eBay.com masks all bidder IDs

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Creative Commons License photo credit: icathing

that eBay’s ‘safeguarding member IDs’ policy is to be expanded to all auctions on eBay.com and eBay Motors. As in Australia last week, this will mean that all bidders on all auctions, however low the price, are starred out.

Once regarded one of eBay’s most controversial policies (oh, how times change!), Matt says that SMI has been a success:

For over a year, these masked User IDs have proven to be very successful on these higher-end listings. In fact, we saw the volume of fake Second Chance Offers for $200 or more drop significantly.

However, this success has meant that scammers have turned their attention to lower priced auctions, adopting a “low-cost, high volume” strategy in an attempt to keep their incomes going.

There’s no doubt that this will cause another great outcry from those who believe that it will make shill bidding on eBay much easier. While eBay undoubtedly need to do more to demonstrate to members that they are acting against shillers, I think we need to remember the relative damage these two crimes do: a shill bidder can never make you pay more than you said you were willing to pay in the first place; a fake second chance offer leaves you with no money, no goods, and no chance of any recompense.

16 Responses

  1. ๐Ÿ˜


    Anyway. Moving on. So in effect does that mean everyone will become ano***ymous? Will I no longer be able to peek at other buyers purchases?

    Related story, about a year ago I was outbid. I looked at the winners feedback and noticed some interesting items from a certain seller. This seller turned out to be a giant liquidator. I managed to bag a couple crates of other stuff that I now sell back on ebay in smaller volumes, with a tidy markup.

  2. Biggles, there’s no suggestion that eBay are going to make things any more anonymous: for example, you can still search by bidder, item titles will still be in buyers’ feedback, and buyers on BIN items will still show up.

  3. It’s a bridge too far to have me copy and pasting from buyer feedback to search for item titles. I rarely search by bidder, – only as a seller do I do that to see what a buyer has been up to! – . Looking through buyer’s feedback I can see stuff going back far longer than I can find in search results.

    BIN’s yeah ok.. whats to say the scammers wont start in on them as well. Why stop at auctions???

  4. Harder to attract someone with a second chance offer when they’ve already BINned it, no?

    To be honest, I think it’s time they gave buyers some privacy. Amazon don’t tell everyone what I’ve just bought; why should eBay? JD seems to be moving everything in the direction of grown-up ecommerce at last, so I don’t expect the public shopping to last much longer.

  5. I dont think BIN’s stop scammers. Privacy is a strong argument. Some ebay sites already restrict searching bidding activity.

    I am not convinced that shrouding all id’s is the only viable way to tackle the scammers.

  6. It definitely isn’t the only way to tackle them; I think buyer education should always come first. But should shrouding IDs be part of that battle? IMHO yes. It would be interesting to know how much of a problem fake SCOs are on say eBay.de, where Germany’s privacy laws have always prevented searching by bidder.

  7. eBay Buyer educashun?? Surely shum mistake! ๐Ÿ™„

    How about some nice giant banners when you log in? I get them all the time when I log into my bank accounts. I cant think there are many people now ( apart from the obvious! ) who are not “internet savvy”.

  8. educashun. exactly.

    Last night, new buyer registered yesterday, bought 3 diff Bins.

    Message from buyer “i am not sure what i have ordered or bid for but i only want one ”

    And she had to click confirm on all 3 !! sheeesh!

    Or is it something to do with the new “few clicks” buyer experience. I wonder

  9. re. Keith’s customer – I get a few like that myself (“could you let me know what I’ve ordered? I’m not sure…”). It really seems to me that the problem is eBay’s structure versus the rest of ecommerce. eBay is the ONLY shopping site I know of where you have to commit so early in the buying process to purchase something. And it’s the only site on the internet where you can have bought something but not yet paid for it.

    Everywhere else, you get to put things in your cart, take them out, change your mind as many times as you like, and carry on doing that til you pay: on eBay, it works completely differently, and that’s not good, IMO.

    You *could* spend time educating buyers that eBay doesn’t work like the rest of the internet, or you could fix eBay. I’d go for the latter: where’s our shopping cart?!

  10. Where’s Taex? ๐Ÿ˜€

    Yes, this is the new Biddy’s Button. I have been “banging on about it” for some time now, and I will carry on doing so til someone takes notice. It really riles me that they spend so much time and effort on other improvements to search and suchlike, and this one HUGE improvement to usability just doesn’t happen.

  11. I support the shopping cart idea, but all I can see are problems to implement it.

    – what happens when a buyer puts an item in his cart? Is that item available to be purchased by other buyers? How long do you let it sit in the cart? ( dont forget the cart abandonment issues on many ecommerce sites ).

    -Different payment methods? -ok, maybe a moot point with near global paypal use, but what happens when you have several items requiring different payment methods?

    I am not saying it’s impossible. I am just saying that I dont think eBay can string together 4 conkers on a string without losing the conkers, breaking the string or not getting themselves into a huge knot.

    The only site I have seen that uses this single shopping cart approach across different sellers is http://www.notonthehighstreet.com . Ok, its been a while since I last used them, but I bought a couple items from different sellers. There was a single unified payment checkout, with a very clear indication of expected delivery times for each item.

  12. Biggles, there’s a shopping cart on eBay India, so it’s not without the bounds of possibility. eBay also offer combined PayPal checkout for multiple sellers already; I don’t remember exactly how it works, but it’s already implemented, so it just needs a front end.

    Regarding availability of items while in-cart, I’d say do it like Amazon do: if you’ve put a marketplace item in your cart, someone else can still buy it right up until the moment when you pay for it.

    And in any case, just because there are questions about implementation doesn’t mean that implementation itself isn’t a good idea.


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