Global / International eBay Site List

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:

8 replies
  1. Brian Trevaskiss
    Brian Trevaskiss says:

    Interesting idea.

    One think to look at or to consider is:

    Some sellers sell multiples of the same item – they may sell 500 units of exactly the same thing – so the chance of a problem is limited.

    Others (like ourselves) sell ones and twos of many, many different items – so the chance of negative feedback due to an error in the description increases.

    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:

      Hi Brian,

      Thank you for the comment.

      That’s a good point, the frequency of sales/chance of a negative could be an interesting stat to look for. When I left this a few weeks ago, I had mined about 100,000 feedback comments, some interesting details already starting to come to light, but I’m saving that for once I’ve got a bigger sample set.


  2. Marshall
    Marshall says:

    In the millions of feedback messages I’ve seen over the years, the ones that I’ve found the most puzzling are those that are a negative or neutral feedback, but the content of the comment is quite positive. I know eBay’s process really pushes buyers to resolve the issue rather than non-positive feedback yet these people still manage to get it through. The other ones are the negative/neutral comments that are personal preference product-based (“I didn’t like it”) rather than being any reflection on the seller or the product itself. A few random recent examples:

    Negative: I wanted to cancel my order the same day and they told me it is too late
    Neutral: Good seller
    Neutral: Works great and shipped fast but you have to hit it hard to work
    Negative: Tried everything and cannot get this to work. I’d like a refund please
    Neutral: nice
    Negative: 5 stars A+++ Great item, price and fast shipping!!! Thank you very much…
    Neutral: delivered and left at wrong house…Lucky the owners know me.

    Sure it’s a small percentage of the total feedback messages, but the percentage of negative and neutral are pretty small anyway.

    • Matthew Ogborne
      Matthew Ogborne says:

      Howdy Marshall,

      That’s an interesting aspect, I was hoping to have kept away from the neutrals/negatives, but at least seeing what percentage of neutrals & negatives that come back as positives would be curious, as you suggest, its going to be minute through as a whole.


    • Steve Walsh
      Steve Walsh says:

      I second this. I have only just joined the online retail market and have been a little confounded at some of the comments left by people. We’ve had a few “neutral” feedbacks along the lines of “great product, will use again” or there may have been an issue with their order, we offer an upgrade at no extra charge and a neutral feedback is returned. Weird. The consumer mindset on Ebay is unlike anything else I’ve seen.

  3. Dave Furness
    Dave Furness says:

    Hey Matt

    Hope your well matey :)

    Wow this is an interesting one, One things that is apparent to me is the feedback left for consumer electronic items is very different to that left for ladies fashion.

    I think that will be an interesting one to look at, does the item being bought bring out different emotions in the buyer. Looking at the feedback now there are an awful lot of ‘Love’ and ‘happy’ comments. I think what your likely to find is that different products bring out different emotional responses. Less likely to get a love comment for a piece of furniture or a TV but perhaps more likely for an item of clothing which was just what the buyer was looking for to complete an outfit etc.

    Will be very interested to see the results though



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