In 2013, eBay removed
the ability for users to research bidders using its Advanced Search. There was an outcry from buyers and sellers at the time who used the tool for a number of reasons - including to try to identify scamming buyers or shill bidders.
One year later, third-party developer WatchCount launched its eBay Buyer/Bidder History Search Tool, explaining that sellers used such functionality for a variety of reasons including the following:
- to help identify and corroborate suspicious buyer behavior or claims
- to assist in manually cross-selling other eBay items, such as a custom-printed promo flyer inserted in outgoing shipments
- to help reveal trending products and general purchasing behavior
- to offer some measure of bidder vetting on high value bids
- to enable sellers who receive misdirected customer inquiries to relay the buyer to the proper eBay seller
On Friday, that too came to an end. WatchCount posted
the following message, explaining it was forced by eBay to remove the tool from its site:
Today we've retired our Buyer/Bidder History Search Tool (on eBay's polite request). Over its 1+ year of existence, we'd heard from many eBayers who used it, expressing a whole spectrum of feelings about it. We'd been told it was helpful to many small sellers for a variety of reasons. But some users also understandably felt quite the opposite about it. It was somewhat controversial, so we considered it (and clearly labeled it) Experimental from the start.
But its short life has come to an end, as we're now permanently sunsetting this clever little tool.
As always, thank you for visiting WatchCount.com !
A seller who had used the tool told EcommerceBytes today, "when I had a non-paying bidder, it could be useful to see that the person had bought 80 items in the past month, and it was unlikely that I would get paid."
What do you think of eBay's move to limit buying/bidding transparency?