking Stuffers said...

I actually interpreted that second feedback that the books were "as described" but they presented better in person (i.e. upon receipt) than expected from the photographs, and that's why (at least in part) her girls are thrilled.

Just goes to show how imperfect electronic communication can be!

Jennifer said...

So true. The buyer was very pleased with the appearance of the books, and I misunderstood because of the first feedback. Words can be easily misconstrued! It also reminds me of how important it is to be concise in the wording of feedback, since a positive comment can seem like a negative comment when it is not.

Jenn said...

The negative buyer sounds kind of nutty. Like the kind of person who's never pleased and very "high maintenance." I think it's good that you blocked them, much less difficult not dealing with those kind of people.


Lauren said...

The negative buyer sounds kind of nutty. Like the kind of person who's never pleased and very "high maintenance." I think it's good that you blocked them, much less difficult not dealing with those kind of people.

Too true. I have occasionally blocked people based on their tone when they ask me questions. People who come across as very demanding and sometimes accusatory (re: stated shipping prices or something) get a block from me. I know I am costing myself potential bids, but it's worth it to me to save the headache that inevitably comes from dealing with people like that.

stratomiker said...

The feedback system is totally meaningless; it has no value or credibility whatsoever. Anyone who tries to make sense of it is just beating a dead horse. I am always surprised when someone pays attention to it. Anything stacked so heavily in favor of one side of a two-sided situation just plain has no point.


Jennifer said...

That is exactly why these types of buyers are now running amok on eBay. They can do whatever they want with no one to stop them. All we can do is block them when we notice them.