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.
Sat Feb 20 2016 22:30:57

eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

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?



Comments (24) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool   eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool

by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 21 07:55:32 2016

There is no such animal as transparency on Fleecebay or anyother auction site.

They like being mysterious.

Perminate Link for eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool   eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool

by: ssusannss This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 21 09:32:30 2016

eBay will go to any length to hide any information about buyers. I'm surprised that they still allow the blocked buyer list. When I had a buyer lie about his 'child' accidentally buying an iphone on his account, I was able to see that he had bought another iphone, cheaper, about two hours after buying mine. Thanks eBay!

Perminate Link for eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool   eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool

by: CNYC This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 21 10:39:55 2016

It will be missed. This was a useful tool for sellers. I was able to use this tool when presented with a case for SNAD and photos of an item that I did not stock.  Bay offered no help, just saying I should take the return since "I" had sent the wrong item.  This was an item I never had seen.  I looked at Watchcount's tool and found the item.  The buyer had even uploaded the seller's photo from the auction! The case was decided in my favor and the buyer was told to contact the proper seller if they had a problem.  

If it had not been for that tool Ebay would have forced another seller's return on me as no one at Ebay was volunteering the information that they could easily see.  

Sellers NEED a tool like this.  Sometimes even an innocent mistake can be corrected by seeing where the item came from.

Perminate Link for eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool   eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool

by: unknown This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 21 11:05:35 2016

ebay, too bad you can't be that good about taking care of things on your own side of the street - like fixing your first class mail rates - or adding any of the regional rate boxes - or fixing the search engine.  

Perminate Link for eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool   eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool

by: val2525 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 21 11:14:00 2016

Apparently eBay management still does not comprehend how bad the site reputation is for scamming. If management had a clue at all, they'd realize sellers need to see buyer history and patterns just as much as buyers need to see seller history.

Perminate Link for eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool   eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Sun Feb 21 15:48:29 2016

eBay understands full well how bad the site is for scammers: they encourage same.

eBay has stopped this third-party service for the same reason Johnny Ho further anonymised bidder IDs in 2008, eBay is not going to allow any third-party service that is likely to further expose their calculated facilitation of fraud on consumers.

The reality is, eBay is likely the most unscrupulous commercial entity operating on this planet; but, have no fear, eBay is an equal-opportunity fraudster—demonstrably—they will knowingly aid and abet the defrauding of buyers by unscrupulous eBay merchants who bid on their own auctions, and conversely of honest sellers by unscrupulous buyers—as long as there is a financial benefit in such fraud for eBay. ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

Perminate Link for eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool   eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool

by: Jester This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 21 16:10:27 2016

I think anything that might hinder items getting sold and for a higher price by shill bidding would be against eBays chance to make more money so they would not be in favor of anything like that. No matter if it helped their sellers. This shows the true nature of the new head honcho and how he is going to do business. I won't judge him to harshly by this one thing but I will be watching what he does next.

Perminate Link for eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool   eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool

by: Pika This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 21 16:21:47 2016

It just further demonstrates eBay's lack of respect & protection for it's sellers!
This tool was invaluable not only for the tiny bit of insight it afforded sellers but also for advising & replying appropriately to the members that post questions on the eBay boards.
I think it's unfair & unnecessary of eBay to require this to be taken down. There's just no good reason for it's demise!  

Perminate Link for eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool   eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Sun Feb 21 17:21:01 2016

Be assured, demonstrably, eBay is not interested in transparency; their desire for as much opacity as possible is the only reason that eBay has for killing this third-party service; eBay is not interested in its petty sellers and barely in its buyers; only in eBay, is eBay interested ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas  

Perminate Link for eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool   eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool

by: Longtime_Seller This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 21 20:36:22 2016

This is a huge setback for Ebay sellers. Ebay management needs to understand that their marketplace is losing credibility due to the excessive (and sadly, constantly growing) amount of fraud on the site. Changes like this just discourage people from selling on Ebay -- what's the point, if Ebay won't give us the same protections they offer buyers? They've already lost a lot of established sellers and big-name retailers -- when there's no one left but the Chinese sellers, revenue will drop and the stock will tank. Can they really not see this?

Perminate Link for eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool   eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool

by: grandolddame This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 21 22:08:10 2016

I was lucky. I used this tool just last week to fight a SNAD claim, and I won. Sure will miss it.

Perminate Link for eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool   eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 21 22:36:41 2016

Longtime ...... eBay isnt interested in what sellers need or want.

Every once and awhile, they throw sellers a crumb - like they did with the new standards.

eBay - if you think about it and look into the facts - is not really concerned with actual sell through of merchandise. Why? because sellers "cant be counted on to perform" - and JD said so MANY times - as does each and every 10k they file.

Trick # 1 was to change from Voyager to Cassini. Voyager was (more) organic, and Cassini us pay for play. Giving specific people sales all the time (and lots of them) means eBay gets paid all the time and doesnt have to worry if "little Sallys used jeans from some flea market will sell". They know "dead on" that the big guys that they route sales to - will pay and pay well for the benefit.

Trick #2 advertising. There I said it. eBay under JD transformed itself into a marketing company. What do you think eBay will do with all the UPCs and GITNs? SELL THE DATA! Sellers cant put phone numbers, websites, certain links to things in lsitings - and eBay yells and screams and jumps up n down like a 3 yr old wanting a cookie if you do. But THEY put ads in your listings - some that compete directly with you and some (most) that take you offsite. More "do as I say, not as I do" eBay BS.

As Mr Cohen said and said correctly many times - eBay frowns on giving sellers ANY kind of help (or protection). Letting them "see behind the curtain ..... NO WAY JOSE!"

I never used this tool - I didnt even know about it - so I cant complain - its just that nothing eBay does surprises me - I know how sneaky and underhanded they are!

Perminate Link for eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool   eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool

by: ilikespaghettios This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 21 23:16:46 2016

Sure, it was a great tool for when you need something like that.

Caveat:  If you like something a third party offers, but may not be favored by ebay, don't go mentioning it on the power sellers' board.

Perminate Link for eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool   eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool

by: jandsknight This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 22 01:53:36 2016

It makes no financial sense to protect scamming, lying buyers.
Ebay leaders cannot understand that sellers are their real customers.  

Perminate Link for eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool   eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Feb 22 07:24:27 2016

There is a direct correlation between lack of transparency and shadiness. Honest companies are very transparent. Shady ones are not.

Perminate Link for eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool   eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool

This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Mon Feb 22 08:48:57 2016

Meanwhile, the URL for seller listings is broken on the mobile site.

Perminate Link for eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool   eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool

by: Beth This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 22 08:54:03 2016

Just another ruthless corporation  kiling off the small seller (watchount). OH Wait !! they're killing me too

Perminate Link for eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool   eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool

This user has validated their user name. by: RavenNightMyst
Web Site

Mon Feb 22 11:31:12 2016

These strong-arm tactics are just a small part of why I walked away from eBay right before the ''Fall Seller Update'' of 2014. I was a Silver Level TRS, with thousands of 100% positive and all 5 star ratings. I was told by a CS agent once that I was in the top 2%. Unfortunately, all that hard work would mean nothing if a scammer decided to ''rent'' my items for 6 months, and claim SNAD. eBay stopped supporting or caring about small sellers LONG ago. Any time I ''did'' have an issue, it was only having 14+ years of selling on eBay behind me that saved me because CS was ineffective at best.

The inability to see buyer's history, to actually ''block'' a buyer when they have multiple accounts, (so you're setting yourself up for retribution when you block one), and zero support when you ''are'' scammed are only the tip of the iceberg on eBay. I believe having these tools are essential, but eBay is ''all'' about the buyers. They know it's an industry of scamming on eBay. As a buyer, I have been thanked so many times over the years for being ''a great and honest buyer'', giving a seller a ''worry-free experience'', etc, that it's glaringly apparent these people live in constant fear of the next buyer. I know I did, even with a large repeat business of lovely buyers.

I could rant all day, which is why I quit. Who needs the stress ?!

Perminate Link for eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool   eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool

by: Henry This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 22 16:20:50 2016

eBay will continue to hide buyer info making it difficult to identify scam buyers. Yehy make money even when a sale is fradulent.

Perminate Link for eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool   eBay Users Lose Bidder History Search Tool

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Mon Feb 22 17:45:08 2016

@RavenNightMyst,

eBay is NOT "all about buyers" ...

eBay is likely the most unscrupulous commercial entity operating on this planet; but, have no fear, eBay is an equal-opportunity fraudster; demonstrably, they will knowingly aid and abet the defrauding of buyers by unscrupulous eBay merchants who bid on their own auctions, and, conversely, of honest sellers by unscrupulous buyers—as long as there is a financial benefit in such fraud for eBay. ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas  

Click to view more comments
1 2  [Next Page]


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.