Toolhaus.org
Toolhaus FAQ
Toolhaus has received many questions, especially with eBay's recent announcements about changes to feedback - Here's our attempt to answer those questions, and others!
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Contents:
- Blocked!
- SNP Scores and Neutrals  
- "Removed by eBay"
- Second-Guessing eBay
- Feedback Revisions, Jan 2008
- Seller Suspensions

BLOCKED! - What happened? (Jan 2009, still occurring in 2012)
It looks as though eBay has reinstated an old "security improvement" to the site, so that sometimes - not all the time, but sometimes - you need to be logged in before it will show you such information as completed items, user-ID history... or feedback.
Why can I see feedback, but Toolhaus can't?
I'm not sure, but one likely reason is that either you're currently logged in to eBay, or you have some long-lasting "cookie" in your browser that lets eBay know that at some point, you were a valid user. Toolhaus does not have any eBay cookies, and it never logs in, so it's already one step slower than you!
Are they blocking everyone?
I don't know - in fact, one of the strange things is that sometimes the Negs tool gets blocked, and sometimes it doesn't. I can guess at a few reasons for this, but it doesn't change the results. If you're blocked, try again later - maybe 30 minutes, maybe a couple of hours.
Can you fix it or get around it?
Well, I certainly hope to! We'll be trying a few different techniques in the next couple of days, but at this point I couldn't guess how long it'll take. But trust me, we've spent almost seven years dealing with changes to eBay's systems, so I have high hopes that we'll figure out how to handle this one!
» Feb 2009: We've got a fix in place which works most of the time, but not all the time. At this point, that's the best we can do - drat!
Who can I complain to at eBay?
I really don't know. There's the eBay Suggestion Box, but I don't have very high confidence that they're paying attention to that. There are the Discussion Boards and Chat Rooms, some of which are occasionally visited by eBay staff ("Pinks"), but I really don't think that Pinks have much to say to the people making these changes to the site. So, as I said before... I don't know.
Now what?
"Your patience is appreciated." Check back with us, we'll try to add updates to both the main Toolhaus page and the Negs tool as things progress. Predicting the future is a difficult task, though!

SELLER NON-PERFORMANCE (SNP) SCORES - With or without Neutrals?
We're not sure. What we do know is that eBay is no longer counting Neutral FB when computing a user's feedback percentage (eBay Announcement, August 19, 2008). However, there are conflicting reports about how eBay is computing the Seller Non-Performance (SNP) score. One eBayer reports:
A couple eBay employees had posted they would not count anymore but then evidently they were corrected by other eBay employees and that currently they are only looking at whether to keep neutrals in but for the time being still are including them in the buyer dissatisfaction rating.
Does this mean that the 30-Day Negs tool might be reporting the wrong numbers?
No, and maybe. We've updated that tool to show both scores, with and without Neutral FB in the calculation. Keep in mind, though, that because eBay has never given any real information on how these numbers are determined, Toolhaus might still be using the wrong formula.

"REMOVED BY EBAY" - Isn't that a False Positive?
No, not really. While such comments are usually removed due to a seller leaving a False Positive or some other form of feedback abuse, there's no guarantee that it fits the False Positive category.
Okay, but isn't it the same as "Rating withdrawn by eBay"?
No, not at all.
- When a rating is withdrawn, the comment remains visible, but the rating (Pos, Neg, or Neutral) is removed, and no longer counts for or against the user's FB percentage.
- When a rating is removed, the comment itself is replaced with the "removed by eBay" message, but the rating remains - Pos, Neg, or Neutral. Because of the similarity to Withdrawn FB, the Negs tool counts it with other withdrawn comments, although we're also showing the specific number of comments removed by eBay.

SECOND-GUESSING eBAY — What, again?
eBay has made some changes without actually announcing them, or announced changes without actually showing what they'll look like, so it's a bit harder to guess what they want and what users can expect and what Toolhaus should do.
Why did the 90-Day Neg tool change its formula?
As reported by AuctionBytes on Feb 08, 2008, eBay has changed the way they computer the Buyer Dissatisfaction Rate for a seller: "Neutrals have a weight of two-thirds of a negative weight."
Is eBay done tinkering with these formulas yet?
No.

Beginning in March 2008, performance evaluation will be based on a 30-day period. It will also include Item "Significantly Not As Described" (SNAD), and Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs) of 1 or 2. eBay added these factors because buyers leave 1 or 2 DSR ratings nine times more often than negative feedback, which suggests feedback and INRs alone did not reflect customer dissatisfaction.
Fees 2008 Rewards FAQ (Feb 2008)

Does this mean you'll make a 30-Day Negs Tool?
You got it! In March, Toolhaus will change the 90-Day Negs Tool to become the 30-Day Negs Tool! Actually, it'll be the same tool, it'll just have a different time-span by default when checking a seller's feedback. Note that we've already added the option of looking at 30, 60, and 90 days of feedback, so this will be a simple change. We'll also add "warnings" (appearance to be determined) for DSRs less than 3.0; however, we have no way of knowing when a seller has received a SNAD complaint, so as before, our results may differ from eBay's official ratings.
What does the Negs tool mean by "False Positives"?
As explained in our page titled Search for "False positives", eBay has announced that sellers will only be allowed to leave Positive Feedback for buyers, starting in May 2008. Many sellers have indicated that they will use the word "negative" (or "neg" or "FP" or some other code) in their feedback when they feel that a buyer doesn't deserve Positive feedback. This practice has been debated at great length, particularly on eBay's Seller Central Forum, and whether or not it's a good idea, it's still not even certain that eBay will allow such words or codes in feedback. Still, Toolhaus is ready, and using this option to the Negs tool will display "false positive" feedback... assuming there is such a thing!

FEEDBACK REVISIONS — Now what? (re. Jan 29, 2008)
eBay has announced several major changes (see announcements from Bill Cobb and Jim Ambach, and the Upcoming Changes to Feedback) which will affect the site overall, and feedback in particular.
Will Toolhaus survive? Will it still be useful? What now?!
Toolhaus has lived through several changes to eBay Feedback over the years, and even though this looks to be a big change in what's allowed (and required) for eBay users, it looks as though feedback itself will remain the same - meaning, there will still be Positive and Negative FB to count and report here.
» As far as being "useful," it's looking good, but it does mean that we'll be making some necessary and appropriate changes to our tools. Right now, we don't know what those changes will be. We've seen some interesting suggestions... feel free to tell us your ideas!
Will Toolhaus report a user's "true" percentage?
Yes and no. We have always, always, reported the summary numbers from eBay - if they say a user's score is 98%, then that's what we say, too. However, one very-likely change to our tools will be the addition of an "historical" score, one which reports a user's "eBay lifetime" average, not just the most recent 12 months.
» How soon will we have that in place? As soon as possible, but not until after eBay switches to a 12-month score.

SELLER SUSPENSIONS — What happened?
Quote from "policy_steve@ebay.com" (an eBay employee) on the Seller Central Discussion Board, Jun-01-07:

eBay requires sellers to maintain minimum standards in buyer satisfaction. Our goal is to ensure that the marketplace is a safe and reputable place for the community to buy and sell. We have found that 1% of eBay sellers are responsible for 35% of bad buyer experiences on eBay. This not only impacts buyers, but is harmful to other sellers and the eBay marketplace as a whole.

Sellers receiving this notification have been identified as part of this bottom 1% of sellers as measured by Feedback and Item Not Received complaints over the past 90 days. If more than 5% of a seller/s buyers are dissatisfied, as measured by negative and neutral Feedback left or Item Not Received complaints during a 90 day period, the seller is in violation of the Seller Non-Performance policy.

You might also want to read eBay's Official Announcement (made about two and a half months after they started suspending sellers).

So, that cleared things up, right?
Well, no. Later posts by policy_steve ([1], [2]) offered further explanations - for example: "Multiple Negs from a single buyer are counted only as one." Also, Detailed Seller Ratings (DSRs, also known as "star ratings") "are NOT being used in the calculation at this point." Unfortunately, one aspect which is still unclear is exactly how Neutral feedback is used in the calculation - it's definitely a factor, but "[n]o seller would be in violation of the policy based upon Neutrals alone."
What has Toolhaus done in response to these posts?
(Aug-05-07, revised) We've adjusted our calculations for the "90-Day Rating" posted by our 90-Day Negs tool. Specifically, it still shows all "bad" FB, but it now counts only the first FB from each user in the past 90 days; that's our interpretation of those posts, although others disagree. It still counts all Neutral FB as "bad" along with the Negs, since we don't know what factors eBay uses for those items.
Now that Toolhaus has adjusted the 90-Day Negs tool, can we rely on the figures it provides?
Yes, but bear in mind that Toolhaus only looks at a seller's feedback - we have no way of knowing the status of any complaints against the seller, such as "Item Not Received" (INR), which is specifically mentioned as one of the factors in suspending a seller. This means our rating could be too low. Also, our calculations are based on transactions where feedback was left for the seller - we don't try to account for all sales. This means our rating could be too high.
» Even when Toolhaus shows a perfect record for a seller, that's no indication that eBay thinks the seller's record is clean!
Where can I get more information, preferably from actual eBay employees?
I'm glad you asked! As is so often the case, AuctionBytes is a news source worth noting!
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