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AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Fri Dec 30 2011 09:30:04

Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?

By: David Steiner
Sponsored Link
This topic has been percolating in my brain for a while, and since we're on the cusp of a New Year, with all the change, improvement, resolution, yada-yada, that comes along with it, I figured this was as good a time as any to broach the subject.

Last year, we introduced AB-Verify for our blogs and other features that give users the option of logging in when leaving comments. AB-Verify requires the user to register with a valid email address in order to leave comments on this blog and the Letters to the Editor blog. Verified users create a "handle," and their real names and email addresses are not made public unless they choose to publish it themselves.

We still left open the option to post without becoming verified, but we're strongly considering making it mandatory to be AB-Verified to use our services. There are a myriad of reasons for considering this change, not the least of which is spam. The problem of spam has increased exponentially in the 12 years we've been running EcommerceBytes. Because I am the person who has to clean out the 200 or so spam comments left overnight, anything that puts another obstacle in the way of a spammer is, in my estimation, a good thing.

I have also empirically observed that since we implemented AB-Verify, the level of discussion has improved. Users with a single ID tied to all of their comments often take a much more thoughtful approach to a discussion - and we like that! Our readers may be outspoken, but they are usually out in front of an issue, and, as a publisher, it is invaluable to have a readership that is "plugged-in."

We are interested in your perspective, in case we've missed anything. It's a departure from how we've handled things previously, so let us know what you think. We'll be listening!



Comments (56) | Permalink
Readers Comments

Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?   Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?
This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie
       
Fri Dec 30 09:42:57 2011
I think it's a fine idea and have no problems with it at all, as long as the participants are not restricted to just one verified ID.

Don't misunderstand me... I'm not suggesting that participants be permitted to have unlimited ID's... but I'd hope that we are permitted to have at least TWO id's.

When appropriate, I enjoy being able to post as myself... giving helpful advice or insights, posting recommendations or tips or ideas... and even posting encouragement, etc.

But other times, when I have something very critical to say about eBay/PP... I'd rather not expose my true identity to the eBay/PP folks who (obviously and undeniably) prowl the discussions.

Perhaps it's an irrational paranoia on my part, but I simply do not trust them... and I'd rather not draw attention to myself, or my eBay/PP identity, that could result in negative repercussions or retaliation in any form.
Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?   Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?
by: anonymous
       
Fri Dec 30 10:16:20 2011
People who are critical of ebay always have to worry about repercussions. I'll  give an example.

On the paypal forum at ebay a bunch of people got thier personal info exposed by one of the more nasty ebay cheerleaders because they were trying to promote a petition against the money holds. Info which could have only come from someone with back-end access to ebay's own data.

It's very ugly, and it's not the first time that type of thing has happened.

If you can't silence them, intimidate them.
Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?   Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?
This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly
       
Fri Dec 30 10:42:27 2011
It will be good to eliminate the spammers.

Sad that people fear eBay retaliation.

Look out for mean kool-aid drinkers.
Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?   Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?
by: King Me
       
Fri Dec 30 11:11:00 2011
I think you'll miss out on a lot of great comments if you do that.  I am all for free speech, no matter how ridiculous some of the replies can be.

I do understand the spam issue however.  Could a "report spam" button be integrated into the blog so that the spam could be easily caught and eliminated?
Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?   Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?
This user has validated their user name. by: permacrisis
       
Fri Dec 30 11:35:53 2011
Lock down the Blog, leave the Letters wide open.

Or maybe the part that needs to be looked at is the Verification itself- if folks are always posting with the same userid and email time after time, couldn't the whitelist function be automated?

I agree with the guy above, some of the sketchiest posters reveal the greatest insights. They are invaluable!
Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?   Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?
This user has validated their user name. by: Stockmiser
       
Fri Dec 30 11:49:56 2011
Sounds like a good idea.

Having a verified handle isn't giving away your ebay identity, and it's still anonymous - or at least as anonymous as you'd like it to be.

Only Ina and David will know the details, and it will prevent a lot of spam.

The only reason to want additional ID's is because the poster doesn't want to attribute their comments to their real "handle".  I got to wonder if those comments are more likely to be a rant than some  thoughtful insight.

Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?   Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?
by: John
       
Fri Dec 30 11:53:50 2011
Only Ina and David will know the details...That will depend on how secure David's and Ina's site is. Hackers come in all shapes and sizes. They even work for corporations I bet.
Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?   Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?
This user has validated their user name. by: FidoSysop
       Web Site
Fri Dec 30 13:22:22 2011
I think requiring registration on this kind of website is a good idea. But it probably will reduce traffic and posting somewhat.

As for spam control, I use Akiasmet and the the Bad Behavior plugin on my WordPress site.

I believe Bad Behavior can be installed on just about any platform, including pearl. It uses a look up on Project Honey Pot in deciding what to block or not.

Here is an article and screen shot of the log it creates. http://tinyurl.com/7e8m78m

Best wishes for a happy new year  
Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?   Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?
by: AC_in_Mich
       
Fri Dec 30 13:23:18 2011
I seem to remember when I got myself verified at my work computer and then went to my home computer, I had problems getting verified.  It's been a while, so I could be wrong.

200 spam comments a night?   How come I've never seen them?
Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?   Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?
This user has validated their user name. by: silent anarchy
       
Fri Dec 30 14:17:51 2011
I think verification is an excellent idea but i say "no" to multipal id's. All anyone needs is one single Id-username to post comments, any more would be pointless.And if you are that afraid of retaliation from the ebay trolls then simply dont post or quit ebay .
Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?   Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?
This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless
       
Fri Dec 30 15:31:10 2011
Ordinarily I'd have no objections to requiring ID verification to post.

In this case, however, here are some caveats.

1. Anyone who registers here with any email address associated with any account owned by any ebay owned company would be at risk.

2. Anyone registering with their real name also faces the same risk only much more.

3. Any information you give Ina and David is potentially information that could be subpoenaed by ebafia, PreyPal et.al. in the event -- however unlikely -- they would file a lawsuit against the Steinersabout something a third party writes on the site.

While this would include IP numbers, there's a lot more plausible deniability with non assigned IP numbers that if the Steiners are compelled to turn over a poster's personal information during the discovery process.

The only possible defense would be the legal authority to shield journalism "sources."

I could write a book enumerating the ways ebafia retaliates against those they can identify who have things to say about them they don't like, and I know many others who read these blogs have had similar experiences.

So the safest thing, IMO, would be create an entirely new screen name and email address when posting anywhere within a the convenient reach of the San Jose predators. When you create the email account, be sure to use a foreign, third world country proxy to shield your real IP numbers.

If anyone is interested, I'd be happy to post a few of these foreign proxies in countries where ebafia doesn't operate.

Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?   Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?
This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
       Web Site
Fri Dec 30 15:43:56 2011
Verified? Yes please. More than one ID? No; this is not eBay; why would anyone otherwise want more than one commenting ID; after all, you don’t have to use an identifiable handle but simply be verified (as is required on the great majority of other reputable sites), so that the eBay/PayPal lobbyists, who drag red herrings around, can be kept track of and responded to appropriately.

And then David Steiner would not have to waste his time checking the IP addresses of anonymous posters back to eBay’s Dept of Spin. Hang on, what’s that? Checking posters’ IP addresses? Oh dear, Big Brother David already knows where you come from, and so does probably every other site you visit. I’m proud to say that two sites closely aligned with eBay sellers have barred me—via my IP address; I cannot access these two sites at all.

If you are truly that paranoid that the eBafia might be able to identify you, don’t quote your email address when you comment, or get another email address solely for such purpose.

Of, course, if eBay ever buys facebook they will possibly be able to keep track of all of us—now there is a really frightening thought—as I can’t see how facebook manages to connect me to some others on facebook without their grubby little fingers having first invaded my privacy and leafed though my very extensive (ex business) email address book.

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking.
Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?   Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?
This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
       Web Site
Fri Dec 30 16:15:31 2011
On eBay retaliation. I am predominantly a (now rare) buyer on eBay, rarely a seller, and so possibly my experience is atypical, or maybe they simply now need buyers more than they need sellers; I post under my real name, and I suspect that eBay knows me as they have in the past been invited by various media to respond to my accusations of criminal facilitation that I make against them, and if I have caused them even the slightest irritation I am greatly pleased.

However, I have never experienced any retaliation from eBay, not a lawyer’s letter, not even an offer of a small portion of the eBafia Don’s bonus money to get me to go away. Seriously though, I suspect that, except for one particularly nasty “pink” moderator (James) on the UK forums that I have previously experienced, I don’t think that these eBay people are intellectually capable of caring about anything—except that FVF.

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking.
Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?   Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?
This user has validated their user name. by: Doc
       Web Site
Fri Dec 30 16:22:47 2011
Ming, do you really think eBay cares about what others say about them?

I have been blasting them with both barrels since 2004 and never heard a peep from them, other than recently suspending my board posting id.

After eBay launched a DdoS attack on my site, I launched 20 mirrors to keep their bots busy.

eBay can take this and shovel it where the sun don't shine. Good luck tracing this IP! :)
Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?   Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?
by: Anonymous12302011
       
Fri Dec 30 16:30:33 2011
Facebook is 'moderated' by LiveWorld. So there's a connection already between ebay and FB.

BTW, if you search this and read the comments, you'll see some very disturbing information from LW's Bryan Person

"Everything in "Moderation:" Social Media Ethical Dilemmas"


"...our LiveWorld moderators or community managers are acting as agents of the brand on the brand’s digital property, and that not explicitly disclosing that they are paid by LiveWorld is much like a part-time employee/contractor from the brand itself wouldn’t be expected to state so ... "

It seems as though Liveworld believes they can pose as regular users of whatever sites they moderate or brand names they 'protect' without regard for FTC regulations.

So just as Paypal seems to think they are above the law, so does Liveworld.

How can anyone even begin to trust or support these companies in of the proven facts of wrongdoing?
Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?   Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?
This user has validated their user name. by: Doc
       Web Site
Fri Dec 30 19:55:21 2011
Put up an anti eBay page on Facebook and it will never get indexed into search.  

LieWorld hard at work!

It will be interesting to see how John Bodines new eBay Guides work out. eBay is tagging their board plants. HaHaHaHaHa!
Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?   Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?
This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless
       
Fri Dec 30 20:11:25 2011
In past posts on these blogs, I and others have presented rather long and detailed lists of specific ways in which ebay has retaliated against individual sellers.

Whether the retaliation was institutionalized or freelance projects among certain rogue departments or emplpyees within ebafia is unknown.

It seems that every month here we have to re learn the same lessons about ebafia.

Ebafia has even retaliated against the Steiners on at least one occasion.

The one instance the Steiners chose to share with us was when the disgraced/terminated then PR manager Jose Mallabo told the Steiners ebafia didn't like the "tone" of some articles they'd written.

When the Steiners wouldn't cave, Mallabo withdrew the Steiners formal access to ebay executives.

I suspect ebafia didn't care much for the "tone" of many of the comments that followed the Steiners' articles, either.

Then there are the thousands of deleted discussion board threads over the years.

The fact of the matter is that ebay contracts with LiWorld to socially engineer any and all comments and discussions across the internet about ebay.

Their goal is to "guide" the discussion so that the content is favorable to ebay, and LieWorld vermin use a wide variety of techniques from acceptable argumentation/refutation to character assassination to silence critics.

So indeed ebay does care what's being said about them. Otherwise why would LieWorld and ebay related cheerleaders have a need to post here or elsewhere on the internet defending ebay with lies, distortions, and censorship.

A few dedicated people can make a big difference.

Lieworld's representation of ebafia is powerful circumstantial evidence that ebafia indeed does care what others say about them, and fortunately that includes The Steiners and Philip Cohen among others.

Social engineering is just one form of retaliation. Ebay has, IMO, also corrupted listing photos, changed text, changed prices, overcharged, etc. in retaliation against sellers who've posted things they don't like.

I don't know how long Lieworld has been in charge of ebafia's image rehabilitation, but I can tell that you one of Meg Whitman's first edicts as the new HP CEO was to hire an unnamed firm to blunt the effects of what she called "activist investors" which are oprobably investors who expected some profit from their investment in HP (kind of like ebafia investors unaffiliated with ebafia).

Scary, isn't it?

So don't think a for a second that we're not having an effect ebay doesn't like.

Don't think for half a second that ebafia doesn't retaliate.

They have, they do, and they will continue.

Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?   Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?
This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles
       Web Site
Fri Dec 30 21:43:44 2011
A verified ID is a nice idea. More than one ID is a "No go". Now the ability or option to change the user name is different.

IP check and filter info to eBay. Waooo! I'm in Auctionbytes.com or Conspiracy.com. Jajaja!

Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?   Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?
by: I don't want to say
       
Sat Dec 31 00:28:36 2011
Have comments from non-verified users been a problem? I don't recall seeing many spam comments on here. Also I would not be commenting if I had to register. Not because of fear of retaliation but rather the annoyance of having another ID / password to keep track of. Just as an FYI - I am a regular reader and commenter and have contributed several letters to the editor which have been published on this blog.
Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?   Should EcommerceBytes Blogs Be Verified Only?
by: pat o
       
Sat Dec 31 01:03:58 2011
I've been reading auction bytes for the last five years, it takes about 3 minutes of my day. I really stopped reading comments to letters and articles mainly because they are redundant, same comments over and over and over again. If I stood in Davids and Ina's shoes , I would redirect the content and scope of e commerce bytes and make it more relevant to todays needs. To be specific, content should be more towards the individual building and establishing their own brand IE website, along with e-commerce trends.
Ebay, Amazon, and the other third party websites are just robbing everyone that deals with them, plain and simple. Of course least I forget eBay and Amazon gets all the eyes and traffic right...Myazz is what I have to say to that. Sit back and see the time, expense you put into these third party sites to make hardly nothing only to enrich them with your efforts.
If you read this blog the one thing that is constant is ''I don't know how to do that'' or ''it takes so long to build your webs traffic''. Yet you'll spend endless hours kissing butt for practically nothing. Auction bytes to e Commerce bytes name change was to bring relevancy to this site because auctions were becoming a thing of the past, unfortunately the content remains the same.  Verifying the blog posters will be fruitless and actually discourage the participation David and Ina really want. Spammers always have a work around and they have all the time in the world, it's what they do and it's the only thing they do. I would leave it alone, suck up the spam as usual and put  extra effort to upgrade the content to match the name change.
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