So made a change in policy today. My gut reaction is to ask, “Is this news?” but me share it with you and let you decide. Because while, by itself, it isn’t earth shattering, I have a feeling it might be a hint of things to come on the mother ship (eBay). Policy Update: Mandatory shipment tracking on expedited orders on starting 7/12/10

Currently, many buyers who order items with expedited shipping are not provided tracking information by our sellers. To address this concern, will be making the following changes to our shipping policy for expedited shipments, effective July 12, 2010:

1. To improve trust, safety, and user experience on the site, beginning July 12, 2010, sellers who offer expedited shipping will need to enter tracking information into the website for all expedited orders within 3 business days of making a sale.

Please note: The policy change outlined above only impacts orders where the buyer has paid for expedited shipping. Sales with standard shipping will not be affected by this policy change.

2. Sellers can enter tracking information when they mark transactions as shipped via their My Account “Sales” page, through the PayPal shipping label service (where delivery confirmation is free on Priority Mail and discounted on other forms of U.S. Postal Service shipping), through the CompleteSale API; or through File Exchange.

3. If tracking is not uploaded within 3 business days, expedited shipping will be disabled on the seller’s account and will not be available as a shipping option on the seller’s current and future listings.

4. In order to re-enable expedited shipping, sellers must upload tracking for all outstanding expedited orders within 3 business days after the expedited shipping option was disabled; otherwise, expedited shipping will be permanently disabled on the seller’s account until the seller contacts Customer Support to review and approve re-enabling expedited shipping.

We feel this change will provide a better buying experience on, and will hopefully generate more sales for sellers that are offering expedited shipping. Additionally, this change should reduce the number of emails from buyers to sellers asking for tracking information, as the tracking information will be available in the buyer’s account. We believe this will be a positive change for both our buyers and our sellers.

Thank you,

My initial reactions to this were all of the follow:

  1. What Mickey Mouse amateur still isn’t offering tracking on expedited shipping? 
  2. Every since they integrated Print and Ship with, you almost have to try hard not to have tracking.
  3. This’ll probably give eBay ideas. 
  4. Is this a bad thing?

Let’s think about this at this for a minute. In a way, eBay and Half were basically “requiring” tracking before because if you couldn’t prove the item arrived, you had no recourse but to refund in the claim process (one could say the same for Amazon sellers while we are at it). So making it official isn’t really a bad thing. If anything, it protects the newbie or smaller seller that didn’t realize they needed the protection of tracking.

Or is there a downside to this I’m not seeing?