Ebay's purchase of Epinions has a lot of sellers wondering what the hell is going on. To be more specific, Ebay is now asking buyers to rate sellers based on multiple factors, including accuracy of item description, communication, speed of shipment and "reasonable shipping charges", which is completely arbitrary.
Apparently Ebay used the European Union as their test market for this new system. And power sellers aren't happy about the changes, asking that they should have been included in the testing within the U.S. market. As a business person it makes sense to include your stakeholders prior to rocking their world.
What's even stranger is that even with the acquisition of Epinions, it appears that Ebay really has no idea what to do with it. In Emanuel Rosen's "The Anatomy of Buzz" he points to Epinions as a valuable resource for unbiased product reviews, especially as it relates to larger purchases. For no reason I'll point you to a photo of me with Emanuel that needs Photoshopping, taken from the San Francisco WOMMA conference in June of 2006.
Given that Epinions scenario, it would only make sense to have a standard format and truly integrate the two sites. Starting a completely separate Ebay ratings system from Epinions devalues the other, not to mention that there is no cohesiveness between the two - Epinions only requires an overall rating, not broken down into categories.
I understand the value of owning millions of consumer reviews, but owning something just to own it makes absolutely no sense.