Revealed : How the Sunday Times decided to set up eBay sellers

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This morning’s Sunday Times carries a piece which it claims reveals how eBay sellers push up the prices on their own items, a practice which the paper believes is “widespread” across the site. Though the report alleges that “businesses ranging from overseas property agencies to car dealerships” shill-bid, they focus on one single seller, who apparently admitted to an “undercover reporter” that his associates bid on his auctions for him.

TameBay were contacted by a reporter from the Sunday Times back in December. This is what he had to say:

Hello Sue,

I am researching an article on Ebay “spill bidding” ie: the process of artificially bidding up an item’s value through false email addresses, friends or associates. Is this something you have ever come across? I would be interested to hear examples.

Many thanks

Jonathan Calvert
Insight Editor

Some reporting if he can’t even get the term ‘shill bidding’ right! We know that several other UK eBaying websites were contacted by this same gentleman, begging for information and examples of shill bidding. One, UK Auction Help, even went so far as to email all *it’s* members, asking if they could help with examples:

Subject: Fair Trader Scheme ­ Can you help?

I have been contacted by Jonathan Calvert the Insight Editor on the Sunday Times, he is working on an article about Shill bidding.

I have spoken to him about this but have no current examples to show him.

If you have any examples, recent experience etc of Shill Bidding on eBay he would like to hear from you.

eBay sellers who are members of this scheme might like to consider whether an organisation which is so ready to help the biased media tar all eBay sellers with the same ‘shiller’ brush, is one that they wish to continue to support.

Furthermore, Mr Calvert has obviously begun his research with the assumption that eBay sellers are mostly shillers, and has dug and dug until he managed to find one seller for his News of the World-style set-up. So much for objective reporting. I’m sure that if I decided to publish an article arguing that all Sunday Times reporters are lazy, biased hacks, I’d be able to turn up one example to back up my argument. Would that mean that all employees of that august publication are the same?

As for Mr Paraskevaides, well, he has rather a checkered history. He resigned from his gynaecologist’s job after concerns about his work were raised, and subsequently has been frequently accused of selling merchandise said to be fake. While we hope and expect that eBay will now close any other accounts he still holds on the site, to expose a well-known scammer as a scammer is hardly great investigative journalism, is it, Mr Calvert?

3 Responses

  1. Not only was Mr Calvert unable to get spill/shill bidding right, he got confused with his past tense in the article. Bidded, according to Calvert is the past tense of bid. Bidded? Bidded? AAARRRGGGHHHHH.


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