Title: The actual structure of eBay's feedback mechanism and early evidence on the effects of recent changes

Authors: Tobias J. Klein, Christian Lambertz, Giancarlo Spagnolo, Konrad O. Stahl

Addresses: Department of Econometrics and OR, Tilburg University, P.O. Box 90153, 5000 LE Tilburg, The Netherlands. ' Department of Economics, University of Mannheim, 68131 Mannheim, Germany. ' Faculty of Economics, Department of Economics and Institutions, University of Rome 'Tor Vergata', Via Columbia 2, 00133 Rome, Italy. ' Department of Economics, University of Mannheim, 68131 Mannheim, Germany

Abstract: eBay|s feedback mechanism is considered crucial to establishing and maintaining trust on the world|s largest trading platform. Yet, there is confusion among users about its exact institutional details, which changed substantially in May 2007. Most importantly, buyers now have the possibility to leave additional, anonymous ratings on sellers on four different criteria. We provide a thorough description of the institutional details of eBay|s feedback mechanism, including those changes. Then, we provide first descriptive evidence on the impact of those changes on rating behaviour.

Keywords: eBay; reputation mechanism; strategic feedback behaviour; informational content; reciprocity; retaliation fears; electronic business; e-business; feedback mechanisms; rating behaviour.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEB.2009.026532

International Journal of Electronic Business, 2009 Vol.7 No.3, pp.301 - 320

Published online: 19 Jun 2009 *

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