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EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 147 - July 24, 2005 - ISSN 1528-6703     2 of 7

To Block or Not to Block, That Is the Question for eBay Sellers


By Mark O'Neill
EcommerceBytes.com

July 24, 2005
 



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When you have been through the mill with a non-paying buyer on eBay, the last thing you want to do is deal with them again in the future. If they have left a retaliatory negative feedback, you definitely don't want another one from them.

Yet many long-time eBay sellers are still not aware of the pros and cons of eBay's Blocked Bidders List. This handy little tool allows you to block people with certain User IDs from bidding on your future auctions. But does it make a blind bit of difference?

eBay's Blocked Bidders List allows you to enter a User ID to prohibit that person from bidding on any of your future auctions. The feature is free to use, and if the person worms their way back into your good graces in the future, you can easily go back into eBay and remove their User ID from your blocked list.

You can also set up a "pre-approved bidders list" where you specify who is allowed to bid on your auctions. If a bidder wants to bid and is not on your pre-approved list, they must email you for permission to bid (http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/preapprove_bidders.html).

So how do you set up a Blocked Bidders List? It's simple. Just go to (http://pages.ebay.com/services/buyandsell/biddermanagement.html) and click on "add an eBay user to my blocked bidder / buy list." Log in and then you will see a text box. Add the User ID you want to block and click "submit." If you are entering more than one ID, you can separate them in the text box with a comma. You can block up to one thousand User IDs.

Blocked Bidders Lists, like other features on eBay, are not 100-percent foolproof. Determined unscrupulous bidders will always find a way around it, such as setting up a brand-new User ID, but the Blocked Bidder List does help to stop large percentage of dishonest eBayers from bidding for your auction when they have absolutely no intention of paying.

I've heard it said that it is bad business to block anyone, and many people have professed to be uncomfortable with blocking troublemakers. But if you are in a department store and you refuse to pay for something and generally cause a fuss, security is going to escort you to the front door of the store and tell you you're not welcome to come back. By blocking troublemakers from your future eBay auctions, you're doing the same - telling them their trouble-making and non-paying tactics are not welcome and you won't tolerate their antics.

Hammertap also offers a Blocked Bidders List tool called "Bidderblock," which is free to download. If you want to block someone, you just call up the program on your desktop, enter the User ID to be blocked, and the program sends your updated list back to eBay. I have used the Hammertap program for quite a few years and it is great. Easy and smooth to use, simple interface and regular free upgrades. You can have it in both English and German, which means it is starting to develop a little cult following with eBay Germany users.

How do you feel about blocking people from your auctions? Good business sense or a really bad idea? Let us know!

eBay's Bidder Management section, which includes Blocked Bidders List http://pages.ebay.com/services/buyandsell/biddermanagement.html

Hammertap's free Bidderblock tool (highly recommended) http://www.hammertap.com/bidderblock

About the author:

Mark O'Neill is Managing Editor of the popular tech blog, MakeUseOf.com. He is a Scotsman, now living the ex-pat life in Wurzburg, Germany. You can also find him on MarkO'Neill.org.


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