I Need Your Help – eBay Feedback Research


I need your help with a curious project I am working on.

I’m going to mine 250,000 eBay feedback comments and look for some common themes among them and see what can we learn from what’s been left so that we can make our businesses better.


Mining the Data

We take positive feedback as granted and tend to focus on only the bad side, well we would they are the ones that stick in our immediate memories.

But… what really makes buyers leave positive feedback? and crucially what can we learn by looking at a large number of feedback comments that have been left over a variety of businesses? Are there common themes, is one business excelling where another is not?

I’ve already worked out that I need to split them across users that have 3rd party software tools and ones that don’t and a good mix across different eBay categories to obtain a wide set of sample data and also no older than 6 months.

The reason why I’m curious about this project is because I’m really interested in what are the common comments left and from the sample set of data, is there such a thing as a “Perfect eBay Feedback Comment” using the top 10 or so words and if it has left in the sample set?

I’m also really curious how as a nation how polite we are using words such as “thank you” and “thanks” and what makes a buyer use emotional words like “love” and “excited”. How important delivery time is and what percentage references to “fast delivery”, “next day” and to try and apply some numbers to the words used such as “comms”, “communications” and what relationship there is between feedback comments left that use these terms for sellers that use and do not use advanced tools like CA or ESP and then to spin them against the keyword “service”.

What impact does free shipping have on feedback comments that are left, does item value change the tone of the feedback comments left and what, if any difference eTRS has between the common keywords for praise for sellers that have eTRS and sellers that do not.

Your Help

I’ve never seen this done publicly before and I’m going to build out a few theories beforehand and then test to see if they are true or not, but that’s where I need your help:

  • Is there a theme or comparison that I have not thought of above yet?
  • Is there a way of comparing the comment or the contents of the comment to another attribute like eTRS or similar that I have not thought of?
  • What do you think I’ll find?

Let me know in the comments box below:

Looking for BETA Testers – A Couple of eBay Related Widgets


I’ve been working on a couple of widgets for eBay and I’m wondering if you would be interested in using them to help me make them better before they’re released publicly.

There are a few of them as listed below and I’ll cover them in more detail:

  • Dynamic eBay Store Categories for eBay Listings
    (Now live here)
  • Dynamic Related Items Gallery
  • Terapeak Value Summaries
  • Single & Multi-variation data extraction for sales

If any of these grab your attention, the contact details are at the bottom of this article.


Dynamic eBay Store Categories

Update: This is now live see this article.

Having the eBay shop categories in your listings can be exceptionally important as part of an exit strategy to your listings. So I’ve build a dynamic categories widget that anyone can use.

What does this widget do?

This widget brings in your eBay shop categories into your eBay listing and updates every 24 hours.

A little background

eBay Shop Listing Frame

This widget has been bugging me for months and a few days ago I finally worked how it was done and wrote the code to create them for any account with an eBay Shop.

It’s fine if you have eSellerPro, a special keyword was added called “{{MenuCategoryList}}” that will bring through the eBay shop categories in your eBay listings from the template and allow you to format them (you also need to set some static information in maintenance > accounts for this to work properly).

But even that’s not the ideal solution as if you add or remove categories from your eBay Shop then you have to revise your live listings, which when you have thousands of listings can take hours to complete.

You could of course turn on the listing frame that eBay provides. This will do the same job, but it’s missing one key ability. The ability to style it as it’s outside the iframe that the listing description sits in. So that’s really only a temporary measure at best.

The part that has been bugging me is that not everyone has eSellerPro, even the keyword that they use is not ideal, plus as mentioned above the eBay listing frame is a viable alternative, but you just can’t style it using CSS and to have this as part of your eBay listing template can cost the best part of £100 from a couple of eBay design companies. Nice, but not worth £100 for that alone IMHO.

So now I’ve written a block of code that will give you the eBay shop categories dynamically, just add your eBay ID, paste into your eBay listing and it just works.

For advanced users, I’ve added ID and CLASS tags to the right sections of the category tree, you can style them however you like too. They’re cached overnight and if you add or remove categories, then they’ll be reflected the next day.

Dynamic Related Items Gallery

This also stems from a me seeing a piece of functionality a few weeks ago and putting it on my to-do list and actually getting around to coding this.

What does this do?

This will give you a scrolling related items widget that you can use in either your eBay shop or in your eBay listings and also control what is or what is not shown by shop category or keywords.

If you take a look at this eBay shop http://stores.ebay.de/Crumpler-Outlet you’ll see that there are two pretty cool rotating widgets for “Best Sellers” and “New Arrivals”. A screen shot of this is below:

Related Items Widget

While best sellers and new arrivals are nice for an eBay shop, what would be much better is that such a widget would be better off in the eBay listing and that’s exactly the route I took.

I now have a dynamic related items widget that will accept:

  • No input for all the items in the shop,
  • Items from a specific eBay shop category
  • A specific keyword or set of keywords
  • Or a combination of both a shop category and keywords

Oh and they can be fully customised to your eBay shop/listing template design as shown by the live listing here and in the screen shot below:

Related Items eBay Widget

Terapeak Value Summaries

Terapeak is fab for mining one part of eBay which is sales related. But it has bugged me for months as I just can’t do the maths on the search results quick enough.

This is the first of two scripts that bend rules, hence you’ll need to read the disclaimer section further down when it comes to this and the eBay variations one below.

What does this do?

This will summarise the results page in less than a second for you and add it as summary line on the page. Thus saving you from trying to guestimate the results and give you accurate figures instantly.

I showed this to someone on Friday and they came back with an excellent suggestion (which I’ll add), which is that showing the totals and average sale price was fantastic, but they’d also like to know the market share of that keyword for each seller ID.

So next to eBay Seller ID, I’ll be adding percentage share that each Seller ID has for that specific search term. That’s exactly the reason why I’m sharing these to make them better!

A screenshot of this in action is below. Imagine you wanted to know what the total value of a specific search term(s) , the number of listings, bids, sold quantity as a total and a better idea of a ASP, you can now easily find out:

Terapeak Example

Single & Multi-Variation Data Extraction For Sales History

While we’re on the topic of Terapeak, Terapeak is excellent for working out relatively accurate sales figures for eBay listings, but the part where it falls down is that it does not report on the actual variations of a single or multi-variation listing.

That information is absolutely critical to making a buying decision based on sales history data.

Let me explain this to you with an example. I’ve made a search for “Maxi Dress” on eBay and found this item number http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/300648608435 now let’s assume that we are able to source this or a similar product.

eBay Sales History Example

eBay tells us that +1,000 of these have sold and that’s great. Terapeak will give us a total sales value for that listing, but what it does not tell us is what combinations they sell and in what velocity.

So to make an informed buying decision on the same or similar product, we need to know what has sold, in which variations, at what price and when. That kind of information can make the difference between potentially buying the wrong sizes, the wrong colours and making profit.

This will extract this for you to a CSV file, with each variation on a separate line and able to handle up to 4 variations and for a total of 100 sales. The limit of 100 sales is what is imposed by eBay from the sales history page. Buyer details are not extracted as they’re irrelevant.


The Terapeak script and the eBay extraction script both come with warnings as they both bend terms of service agreements and I’m writing this with two specific people in mind.

In both these instances a user can obtain this data by a basic copy/paste from the page and sorting it out in excel. Neither of these scripts make subsequent calls to other pages (ie: no extra page load because of their usage) and are either manipulating live data on a page or saving it in a well formatted manner for the purposes of bettering the users research activities. Also in both instances, neither are detectable as they are run client side :P

Your Feedback!

If any of these tickle your fancy, please contact me directly here and if you have any comments or suggestions on what I’ve covered above, I’d love to hear from you in the comments box below.

That’s How You Solve Scroll bars in eBay Listings! – Fix eBay’s Duff Code

I covered this previously in an article called “Do you keep seeing scroll bars on your eBay listings?” and as I started to explore this again for someone it became apparent that eBay’s JavaScript code is actually broken.

But before we go any further, I am fully aware that this could be classed as “site interference” by eBay (again this a debatable subject, as I’d class it as fixing a known problem, hence the following notice), so this comes with an explicit warning not to use this code, but for eBay to pick up this article and relay it to the right department (as I know you read this site *coff*).

Unpicking the Code

In the comments of the earlier article “Do you keep seeing scrollbars on your eBay listings?” I soon worked out why the scrollbars were appearing, the height attribute was not being assigned back to the page correctly.

eBay pass a variable in the URL of the item being viewed, I’m sure you have seen it before it looks like “#ht_1480wt_1396″at the end. What this is, is the height at 1480 and the width at 1396.

Now eBay have got the code in a subfunction called “ifr.getSize = function (some code here) “. This function gets the width really well and I have never seen an issue with the width on an eBay listing that has not been the code the seller made.

The code looks like this:

if (document.all) {
h = document.body.scrollHeight;
w = document.body.scrollWidth;
if (oCl.bIE && oCl.iVer >= 9 && document.getElementById('EBdescription')) {
h = document.getElementById('EBdescription').scrollHeight;
var u = document.location.href;
if (u && u.indexOf('&tid=') != -1 && document.getElementById('ngvi_store_id')) {
h = document.getElementById('ngvi_store_id').scrollHeight;
h = h + 40;
} else {
h = document.body.offsetHeight;
if (oCl.bSafari && oCl.iVer >= 523) {
w = document.body.scrollWidth;
} else {
w = document.body.offsetWidth;
if (window.scrollMaxX !== 0) {
w += window.scrollMaxX;

The line in bold works really well as most listings have a normal width “w = document.body.scrollWidth;“. But the function to get the height, well that’s forked, AKA broken.

And the problem is really obvious now, the code to set the height is trying to get the height straight away and in that attempt lies the problem, you can’t get the accurate height of a page if it’s not loaded yet!

I’d also like to point out at in the code that is in the iframe, eBay has gone for the right DIV tag, but forgotten to add an ELSE statement after it with some extra code to grab the other event, ie what happens if ngvi_store_id is not found?

So to the function that gets the page sizes (“ifr.getSize”) needs to be slowed down by a few seconds to let the iframe contents (that’s your descriptions) actually load.

Using something like this would work well:

setTimeout("ifr.getSize()", 5000);
rest of the code

But we don’t have control over that code, so the way to get around this is to add a delay and then force the parent URL of the listing to have new values for “#ht_” and “wt”.

About 5 seconds to be precise, plenty enough time for the entire description to have loaded and then send back the correct height to the eBay handler so that the scroll bars go away, because we now what the correct height actually is and have not been so eager to fix the page height.

<script type="text/javascript">
setTimeout("FixMyListingHeight()", 5000);
function FixMyListingHeight(){
var rf = window.document.referrer;
if (oCl.bSafari && oCl.iVer >= 523) {
w = document.body.scrollWidth;
} else {
w = document.body.offsetWidth;
if (window.scrollMaxX !== 0) {
w += window.scrollMaxX;
h = document.body.scrollHeight;
parent.location.replace(rf + '#ht_' + h + 'wt_' + w);
parent.frames[0].location.replace(sUrl + '&c=' + callerId + '#ht_' + h + 'wt_' + w);

This code is not perfect, but it works on IE, FF and Chrome. In FF the height get’s over-amplified, in this case, it’s a good problem, it just means it’s a long page to scroll through to ask a question :)

What it is missing is some specific code to catch the different browser versions as they appear to report back the height incorrectly across the browsers. That’s beyond my coding skills, I’m just pointing out what the issue is [it needs to be slowed down] and now how to solve it :)

Thought I’d share that with you, as the silly scroll bars have been driving me nuts for months.