Saturday, March 9, 2013

Such and Such Saturday and Sunday: TPT and Feedback

Lately there has been a lot of controversy on people providing feedback on freebies and items sold on Teachers Pay Teachers. I am writing this post (a little bit out of frustration) and a little bit of trying to understand and a little bit of trying to help resolve the situation between sellers and buyers. I'm telling ya sellers are getting frustrated and that possibly means less opportunities for you regarding items to buy or freebies and we definitely do not want that.

First I wanted to tell you WHY to leave feedback. 
When you leave feedback on a paid item, you get TPT credits that you can use towards future purchases. It's kind of like Kohl's cash or Best buy points haha. Why would you not get more out of your money! It's totally worth it and you acquire points faster than you realize I promise. I have received many paid items for free by using these TPT credits. 

Second, I wanted to tell you all how I provide feedback on TPT. I have put together some scenarios, what I do and why I do it. 

 Scenario 1: I am wandering around Facebook and I see a flash freebie! 

What I do: Yay hoorah that item is normally (8 dollars) and I get it for free. I quickly glance at the description and who it is intended for. I hurry up and download. Then I LOOK through it. If there are major errors in the document then I might message the seller on FB and say so to prevent the person from getting negative feedback on the item in the future when the material is being sold. ALL of the sellers I have come to know so well immediately make the adjustments to the major errors and upload the new item. Therefore, I leave feedback on TPT according to HOW I will use the item and thank them for the freebie. If there are no errors at all it just doesn't fit my caseload, then I will simply thank the seller for the freebie and move on. I don't like to use the word never, but very very very very rarely will I leave negative feedback on a freebie. 

Why I do that:  I am VERY thankful to my followers who do this for me. When I premiered my "Who's hat is this activity" I had a lovely follower tell me that I misused the word "who's by saying whose". I immediately changed the document to the correct grammar verbage. However, I leave positive feedback on the content of the activity because I know the minor or major errors are going to be fixed because I just notified the seller. Therefore I leave a positive note on how I am going to use the item and happily download the item when they fix. (Most sellers will re-open the glitched freebie for another chance to download the updated version or they will somehow get it to you).

Scenario 2: I am going across TPT or FB and I see a new freebie posted by a favorite seller of mine. I immediately think YAY another freebie. 

What I do: I check over the description and see what its about. I download the item if at that point I feel like it fits. Then I look over the item. Usually I like to use my item in my speech room prior to leaving feedback. 

Why I do that: I WILL NEVER LEAVE NEGATIVE FEEDBACK ON A FREEBIE. Why? It's FREEEEE. This is an item that some seller some where has put a lot of time into or maybe just a little time into- but nonetheless it's time. Time away from our families, activities, down time etc. If there was something about the freebie that I didn't like, then I did a poor job of screening the item prior to downloading. In that case, the feedback I leave will be: Thank you for the activity.

Scenario 3: I get an email about a new item that I am interested in buying. I go look over the description to make sure it is appropriate for my caseload. I look at the graphics to make sure I like them and that they fit. I go purchase the item and download it. Use it in my classroom and LOVE it. 

What do I do: I look over the item and use it in my classroom. After I have used it in my classroom, I then leave feedback on the item. I tell the seller how I used the item. I thank them for the item. I leave the appropriate amount of feedback to let other buyers know how great the item was (if that was the case and usually it is). 

Why do I do that: So other buyers can know that this is a quality item and worth purchasing. 

Scenario 4: I get an email about a new item that I am interested in buying. I go look over the description to make sure it is appropriate for my caseload. I look at the graphics to make sure I like them and that they fit. I go purchase the item and I find 3 grammar errors.

What do I do: I Q&A the seller on TPT or if I happen to know them I ask them on their FB page via a message to fix the error. If the error is fixed and a revision is sent to TPT and I am notified. I re-print the error'd pages and go on. I leave feedback under the item to receive my TPT credits and tell them how I used the item. 

Why do I do that: People make mistakes. If it happens a lot, then I take that seller off of my email list and I don't purchase from them anymore. Now you have helped the seller too because you get the revised item and the seller now has a better activity for other buyers.

Scenario 5: I see a new freebie on FB or TPT and I don't like or I don't think it will fit my caseload by looking at the description or by looking at the preview pictures. 

What do I do: I PASS IT UP! I don't download it and leave negative feedback saying that "this does not fit my caseload".

Why do I do that: its FREE! AND if it doesn't fit my caseload why in the world would I download it. Don't waste your time people. If you download it and it doesn't fit your caseload then just don't leave feedback because that is NOT the sellers fault. Sellers make items that fit their caseloads then open them up to you all to download and make a clinical judgment. 

Scenario 6: (THE ONE AND ONLY TIME I LEAVE NEGATIVE FEEDBACK) I come across an item on TPT. I look over the description, the pictures, the age group. I feel it is great for my classroom. I purchase it.

What I do: I use it in my classroom and find out that the description had nothing to do with the activity and the pictures were not a good judge of the item. I had trouble using it with my students and the seller hasn't returned an answer on the Q&A portion of the item. I then leave negative feedback on the item. 

Why do I that: I gave the seller a chance to correct the item. I don't want other buyers to be duped like I was because the description and preview pictures had nothing to do with the activity bought. 

Scenario 7: You purchase an item and you have trouble seeing the fonts. 

What do I do: I try opening the item in using a different computer or a different software package. Some fonts do not show up on Macs or windows depending on the software and font that the seller used to make the item. If I just cannot get the item to open using anything I have. I will contact the seller kindly asking them to send me the PDF via email.

Why do I do that: It's not the sellers fault that you can't open up the item.

Of course, there are many more scenarios present, but these are the major ones I come across from day to day. 

So here are some ending conclusions and tips:
1. Look through the description of the item.
2. Look at the preview pictures.
3. If you like the freebie, let the seller know (YOU get TPT Credits to use towards future purchases!)
4. If you don't like the item or if it doesn't fit your caseload, don't download it and leave negative feedback. It's not the sellers fault. 
5. If there are some minor errors, let the seller know before leaving feedback. There is even a place on TPT that suggests this prior to leaving feedback. Everyone makes mistakes and know that we are only human too who have busy lives as well. 

Things to consider:
1. Sellers are buyers too. We go buy the policy of what goes around, comes around. So we use these same guidelines when downloading other people's activities.
2. If a seller is new- give them a break. They are NEW. Of course their stuff isn't going to be as good as some of the other things that people have been selling for years. 
3. How much time has TPT saved you over time. If a seller has one item that wasn't up to their own standards, don't knock them for it. 
4. I am an overall positive person, so I don't like leaving negative feedback unless the product is just flat out not what I wanted or thought I was buying. 
5, If you didn't like an item the way it was designed. Try adapting it to fit your own caseload. I do this A LOT! A LOT! It's not the sellers fault that it didn't fit your caseload EXACTLY. Remember they made it for THEIR caseload.
6. If you find that you are  unhappy with items purchased over and over again. Maybe TPT is not the place for you to purchase activities for your classroom. I do the same in real life. If I consistently don't get good service at Macy's, then I won't go to Macy's anymore. (this isn't true just an example).

For my buyers, I like for you all to be knowledgeable buyers. SO for my paid products be sure to tune into my Tangled Tuesday posts on Facebook that can link you the blogger that is featuring my item for that week. There you can see how that blogger used my item and it usually contains a more in depth analysis of the item in addition to the description that you see on TPT. Most sellers feature their paid items in a blogpost that has a description that is more in depth. 

I hope you all are not too tired after reading this whole thing. I am not trying to cause controversy, I am trying to prevent it or help reduce it. So please do no shoot the messenger. I do not speak for all TPT sellers, but I have spoken to many. 


  1. I hope you haven't gotten lots of negative feedback because you have great products! Also, as a seller, I will have looked over my product 10-20 times and even then, I miss stuff....I rely on gentle feedback to help me out with that. So far everyone has been gracious if I have a spelling or typo error. Some people will never be satisfied.

    1. I haven't received many negative comments, but some. Like Rebecca said below if someone is going to put a low rating tell why so the seller can fix the problem. I look over my items a TON then I usually have someone else proofread it also, but things fall through the cracks. You are correct some people are hard to please and I think that is the nature of selling =D

  2. Thank you for this posting. I love when people take time to leave feedback! It is frustrating when you have a FREEBIE and over 1000 people have downloaded it but only 2 people comment. I try to leave feedback every time-I think the idea to leave feedback for freebies right away is helpful because sometimes it doesn't show up in your TPT purchased material lists.

  3. As a TPT seller, it's also very frustrating to receive comments about how much you love a product, or how well it worked for you, and then be given a poor rating with no explanation as to why. I would gladly go back and update products to be of better use to my buyers, but without constructive feedback, I'm unable to do so. (And when I do revise the file, feedback on the new file would be helpful, too, so I know I'm making the right changes.)

    Talking With Rebecca

    1. This is VERY frustrating Rebecca and this has happened to me as well as other sellers that I am aware of. This is one area I am not sure how to fix or help people. I feel its hard to tell people who it is so important to have a 4.0 rating because some people won't purchase something that has a 3.9 rating or less. However, on the flip side, I hope people can see through those ratings and can determine for themselves whether a material is high quality or not.

  4. I like this post very much b/c for those of us who don't have TpT accounts it helps us to understand the importance of leaving CONSTRUCTIVE feedback for other buyers as well as for sellers. I think there is nothing wrong with focusing on your caseload and creating materials that work about your kiddos...if it works for someone else great for them. If not, your allegiance it to your students first. Thanks for this post!

    1. Thats basically the policy I have adopted. I am glad this post has been informational for everyone. My intent was to help people understand all of the things you mentioned. Thank you for the comment =)

  5. Thanks for the information. I'm fairly new to TPT. I have bought several items and left feedback. When I download a freebie I haven't been able to leave feedback...I thought I could only leave feedback if it was a paid item. So now I need to figure out how to leave feedback on a freebie - regular freebies and flash freebie. I'm VERY grateful for them, so certainly would love to be able to say so.

    1. You are welcome! When you download a freebie, go to Ratings and Comments and leave feedback there. When you purchase an item, it has them under the purchased tab of TPT. None of the freebies will show up there. So go to the item you downloaded as a freebie- then go to Ratings and Comments and leave the feedback you desire. Does that make sense?

  6. Hello,
    Thank you for taking the time to write this post. I am not a seller on TPT, but I have bought several items and love getting the freebie emails just to see what what other SLPs are doing in their therapy. It is just so wrong that people give poor ratings for a FREE product that someone has given them! It's like getting an unexpected extra present from someone to brighten your day and then telling them it's not what you wanted. TPT should change their freebie ratings system so that you can ONLY leave positive feedback on free downloads.
    Thank you and don't get discouraged.

    1. You are very welcome! I think that would be a good idea for TPT to change their rating system on freebies because unfortunatly there are sellers out there that stopped creating frebies because they were lowering their overall store rating and I think that is just SO sad. I don't even think there needs to be a rating system on freebies because if it doesn't work out- so what ITS FREE haha!

  7. This is a great post-thanks for taking the time to write it! It absolutely makes my day when someone leaves kind words or tells me they've used my products. When people take the time to leave feedback, it helps guide what I create. So...everyone keep leaving that positive feedback, especially on freebies!