eBay Oz to mask buyer ids on all auctions

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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 £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.

7 Responses

  1. eBay’s shill detection systems don’t work.

    I know of one seller who had bought more of his own stuff than all the legitimate buyers together.

    I reported it once and the shill bidding ID was NARU. It’s still going on with another ID.

  2. Good idea, to be honest when do you ever check a bidders history? I only ever check it after the auction (if at all) and as such I’m not sure what difference the lack of shill info would actually make to me. However most of my sales are bins, maybe if you had auctions running, you would be more active in policing your bidders, but if you are selling in any kind of volume, that would get very tedious.

  3. hmmm.. I *really* dont like the idea of hiding all ids. I believe it will weaken confidence. Buyers, in my opinion, are already reluctant to bid on items where buyer id’s are hidden ( I certainly am, and I know many other people with the same view. ) It taints the whole auction process.

    There has to be a better way of reducing fake second chance offers.

  4. I wonder if it would be less off-putting if it were all auctions, rather than just some, Biggles? I know I’ve seen a few posts from bidders on auctions which have crossed the threshold wonder what’s going on when it suddenly changes from IDs to Bidder 1 etc. – you can understand why they would be confused.

  5. Well, I personally dont bid until the last few seconds, I use a good sniping tool to take the heat out of bidding wars.

    I still keep an eye on the bidding, and if there is any sign of shilling or strange bidding, I back off. Being able to see the bidding/selling activity of bidders on items I am interested in is an important part of the auction buying process for me. ( during and after the auction, as bidders on some of the strange electronic stuff I dabble in often have similar interests )

  6. Horrible idea. We just caught someone who showed up to troll the .ca boards with multiple ids for *massive* shill bidding/fb padding ongoing for several years. I just bought something (no problem) and looking at the sellers other items noticed they shill bid every single auction they run (though didn’t set the price on mine) and have left themself fb piles of times. I believe shill bidding is absolutely rampant on ebay based on the number of times its been incredibly obvious…and realizing anyone with the slightest brains would do it so it wasn’t obvious.

    Ebay’s company line about having advanced detection methods is a joke. you can report obvious shilling, get the response “appropriate action has been taken”, see the seller listings have been ended…and see they put the listings back up the next day.


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