One day, you’re wandering around your favorite online marketplace, and you suddenly start noticing the little eBay stars all over the place. One might be purple with little speed lines in the bottom left . . .
. . . another might be green . . .
. . . and another might be turquoise.
What do these eBay star colors mean? If you’re a buyer, should you only buy from sellers with certain kinds of stars? If you’re a seller, how do you get a star of your own, and how can you tell how good yours is?
The star ratings on eBay show off how much positive Feedback a seller has received. Each time you receive positive Feedback, you get one point towards your star. You lose a point every time you get a negative rating. Neutral ratings have no effect.
When you get enough points, eBay gives you a star according to this chart:
The right column says “Number of ratings,” but it really means, “The number of positive ratings minus the number of negative ratings.”
Let’s say a seller has received Feedback 11 times, all of it positive. That gives her 11 points. Since that’s between 10 and 49 points, she gets a yellow star.
But one day, someone gives her negative Feedback. This costs her a point and she now has a score of 10. Luckily, she gets to keep her star.
Finally, she gets a neutral rating. This doesn’t cost or give her a point, so she stays at 10.
If that seller gets more negative Feedback and sinks below 10 points, she’ll lose her yellow star. But she’ll get promoted to a blue star if her Feedback score rises to 50 or higher.
Just in case you couldn't view the screenshot of the chart, here are the star colors ranked from lowest to highest, along with their minimum scores:
Once you’ve reached a score of 10,000, your star becomes yellow again—but you get those little speed lines that make it a shooting star.
The shooting star colors are:
It seems like eBay is always messing around with their graphics. Sometimes, the stars don’t quite match up to the colors in the chart—for example, the red shooting star in the screenshot above certainly looks orange to me! When this happens, I just look at the little blue number next to the star.
That seller has a Feedback score of 186,659. Therefore, that appears to be eBay’s current idea of a red shooting star.
Your star is based entirely on your Feedback score—as are things like your eligibility for PowerSeller status. If you want a cooler star, focus on getting a higher eBay Feedback score.
Sellers with better stars have sold more stuff on eBay and generally gotten positive reviews. When you find a seller with a shooting star, it means they’ve been at this for a long time. You can probably trust them to treat you well and provide efficient support.
However, that’s not always the case. It sometimes becomes a small business versus big business deal: the big guys are usually faster, but the little guys are more likely to take your complaints seriously. So there’s really no reason not to buy from someone who only has a yellow star.
In the end, it’s better to look at the percentage of positive Feedback that a seller has. It’s safer to buy from someone who has a 98.5% positive rating than someone who has 98%, even—perhaps especially—if the latter has a higher-level star.
eBay stars make nice visual representations of sellers’ accomplishments and experience. Those with better stars will typically be a bit more reliable. But when it comes to deciding whom to buy from, what color star they have shouldn’t make a big difference.
Want to get a better eBay star? Read up on improving your feedback score or learn what it really means to provide exceptional customer service. Or if you want to start selling for the first time and get a star of your own, read our guide to selling on eBay for beginners.
"Feedback Scores, Stars, and Your Reputation." eBay. eBay, n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2016.