Feedback Manipulation to Avoid
Sellers and buyers want and need the best feedback possible. Unfortunately, some of them try coercion to guarantee that they will get a good rating. For example, after you win an auction and pay a seller, he may e-mail you: “I will leave positive feedback for you after you leave positive feedback for me.” Or, the message may be less direct: “Thank you for bidding. I'm very proud of my 100% seller rating.” The hint, of course, is that you should do nothing to cause any threats to that record.
Other common forms of feedback manipulation include:
Directly or indirectly creating positive feedback for yourself
Posting negative feedback for others by using secondary accounts or willing associates
Leaving unwarranted negative feedback for a buyer or seller whom you dislike or view as a rival
Yahoo's auction site includes a warning against trying to manipulate feedback by “leaving negative feedback if a user fails to do something that is unrelated to the auction.” The warning does not explain what that “something” is. But a buyer, miffed at losing a desired object at the last second to a bid sniper, might decide to take her anger out on you by winning another of your items, and then posting negative feedback about the auction she lost.
When used properly, feedback helps minimize fraud, and it shines a clear spotlight that helps separate the good buyers and sellers from the questionable and the bad. Your goal should be to get and give the best feedback possible, while protecting the reputation of your business. The law of averages says you will never please all of the people all of the time, especially in online auctions. Problems will arise, and negative feedback situations will happen. But these can be overcome with knowledge, effort, time, and a positive attitude.