Title: Buying reputation on eBay: Do recent changes help?

Authors: Federico Dini, Giancarlo Spagnolo

Addresses: Consip S.p.A., Via Isonzo, 19E, 00187 Rome, Italy. ' Faculty of Economics, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Via Columbia 2, 00133 Rome, Italy

Abstract: In this paper we use simple repeated field experiments to show how eBay|s reputation system can be manipulated by purchasing cheap positive feedbacks. Our experiments confirm that |feedback purchase| is still possible even under the new rules that eBay recently adopted to eliminate |padding|. In discussing these rules we conclude that changes have strengthened the reliability of the feedback mechanism with respect to |retaliatory| behaviours, but have weakened it with respect to |feedback purchase|. Finally, we discuss the possible impact of feedback manipulation on eBay and analogous e-commerce platforms, and propose a simple alternative fee policy likely to improve the reliability of the mechanism.

Keywords: eBay; electronic platforms; feedback mechanisms; feedback manipulation; online reputation; purchasing feedback; e-commerce; electronic commerce.

DOI: 10.1504/IJEB.2009.029048

International Journal of Electronic Business, 2009 Vol.7 No.6, pp.581 - 598

Published online: 29 Oct 2009 *

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