Shopping from my sofa

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
August 03, 2010, 6:53 PM GMT+0

Online auctioneer and ‘marketplace’ giant eBay has been climbing up the TellYouGov leaderboard in recent days amid a sharp rise in volume score and a gentle decrease in sentiment. The brand’s volume score has risen significantly from 6 to 64 points in the past 24 hours, while the sentiment score has decreased by six points to a decidedly neutral zero in the same time. This suggests a sizeable increase in feelings towards the brand, but mixed comments overall.

Negative and positive comments sit side by side in relation to the brand, with many praising this ‘amazing site’ as an ‘easy and cheaper way to shop’. One user, or ‘tygger’, echoed the comments, or ‘tygs’, of many by saying the site was ‘great to find a bargain’; while another thrilled tygger was more specific, saying that they’d ‘picked up a really expensive dress for one fifth of the original price!’
Others were very happy with the ‘fantastic shopping experience’, while one especially relaxed tygger thought that ‘shopping from my bed or sofa is definitely the way forward’, especially when ‘eBay sellers are so fast’ and ‘far better than many major mail order companies’.


The negative score suggests that feeling has taken on a negative slant, however, and the comments themselves demonstrate this. Many tyggers feel that the site can be ‘untrustworthy’ and in contrast to some, others find it ‘expensive’ as it adversely ‘dominates the market’.

Other customers were worried about safety, with some very dissatisfied tyggers complaining about ‘dodgy sellers’ and ‘fake goods’. Many lamented how eBay’s payment system ‘PayPal takes a chunk of your profits’ while others warned that ‘it was very difficult to get money back’ in the event of a return. And the site’s customer services, which a few praised as ‘very helpful’, were in fact largely branded as ‘hard to understand’, ‘unhelpful’, ‘poor’ and ‘appalling’ by many more contributors.

All in the technique

It seems that success with eBay is, in fact, all in the technique. While one called it the ‘student’s best friend’, they added the proviso ‘if it is used wisely!’, and others agreed, suggesting that customers’ experience of eBay was actually all down to the ‘honesty of the seller’, so you need to be ‘choosy about who you buy from’. One tygger related how, when ‘selling stuff for the first time on eBay’, their ‘mistakes and not understanding all the rules nearly ended up costing [them] more than [they] made’.

With some saying ‘rip-off’ and others saying ‘love it!’, and one particularly enthusiastic tygger exclaiming ‘best site known to man’, it seems eBay polarises opinion like few other online stores. But one statement captured the sentiment perfectly. ‘eBay’, they tygged, ‘Great when it works; dire when it doesn’t.’

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