Is the LocalBitcoins feedback system getting worse?

Localbitcoins.com just announced much anticipated changes to their feedback system.

elena.localbitcoins Admin

Dear users,

as you might have noticed we made some changes in our feedback system!

Kindly, note that LocalBitcoins do not remove or edit feedback, unless it contains abusive, racist language, threat or exposes personal information.

Each user can give one feedback to another user. Possible feedback options are: Trust, Positive, Neutral, Block and Block without feedback. Positive and Block requires at least one common trade between users.

Feedback is considered confirmed when one of these conditions apply:
Trade amount between users is more than 0.5 btc
Total trade volume of feedback leaver is more than 50 btc
Feedback leaver has verified ID

When feedback is confirmed, it affects the feedback score of the targeted user. When feedback is unconfirmed, it is kept hidden from other users. Only receiving user and admins can see it. Unconfirmed feedback doesn’t affect the feedback score.

Users that never had trades can’t leave feedback to each other, however they can add one another to “Trusted list” or “Not trusted list”

Currently the LBC website is down showing a 500 Internal Error. We will update this as we have more information

A couple of points from this announcement…

  • Their verification system is easily beaten and verified accounts automatically give feedback confirmed status (we will publish details on how LBC verification is broken after giving them time to fix it and avoid more scammers)
  • They have removed the ability to leave negative feedback for someone you have never traded with
  • LBC believes people should be allowed to leave negative feedback for incomplete and/or faked trades.
  • LBC makes leaving negative feedback easy by having extremely low requirements for confirmation (start a trade for 0.5BTC, currently $117USD and cancel).
  • LBC removed the ability for public to see unconfirmed feedback
  • Ignoring the requests of many many users, LBC did not add the ability to see the name of the person leaving feedback

What we take from this is that Localbitcoin’s primary concern is reducing the amount of support tickets they must deal with by limiting any valid information feedback shares. This blocks effected users from mounting any reasonable defense. It allows support to simply deny away most complaints because the effected trader is prevented from gathering evidence that would support the feedback is false/unjustified.

It also does not seem to be providing information that is actually confirmed in any meaningful way. They removed the ability for public viewing of feedback left by bots. Then they elevated the importance of incomplete trades that had previously been unconfirmed and are easily faked.

The only positive thing about this announcement is that Nikolaus (one of the LBC management team) was actively responding in the forums to user comments. This is extremely rare as LBC is known for ignoring user opinion and rarely publicly responding to comments in the forums.

It has already been pointed out in one of the groups on another website that the last time LBC acted was after a flood of support tickets. The suggestion is that everyone start trades for 0.5BTC, cancel, neg each other and then contact LBC to fix it.

Our suggestion is that buyers continue seeking alternatives to Localbitcoins.com such as Bitwallet.cc. We offer lower prices there to encourage buyer to use it.

What suggestions do you have?

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