that as of Friday this week they’ll be masking all buyer ids in auction bid history. This means that regardless of the start price of an auction you’ll never be able to see who is bidding, you’ll just see Bidder 1, Bidder 2, Bidder 3 etc.
The reasoning behind the policy is to protect buyers from receiving fake second chance offers. In the UK bidders user ids are hidden when the bid price exceeds Â£100.00, in Australia it’s AU$250. This limit will now be removed in Australia so that even 99p auctions will have user ids hidden.
The change has been prompted by scammers failing to contact bidders on high value items – the policy has been a success. Sadly scammers have simply lowered their sights and are targetting bidders of lower value goods.
They contact eBay users by guessing their email address for example sending emails to common domains with the eBay user id as part of the address ([email protected], [email protected], [email protected] etc). Some of these emails are reaching real eBay buyers and they’re still falling for fake second chance offers. By masking all user ids fake second chance offers may be erradicated entirely.
Whether this will roll worldwide is yet to be seen, but Australia was also the first eBay site to roll out the initial Safeguarding Members IDs initiative in November 2006. The UK and other countries may follow suit and mask all bidders IDs in the near future.
Doubtless shill hunters will complain that they can no longer detect illegitmate bidding on auctions just as they did in 2006. eBay do have shill detection systems in place and limited information on bidders history is still available to site users. Sellers will still be able to see the full buyer ids on their own auctions.
Fake second chance offers have been around for far too long and if they can be totally eliminated it’s great news for buyers and sellers alike.