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  1. #1

    Default Shill Bidding Fraud on eBay: Case Study #5

    ~eBay Shill Bidding 005 (Case Study #5).doc
    http://www.ecommercebytes.com/forums...d.php?p=167554
    http://bit.ly/11F2eas
    7 July 2012; last revised 22 December 2013

    Note: All the statements made in this thread and the other articles linked hereto are my opinion only; readers must drawn their own conclusions from the facts presented, particularly, the aggregation of the auction bidding statistics and the analyses attached thereto in the various linked spreadsheets.




    Shill Bidding Fraud on eBay: Case Study #5

    Rampant, ongoing, shill bidding fraud and eBay’s calculated aiding and abetting thereof

    The only difference between eBay and any unscrupulous traditional auctioneer that defrauds buyer by taking shill bids “off the wall”, is that eBay’s online auctions have, during the auction and for a short period thereafter, a recorded, auditable data trail of bidding that, with some effort, can be analysed, and the following case study demonstrates, in my humble opinion, beyond any doubt:


    • Endemic, blatant, shill bidding “wire fraud” on “nominal-start” auctions by most, if not all, eBay professional sellers …
    • The commercial supplying of shill bidding services for many—who knows how many—of these many unscrupulous eBay merchants …
    • eBay’s ever tacit, and now demonstrably active, aiding and abetting of such massive wire fraud on the consumers of the world …
    • eBay is the greatest calculated facilitator of wire fraud on consumers that the world is ever likely to know …
    • You can also be confident that whenever eBay does anything, or even an eBay spokesperson moves their lips, they are—invariably—being disingenuous ...



    But, ultimately, the even more disturbing aspect of this whole matter is the apparent disinterest of any appropriate regulatory authority in the US (or elsewhere) to do anything about eBay’s demonstrable criminal facilitation of this massive fraud activity on consumers. Not only do the authorities appear to be not interested in prosecuting eBay, they appear to be not even interested in instructing eBay to cease their criminal activities. “Government of the people, by the people, for the people …”? I don’t think so! It now appears to be “government of the people, by the executives of the large corporations, for the executives of the large corporations”: the very large corporate entities appear still to be firmly in control of the regulatory authorities. Apparently, very little has changed in the US since the global financial crisis of 2007–08, nor the old days of Mafia corruption; President Obama has even appointed Johnny Ho to another governmental advisory body, the President's Export Council. Is it any wonder the US economy is slow to recover …

    US DOJ Prosecution Policy … Wire Fraud
    “Serious consideration … should be given to the prosecution of any scheme which in its nature is directed to defrauding a class of persons, or the general public, with a substantial pattern of conduct.”—http://1.usa.gov/10KnLPN

    The hypocrisy displayed in the lack of action by any US regulatory authority is breathtaking. The US constantly puts itself forward as the great upholder of democracy, morality and the “rule of law”, and yet here we have this large, disingenuous, utterly unscrupulous, corporate entity, ebay Inc., demonstrably practicing its gross criminal activities on the consumers of the world with what appears to be the tacit approval of those authorities …

    So, what then does “the rule of law” mean, that concept that we are often reminded our society could not function effectively without? Well, it appears that it is only intended to keep “individual persons”, the hoi polloi, under control (eg, the Aaron Swartz matter) while the large, unscrupulous, US “corporate persons” remain free to carry on “raping and pillaging”. What then can be the reason for this lack of interest by the various regulators? Laziness, incompetence, or corruption—can it simply be because, ultimately, the large corporations pay better? For, realistically, what other reason can there be for the ignoring of such massive, blatant criminality? Other than money, money, money?

    Hopper on Keeping the Little Guy in Line
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jkNNNRkYlM

    Shill bidding on eBay nominal-start auctions is demonstrably endemic, yet not even the major media outlets appear to be interested in a good story about such massive ongoing corporate facilitated fraud activity—it appears that this sort of large scale “minor” fraud has become the accepted norm; presumably, that attitude too must have something to do with money, money, money …

    A Google search for “shill bidding” (in quotes) currently produces ~239,000 hits on the matter; add “ebay” to the search string and the result increases(?) to ~244,000 …

    On YouTube, a search for “shill bidding” (in quotes) produces ~781 videos; add “ebay” to the search string and the result is ~758 videos uploaded by eBay users who have taken the trouble to produce a video to, presumably, demonstrate and complain about blatantly obvious shill bidding fraud on eBay auctions—none of which eBay can see, apparently—even when it is pointed out to them …

    About the author of this detailed criticism of eBay Inc.: My name is Philip Cohen; I have been a user of eBay since October 2006; I am predominantly a buyer of “stuff” on eBay; I have a feedback count of ~300. I don’t “hate” eBay, but I have been a vocal critic of eBay since about 2007 when I had an experience with a blatant shill bidding seller and, on (naively) reporting the matter to eBay, I received from them, what I considered to be, an unsatisfactory response. Thereafter I have watched eBay closely—as closely as one can from the outside—and this latest case study, based initially and principally on the Chicago based eBay merchant, “eDropOff”, (and the additional examples detailed later in this thread), is a clear demonstration of eBay’s calculated criminality with respect to the US Federal crime defined as “wire fraud”.

    If anyone has any inside information they would like to share or would like to respond to this matter privately, they can do so by contacting me at formset@exemail.com.au


    But first, eBay's fundamental fraud on consumers

    Bidders on eBay auctions should take great care when bidding on “nominal-start” auctions (and I don’t mean just 99c-starts, but any auction that has a starting price that is well below what would be a reasonable sale price) because, contrary to eBay’s disingenuous claims, and as is clearly demonstrated in the following case study, eBay is not looking out for you; indeed, eBay is actively and demonstrably aiding and abetting a very great many unscrupulous professional sellers to defraud you …

    eBay nominal-start auctions by professional sellers are literally awash with shill bidding, but all this criminal activity is simply a symptom of the underlying problem: the pathology, the disease, the cancer, that is effectively and calculatedly aiding and abetting and profiting from this rampant criminal fraud activity—eBay Inc.

    Unless we are still very “wet behind the ears”, when we go to a traditional auction we know that we have to take great care. eBay’s fundamental fraud on consumers therefore is eBay’s demonstrably false claim to have “sophisticated and proactive” systems in place to detect shill bidding and protect consumers therefrom …

    Demonstrably, eBay has no such “sophisticated and proactive” systems in place, and such a claim is therefore a “false representation for the purpose of making a gain” and that is in itself effectively criminal fraud on buyers on probably the majority of nominal-start auctions on the eBay marketplace, a deliberate and outrageous deception by eBay on eBay’s many trusting users, falsely leading those users to believe that the warm woolly coats that they wear on their backs are safe when, in fact, eBay is leading them into the shearing shed where eBay’s wolves are laying in wait.

    eBay has been tacitly aiding and abetting such criminal activity since the year dot, but calculatingly so since they further anonymised bidding IDs in 2008. Since that time bidders have been unable to easily keep track of even obvious shills nor identify and contact each other with respect to suspected fraud; they can only report such matters to eBay which is an utterly pointless exercise.

    It is a fact of life that many auctioneers believe that the activity of “undisclosed vendor bidding”, that is, “shill bidding”, on an auction is an acceptable mechanism for maximising a selling price, and it’s probable that many traditional auctioneers practice such deception, notwithstanding that the making of such vendor bids without declaring them to so be vendor bids at the moment they are made, is clearly fraud, but it’s virtually impossible to prove such criminal activity. However, in the case of eBay’s online auctions, there is an auditable data trail of bidding, the analysis of which, in my opinion, demonstrates—beyond any doubt—that eBay is calculatedly facilitating and aiding and abetting such endemic criminal activity on nominal-start auctions run by a great many professional sellers.

    A Most Blatant Example of Shill Bidding …

    Just to whet your appetite, a link to details of one of the most blatant examples of shill bidding fraud on an eBay auction that has been brought to my attention … http://bit.ly/1dV5XXZ

    Private Listings

    Then there is eBay’s seller-elected “private listing” auction format. More on this later but simply put, genuine bidders get no useful bidding information at all on this most devious auction format … Talk about auctioneers taking bids from multiple insects crawling up the wall … It is beyond comprehension that any honest merchant would elect to use this utterly opaque “private listing” format, and undoubtedly only unscrupulous merchants will have the gall to do so.

    Such “private listing” auctions never have served any purpose other than to totally obscure shill bidding fraud and are undoubtedly the exclusive domain of auction fraudsters, for whose criminal purpose eBay undoubtedly and calculatingly designed this most devious auction format. That any genuine bidder could be so naive as to bid on such auctions is another story …

    eBay’s “Best Match” Sort

    eBay’s “Best Match” is another fraud on eBay users. When you look at listings sorted by eBay’s default “Best Match” search, whether generally or by individual merchant, it appears that listings that have bids thereon are magically moved towards the top of the list of what would otherwise be a simple “ending soonest” sort. This is another way that eBay attempts to deceive those who can’t “see past the trees”, into thinking that everything in the forest is hunky dory; but, if you move past those items with bids thereon you will likely soon enough come to the masses of items with zero bids thereon that are ultimately going to make up the “oceans of red” that are now evident in the completed listings of a great many, if not all, scrupulous merchants—the unscrupulous merchants have much less “red” in their completed listings because they are bidding on and “buying” much of their own stuff themselves (it’s called “establishing the market”—the eBay way!).

    Regardless, most unscrupulous merchants understand how “Best Match” works and will place a shill bid or two, or three or four or more, on their own auctions to give them the best chance of appearing high up in any search result. If you change the sort algorithm from the default “Best Match” to “Time: ending soonest”, you will get the accurate picture of the state of bidding on the items you have searched for, and if you are looking at the listings of an honest merchant, be prepared for a shock …

    eBay’s New “Cassini” (“Can’t-see-me”) Search Engine

    Undoubtedly, “Cassini” will be a further devious manipulation of buyers’ search, most likely a “last gasp” attempt by eBay to desperately try to funnel searchers towards Johnny Ho’s “preferred” national-brand merchants, and if you are reading this, you are most likely not one of those preferred merchants …

    eBay “Saved Search” Emails: Number of Bids, No More …

    As of 1 October 2013 eBay has removed from their “Saved Search” emails any indication of the number of bids that may have been already made on an auction prior to the issuing of this email. Now all we get for an auction listing is a “Current Bid” amount; no indication of whether or not that amount is only the starting price or includes bids …

    Now, why do you think eBay would do that? After all, does not a number of bids placed early on an item indicate keen buyer interest in the item?

    Of course, conversely, when bids are being made before the “Saved Search” email has issued—sometimes within minutes of an item being listed—you could be forgiven for suspecting that any such bidding may be shill bidding, and if you want to see a good example of an indication of such obvious shill bidding under the previous version of the “Saved Search” email format …

    http://home.exetel.com.au/philipcohe...020-Sep-13.pdf

    Still, it’s nice to know that we can rely on eBay to continue to facilitate, and further try to obfuscate, any such shill bidding fraud …

    The auction “End time” has also disappeared …

    There simply is no end to eBay’s deviousness …




    Notwithstanding that eBay Inc is demonstrably unscrupulous in the extreme, the above cartoon by Wiley Miller has little to do with this matter as this matter is not simply about a choice between “ethical” and “legal”, it is about blatant criminality: eBay’s demonstrable, calculated, aiding and abetting of massive wire fraud on the consumers of the world …

    You have to then ask why would eBay be risking prosecution for this blatantly obvious, calculated facilitation of such massive, endemic fraud on consumers? Well, the only answer can be that “Chairman Ho”, now in the seventh year of his three-year turnaround, has delivered eBay to the point where they are not now growing revenue and they are desperately trying to swim against the flow of sewage, in which they so rightly belong, on eBay’s journey down the toilet …


    Bidding on eBay Auctions

    Let’s then set the stage for the consideration of the bidding analyses laid out in the later linked spreadsheets.

    In my humble opinion, only particularly naïve genuine bidders, and sellers’ shills, “nibble bid” on an eBay auction; anyone with other than a relatively low feedback count that is nibble bidding is probably a seller’s shill …

    Likewise, an experienced genuine eBayer would never participate in any sort of bidding contest on an eBay auction the way one may do at a traditional auction. An eBay auction should only ever be treated like a “sealed-bid tender”, that is, bid the maximum you are prepared to pay once and as close to the end of the auction as practicable (a “snipe”)—presuming always that the selling price has not already been artificially inflated to a “retail” level by the bidding of a seller’s multiple shills.

    Under no circumstances does an experienced eBayer use eBay’s “proxy bidding” mechanism to early-on set the maximum they are prepared to pay—to do so is simply an invitation to pay the maximum you have specified.


    The principal subject of this case study: Corri McFadden’s “eDropoff”

    The principal subject of this current shill bidding case study came to my attention when it was reported on the ecommercebytes.com blog on 18 May 2012 that the proprietor of eBay seller eDropOff, Corri McFadden, had on 10 May 2012 sued a Purseforum.com contributor Nancy R Burke (“BeenBurned”) for defamation after Burke had alleged that seller eDropOff was shill bidding on its eBay auctions. In the initial legal action that ensued McFadden applied for and was granted a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on Burke, based apparently upon a “certificate” supplied by eBay that stated—falsely in my opinion—that there was no sign of any shill bidding on eDropOff’s auctions.


    Subsequent to the TRO, the original, offending thread on purseblog.com was removed at the request of the defendant but, of course, the rambling debate between the “sighted” who could see the ongoing and blatantly obvious “alleged” shill bidding, and an opposing group, of presumably “blind” and trusting eDropOff supporters and shills, simply carried on on another Purse Forum thread … http://bit.ly/13fyigH

    Subsequently, on 9 July, the defamation matter was settled on terms confidential …

    McFadden (“Plaintiffs”), hereby move to dismiss this action, with prejudice and without costs, against Defendant Nancy R. Burke (“Burke”). Plaintiffs and Burke have settled their dispute. In light of the dismissal, Plaintiffs further request that any pending temporary restraining orders (“TROs”), including the TRO issued on May 17, 2012 [Dkt. 25], or other injunctions involving Burke be immediately dissolved.

    Note particularly that the matter has been settled “with prejudice and without costs”. This case then appears to have never been anything but a crude and foolish attempt by McFadden to use the legal process as a bludgeon to stifle a debate of public interest. Obviously, McFadden was emboldened by the false “certificate” supplied by eBay. What then has been the benefit obtained by McFadden from this expensive process? None that I can see. Indeed, in the strategic sense, the tactic has backfired completely: an expensive can of worms has been opened and the squirming contents well and truly exposed for all the sighted to see …

    Then there is the plaintiff’s apparently still ongoing action against Midley Inc (the Purse Forum). I closely followed, and contributed to, the second Purse Forum debate (and have subsequently been named as one of the defendant “does” in the case); however, I am not aware that the proprietors of the Purse Forum at any time made any disparaging comments about McFadden/eDropOff. And with the combined preliminary costs of this separate matter now approaching $1,000,000, you have to wonder about the quality of the legal advice that McFadden received; then, I don’t suppose McFadden initially told her lawyers the true facts of the matter. The matter now appears to be little more that a high-stakes game of poker to see who is going to pay who’s costs … (You can follow much of the argument in this contest, including the various linked court transcripts, via various entries in the EventHorizon1984 blog at http://eventhorizon1984.typepad.com/...984_blog/ebay/ )

    Now, if I was eBay’s chief headless turkey, John Donahoe, I would indemnify the costs of Midley, plus the damages that Midley is undoubtedly entitled to for being put through this abuse of legal process, to simply get the matter to go away, but I doubt that he is that smart …

    Which brings us to eBay’s part in this still ongoing, massive and blatant auction shill bidding fraud activity, and eBay’s ever tacit, and now active, aiding and abetting thereof …

    “She [McFadden] also said eBay had vindicated her of any shill bidding activities, claiming that her eBay account manager wrote to one of her customers who was concerned about the shill bidding accusations.”

    According to the lawsuit filing’s Exhibit F, eDropOff’s Strategic Account Manager at eBay, Chris Van Wagoner, wrote a letter to the concerned customer, including the following paragraphs:

    “I’d like to start by saying that, as eDropoff’s Account Manager at eBay, we regret losing your valuable business. We pride ourselves on the many repeat buyers that we continue work with on a daily basis. I’d also like to make you aware that as eDropoff is one of our Top sellers on eBay, we work with them to ensure that not only are they delivering top experiences, but that they are also adhering to the many policies we have established, including shill Bidding. As a result, they routinely undergo policy investigations to allow for us to make certain of their compliance.
    “With that said, we at eBay have thoroughly investigated the eDrop-off account and currently have no reason to believe that a Shill Bidding violation has taken place.”

    “Laugh Out Loud (and long)” …

    As the case against Burke has been settled “with prejudice and without costs”, I think that we can presume that the plaintiff’s case stalled due to the preponderance of facts now to hand on the—still ongoing—blatant shill bidding activity, and, no doubt, the “master fraud facilitator”, eBay Inc., would not have been prepared to expose itself to a charge of perjury by supplying the above same false certificate under oath in a court of law.

    So, below is a link to a spreadsheet analysis of a sampling of about half of one percent of eDropOff’s completed auctions over the ongoing sampled period; the conclusions that I draw therefrom are purely my opinion; you can draw your own conclusions as to whether or not, on the balance of probability—or even beyond any doubt—this merchant is shill bidding massively on the great majority of her auctions, and whether eBay can be other than knowingly complicit in such criminal activity …

    The eDropOff sampling spreadsheet (currently ~8MB) … http://bit.ly/151fXZi

    (There are “Notes to the spreadsheet analyses” further down the thread.)

    Some of the bidders that appear in this now large, but in percentage terms very small, sampling of eDropOff’s auctions, even multiple times, will be genuine bidders and many of those bidders who have won auctions will too be genuine buyers, albeit, in my opinion, buying at a higher price than that which they may otherwise have paid.

    However, even the sophisticated buyer employing a last moment “snipe” is unlikely to “bag” a bargain here as the minimum selling price is usually established well before the end of an auction by the many other habitually regular bidders that bid early, and sometimes often, on eDropOff’s auctions—but rarely win …

    Many of the IDs that I have harvested, in this sampling, even a single time, have 30-Day Summary bidding statistics that are extremely atypical and, in my opinion, there are so many, they are undoubtedly third-party commercially-supplied shill bids; and of those with very low “% this seller” and making very early low value bids, they possibly belong to other unscrupulous sellers who are making bids on other sellers’ nominal-start auctions for the purpose of diluting their own shill ID’s “% with this seller” statistic.

    Of course, the fact that a bidder regularly bids on more than one auction from a particular seller does not necessarily make them a shill; other factors need to be considered, such as the type of item/s being sold, the numbers of auctions being periodically run, the items a bidder is bidding on with other sellers, the timing of bids (nibbles or snipes), etc—which it is not possible for me to attempt to summarise. Having said that, only the utterly naive (or a shill) nibble bids on such auctions. Who bids very early with nominal bids—other than a seller’s shills, or other sellers’ shills diluting their “% with” statistic, and possibly those buyers who naïvely believe that eBay is really protecting them from such criminal activity?—LOL

    Another point to be noted is that, notwithstanding McFadden’s claim to have been damaged by these allegations of shill bidding, the spreadsheet analysis suggests that the number of bidders/bids on her auctions appears not to have been affected—the same great number of very regular bidders still appear, and monotonously so …

    Ultimately, it is not the statistics of any one or of even a few bidders that count, it is the overall pattern of bidding that strongly suggests that all is not “kosher”. It is these abnormal patterns of bidding and many surprisingly atypical Bid History statistics that suggest the probability of an organized, probably commercial, shill bidding ring at work for, no matter how shill bidding is accomplished, there can be only so many IDs that will be available for the purpose and, as data is so analysed, abnormal bidding patterns and habitually consistent abnormal 30-Day Summaries will appear, as they have done, so obviously, on eDropOff’s auctions.

    This sampling of McFadden’s auctions displays all of the red flags that I can think of: auctions cancelled/relisted; many items “sold”/relisted (one item noticed, seven times); lots of bidders, lots of bids, lots of “nibble” bidding; lots of “newbie” bidders (ie <30 days eBay membership); lots of very low feedback-count bidders; a large majority of bidders are multiple-item bidders, a great many with high “% with this seller” activity; and overall far too many bidders with the most extremely atypical 30-Day Summary statistics (probably third-party commercially-supplied shill bidding).

    (A sampling of bidding IDs with the most extremely atypical bidding statistics is contained in the two tables below.)

    I expect that a great many of this seller’s genuine underbidders will have afterwards received a “Second Chance Offer” because many of these regular, atypical, winning bidders “did not pay” …

    Another strange aspect of McFadden’s eDropOff auctions is that her feedback count is currently (Jan 2013) ~86,000, yet in her Complaint she claimed ~150,000 “satisfactory transactions” (the discrepancy can only be explained by a great many regular buyers buying multiple items in the same week where, in such circumstances, feedback numbers are discounted, or the difference is faux sales); additionally, she has been selling on eBay since June 2004 and she is currently running ~80,000 auctions per annum—that indicates an even more staggering discrepancy between the total number of, apparently, successful auctions run and the feedback received therefor; then, shills that “win” don’t leave feedback …

    With Donahoe’s introduction of total anonymity for (shill) bidders by eBay in 2008, eBay has made it virtually impossible to ascertain the bona fides of bidders. Regardless, the bidding patterns demonstrated in the spreadsheet suggest that rampant shill bidding is taking place on virtually all of this merchant’s auctions even for items of a lower value. The data suggests that there is a third party(ies) providing a commercial shill bidding service to—who knows how many—unscrupulous eBay merchants. But, as I say, draw your own conclusions from the facts supplied, and the grossly atypical bidding patterns demonstrated, in the attached spreadsheet(s) …




    It seems that unscrupulous eBay users can have as many eBay “user” accounts as the unlimited supply of email addresses that their email provider will provide. Apparently, no other “verification” is performed by eBay. Now, if eBay was statutorily required to verify that users were real people—as banks are usually required to do—just maybe, at least some of the commercially supplied shill bidding problem could be brought under some control; but, of course, any such control would not be in the interests of eBay’s bottom line …

    The “eBafia”, with their claimed “sophisticated and proactive software” for the detection and control of such shill bidding fraud, can, apparently, still see none of this. To me, eBay’s lack of action is effectively a calculated criminal facilitation of organised wire fraud. Well, many eBay users always knew that eBay was knowingly facilitating wire fraud but this current matter simply confirms that fact …

    Update: McFadden must be getting tired of paying for all that shill bidding on, and buying much of, her own stuff; on 12 April 2013 she listed a couple of high-priced items (350759029115 and 390570999221) as “Buy It Now / Best Offer”; needless to say, neither received an offer. Where does she expect the offers to come from seeing as the majority, if not sometimes all, of the bids on most of her auctions appear to be her own shills? Regardless, you only have to look at the now abysmal sell though rates of just about any professional eBay seller using BIN/BO to know that the eBay marketplace is dying—literally. But the more serious aspect for eBafia is that if all the auction fraudsters convert their listings from (shilled) auctions to BIN/BO, eBay will miss out on the FVFs on all the faux sales that would otherwise have been created—LOL …

    Update: Despite her listings stating that she ships “worldwide”, as of 13 June 2013, McFadden has restricted the viewing of eDropOff’s eBay listings to the US site only. Now, why would any merchant selling her sort of stuff want to make international buyers unwelcome? Well, having so many bidders bidding on her stuff—many of whom are habitually regular bidders (LOL)—and with an apparent sell through rate of ~95% (including faux sales, of course), maybe she has decided that she simply does not need any extra sales. What other reason could there possibly be?

    Update (23 June 2013): It seems that McFadden cannot do without the international exposure: her listings are again showing on the international eBay sites. But the question remains, what was the restriction of her listings to the US site only all about in the first place?

    Update (4 September 2013): As the eBay marketplace continues to atrophy, it seems that genuine sales (as opposed to faux “marketing” sales) are getting ever harder to come by. eDropoff has today ended a number of auctions of high-value items that were started at much higher starting prices than usual. I don’t know what difference they think it will make; there are somewhat less bidders and bids on these auctions but, needless to say, many of the same bunch of monotonously regular bidders are still appearing thereon.

    Update (18 September 2013): All the indications are that the eBay marketplace is in its final death throws. Just as the “Concordia” has been “raised from the dead”, Captain Donahoe has finally succeeded in putting the good ship “ebay” onto similar rocks. Regardless, McFadden is not the only one having difficulty making genuine sales on the eBay marketplace and, in what will undoubtedly be a futile attempt to attract some genuine buyers, McFadden has now dropped her nominal-start price for some items to $9.99, and still some of the stuff does not “sell”, and when some of it does sell, it appears usually to have been bought by a shill, eg …

    http://offer.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAP...m=350873010380
    Buyer’s 30-Day Summary: 295 bids on 232 items 98% with this seller …

    http://offer.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAP...m=350873009929
    Buyer’s 30-Day Summary: 600 bids on 522 items 50% with this seller …

    http://offer.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAP...m=390658312687
    Buyer’s 30-Day Summary: 600 bids on 522 items 50% with this seller …

    http://offer.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAP...m=390658310650
    Buyer’s 30-Day Summary: 222 bids on 111 items 100% with this seller …

    http://offer.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAP...m=310743151144
    Buyer’s 30-Day Summary: 547 bids on 314 items 97% with this seller …

    http://offer.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAP...m=390658306148
    Buyer’s 30-Day Summary: 174 bids on 64 items 63% with this seller …

    On any given day, take a look at eDropOff’s latest listings sorted by “Time: newly listed”, then take a look at any listings that have any bids placed early thereon. If you look at the “Bid History: Details” of any of these bidders you will most likely see that the great majority, if not all, of them have extremely atypical bidding statistics. What does this suggest? I’ll let the reader draw their own conclusions as to what this suggests …

    Clearly, it appears that “Chairman Ho” has got the eBay marketplace steaming “full ahead flank” on its continuing journey down the toilet. Methinks it’s time to dump those eBay shares—if you were ever silly enough to have bought any …


    Sold, relisted, sold, relisted, sold, relisted, sold ...

    http://www.ecommercebytes.com/forums...833#post168833

    At the above link you will find a list of some of eDropOff’s auctions from July–September 2012 (with the auction numbers) that others have observed as appearing to be “sold” (or cancelled) and then relisted for sale again, and again, and again … I think that we can safely assume that the winning bidders in the earlier auctions are most probably shills, as will possibly be many of the under bidders—just my opinion of course …


    eDropOff loses its most loyal bidder …

    We note with great sadness the apparent passing of eDropOff’s most loyal bidder (but rarely a buyer), “junminn” (bidding ID “i***i”, with 1802 feedback count when last seen on an eDropOff auction).

    Every month, from March 2012 to mid July 2013 “junminn” made an average of roughly ~2,000 bids on ~2,000 items, ~90% with eDropOff; that’s ~28,800 bids on ~28,800 items with eDropOff; sadly, over that time, junminn’s feedback count only progressed ~170. Still, it is sad to see an eBay merchant lose such a loyal and habitually regular bidder.

    Having said that, presumably “junminn” is a commercially supplied shill as “junminn” is still making a great many bids on a great many items—but no longer 90% with eDropOff; “junminn” is now very regularly “buying” from one other eBay merchant in particular, “cakrakow”. “junminn” is currently showing 1,581 bids on 1,385 items, 21% with “cakrakow”, still with a great number of bid retractions (628) for the past six months; I wonder who’s now getting the other 76% of the current 1,581 bids?


    An eDropOff competitor: Linda Lightman’s “linda*s***stuff”

    Some may think that eDropOff has such an exceptional sell through rate (STR), and that all those very regular bidders (see tables below for the many most regular with the mast atypical bidding patterns) appear on eDropOff’s auctions, simply because she is a very popular seller. If you are swayed by that premise then I suggest you take a look at the small spreadsheet analysis of another seller, a direct competitor of eDropOff’s, Linda Lightman’s “linda*s***stuff” at http://bit.ly/1aRBiGt

    Linda is apparently a consignment seller similar to eDropOff. Compare the bidding activity on Linda’s auctions with that on eDropOff’s. Firstly, Linda appears to (usually) start her auctions at the minimum she is prepared to accept, and that can mean that a great deal of her stuff does not get even a single bid. Items that sell do rarely have more than a few bidders/bids thereon. In comparison with eDropOff’s appearance of an exceptionally high sell though rate, Linda’s completed listings are a “ocean of red” of unsold items; indeed, I have never seen so much blood on the floor—is it any wonder that eBay is now constantly offering massive fee-free listings promotions to selected merchants; who would want to be paying listing fees when the result is such an abysmal sell thorough rate. Of course, it’s not a lack of listings that is the problem, it’s an ever increasing lack of buyers. Still, strange, that contrast, between these two like sellers, is it not: the STR, number of bidders, number of bids? And, if you want to see an even heavier flow of “blood”, take a look at Linda’s completed listings sorted by “Price: highest first” (and if you can figure out what all the unsold $10,000 priced items are all about, do please let me know) …

    Linda lists a great many more auctions and has a transaction feedback count four times that of eDropOff; Linda habitually has noticeably many less bidders and, usually, a great many less bids on her auctions, and never (that I have noticed) any bids already showing on the email notices of new listings. Now, Linda does have a few bidders that appear atypical but then I suppose there may always be a few bidders that are genuinely atypical. Overall though, there are not the blatantly obvious patterns of bidding, that suggest extensive shill bidding activity, on Linda’s auctions as there are on eDropOff’s …

    Indeed, no matter how you sort the items to do a comparison, the contrast between the patterns of bidding on Linda’s and eDropOff’s auctions could not be more stark! Now, why do you think that is so?

    Update (July 2013): I’ve had a look at Linda’s auctions again recently and Linda has recently run a good number of auctions for some high value items commencing with nominal starts ($19.99) and these particular auctions have a ~100% STR, with many common bidders bidding on multiples of these items and a number of bidders bidding on very many of her items …

    Update (Aug 2013): Linda is now running small batches of items with nominal starting prices—the first batch I noticed ended 11 August 2013 (12 August AU time in spreadsheet). Her higher-value high-start listings are generally a massive “ocean of red” in both BIN/BO and auctions; only on her recent batches of nominally-started auctions is there the appearance of a 100% STR. Again, these auctions are populated mainly with bidders bidding on numerous items and some of the same bidders bidding on many items …

    Update (23 Sept 2013): Linda has just uploaded another batch of nominal-start ($19.99) auctions. Within literally minutes of their listing, those that I have looked at, already have many bidders making a great many bids thereon—in stark contrast to her normal listings. Let’s then take a closer look at just one of these listings, eg …

    http://offer.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAP...m=261283592902

    Amazingly, this item already had 49 bids from 16 bidders thereon when the eBay “Saved Search” email notice of its listing was issued! This item was uploaded on 22 Sept at 18:00 PDT (11:00 AEST); the Saved Search email was issued ~13 hours later at 06:57 PDT (23:57 AEST) …

    Here are some more from the same batch of listings where bids are being made literally within minutes of the item being listed and before the “saved search” email is issued:

    http://offer.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAP...m=310741992963
    http://offer.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAP...m=310738148957
    http://offer.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAP...m=380706650712
    http://offer.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAP...m=261283417416
    http://offer.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAP...m=261279931990
    http://offer.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAP...m=310734024329
    http://offer.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAP...m=310734865861
    http://offer.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAP...m=380711077131
    http://offer.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAP...m=310738032463
    http://offer.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAP...m=310742812324
    http://offer.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAP...m=310738615764
    http://offer.ebay.com.au/ws/eBayISAP...m=261280377131

    I could keep going but I think that this additional dozen should be enough to make the point. Once again, I’ll invite readers draw their own conclusions as to what may be going on here …

    Sell Though Rates

    What then about a comparison of sell though rates? As a matter of interest, on 3 August 2013, of Linda’s ~20,000 “current” auction listings, only ~800 had one or more bids thereon; that’s a potential STR of ~4%—about the reality for the current atrophying state of the eBay marketplace. (Indeed, of the ~250 auctions that ended on 3 August, only six had any bids thereon; that equals a STR of 2.4%!)

    Conversely, on the same date, of eDropOff’s ~1300 current listings, ~950 had one or more bids; that’s a potential STR of ~73% …

    Undoubtedly, every scrupulous merchant selling on eBay will be wondering what they have to do to get all those monotonously regular, and early, bidders making so many bids, and the same apparent “success” rate as eDropOff, and I have to wonder if Linda is—in desperation—occasionally experimenting with the same tacitly approved eBay “marketing mechanism” as that being used by eDropOff. I’ll leave it up to the readers to form their own opinions, as to what is going on, on the facts supplied in the linked spreadsheets ...

    How “Best Match” Distorts Search

    If you want a good demonstration of the distortion that eBay’s default “Best Match” search applies to your search results, take a look at Linda’s current eBay listings and alternate the search view between “Best Match” and “Time: ending soonest”, and note the difference in the results: “Best Match” moves items with bids thereon towards the top of the list thereby presenting a much rosier picture than the reality; “Time: ending soonest”, however, presents the reality which is, frankly, depressing; no wonder eBay had to come up with the devious concept of “Best Match”; but, of course, as is usual with eBay’s disingenuous machinations, they outsmart themselves: the unscrupulous merchants very quickly figure out how to game the system by simply shill bidding early on their own stuff—with eBay’s tacit approval, of course …

    eBay has always demonstrated itself to be a master of the “bait and switch” …

    “Completed Listings” Sorts

    Practicably, we can no longer do the same STR calculation on auction “completed listings” because eBay has removed the sorts for “Number of bids: fewest/most first” from the “Completed” listings page. Now, why do you think eBay would have done that—other than to make it effectively impossible for users to quantify eBay’s now utterly abysmal overall sell through rate? Still, it’s nice to be reassured that whenever eBay does anything, or even an eBay spokesperson moves their lips, they are, invariably, being disingenuous ... http://bit.ly/YvxFEg

    But, there is another interesting comparison that can be done to demonstrate the stark contrast in supposed STRs between these two similar merchants. Take a look at the “completed listings” for both, sorted by “Price+Shipping: lowest first”. Linda’s listing presents an “ocean of red” of items with zero bids, even for items at what appear to be reasonable starting prices. Conversely, eDropOff’s completed listings today (9 Sept 13) display an “all green” 100% STR! And if you can believe that you can believe absolutely anything! Of course, the one making the most out of all these “sold” items is the “master fraud facilitator”, eBay Inc., on FVFs from all these mostly shilled transactions that have resulted in “sales”—real or faux. The real question is, just how many of these “sold” items are then relisted the following week (after the “buyer” does not pay)?


    eBay Motors: Auction Fraud Galore …

    And, for good measure, a separate analysis of some used car dealers operating on the UK eBay Motors’ platform—the obvious shills usually outnumber the genuine bidders by about 10:1 … http://bit.ly/I2gTEU


    As the eBay marketplace continues to atrophy …

    Regardless, as I have oft said elsewhere, as the eBay marketplace continues its journey down the toilet under the direction of its current chief headless turkey and as the much-abused remaining sellers—of those that have not already moved away from eBay—become more and more desperate, more may start bidding on (and buying much of) their own stuff—if they aren’t already doing so. The problem with such a business model is, such sellers will soon enough realise that they are paying the master fraud facilitator more in selling commissions (10–12%) than they are themselves making on any real sales, and soon enough the “penny will drop” and they will be forced to dump eBay, as eBay long ago started dumping on them, and the eBay marketplace “house of cards” will then start to implode even more quickly, with a long slow “fizzzzzzzzzzzzz”. Indeed, if you listen closely, you should be able to hear the hissing sound of all the hot air starting to escape from the eBay Dept of Spin …

    Notwithstanding the nonsense that constantly flows from the eBay Dept of Spin, the eBay marketplace is clearly in trouble, and when sellers like eDropOff finally stop bidding on and buying so much of there own stuff, eBay’s troubles will become even more obvious. Frankly, any eBay merchant that is not now making serious post-eBay plans is as big a fool as is clearly the headless turkey at the helm of eBay, John Joseph Donahoe II …

    In the meantime, “The band continued to play on, even as the bow dipped lower and lower.”—The Titanic/eBay Story ...




    Notes to the spreadsheet analyses

    Bear in mind that the spreadsheet sample of eDropoff’s auctions represents about one percent of eDropOff’s completed listings during the sampled period. The fact that a bidder appears (only) a few times could still be quite significant: one bidder—je(7+) [“juliebeanyz”]—initially appeared in this spreadsheet sampling in only three auctions but is in fact a bidder that can be demonstrated as making 200–300 bids on 150–200 of only eDropOff’s auctions in any 30 day period. This girl obviously has a lot of wardrobe space. Regardless, if we can reasonably extrapolate the spreadsheet contents against the actual number of auctions (~250/day), it would only amplify the apparent atypical patterns of bidding that so very obviously appear even on this very small sample of auctions.

    That said, I have initially concentrated my sampling on the higher-priced sales and it is therefore possible that I have surveyed most of the principal players. … But, no, even at the lower priced end, other third-party bidding IDs appear to be active; see auction 271012130630; “nibble” bidder 2***y (~129): Total bids 808, Items bid on 129, 69% with this seller. There appears to be a steady stream of new third-party bidding IDs being introduced onto eDropOff’s auctions, so, who knows?

    Update: From early August (2012) I started including in the spreadsheet, in the columns provided therefore on the right hand side, the “Bidding Details” statistics from the “Bid History Details” pages. I also added an analysis of those rolling “30-Day Summary” statistics that, where a bidder is calculated as having bid on more than one item during that period, the total number of bids made (indicated at the moment the data was collected) is displayed, in red. Needless to say, the result of that calculation makes very obvious some extremely atypical bidding activity …

    Caveat: eBay’s “Bid activity (%) with this seller” value is rounded down (even 0.9 becomes 0); this may result in an understatement of the spreadsheet-calculated total number of bids a bidder has made in the previous 30-day period, which will be of little material consequence other than where the eBay “Total bids” is a large number and the rounded-down “Bid activity (%)” is of very low value, or even displaying “0%”.

    “Bidders” column
    Where my bidding statistics calculation indicates that a bidder has bid on multiple auctions with this seller in the past 30 days or otherwise appears multiple times in the spreadsheet, those bidders are coloured a shade of red; where such a regular bidder wins an auction (or would have won, had the seller not cancelled the auction) the bidder’s background is coloured yellow. The suffix “N” indicates a “newby” bidder (of less than 30 days eBay membership).

    A great many bidders are suffixed with a single asterisk, these I consider are possibly shills; many others are suffixed with double asterisks, these I consider are probably–most-probably shills: they have what appears to me to be very atypical 30-Day Summary statistics; I also consider bids on five or more of a seller’s auctions, 100% with this seller only, unusual, but obviously, the type of goods being bid upon will have a bearing on that premise.

    Always bear in mind that there is a healthy trade in “feedback” by unscrupulous merchants on eBay that eBay chooses to do little about (try an eBay search for items “free” or “digital” with free shipping starting at $0.01.), therefore a bidder’s high feedback count is no guarantee that an ID is not a shill: when the shill bidding fails, the shill will regularly be left “holding the baby”. The bidding ID “i***i” (~1787), with its unbelievable number of bids on a likewise unbelievable number of items every month with its equally unbelievably high number of bid retractions, is the classic example …

    “Sort Date Ended” button
    This sort will put the auctions/bidders in the original order of date ended as they appear on the eBay Bid History page; bidders are listed only once (highest bid) for each auction, regardless of the number of times that they may bid on a an auction, as the purpose is to identify those many bidders that appear regularly/habitually on eDropOff’s auctions, and particularly those that never win anything, not the timing of their bids, or whether they were nibble bidding, which indeed is another red flag. (And, if you think my dates/times are a little odd that is because they are Australian, AEST.)

    “Sort Bidders” button
    This sort will give you a picture of the number of times individual bidding IDs appear in the spreadsheet sample of auctions; those that appear more than once, or are otherwise established as bidding on multiple auctions, are coloured red, and of those that win an auction have a yellow background.

    There are two more sort buttons on the spreadsheet. If the spreadsheet contains multiple sellers, these buttons will alternatively sort the bidders or auctions by the individual sellers.

    Bear in mind that these eBay bidding IDs are, by deliberate eBay design, not unique; it’s possible to have two different bidders with identical IDs and occasionally even identical feedback, particularly at the lower feedback count values. Conversely, the spreadsheet is static; a regularly appearing ID’s feedback value may advance over time, so, in the spreadsheet, you can also have the same ID with an advancing feedback value. Only by constantly referring to a bidder’s Bid History Details page can an identity of a particular bidder be confirmed, and even then those details are “rolling” summaries and the unscrupulous seller can wash his shill IDs clean by simply letting them lay fallow for 30 days.

    For the same reason it is hard to keep track of all the “newbies” and the extremely low feedback-count bidders, particularly those whose IDs are comprised of the vowel letters that are naturally going to appear most often in IDs; needless to say, there are so many of these extremely low feedback IDs “100% with this seller”, that in itself is a big red flag.

    The “red sea” of regular bidders that appear on this seller’s auctions is simply, well, overwhelming …


    eBay’s calculated facilitation of “wire fraud”

    As far as the US is concerned, US Code, Title 18, Part I, Chapter 63, §1343, “Fraud by wire, radio, or television”, is the applicable Federal statute:

    “Whoever, having devised or intending to devise any scheme or artifice to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false or fraudulent pretenses, representations, or promises, transmits or causes to be transmitted by means of wire, radio, or television communication in interstate or foreign commerce, any writings, signs, signals, pictures, or sounds for the purpose of executing such scheme or artifice, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both. …”

    Notice how broad that definition is: any form of false pretences for obtaining an advantage is criminal fraud. Any undisclosed vendor bidding on an eBay auction clearly falls under that definition and it is therefore a US federal crime. The knowing facilitation of such criminal activity, by eBay, is also a federal crime. Most civilised countries have similar statutes proscribing such schemes, and the aiding and abetting thereof, as criminal …

    Aiding and abetting

    To further clarify the matter, let’s have a look at a summary of the US Criminal Code definition of “aiding and abetting” and see if that definition fits eBay’s actions, or lack thereof, with regard to the shill bidding activity that is demonstrably rampant on the auctions run by a very great many professional eBay sellers:

    The U.S. criminal code makes aiding and abetting a federal crime itself a crime:

    A person may be convicted of aiding and abetting any act made criminal under the code. The elements of aiding and abetting are, generally:
    (1) guilty knowledge on the part of the accused (the mens rea);
    (2) the commission of an offense by someone; and
    (3) the defendant assisted or participated in the commission of the offense (the actus reus).

    In 1948, § 550 became 18 U.S.C. § 2(a). Section 2(b) was also added to make clear the legislative intent to punish as a principal not only one who directly commits an offense and one who "aids, abets, counsels, commands, induces or procures" another to commit an offense, but also anyone who causes the doing of an act which if done by him directly would render him guilty of an offense against the United States. It removes all doubt that one who puts in motion or assists in the illegal enterprise or causes the commission of an indispensable element of the offense by an innocent agent or instrumentality is guilty as a principal even though he intentionally refrained from the direct act constituting the completed offense.—US Justice Department (1998), citing United States v. Dodd, 43 F.3d 759, 763 (1st Cir. 1995). … http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aiding_and_abetting

    Summary: (1) It can be demonstrated that eBay cannot but be aware that shill bidding is rampant on their auction platform; (2) It can be demonstrated, beyond reasonable doubt, that shill bidding is indeed rampant on eBay auctions; (3) It can be demonstrated that eBay effectively assists in the commission of such criminal activity by knowing that such criminal activity is occurring, profiting from such criminal activity, and, contrary to their claims, doing absolutely nothing proactively, and effectively very little reactively, to stop, or report to the appropriate authorities, such criminal activity. In the case of eDropOff, eBay has done nothing to stop what is demonstrably massive and blatant, and ongoing, shill bidding, and eBay has by their subsequent actions—including the supplying of the before-mentioned false certificate—continued to aid and abet such ongoing criminal activity.

    An example: on one particular eDropOff-cancelled auction (390550879926), of the nine bidders thereon, seven (possibly eight) are blatantly obvious shills; I reported this auction to eBay for shill bidding. What do you think eBay’s response has been? Absolutely nothing! And that is, prima facie, the aiding and abetting of such criminal activity. But don’t take my word for it, take a look at the bidding statistics on the “Bid History: Details” pages for each of the bidders involved and judge for yourself: http://bit.ly/W62EmQ

    Misprision of felonyhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Misprision_of_felony

    “Failure to report a felony is "misprision of felony" and is an offense under United States federal law after being codified in 1909 under 18 U.S.C. § 4:

    “Whoever, having knowledge of the actual commission of a felony cognizable by a court of the United States, conceals and does not as soon as possible make known the same to some judge or other person in civil or military authority under the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

    “This offense, however, requires active concealment of a known felony rather than merely failing to report it.”

    Summary: Well, the issuance of a patently false certificate in the eDropOff shill bidding matter, and the taking of no action when such activity is reported to them, demonstrates that eBay is prepared to actively and knowingly conceal such criminal activity—as long as they are profiting sufficiently from it …

    In conclusion

    You may well then ask, why does eBay choose to not do anything effective to control the auction shill bidding fraud that is demonstrably so rampant on their auction system? The simple answer to that question is that eBay knows that to do anything effective about it would devastate a great many professional sellers and as a consequence eBay’s revenue would be likewise be devastated. (Regardless, sooner or later, as the eBay marketplace continues to atrophy, those desperate shill bidding merchants are eventually going to have to stop buying so much of their own stuff, and that too will devastate eBay.)

    Such is the world of commerce: it appears that revenue considerations will likely always trump ethical considerations; in eBay’s case, not even the US criminal code is allowed to impede their income stream—just like the Mafia of old …

    The only material difference between eBay and any other unscrupulous auctioneer is that there is an auditable data trail of bidding on eBay auctions, a data trail that, in many instances, demonstrates, beyond any doubt, that eBay is knowingly facilitating such wire fraud, and eBay is therefore a most unscrupulous, indeed criminal, organization.


    Seller-cancelled auctions

    If you watch eDropOff’s actual “Completed listings” you may also notice that some nominal-start auctions remain unsold and show “0” bids; often, there has in fact been bidding thereon by a number of bidders but the auction has been cancelled by the seller. What does this suggest? In my opinion, it suggests that no genuine bidder has been enticed to bid or to bid to an acceptable price.

    If you look at such auctions in the spreadsheet flagged “Seller cancel”; you will notice that the bids have usually been placed by very regular bidders mostly with extremely atypical bidding statistics …

    eBay has made it more difficult to research such “cancelled” auctions en masse by their recent removing of the “Sort by” option, “Number of bids: fewest first” from the “Completed listings” page—eBay does try to think of everything to tacitly aid and abet shill bidding fraudsters …


    eBay’s calculated obfuscation of bidding statistics

    The “30-Day Summary” of bidding statistics that appear on a bidder’s “Bid History: Details” page are, in my opinion, designed more to obfuscate and deceive than to inform. And, because of their transient nature these statistics are only useful for a short period in time, and most of the statistics can be washed off a shill ID simply by letting the ID lay fallow for 30 days, or the most meaningful statistic, the “Bid activity (%) with this seller” percentage, can be kept watered down by the placing of multiple, nominal-value, non-winning bids on other merchants’ nominal-start auctions. (This probably explains the great majority of all those many otherwise pointless nominal bids that you see on many nominal-start auctions: it may not the seller bidding on his own auction but some other shill bidder watering down his own shill ID statistics.) The statistics currently supplied by eBay are:

    30-Day Summary
    Total bids [all sellers]
    Items bid on [all sellers]
    Bid activity (%) with this seller
    Bid retractions
    Bid retractions (6 months)

    Only the “Bid activity (%) with this seller” is, in some circumstances, of any real use in detecting shill bidding on the current auction. But, that percentage statistic also suits the commercial provider of shill bidding who, by the nature of their work, is spreading their bids about amongst who knows how many unscrupulous merchants; they may show large amounts of bidding but they can keep that percentage value watered down and when the bidding is spread over many merchants, the percentage value may in some cases actually round down to zero, thus further obscuring the amount of bids for that particular auction.

    To allow buyers to better protect themselves from shill bidders, eBay could—just as easily—have provided the following more complete information:

    30-Day Summary
    Total bids, all sellers
    Number bids with this seller
    Bid activity (%) with this seller
    Items bid on, all sellers
    Items bid on with this seller
    Item activity (%) with this seller
    Bid retractions
    Bid retractions (total)

    The two really meaningful statistics that eBay does not supply but that would be of most value are the “Number bids with this seller” (rather than simply the percentage thereof) and the “Number of Items bid on with this seller”. Whereas the supplied Bid activity percentage can be watered down by unscrupulous sellers by their placing nominal bids elsewhere, the actual number cannot be watered down, which is most probably the reason why eBay does not supply same for the benefit of genuine bidders. Still, I will leave it up to readers to draw their own conclusions as to why eBay would design the system thus.

    The “30-Day Bid History” listing of the last 30 items bid on by the bidder may be of some use for spotting what a lazy shill bidder is placing his “watering down” nominal bids on, and can also be of value when watching a ring of say, used car dealers, that are bidding on each others auctions with little effect on the “percent with” statistic, because this listing may nevertheless show abnormal numbers of bids being placed on other motor vehicles. Nevertheless, the anonymity of bidders, items and sellers in this list means that nothing further can be investigated. I will leave it to the reader to draw their own conclusions as to why eBay would design the system thus.

    Also, given that individual auction information is generally available for 90 days, why would eBay then supply the rolling Bid History summary for only a 30-day period? Of course, the simple answer is that unscrupulous merchants would otherwise need three times as many shill IDs to surreptitiously do the same job over such a longer summary period …

    Bid retractions: We are supplied with the number of bid retractions for rolling 30- and 180-day periods; at least, it is more difficult for unscrupulous merchants to wash off the 180-day statistic, and where a value exists for such period it can be used to better keep track of suspect IDs; but the question that then needs to be asked is, if the “retractions” periods variables apply only to the individual IDs, why does eBay not publish the number of a bidder’s “total” retractions instead of only those for a rolling 180-days? If it did represent the all-time total of retractions, unscrupulous merchants would not be able to “wash off” that statistic at all. Once again, I will leave it to the reader to draw their own conclusion as to why eBay would design the system thus.

    Now, it’s usually only a matter of aggregating and analysing the bidding statistics for a small sample of a merchant’s auctions, as has been done in some of the attached spreadsheets, to come to the conclusion that shill bidding fraud is endemic on most such nominal-start auctions.

    eBay will undoubtedly claim that they do supply the statistical information on which these analyses can be done; but, they choose not to supply it in a readily digestible form; they choose to deliberately obfuscate the matter by presenting the data in a limited, non aggregated fashion that makes it difficult for the hoi polloi to see the obvious red flags. And, once again, I will leave it to the reader to draw their own conclusion as to why eBay would design the system thus. …

    The following table represents what eBay could have—just as easily—supplied, if they had really wanted their trusting buyers to be able to notice suspect bidding patterns and thereby protect themselves from the shill bidding wolves: comprehensive information, up front, on the primary “Bid History” page, that would have enabled all but the most naive buyer to protect themselves from any shill bidding that would therefore have been more readily exposed by such better reporting. Of course, it’s most unlikely that eBay would ever present this Bid History information in this more meaningful format for to do so would indeed make it far too easy for buyers to spot the shill bidding fraudsters that—with eBay’s tacit approval—infest eBay’s auctions and prey on eBay’s trusting buyers …

    I’ve also always wondered what purpose was served by eBay’s insertion of the three meaningless asterisks in the anonymous bidding pseudonyms—other than to further obfuscate matters, that is …

    What the primary “Bid History” page could—just as easily—have contained

    And, just for fun, I have built a couple of example tables from a sampling of the bidding IDs that I consider have extremely atypical bidding statistics (in the main, bidders making more than 200 bids with the seller within the previous 30 days) and which can mostly be found with monotonous regularity on many of eDropOff’s auctions (the “Percent items, this seller” and the result therefrom, are mostly my estimates only).

    Needless to say, this sampling of IDs is only the tip of the iceberg and represents only those with the most outrageously atypical statistics; indeed, the linked spreadsheet displays a great many others with still very atypical statistics who are regular bidders and who only rarely, and probably never intentionally, ever win an auction …






    The most blatant of eDropOff’s shills

    You don’t have to wait until an auction is finished to do this analysis; indeed, on any day, take a look any number of McFadden’s “newly listed” auctions and you will mostly find the same bunch of regular shills (many from the above list) already bidding thereon, within hours of the items being listed.

    And eBay, with their claimed “sophisticated and proactive” software to detect and control shill bidding fraud, apparently can see none of this blatantly obvious shill bidding … LOL


    eBay’s merchant-elected “private listing” auctions

    I have done it often elsewhere, so I won’t bother here again commenting in any great length on eBay’s most devious auction format, the merchant-elected “private listing”, other that to say that this eBay-devised mechanism demonstrates eBay’s total lack of scruples.

    Genuine bidders get absolutely no bidding information at all on this auction format … Talk about auctioneers taking bids from multiple insects crawling up the wall … It is beyond comprehension that any honest merchant would elect to use this “private listing” format, and only those utterly unscrupulous merchants could possibly have the gall to use it. Such “private listing” auctions serve no other purpose than to utterly obscure shill bidding and are, without doubt, the exclusive domain of auction fraudsters.

    Simply put, this auction format is the unscrupulous merchant’s delight and any genuine bidder that other than very, very carefully “snipes” a bid on such a “private listing” auction is simply naïve; anyone that places a maximum proxy bid early on or that enters into a nibble bidding war on such an auction, is naïve in the extreme and is undoubtedly going to be “taken to the cleaners”—with eBay’s tacit approval, of course …

    Ultimately, one has to wonder how anyone could be so naïve as to bid on a “private listing” auction …


    eBay’s user-elected “private” feedback

    And now that bidding IDs are utterly anonymous, what can be said about eBay’s user-elected “private feedback”? Other than it allows unscrupulous, and sometimes imbecilic, bidders to wreak havoc and be less easily kept track of, for example … http://bit.ly/Vwhvsy




    A major conspiracy to defraud

    There is a great deal of bidding activity on eDropOff’s auctions and we initially wondered how this amount of bidding, if indeed it is shill bidding, could be accomplished. However, as the amount of data has grown it has become apparent from an analysis of the Bid History Details data of many of the bidders, that it is most probable that, who knows how many, merchants may be using the services of a third-party, commercial provider of shill bidding. Many of the bidding IDs that appear on eDropOff’s auctions, even some “newby” and low feedback-count IDs, show very high numbers of bids made on many other eBay auctions during the 30-Day Summary period, which one suspects could only have been placed by an automated mechanism. (See bidder “c***_(~210)” on auction nr 271007918094 for the most extreme statistics: 11,337 bids on 5,951 items in one 30-day period! PS, now NARU)

    Now, you may think that where a bidder has an abnormally high numbers of bids on an abnormally high number of auctions but has a low “% this seller”, that that is not suspicious. Not so. I have no doubt that a forensic examination of such bidding IDs will find that they have a high “% with” some other unscrupulous merchant that is also involved in this commercial shill bidding ring.

    You can satisfy yourself as to the veracity of this possible conclusion by examining the “30-Day Summary” data, for those regular bidders (particularly on those records in the spreadsheet suffixed with a double asterisk), which is included in the comments column on the right hand side of the spreadsheet. (This additional data was, in the main, added to the existing sheet towards the end of June (2012); many of the IDs that have not been active since May or very early June may now be on “vacation” to recover from all the work they have been doing and to “roll off” the 30-day data that they had thereby built up.)

    An interesting article on such a commercial shill bidding service appeared on the auctionbytes.com blog in May 2006 and that article indicates that eBay was aware of its existence; what eBay did about it, other than mouth disapproval, I will leave for readers to speculate on:


    At the determination of this current legal action that McFadden has so foolishly instigated, it can only be hoped that the relevant authorities will investigate this matter and obtain the identities of the users/merchants behind many of the bidding IDs involved in this apparent bidding ring, that is, those merchants that have contracted for the lower service fee by allowing their own IDs to be used in the ring. It should then be interesting to watch the race by those involved, to lessen the penalty that they may suffer, by giving up the third-party entity that is providing them all with the automated shill bidding service.

    It would appear that every month a great many bids are being made on some tens of thousands of auctions by this commercial supplier of shill bidding—from how many IP addresses?—and eBay has no idea it is going on? No, eBay apparently knows absolutely nothing of such shill bidding activity—not even with the “sophisticated and proactive software” that they claim to have for detecting such criminal activity—and if you are naïve or stupid enough to believe that, you undoubtedly have fairies at the bottom of your garden too ...

    Indeed, following this research, I have come to the conclusion that there are probably more user IDs in the hands of unscrupulous shill bidding merchants and the commercial suppliers of shill bidding than there are in the hands of genuine users. There certainly are many more bids being made by shills than by genuine bidders … and the outrageous criminal facilitator, eBay, must know it …


    Merely the tip of the tip of the iceberg …

    The case of Kenneth Walton et al—nytimes.com, 9 Mar 2001
    http://www.nytimes.com/2001/03/09/bu...s-on-ebay.html

    “Three men accused of trying to sell an abstract painting for $135,805 on the eBay auction Web site last year were indicted yesterday on charges of taking part in a bidding ring that cost hundreds of art buyers a total of $450,000.

    “The 35-page indictment charges the men with 16 counts of wire fraud and mail fraud. It accuses them of placing ‘shill’ bids in 1,100 auctions between October 1998 and May 2000, …

    “Using more than 40 online user ID's, or screen names, …

    “The F.B.I. has said that it opened its investigation after reading an article that appeared in The New York Times on June 2, 2000. ...”

    What, only 1100 auctions over two and one-half years! McFadden’s eDropOff runs about 80,000 auctions per annum … and eBay can’t see any shill bidding here either …

    The case of Eftis Paraskevaides—thesundaytimes.co.uk, 28 Jan 2007
    http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/...ticle57077.ece

    “Revealed: how eBay sellers fix auctions”—infowars.com, 28 Jan 2007
    http://www.infowars.com/articles/eco...x_auctions.htm

    “Customers of the internet auction site eBay are being defrauded by unscrupulous dealers who secretly bid up the price of items on sale to boost profits.

    “The cases raise questions about whether eBay, the world's biggest auction site, is doing enough to protect consumers.”

    eBay ultimately banned this seller “permanently”. Well, they had to, seeing that he had been voice recorded admitting to shill bidding fraud. Still, he can always simply set up another account and carry on as before …

    “eBay shill bid scammer convicted”—theregister.co.uk, 19 Apr 2010
    http://forums.theregister.co.uk/foru.../19/ebay_scam/
    http://forums.theregister.co.uk/foru...05/ebay_shill/
    The reader comments thereto are particularly informative …

    “Warning over eBay bidding trick”—news.bbc.co.uk, 20 Apr 2010
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/8632357.stm

    Minibus hire firm boss Paul Barrett, 39, from Stanley, County Durham, pleaded guilty to 10 offences at Skipton Magistrates’ Court after using two separate eBay accounts to bid on and increase the prices of his own items.

    Speaking after the hearing on 16 April, Vanessa Canzini of eBay said:

    “Shill bidding is illegal and it is important for people to understand that there is not, nor has there ever been, room for illegal activity on our site.

    “We invest over £6m each year in state-of-the-art technology to detect shill bidding and other illegal activities.

    “This acts as a strong deterrent to the small minority who attempt to use our site inappropriately but, more than this, it helps us to work with law enforcement agencies to secure successful prosecutions if anyone decides to try their luck.”

    You can always tell when an eBay/PayPal spokesperson is lying—their lips are moving!

    Notice also that eBay has never been the original reporter to the authorities of any such cases of fraud; they only ever “work with law enforcement agencies” after those authorities (or the media) have become involved in such matters … you can draw your own conclusions as to why that may be so … for mine, I have no doubt that it has always been “full ahead flank” tacit facilitation by eBay of such fraud …


    A directory of commercial shill bidding services …

    eBay critic Cappnonymous recently exposed this “Fiverr.com” website as being a directory of small marketplace “services” … http://bit.ly/UEPwmv

    I have further researched this site and a list of the commercial shill bidding activities offered thereon can be perused at … http://bit.ly/UFzUNS

    Of course, eBay, with its claimed “sophisticated and proactive software” to detect and control such shill bidding fraud, knows nothing of any of this …




    eBay hides bidders’ IDs to obscure shill bidding fraud

    eBay would have us believe that the Bidding History statistics that are now supplied by eBay are designed to enable buyers to protect themselves from auction shill bidding fraud. Regrettably, without a very great deal of effort, as has been expended in this case study, this is simply not so. eBay could just as easily have done the more transparent analysis of those bidding statistics as has been done in the case study spreadsheets and indicated in the above graphics, with or without the underlying unique identifiers, programmatically, but they chose not to do so. You can draw your own conclusion as to why they would so choose.

    Additionally, the utterly anonymous, non-unique, bidding IDs make it impossible now for other bidders, who recognise shill bidding activity, to warn other naïve bidders of such criminal activity; now, we could not allow to continue that possibility of buyers being warned by others to be on their guard, could we …

    I don’t have any doubt that eBay, in 2008, further anonymised the bidding IDs with non-unique IDs quite deliberately to make it that much more difficult for buyers to protect themselves from the many shill bidding merchants from whom eBay’s bottom line benefits. Indeed, with the current anonymous, non-unique, bidding IDs, where both feedback count may increment and the bidder 30-day summary also increments and “rolls”, it is no longer possible for third parties to programmatically analyse the bidding process; it has do be analysed manually as has been here done in the attached spreadsheet(s).

    Such further extreme anonymity serves little other purpose than to deceive consumers; certainly the reason eBay gave at the time, to stop fraudulent Second Chance Offers, was a nonsense and is far outweighed by the resulting greater opaqueness of the bidding process that enables unscrupulous merchants to shill bid virtually at will—then, I would suggest that that undoubtedly was eBay’s underlying intention.

    Now, of course, eBay would never openly encourage such criminal activity by third parties; they simply don’t look for it, and they certainly never “find” it—except in exceptional circumstances like when the media or the authorities have already become involved. No, eBay simply creates the “tools”, including the now even more anonymous and devious bidding structure, and lets all the unscrupulous merchants do the rest …

    All these years I have been accusing eBay, all over the internet, of being a blatant criminal facilitator and not once have I ever had even a polite letter from them, and do you know why? Because, unlike eDropOff’s McFadden, eBay well knows they are standing on an unexploded land mine and they very wisely prefer to keep still and not be goaded into any foolish move lest the resulting additional publicity awaken from their slumber the statutory regulators responsible for protecting we simple consumers from such outrageous commercial fraudsters, as eBay can so easily be demonstrated to be.

    Believe this, eBay is a most unscrupulous commercial entity; they have been effectively and knowingly aiding and abetting shill bidding wire fraud, before and after the fact, since the year dot. The introduction in 2008 of non-unique bidding IDs, that made it very much harder (impossible, with the utterly opaque “Bidder 1, 2 ,3” that they initially proposed) for buyers to protect themselves from such criminal activity, was never, in my humble opinion, anything other that an attempt to make it even easier for fraudsters and for eBay to increase their return from such fraud:


    Absolutely nothing, not even the US Criminal Code, is allowed to get in the way of the eBafia’s bottom line.

    However, this eDropOff matter has the potential to do serious damage to eBay given that an eBay officer has certified that there is no shill bidding to be found on eDropOff’s auctions when, patently, there is. eBay needs to be drawn into such a legal stoush, with the ensuing publicity it will generate, like they need a hole in the head. There is also the possibility (probability?) that eBay could (should) be found to have knowingly and criminally facilitated such activity—which many eBay users already believe to be the case anyway.

    Who knows, maybe one day we will see those executives “in the know” at eBay before the courts. We can only hope …

    If anyone knows an up and coming federal or states’ US attorney that would like to make a name for him/herself, this matter then surely is a gift; I can see the headline now:

    “eBay Guilty of Massive Wire Fraud
    “Found to be the knowing facilitator of massive wire fraud on consumers of the world.
    “The penalty phase is to follow; penalties are expected to be in the billions of dollars; some executives may get custodial sentences.”

    California could use the extra funds, too, so I hear …




    eBay now hiding buyer IDs across the board …

    Notwithstanding that users’ underlying IDs are already anonymous, some time during late 2013 eBay applied the absolutely anonymous, non-unique bidder ID masking (x***y) to all facets of its user-accessible auction records.

    Whereas previously one had a chance of confirming a bidder’s anonymous “identity” via the feedback left by the buyer for the seller (“Feedback left as a seller”), now, that anonymous user ID is also represented by the utterly opaque x***y system.

    Ignoring any likely disingenuous reason that eBay may have given for making this change—if indeed they even announced the change—the fact is this change adds another layer of opacity to the already opaque auction bidding system that enables the many auction shill bidding fraudsters to operate with even less likelihood of being noticed. That’s only my humble opinion, of course; I’ll leave it up to the reader to come to their own conclusion as to the real reason why eBay would have now made this change …


    The number of bids/bidders on an auction …

    Another irritating little deception that eBay practices is the way they indicate the amount of activity on auctions: on the Current and Completed listings pages and the individual Item page they show only the number of bids made, not the number of bidders competing; that is, if only a single bidder makes fifty incrementing bids on an auction, that shows as 50 bids, not one bidder; it’s not until you go to the trouble of accessing the Bid History page that you are apprised of the actual number of “bidders”, real and/or shill …


    eBay hides changes to users’ IDs …

    Do you remember long, long ago when users’ underlying anonymous IDs were used as bidding IDs and eBafia used to suffix the ID with a little recycle-like symbol if that ID had been recently changed by the user? Well, in my ongoing analysing of the bidding IDs on eDropOff’s auctions, I occasionally come across an ID that has changed, but there appears to be no longer any indication of this change.

    Is this simply one more devious action by eBay to help unscrupulous merchants obscure their shill bidding activities by being able to rename their shill IDs at will? Or do they simply think that because bidding IDs are now non-unique and utterly obscure, there is no need to bother noting such ID changes? I would naturally suspect the former …

    Still, the renaming of a shill’s underlying ID does not defeat my spreadsheet analysis; if the bidding ID displays grossly atypical statistics for the 30-day summary period, then they get flagged …


    eBay changes US site policy on shill bidding

    eDropOff’s McFadden has publicly stated that, in breach of eBay’s policy on shill bidding, she has allowed her staff to bid on her auctions—but only because they “really want to buy an item”—LOL …

    Indeed, in an classic demonstration of “aiding and abetting after the fact”, following the noting of this admission by other observers, the “master facilitator of wire fraud”, eBay, without notice, surreptitiously changed its published policy on shill bidding (in the US only) so that bidding by staff or family members or any other “related” persons is no longer a breach of eBay policy.

    Clearly, this most unscrupulous commercial entity—eBay that is—believes that the US criminal statutes do not apply to it, and the lack of any reaction by the appropriate authorities to eBay’s blatant and demonstrable facilitation of massive wire fraud on consumers, suggests that that is indeed the case …

    eBay critic Cappnonymous initially commented on this change, at
    http://cappnonymous.wordpress.com/20...idding-policy/

    Indeed, you can compare the “old” shill bidding policy that still applies on sites other that the US site at …
    http://pages.ebay.com.au/help/polici...l-bidding.html

    People who know the seller – such as family members, roommates, or employees – can't bid on that seller's items, but they can use options like Buy It Now that don't involve bidding. Sellers with employees have to make sure their workers are aware of this policy and what the consequences are for breaking the rules.

    And the new policy on the US site only …
    http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/...l-bidding.html

    These two pages on eBay’s shill bidding policy used to be identical. On all other sites, bidding by “related” persons is still not allowed, yet on the US site bidding by “related” persons now is allowed “as long as you don't intend to artificially increase its price”—LOL …

    Only the unscrupulous and the ever more revenue-desperate headless turkeys in the eBay executive suite could possibly think that the general allowance of such undisclosed “insider” bidding could ever pass the “smell test”; then, eBay has never before worried about matters ethical or even the US Criminal Code ...

    UPDATE: It is probable that eBay surreptitiously watered down its policy on shill bidding some time in May 2012, soon after the eDropOff shill bidding matter initially hit the fan. In December 2012 the ecommercebytes.com blog finally commented on this change and asked eBay the reason for the change. Needless to say to date there appears to have been no response from eBay … You can draw your own conclusion as to why that would so …
    http://www.ecommercebytes.com/C/blog...356223614.html

    And, if you want an understanding of how meaningful eBay “policies” are to eBay, read http://blogs.digitalpoint.com/entry.php?b=215


    More eBay fraud: Completed listings …
    http://www.ecommercebytes.com/C/lett...365881949.html

    In some circumstances (depending on the ratio of sold to unsold items involved?), eBay shows completed “sold” items for the previous ninety days, but for completed “unsold” items, eBay shows only the previous thirty days. The result of this “false representation” (ie, fraud) is that, without closer examination, the sell though rate appears to be much greater than it actually is …

    Well, regardless, we can at least be sure that the unsold items, represented by the “oceans of red” in the completed listings, are indeed unsold items (all we then have to do is multiply the number thereof by three for an accurate figure for comparison)—which is more than can be said of the “green” supposedly “sold” items, particularly those items sold at auction from a nominal value-start and with hoards of bidders and/or nibble bidding thereon.

    Without an in depth investigation, I’m guessing that if the number of unsold items in a “completed listings” search is excessive then eBay’s algorithm simply reduces the period of the search for unsold items so as to present the appearance of a better sell through rate.

    This sort of deception we have come to expect from eBay. Only at eBafia is there an habitual production of “smoke and mirrors” to obfuscate matters; but, no amount of smoke and mirrors can disguise the fact that the eBay marketplace is slowly dying; then I guess, you can’t blame the Ho for trying to disguise that fact—he has to somehow try to prop up the eBay share price to facilitate his obscene “performance” (LOL) bonuses.

    Hmmm, and I wonder then how much smoke and mirrors is contained in the version of eBay’s quarterly financials that we outsiders get to see?—LOL …


    A Summary of Statute Law on Auction Fraud

    The link http://bit.ly/Xwe0n7 opens a separate thread summarizing the law (and some comment) on “wire” fraud in the US and on the law on fraud generally in Australia and the UK, and I imagine that most civilized countries have similar laws to protect consumers from unscrupulous traders.


    Some other links regarding eDropOff and shill bidding

    “Reality TV Star Accused of eBay Shill Bidding Sues Her Accuser”
    http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y12/m05/i18/s01

    “eBay Account Rep Defends Reality TV Star Accused of Shill Bidding”
    http://blog.ecommercebytes.com/cgi-b...337308248.html

    “Judge Grants Restraining Order against eBay Seller's Critic”
    http://www.ecommercebytes.com/cab/abn/y12/m05/i18/s06
    Link to PDF of TRO: http://www.auctionbytes.com/docs/eDr...May18_2012.pdf

    “Do NOT dismiss TV host’s frivolous lawsuit, EFF urges court”
    http://www.networkworld.com/community/node/80701

    “Cappnonymous on eBay’s change to its shill bidding policy”
    http://cappnonymous.wordpress.com/20.../#comment-4600
    http://cappnonymous.wordpress.com/20...nges-revisted/

    “Sellers beware”
    The reality of selling on consignment on eBay …
    http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune....s_beware_.html


    Clunkity, clunk, clunk, clunk …

    eBay and PayPal are both utterly clunky, unprofessional, unscrupulous, commercial enterprises. I’m starting a collection of published articles that demonstrate this fact; and, where they are enabled, the readers’ comments thereon are usually most insightful …

    “eBay fraud and me: My absolutely ridiculous experience” … http://ars.to/10FjmxC
    “eBay fraud and me, the sequel: A pathetic end to the debacle” … http://ars.to/Yeb5JS
    “Teenager jailed for three years over eBay fraud” … http://bit.ly/12xvP64
    “EBay's PayPal cuts 445 jobs” … http://money.cnn.com/2012/10/29/tech...ment-794171184
    “A Victim of eBay Fraud” … http://chris.pirillo.com/a-victim-of-ebay-fraud/
    “eBay fraud under scrutiny” … http://danwarne.com/ebay-fraud-under-scrutiny/
    “eBay blames users for fraud” … http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/4533154.stm
    “Triangulation, the latest eBay auction fraud” … http://www.doit.wisc.edu/news/story.aspx?filename=1770
    “New eBay Fraud” … http://www.schneier.com/blog/archive...bay_fraud.html
    “Pearls and eBay Fraud” … http://www.pearl-professor.com/2008/...bay-fraud.html
    “Man arrested in huge eBay fraud” … http://technology-science.newsvine.c...3377#c20933377
    “Gary Bellchambers” … http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/arti...#axzz2KOj8P9US
    “eBay is back!” … http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2013/02/...ment-794144343
    “eBay's PayPal cuts 445 jobs” … http://money.cnn.com/2012/10/29/tech...ment-794919008
    “eBay Restricts My Account Because …” … http://consumerist.com/2013/02/11/eb...money-sort-of/

    If anyone is aware of any particularly good articles demonstrative of eBay’s “clunkiness”, please do email me the link(s) thereto.

    Ultimately, if anyone wants to know what the future is for the eBay marketplace and the clunky PayPal they only have to read all the negative comments that very quickly populate the comments sections of the mindless regurgitations of nonsense from the eBay Dept of Spin that regularly appear on online media …



    “The band continued to play on, even as the bow dipped lower and lower.”—The Titanic Story


    “Management change is necessary and inevitable” …

    ’Management change is necessary and inevitable. Mr. Donahoe has been chief for just over four years, and has replaced most of eBay’s top management. “A significant change in senior leadership was necessary to take eBay to the next level,” he said. He built a team of managers who shared his dedication “to building a great and enduring company, a company that will last,” as he put it. “No one else has really done that on the Internet, and we’re excited by the possibility.” At the same time, he said, “We can’t take anything for granted. We’re almost paranoid. We get up every morning and we’re focused on delivering for our customers and continuing to innovate. It’s a fast-changing world.”‘
    —New York Times, 27 July 2012: http://nyti.ms/UvK6by

    And on the same day, this letter appeared on the ecommercebytes.com “Letters to the Editor” … http://bit.ly/VFSAjS

    And another poignant letter that appeared on the ecommercebytes.com “Letters to the Editor” some time earlier, on 31 May 2010 … http://bit.ly/Vxx2Ud

    “We’re almost paranoid”, Donahoe says. And deservedly so. What an utterly incompetent and delusional turkey this guy is … And, of course, the real measure of the value that he has “created” for eBay shareholders is the (dismal) performance of the eBay share price since he took the helm: in late 2007, both eBay’s and Amazon’s shares were ~$40. Discounting the investment recommendations of the probably paid eBay shills, the smart money on Wall Street has rightly judged that eBay’s future has many question marks …




    The atrophying state of the eBay Marketplace

    eBay will eventually give a small–medium seller a rap on the knuckles for shill bidding if enough people complain about it. But that rule clearly does not apply to their favoured sellers; indeed, for their once most valuable seller (and I am not suggesting that he shill bids because clearly he does not), the T&S department apparently has signs displayed for the benefit of eBay staff, “NO TOUCHY JACKY SHENG”.

    But, take a look at Sheng’s eBay (“eforcity”) listings: there is no sign of any shill bidding here—the great majority of items are rolling over with “0” bids. Those that do sell mostly have only few bids thereon. His completed listing are a “sea of red.” Sheng must be wondering what he has to do to achieve the sell though rate that eDropOff has. Well, it’s simple, he has to run auctions and bid on and buy his own stuff …

    Then, take a look at the completed listings of eBay-favoured merchant, “toysrus”. Their BIN sell though rate is simply abysmal …

    What does all this tell us about the current state of the eBay marketplace, in this the now sixth year of John Donahoe’s “three year turnaround”?

    And another, just in, horror story and comment on eBay’s abuse of a once golden-haired eBay merchant:

    http://www.ecommercebytes.com/C/lett....html#comments

    I have tracked a number of shill bidding auction sellers over the years; some of them have been reported by others and no longer start their auctions at nominal prices but now start at prices that represent the least they are prepared to accept, and the many, and nibbling, bidders have disappeared. And that is the way it should be, given eBay’s clunky, deceptive, auction model. Unfortunately, these sellers don’t appear to sell very much these days, either. Then, I think too that there are fewer buyers these days. All that “noise” that John Donahoe was so arrogantly dismissive of some years ago is undoubtedly having an effect on eBay’s bottom line.

    “eBay Lags Behind The E-Commerce Sector”
    http://read.bi/HUVvxh

    “EBay Drops on Second-Quarter Sales Concern: San Francisco Mover”
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-0...sco-mover.html
    (The rumour is that they pumped so much hot air into the 2012 first quarter, there is none left over for the second quarter.)

    New York Times: “Some PayPal Users Criticize Antifraud Measures”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/02/te...nt&tntemail1=y
    Especially, don’t miss the reader comments on this “New York Times” article; with the exception of one multi-commenting probable eBay shill, all the many comments are in the negative.

    “When Do We Start Calling eBay A [Failed] Payments Company?”
    http://bit.ly/Htn6ph

    PayPal: “The New Way To Pay In-Store”
    http://bit.ly/YuEe5z
    Some comment on PayPal’s clunky off-eBay products: "The New Way To Pay In-Store" (at Home Depot), PayPal Here, SmartPay, PayPal Digital Wallet, PayPal Debit MasterCard, PayPal Local and Watch With eBay ...

    “Last Call by Neiman Marcus: Closes it’s Ebay Store”
    http://cappnonymous.wordpress.com/20...ts-ebay-store/
    Oh, dear me, the favoured “national brands” are starting to leave …

    “Caveat Emptor - 3 Reasons To Be Scared Of eBay”
    http://seekingalpha.com/article/1262...ource=tracking
    An independent analysis of eBay on SeekingAlpha.com. Note the shrill comments by the several eBay shills (“eBay+++”, in particular) trying to rebuff the author’s conclusions ...

    “Oh No, Not Another “Reduction” in eBay Fees”
    http://bit.ly/YvxFEg
    In fact, this latest “reduction” in eBay fees represents a quite dramatic increase in fees for anyone selling a item greater than $50 in value (a flat 10% instead of a tiered scale) …


    Notwithstanding that we are in the sixth year of his “three-year turnaround”, the fact is, the eBay marketplace has been stagnant since John Donahoe took the helm in 2008; indeed, relatively speaking, the eBay marketplace has been atrophying, and with Visa’s and MasterCard’s online digital wallets now available, eBay’s bottom-line “hot air pump”, the clunky PreyPal, is fast approaching its “use by date”.

    Then, take a look at any sample of honest auctions on eBay now and you will find many that receive few or no bids at all, even some with nominal starts, even though they may be interesting items. But, you say, eBay has recently posted several improved quarters. Well, if eBay is so desperate for revenue that it is prepared to blatantly facilitate such massive fraud on consumers, why would they not be capable of “cooking the books” too? Anyway, it’s the long-term trend that counts, not the odd quarterly flea hop that the eBafia Don feeds to the sheep grazing on Wall Street, and the long-term trend will undoubtedly show that the eBafia marketplace is continuing to settle in the water … but, but, but, you still believe that PreyPal will be eBay’s saviour—LOL.

    Nevertheless, in the meantime, we all have to appreciate that the professional dealer is not going to let any valuable item, that they list for sale by auction at a nominal starting price, sell at anywhere near that nominal price; they invariably will have a mechanism for ensuring that the item reaches an acceptable price, even if they (or their shill) risk buying the item themselves. That is the ugly reality of the “traditional” auction system. Online auctions, because of the auditable data trail, could be made relatively scrupulous; unfortunately, eBay has chosen to not implement such an auditing system but instead they have knowingly enabled an unscrupulous model—because it gives them a greater return: they collect the higher FVF regardless of who buys the item, genuine buyer or shill …

    eBay (aka the “eBafia”)—the greatest calculated and knowing facilitator of wire fraud on consumers the world is ever likely to know …


    EventHorizon1984 Blog …

    http://eventhorizon1984.typepad.com/...984_blog/ebay/

    The EventHorizons Blog has kept a running commentary of various trials and tribulations that have touched eBay (including the eDropOff matter), starting in November 2009. It makes interesting reading for anyone that wants to understand what is really going on under the stewardship of the current chief headless turkey, the eBafia Don, John Joseph Donahoe, and his band of utterly incompetent “Keystone Kops” …




    The Ongoing Delusions of a Classic Sociopath …

    John Donahoe is on record as wanting eBay’s flea market image to be gone. The only thing that Donahoe in interested in is his plan for turning eBay into a full-service up-market online “Westfield” shopping mall for the retailing of new “nationally branded” products by brand owners or their major distributors.

    The smaller merchants, dealers in second hand goods, and the like, have no place in the Ho’s grand retail mall plan. Nevertheless, in the meantime, and until more desirable merchants come along, weekly tenancies and much landlord abuse will be available for all those remaining small merchants who helped make eBay the great marketplace that it used to be.

    (Apparently, eBay now applies monthly sales limits to their non-favoured merchants: a merchant reaches a certain dollar value of sales in the month and eBay literally switches off the lights … Please, anyone, try to explain to me the logic underpinning that insane policy, other than that eBay is redirecting that exposure to those preferred merchants that eBay is desperately attempting to curry favour with …)

    It means also that auctions, on which eBay actively and blatantly facilitates wire fraud on the consumers of the world, will ultimately also be gone, notwithstanding that eBay is presently attempting to temporarily resurrect auctions presumably because eBay’s revenues must be otherwise suffering …

    In the meantime, while undoubtedly still maximising views to its more favoured merchants, if eBay throws the relatively small merchants a few crumbs, it is not because Donahoe wants them to succeed, it is because now, in the sixth year of his three-year “turnaround” plan (and still choking on Amazon’s dust), his grand plan is no closer to succeeding and he must be becoming desperate (in his deliriums, only in the short term) for the additional revenues that Wall Street expects …

    The reality is, Donahoe is a fool: compared to Amazon’s share price performance, the Ho’s grand plan has produced a grossly negative result for eBay shareholders (in late 2007 both eBay’s and Amazon’s share prices were ~$40, and never have eBay shareholders received a cash dividend; cash profits have been left overseas in low-tax haven countries or reserved for the eBay senior executive salary packages). And if you factor in the lack of any cash dividend, eBay’s stock price performance under Donahoe is simply abysmal.

    Regardless, not even the furious pumping of the clunky PreyPal “bilge pump” will ultimately be able to stop this rusting old scow from finally slipping beneath the waves …

    Anyone that does not recognise, as clearly does most of Wall Street, the reality of the Ho’s destructive folly and fanciful financial reporting (remember Enron), and that this eBay whale is never going to “fly” anywhere and will never be a stable platform, for probably any merchant, while this headless turkey is at the helm, is dangerously naïve; such people should take out a margin loan and complement the eventual eBay implosion with an investment in as many shares in eBay Inc as they can afford … LOL



    Somewhere in this cartoon there’s a message for John Joseph Donahoe:
    “Never underestimate the power of stupid (and ‘noisy’) people in large groups!”

    eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking


    In the final analysis

    You can always tell when an eBay spokesperson is being disingenuous: their lips are moving ...

    But, seriously, this rampant shill bidding is so patently obvious, if it was not such a serious matter, some might consider it laughable, but not eBafia, they don’t think it’s laughable, because they are collecting their percentage on every fraudulently obtained higher sale price.

    No doubt, if the authorities ever get around to doing something about this massive eBay-facilitated fraud on consumers, after the fact, the eBay Dept of Spin will be issuing media releases about how they helped the authorities uncover this commercial shill bidding ring—eBay does it every time. But, this time it will be a little more difficult for eBay to claim ignorance as they have already certified that there is no shill bidding to be found on this merchant’s auctions, which is effectively an aiding and abetting after the fact; still, nothing has before been too difficult for the “doctors” at the eBay Dept of Spin.

    Regardless, in my opinion, McFadden is continuing to shill bid on the majority of her auctions, particularly on items of any real value, and eBay is continuing to do nothing about it. And, bear in mind that this eDropOff matter is only the tip of the tip of the iceberg …

    By systematically doing absolutely nothing about such obvious ongoing fraud and, indeed, falsely claiming that they have “proactive and sophisticated” software to detect and control such fraud, eBay has always been knowingly complicit in—and has profited from—rampant shill bidding fraud on eBay users.

    This matter therefore should not be only about any one shill bidding eBay seller, or the great many shill bidding eBay sellers—eBay is literally awash with them—and eBay cannot but know it! eDropoff is no more than a symptom of the problem; eBay’s false statements about the systems that they supposedly have in place to protect buyers from shill bidding, and their deceptively opaque auction bidding mechanism that then enables, indeed encourages, such fraud, is the real cancer that needs the attention of the appropriate authorities; and, therefore, this matter should also be about eBay—the greatest knowing and calculated criminal facilitator of such massive wire fraud on the consumers of the world that we are ever likely to know.

    The Mafia of old would undoubtedly have been proud of eBay’s ever evolving, auction fraud facilitating business model …

    If ever there was a commercial entity that deserved to have their auction system thoroughly audited by a court-appointed special master, it is this most unscrupulous organisation, eBay …




    US DOJ Prosecution Policy Relating to Wire Fraud

    DOJ Criminal Resource Manual: 9-43.100 Prosecution Policy Relating to Mail Fraud and Wire Fraud …
    “Serious consideration … should be given to the prosecution of any scheme which in its nature is directed to defrauding a class of persons, or the general public, with a substantial pattern of conduct.”—http://1.usa.gov/10KnLPN

    Well, that paragraph describes to a tee eBay’s calculated aiding and abetting of massive wire fraud by a great many unscrupulous merchants on eBay’s trusting consumers. The question is, is the DOJ ever going to do anything about this demonstrably criminal enterprise …

    Since 2008 I have been criticising eBafia, all over the internet, for their criminal activities; I have collected the facts thereon and I can demonstrate, to any reasonable person, beyond any doubt, that eBay is actively aiding and abetting massive wire fraud on the consumers of the world. Yet no one in any position of authority appears to be interested in doing anything about it.

    Regretfully, the trigger for action by the US DOJ appears to have something to do with the ratio of the size of the perpetrator to the victim: large corporation perpetrator, small victim(s): “ho hum”; small perpetrator(s), large corporation victim: full weight of the law … Indeed, the US DOJ recently pursued an individual, Aaron Swartz, to his death for a relatively petty matter. But the facilitation of massive fraud on consumers by a major international corporation? No interest, apparently ...

    If ultimately nothing is done by the appropriate authorities to stop such blatant wire fraud by eBay merchants such as McFadden’s eDropOff et al and the commercial shill bidding ring in which she, and who knows how many others unscrupulous eBay merchants appear to be involved, and their obviously calculated and knowing criminal facilitator, eBay Inc, from continuing to blatantly defraud we simple consumers of the world, I can only make the sickening observation that, even following the GFC, nothing has changed, and greedy, unscrupulous corporations, such as eBay, appear to still have the bureaucracy effectively in their pockets …


    Last edited by PhilipCohen; 12-27-2013 at 12:33 AM.

    “Today we’re dealing with phase two or phase three [he can’t remember which one] of disruptive innovation. We’ve had the disruption, now we’re having to disrupt the disruption. ... Based on our experience, here’s how innovation at the core worked. We had to create a mind shift at our company—we had to think bold and not just incremental. We had to create a vision of the future so people could let go of a very successful past.”—John Donahoe (26 Sept 2007).

    “The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.”—Anon.

    Note: All the statements made by me and contained herein are my opinion only; readers must form their own opinions from the facts presented.

  2. #2

    Default Sold/cancelled, relisted, sold/cancelled, relisted ...

    http://www.ecommercebytes.com/forums...576#post167576
    7 July 2012; last revised 19 September 2013

    Shill Bidding Fraud on eBay: Case Study #5 (continued)

    The programmatic detection of shill bidding

    For anyone that is interested, there is a brief discussion on “Using Data Mining to Detect Fraud in Auctions” at http://www.tgc.com/dsstar/00/0627/101834.html, vis:

    “The large-scale nature of auction transactions can make it difficult to ferret out fraudulent practices using standard analytical methods. On eBay, bidding histories and user feedback records are not stored for long, … due to cost considerations and storage capacity limitations. It appears that whatever analysis eBay does conduct is on a limited data set and performed after the auction has been closed. A better approach would be to detect fraud dynamically (live) because sales need not be voided, and more data need not be stored if capacity and costs still remain an issue.”

    Another interesting (old) article on shill bidding, quoting Dr Jarrod Trevathan from the Discipline of IT, School of Business, James Cook University, Queensland, Australia, can be found on the ABC Science website, at:
    This article is dated October 2005, and gives some indication of the attitude of the online “auctioneers” to this problem (being somewhat akin to the old Monty Python “dead parrot” skit); in particular the attitude of the major player, eBay, who has apparently consistently ignored Dr Trevathan’s communications.

    I have corresponded with Dr Trevathan who, with Wayne Read, claims to have developed algorithms that would proactively help to detect and control such shill bidding, and I quote Trevathan:

    “One of the most common and disingenuous types of e-commerce fraud is undisclosed vendor [shill] bidding. Shill bidding is a devious practice in online auctions whereby the seller inserts fake bids into his/her own auction in an attempt to artificially inflate the auction’s final price. This is a problem as it forces legitimate bidders to pay more for an item. The prospect of bidding against shill bidders undermines confidence in the auctioning process. In 2008, up to $250 million may have been lost to shill bidding scams.

    “While online auctioneers claim to monitor their auctions for signs of shill bidding, they do not make it clear exactly how such monitoring operates, nor can they justify how to unequivocally incriminate someone for shill bidding. … Most suspect shill bidding incidents are only investigated when a complaint is made by a legitimate bidder who feels that something is not right.

    “To help identify dubious bidding practices in online auctions, we devised the Shill Score algorithm. The Shill Score is the first serious attempt to define and quantify shill bidding behaviour. A rating between 0 and 10 is given to each bidder indicating the likelihood that s/he is engaging in shill behaviour. The higher the rating, the more likely that a bidder is a shill. This rating is based on factors such as how many auctions the bidder has participated in, the number of times s/he has won, how quick s/he is to bid, what stage in the auction s/he submits most of his/her bids, etc. An individual can then determine whether s/he wants to participate in an auction depending on how high other bidders’ Shill Scores are. The Shill Score acts as both a detection and prevention mechanism for shilling.”

    If anyone is interested, papers on these shill detecting algorithms by Trevathan and Read, appear at:

    Clearly, this is the course that a principled organisation would be taking to detect and control the scourge of shill bidding, and it is a egregious reflection on the ethics (what ethics?) of eBay that they appear totally disinterested in any such truly effective system …
    Last edited by PhilipCohen; 09-22-2013 at 03:13 AM.

    “Today we’re dealing with phase two or phase three [he can’t remember which one] of disruptive innovation. We’ve had the disruption, now we’re having to disrupt the disruption. ... Based on our experience, here’s how innovation at the core worked. We had to create a mind shift at our company—we had to think bold and not just incremental. We had to create a vision of the future so people could let go of a very successful past.”—John Donahoe (26 Sept 2007).

    “The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.”—Anon.

    Note: All the statements made by me and contained herein are my opinion only; readers must form their own opinions from the facts presented.

  3. #3

    Default

    http://www.ecommercebytes.com/forums...d.php?p=167629
    25 July 2012; revised 16 August 2012

    New eBay auction “early cancellation fee” (US only?)

    Oh, shock, horror!

    “New Auction Fee: Beginning October 1, eBay will charge sellers for ending any auction listing early that has received at least one bid. … eBay believes ending an auction early once it has received a bid leads to disappointed bidders.”
    http://www.ecommercebytes.com/cab/abn/y12/m07/i24/s01

    This has nothing to do with disappointed buyers but is all about a disappointed eBafia: too many such final valuation fee-less cancellations lead to a reduction in fees received by eBafia, and eBafia desperately needs those fees; after all, to keep the rusting old scow afloat, eBafia has to compensate somehow for those earlier “reductions” of the fees otherwise payable by merchants.

    Obviously, this "ending auctions early" fee is being introduced principally to stop unscrupulous merchants avoiding eBay’s FVF by the monotonous cancelling/relisting of their grossly shilled nominal-start auctions that have not yet attracted any reasonable genuine bids.

    The “master fraud facilitator”, eBafia, is wise to all the tricks that such fraudsters play to avoid eBay’s FVF on such shilled auctions; after all, it is eBafia that has supplied all you unscrupulous sellers with the tools with which you can attempt to defraud buyers, and eBafia also has that “sophisticated and proactive software” to keep track of all such shill bidding fraudsters …

    This change has the added benefit to eBay of encouraging merchants to start auctions at the minimum value that they are prepared to accept which will bring eBay a higher listing fee, always assuming its not one of eBay’s desperate listing fee-free days ...

    But, fraudsters should otherwise fear not; with eBay’s tacit blessing they may carry on blatantly shill bidding on their auctions—all the desperate eBafia is now requiring is that they receive their cut from the failed attempted auction frauds as well as the successful ones.

    A great move, eBafia. No doubt about it; the “master fraud facilitator” knows how to turn a blind eye to shill bidding fraud, but the avoidance of its FVF, under any circumstances, that, the eBafia finds simply intolerable and so, after 1 October 2012, merchants are going to be paying a FVF on early cancelled auctions that have received even only a single (shill) bid placed thereon (above any set reserve, where reserves are able to be set).

    Brilliant, eBafia, brilliant! How could we ever have expected you to be satisfied with collecting your FVF only on “sales”—real or faux, when now, as the good ship “eBafia” slowly settles in the water, and many merchants become ever more desperate, and there is an ever increasing amount of attempted shill bidding frauds that are then being “pulled” because they are obviously going to fail. No, rather than do anything about such attempted frauds eBafia is now going to simply take its percentage, whether the attempted fraud is successful—or not.

    The Mafia of old would undoubtedly be most proud of the eBafia’s masterly, ever-evolving, fraud-facilitating, business model …

    As long as you understand that nothing that eBay does is driven by other than consideration for their “bottom line” and not even the US Criminal Code is allowed to stand in the way of that bottom line, you will get no further surprises from eBay …

    eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking
    Last edited by PhilipCohen; 02-26-2013 at 05:16 PM.

    “Today we’re dealing with phase two or phase three [he can’t remember which one] of disruptive innovation. We’ve had the disruption, now we’re having to disrupt the disruption. ... Based on our experience, here’s how innovation at the core worked. We had to create a mind shift at our company—we had to think bold and not just incremental. We had to create a vision of the future so people could let go of a very successful past.”—John Donahoe (26 Sept 2007).

    “The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.”—Anon.

    Note: All the statements made by me and contained herein are my opinion only; readers must form their own opinions from the facts presented.

  4. #4

    Default

    http://www.ecommercebytes.com/forums...d.php?p=167715
    http://bit.ly/UVXx53
    28 August 2012; last revised 12 October 2013

    And, while we are at it, a few words about PayPal …

    Financial Markets: Draft Media Release—Confidential

    It is with great sadness that eBay’s delusional chief headless turkey, John “Mobile, Mobile, Mobile” Donahoe (aka “Peter Principle”), announces the anticipated incapacitation of eBay’s most ugly adopted daughter, PayPal. “PreyPal” is about to be stricken by particularly virulent strains of MasterCard “MasterPass” and Visa “V.me”, accompanied by existing insurmountable financial institutions complications and increasing PayPal merchant dissatisfaction. “PreyPal” may therefore be expected to soon begin to deteriorate in health and, if ultimately not completely incapacitated, will most likely be eventually confined to servicing what little there will be, by then, left of the Donahoe-devastated eBay marketplace and to being the merchant account provider of last resort for those small online sellers that do not have the confidence of their own banker. There is no known cure this condition, and eBay’s Johnny Ho is particularly saddened by the inevitability that, in the not too far distant future, “PreyPal” will be unable to continue to underpin the eBay marketplace’s atrophying revenues …

    Now, let’s get some facts about eBafia’s ugly adopted daughter, “PreyPal”, laid out on the table …

    As of 2012, of the total global payments market (volume), Visa has ~52%, MasterCard ~33% and Amex ~11% (total ~96%); that leaves ~4% for the rest: Discover has ~1.6%, JCB ~2.2%, and Diners Club ~0.4%; that leaves ~0.0% for payments handled directly by “PreyPal”.

    Of course, “PreyPal” does more than 0% but most of it is done as a clumsy middleman via ACH direct debits (via Wells Fargo Bank) or, like Amazon, Apple and many of the other payments middlemen, via MasterCard/Visa credit cards via a credit card merchant account (again, via Wells Fargo Bank).

    Indeed, an article on the investors.com website quotes the Susquehanna Financial Group (who?) as stating that “PreyPal” currently has ~1.1% of the global payments market and that can “surge to 2.8% by 2022”… (As far as the 2.8% is concerned, Susquehanna is, in my humble opinion, simply delusional, or more probably a paid eBay shill …)


    The Ugly Facts About the Mechanics of “PreyPal” …

    PreyPal’s most serious deficiency is the fact that it is a clunky “outsider”, that would, because of the lesser cost involved, prefer to operate on the financial institutions’ Authorised Clearing House (ACH) payments network, to offer payments in real-time to the merchant, despite the fact that ACH does not give real-time authorization as does the retail bank-linked credit card networks. There simply is no answer to this ACH problem for “PreyPal” or any of the other payments “pretenders”. Regardless, the involvement of the user’s credit card gives the purchaser protection from the unscrupulous seller and, more importantly, from “PreyPal”, where customer support is effectively non existent …

    So, notwithstanding that the credit card companies are late to develop their own online/mobile digital wallets, “PreyPal” and all the other pretenders have never been, and never will be, any threat to the two major credit card companies, or their licensed and prudentially regulated, retail bank partners. The fact is, only other licensed and prudentially regulated financial institutions have direct, dynamic access to depositors’ funds in licensed, prudentially regulated and deposit-guaranteed/insured retail banks. The clunky, non FDIC-insured “PreyPal” is not such a licensed and prudentially regulated entity and has no such direct nor dynamic access (except via a Visa/MasterCard credit card) …

    The clunky “PreyPal”, where it is licensed, is usually licensed only as a “money transmitter”, like Western Union. “PreyPal” is a middleman that, in the main, rides, precariously, on the back of the existing payments processing systems of the world’s retail banks, and on the backs of Visa/Mastercard via a credit card “merchant account” with the infamous Wells Fargo Bank. Indeed, due to the underlying operation of “PreyPal”, “PreyPal” probably operates the largest individual credit card merchant account of any merchant in the world; but, oh what a great deal of extra work this clunky, middleman operation undoubtedly creates for every one else involved in this payments system …

    “PreyPal” is not a “bank” and is not licensed to provide credit; virtually everything that “PreyPal” does is done via back-door arrangements with various other appropriately-licensed, faceless entities. Funds left “on deposit” with the “PreyPal” “pretend bank” are not covered by any statutory protections or FDIC insurance or any other deposit guarantee in the case of PreyPal’s failure. “PreyPal” is not interested in any further licensing for itself because it does not want its clunky, unscrupulous, arbitrary operation handicapped by any of that silly regulation that licensed, prudentially regulated financial institutions such as real banks have to bear …

    The PayPal User: “Stuck in a Dispute Between PayPal and Itself”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/13/yo...elf.html?_r=1&

    As this latest NYT “Haggler” story, once again, demonstrates, if you use “PreyPal” as either a seller, or buyer (without major credit card), your funds/goods are always at risk.

    The Other Pretenders …

    Square’s mobile-based card reader at least has a practical use for merchants “on the move” away from B&M (and that’s undoubtedly why Visa has taken a stake in Square), but I can otherwise see no advantage for other than the smallest of merchants in the use of Square at a B&M point of sale instead of a traditional merchant account with their own retail banker; certainly, I can see no advantage for Starbucks (or Square) in having Square process all of Starbuck’s card transactions. Who is subsidizing the higher processing fees that a middleman like Square has to charge for the business to be viable? And now British fashion house Burberry is apparently going to install Square payment readers at its U.S. retail locations in the near future … frankly, me no comprehend … (Ah, there’s the answer to the Starbucks question: Starbucks has invested $25 million in Square and Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz has joined Square’s board of directors.)

    At least Square eventually pays collected funds directly into payees’ bank accounts, unlike “PreyPal”, that likes to hang onto payees’ funds in their own unregulated, uninsured, “pretend” bank …


    The Future of Online Payments …

    The PayPal online digital wallet was indeed a ground-breaking concept for the making of online payments, an area that the retail banks/Visa/MasterCard had for too long ignored, and PreyPal’s effectively mandated use on the eBay marketplace also gave “PreyPal” a great boost. But, the reality is that it is inevitable that “PreyPal” will be steamrolled (except for its mandated place on the atrophying eBay marketplace, and as the merchant account provider “of last resort”) once the two major “bankcards”, Visa and MasterCard, enter the online sphere in earnest with their own digital wallets …

    The arrival of these even more versatile online digital wallets, “MasterPass” from MasterCard and “V.me” from Visa, will enable consumers to store payment and shipping information in one secure place, including details of American Express, Discover, Visa/MasterCard and other branded credit, debit and prepaid cards—note the inclusion of “debit” cards. Online purchases will never be more secure and convenient than with either of these two major “professional” bankcard “online digital wallets”.

    Indeed, Visa’s “V.me” digital wallet is out of beta testing on buy.com and is now generally available in the US and Canada, and is beta testing in the UK (and Australia soon too, I hope); MasterCard’s “MasterPass” digital wallet is due to be launched in Australia and Canada in March 2013. I expect that those online merchants in North America who already have a merchant account with a real bank, will soon enough start dumping the clunky “PreyPal” in favor of these professional offerings from Visa and MasterCard. Let’s then see how well the eBafia Don and his clunky PreyPal/Marketplace complex fare in the next twelve months or so …

    Regardless, online buyers now, or will soon, have access to professional online digital wallets:

    MasterCard’s “MasterPass” is currently available in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Spain, Sweden, Singapore, Israel, Italy and Australia. Read about it and weep John Donahoe and David Marcus …


    Visa’s “V.me”:


    And an excellent summary of the payments market can be found in this November 2012 article in “The Economist”, at:


    Now, think about it for a moment. Notwithstanding clunky PreyPal’s head start, these two new digital wallets from MasterCard and Visa will offer the same professional service and support as you are used to receiving when you use your credit card directly, and they will work as smoothly as those credit cards work, and with the same statutory protections that accompany the use of a credit card—and for merchants, no clumsy, unscrupulous, unregulated middleman applying holds on your hard-earned funds and refunding scamming buyers at the drop of a hat …

    Once the various retail banks get off their butts and market this service to their card- and merchant account-holders, any one that has a credit card will undoubtedly embrace one of these new “professional” digital wallet services, and it follows that any merchant that has, or can get, a merchant account with a real bank, will do likewise. And that certainly will be a pleasing thought for all those merchants, particularly the small-to-medium sized merchants that suffer abuse regularly at the hands of “PreyPal”. It should also provide an effective cure for John Donahoe’s delusions about the clunky “PreyPal” proceeding any further in the world of payments—and at physical point of sale—LOL …


    Physical Point of Sale Payments …

    In my humble opinion, the chances of the clunky “PreyPal” ever having even the slightest success at physical point of sale, mobile or otherwise, is a possibility that exists only in the fevered hallucinations of eBay’s psychopathic and destructive chief headless turkey, John Joseph Donahoe, and (possibly) his obedient “PreyPal” servant, David Marcus …

    “PreyPal” at physical POS is simply a joke, and a very poor one at that … But, don’t believe me; next time you see the sign “Pay Here With PayPal” (at Home Depot et al), ask a cashier how well “PreyPal” is going there … LOL

    “I know that when Pay Pal was trying to market their tie-in with Home Depot our local Home Depot asked that we NOT use Pay Pal to pay - they had too many problems and too many transactions not go through and too many customers complaining.”—eBay Forum

    PayPal Seen With 'Limited Traction' At Home Depot
    http://news.investors.com/technology...tm?ref=HPLNews
    "PayPal kicked off their in-store payment option at 2,000 Home Depots across the U.S. over 12 months ago," wrote RBC Capital analyst Mark Mahaney. "We recently re-visited 11 Home Depots in the (San Francisco) Bay Area in order to determine whether adoption of PayPal's in-store payment functionality has increased. Overall, we discovered still limited traction. … All of the cashiers we spoke with stated that they believed usage of PayPal's in-store checkout has not materially increased over the last year."

    Invariably, there is a payer’s bank and a payee’s bank at either end of each transaction. Why would any B&M merchant at a physical point of sale want to add to the mix, the less versatile and utterly clunky layer of “PreyPal”? Why would VeriFone, or anyone else, “partner” with the clunky “PreyPal”—unless eBay is paying them a substantial consideration for doing so? But, more materially, why would any consumer want to pay for anything off-line via “PreyPal”—unless they are silly enough to be leaving or, heaven forbid, deliberately placing, their funds “on deposit” with the clunky, unlicensed, unregulated, uninsured, unprofessional, “PreyPal” “pretend bank”?

    NFC is a contactless way to transfer information. A simple tap of your NFC-supported card, key fob, or mobile phone on a NFC terminal is all it takes to pay at checkout:

    Consumer’s bank > Visa/Mastercard > Merchant’s bank …

    Conversely, “PreyPal” is typically licensed only as a “money transmitter” (like Western Union); but “PreyPal” acts like a bank—a “pretend bank”: no banking licence; no statutory prudential regulation; no banking ombudsman for users to complain to; users’ funds are not covered by FDIC insurance; effectively, no customer support; transaction dispute mediation is effectively non existent and hard-wired, either way, to best suit PreyPal’s (or eBay’s) interests; arbitrary, and sometimes lengthy, holds on payee’s funds; no formal partnership with the real banks as do have Visa/MasterCard; no dynamic linking to payers’ banking accounts: the primitive ACH “direct debit” process is used to access payers’ funds (if users are silly enough to give “PreyPal” such access to their bank account), a process not ideally suited to PreyPal’s purpose (how does “PreyPal” immediately decide if a payer has sufficient funds in a banking account? Toss a coin?); and who bears the risk/cost of any fraud, or mistakes made by “PreyPal” in approving purchases where there turns out to be insufficient funds in a payer’s bank account?

    Consumer’s bank > PayPal > Visa / Mastercard / Discover (/Amex?) > PayPal “bank” > merchant’s bank?

    Clunkity, clunk, clunk, clunk …

    As of late 2012, “PreyPal”, and eBafia, are, by default and deviously, removing the consumer’s right to sue them and instead force consumers to submit to individual, binding, non-appealable, arbitration! Ultimately, there appears to be little or no effective protections, statutory or otherwise, for “PreyPal” “pretend bank” users anywhere in the world. But, more importantly, never forget that “PreyPal” is owned and controlled by eBay and that eBay is a most unscrupulous commercial operation and is demonstrably the greatest knowing and calculated facilitator of wire fraud on consumers that the world is ever likely to know …

    Why the likes of McDonald’s, or anyone else, would ever consider getting into bed with “PreyPal”, with the abysmal reputation that “PreyPal” has, is utterly incomprehensible to me. Don’t any of these retailers do any due diligence beforehand, or do they simply take Bain’s word for it that this is a great deal for all concerned …

    Then, if indeed eBay is footing the whole cost of the roll out and marketing of these “PreyPal” services at physical POS and is also subsidizing the processing fees, why should these retailers not take advantage and help Donahoe waste some more of eBay’s shareholders’ funds?—after all, eBay’s shareholders don’t look like ever receiving a cash dividend on their investment (the day traders are the only one’s making any money out of eBay stock). Well, merchants should not get involved with “PreyPal”, because “PreyPal” has such an abominable reputation, particularly so with smaller merchant-payees. No “national brand” business needs to invite damage to the value of its brand by being involved with such a clunky operator as “PreyPal” can be so obviously demonstrated to be.

    Still, when these “Pay Here With PayPal” retailers soon enough realize that the additional layer of clunky “PreyPal” at physical point of sale is a joke, and a very poor one at that, at least they will be able to then throw all the “PreyPal” paraphernalia in the skip—at no cost to them …

    The reality is, Visa and Mastercard are the mature children of the retail banks and, with 85% of the payments business between them (and Amex another 11%), these two are here to stay—and they will stay on top, because they are professional operations. Anyone that suggests that “PreyPal” (or any of the other middlemen pretenders) can ever be of any serious threat to these two retail bank-supported payment processors is either naive in the extreme or more probably a paid shill …

    Ultimately, “PreyPal” has little future outside of its effectively mandated use on the atrophying eBay marketplace. The idea, promoted by some naïve or “paid shill” commentators/analysts, that “PreyPal” is the goose that will continue to lay ever-bigger golden eggs that will continue to underwrite eBay’s future, is simply laughable …


    “Mobile” Payments …

    “PreyPal” is also pushing non-NFC “mobile” payments for consumers at physical POS, though why anyone would want to have used the clunky, unregulated “PreyPal” “pretend bank” for anything other that an online payment, I will never understand. Putting aside the fact that John Donahoe has said that NFC stands for “Not For Commerce” and “PreyPal” is also effectively uncontrolled by any consumer regulation, if you want a good reason to, for the time being, keep your access to payments separate from your mobile phone, see “Let's talk about fraud” at:


    Obviously, NFC systems such as the “Isis” mobile wallet have great potential but I think that, for the time being, I will stick with my little piece of bankcard NFC plastic, thanks …


    Regardless, the MasterCard “MasterPass” digital wallet service includes a mobile app for your wanker phone for those of you that find a piece of plastic too difficult to handle …


    PayPal+Discover at B&M point of sale …

    Diners Club (now owned by Discover) was the very first credit card; ultimately it was “interred” by Amex and finally had a concrete slab poured over it by Visa/Mastercard; few people under the age of 80 have even heard of Diners Club, let alone used one of their cards; only a few more have ever heard of Discover ...

    And again, as of 2012, of the total global payments market (volume), Visa has ~52%, MasterCard ~33% and Amex ~11% (total ~96%); that leaves ~4% for the rest: Discover has ~1.6%, JCB 2.2%, and Diners Club ~0.4%; that leaves ~0.0% for payments handled directly by “PreyPal”.

    Visa has ~2,011 million cards; MasterCard has ~1,059 million cards; Amex has ~97 million; Discover has ~59 million, JCB has 77 million, and Diners Club has 6 million … Please, do the math … and then stop taking any notice of the nonsense that habitually spews from the eBay Dept of Spin and its paid shills …


    PayPal Holds on Payee Funds …

    “PreyPal” is withholding payees’ funds primarily because the increasing number of eBay transaction disputes has meant that “PreyPal” has been causing too much additional labour-intensive work for the credit card issuers due to their credit card holders, dissatisfied with PreyPal’s dispute mediation, initiating charge backs, and “PreyPal” has apparently been told to get their house in order or risk having their merchant account (with the infamous Wells Fargo Bank) declared “persona non grata”. (The threat of such a withdrawal of merchant account services is what any problem-causing “merchant of sorts”, which is what “PreyPal” describes itself as, can expect to receive from the major credit card issuers.)

    For the benefit of all users, the credit card companies and the card issuers like their operations to work smoothly and without the disruptiveness that eBafia/PreyPal apparently have been creating—John Donahoe likes “disruption”; the banks don’t, apparently; I wonder why? …

    So, the only way eBafia can avoid its ugly, adopted daughter, “PreyPal”, risking the loss of its ability to access credit card-sourced funds—which, if that did happen, would effectively cripple “PreyPal” (and greatly hurt eBafia too)—is to place holds on payees’ funds generally (other than their “diamond” sellers, no doubt, as they simply would not tolerate it) so that any disputes can be determined in favour of the payers by “PreyPal” without the credit card issuers becoming involved. So, it is now imperative that “PreyPal” minimizes the number credit card charge backs undoubtedly being caused by the increasing number of disputes on eBay transactions, disputes that are being effectively encouraged by eBay’s ever-increasing and desperate pandering to buyers with its hard-wired “buyer protection”.

    Ultimately, it’s all about the utter clunkiness of both the eBafia and PreyPay operations … clunkity, clunk, clunk, clunk …

    Update: New PayPal Benchmarks Alert Sellers of Risky Behavior

    PayPal treats sellers who issue "too many" refunds or who get lots of chargebacks as high risk. … "We must keep good tabs on seller performance, or else risk going out of business ourselves." PayPal is launching the new feature as a way to warn sellers if their performance metrics indicate potential problems. The three metrics are Dispute Rate; Refund rate; and Average refund time. … According to the PayPal website (visible to those who are part of the beta test), the new PayPal Performance Benchmarks are designed to "help you improve your business practices and understand our expectations for your business. We track key metrics, help you analyze the information, and let you know if we see room for improvement. … PayPal explains to sellers that they can compare their metrics to "industry benchmarks and get an idea of how satisfied your customers are."

    Firstly, how would “PreyPal” know what an “industry benchmark” was? Actually, this is all about figuring out how best to judge which sellers need to have their funds held to better protect “PreyPal” from the interaction of eBay’s hard-wired “buyer protection” policies and unscrupulous buyers, and minimize the amount of flack “PreyPal” has been receiving since they started applying funds holds more generally and, who knows, maybe the real banks have again warned “PreyPal” about there being still too many chargeback disputes on PreyPal’s credit card merchant account …
    “We take action on sellers that demonstrate poor performance. If you get too many chargebacks, we might starting [sic] holding some of your funds in reserve.”

    Given the real possibility that the retail banks may still be expressing dissatisfaction with the performance of PreyPal’s merchant account with the Wells Fargo Bank, you can bet your sweet bippy, if you are not a significant merchant of some substance and you are involved in any disputes (your fault or not), they will be applying reserves, limits, and/or holds on your funds …


    PayPal’s sourcing of payers’ funds …

    I suspect that a bank account, rather than a credit card, is now being demanded of all new “PreyPal” account openers as a source of funds. The eBay marketplace is atrophying and eBafia is getting desperate for revenue and it’s much cheaper for “PreyPal” to source funds directly from a bank account than to share the discount fee, paid by the payee, with their credit card merchant account provider, Wells Fargo Bank, nominal as that fee is likely to be due to the magnitude of the size of PreyPal’s merchant account.

    But, if as a payer you agree to PreyPal’s sourcing of funds other than via a credit card you will be totally at their mercy as you have agreed to their (unconscionable?) terms and conditions including being subject to their clunky mediation process (what process?) only; you will not be able to complain to your bank because you have given “PreyPal” the right to draw funds from your account in accordance with their terms and conditions; the access to the professional transaction mediation process and statutory protections that come with a transaction via a credit card will not be available to you if you have a real problem with “PreyPal”—and many have had real problems with “PreyPal”, to their great cost.

    Conversely, if you allow “PreyPal” to source funds only via your credit card, “PreyPal” has (reluctantly) had to agree to Visa/MasterCard’s long established, conscionable terms and conditions that apply to all “credit card merchants”, which is all “PreyPal” is, and that allows your credit card-issuing bank to take control of any dispute mediation, and that is a safeguard that any user of the clunky eBay/PreyPal complex would be most foolish to surrender …

    These comments apply particularly in the US where “PreyPal” is effectively unregulated and virtually a law unto itself; in other countries such as Australia and the UK there is greater regulation and a statutory Financial Ombudsman may intervene in such disputes (see UK example below).


    eBay Forces eChecks Payments, Buyers [and Sellers] Beyond Irked
    http://www.ecommercebytes.com/C/blog....html#comments

    If you’re an eBay seller wondering why you’re suddenly receiving an increase in the number of e-check funded payments via PayPal, it appears that PayPal is experiencing a glitch that started last month. The eBay boards are full of frustrated buyers and sellers, and it’s not just an issue of inconvenience.

    Buyers who think they are paying with their credit card on file get several nasty surprises—PayPal withdraws the funds from their bank account instead of pinging their credit card, and paying with eChecks slows down delivery time.

    PayPal explains, “an eCheck is a payment that you make directly from your bank account. Just like a regular check, it usually takes between 3 and 5 business days for an eCheck to clear and the money to appear in the recipient’s PayPal account.”l

    And therein lies the problem—many sellers won’t send items until the e-check clears— wrote one seller, “Some buyers will not realize how they’re paying, delivery times will suffer, then I will suffer. But PayPal keeps nearly all the fees, no cc company to share it with.”

    Many sellers used to block e-checks until eBay took away that ability in 2008, much to sellers’ consternation.

    This is no glitch (if it was a “glitch”, everyone would be getting eChecks). This must have something to do with “grading” payers. Sourcing funds from a bank account via the primitive ACH direct debit rather than a credit card costs “PreyPal” less fees, and PreyPal’s use of the eCheque, with its primitive “funds not available until cleared” process, also protects the clunky “PreyPal” from the possibility of there being insufficient funds in the bank account and having the real bank reverse the debit the following day; the primitive eCheque process effectively relieves “PreyPal” of any responsibility for a payment on an online sale until they know that the direct debit is going to stick. Transactions at physical POS financed by direct debited funds are another matter—what does “PreyPal” do there? Toss a coin?—LOL

    Another consequence of PreyPal’s choosing to use eChecks is that eBay, rightly, does not show the payment as being received until the eCheck clears, so the shipment of the goods will be delayed until the seller is notified that the check has cleared; that, I imagine, will irritate both buyer and seller—LOL …

    Still, MasterCard’s new “MasterPass” professional online digital wallet for online buyers is now available, so it won’t be too long now before the clunky “PreyPal” is relegated back to its mandated place on the atrophying eBay marketplace and to its place as the merchant account provider “of last resort” for those sellers who can’t get a merchant account from a real bank …

    Details for all credit card users at
    https://paypass.com/online/Wallet/Re...571?cid=828231

    If you are a seller with a credit card merchant account with a real bank then all the info you need for accepting online payments via MasterPass is available at
    https://paypass.com/online/Merchant/Home

    Goodbye clunky PreyPay, it has not been nice knowing you …


    And then there is “Bill Me Later” …

    “Bilk Me Later” is an eBay Inc.-owned company that contracts with Web Bank, Salt Lake City, Utah to provide credit to consumers for purchases via the Internet as an alternative to credit cards. See how it works to maximize the fees and interest it may charge for the whole of the otherwise interest-free period, if you are one second overdue with a payment:



    PayPal Price-Matching Promo …

    https://www.paypal-promo.com/holiday/pricematch.html

    “Find a lower price on an item and we offer Price Matching. Decide an item isn't working out for you and take advantage of Return Shipping On Us. Need extra time to pay for the things you need? You will have More Time to Pay with Bill Me Later—it's another one of the many ways PayPal has your back this holiday season.”

    “PayPal has your back …”—LOL

    Now, if I recognise anything, all that wheezing noise emanating from the “PreyPal” Dept of Spin is the irregular breathing of a dying enterprise ...

    And a good independent summary of this desperate nonsense from “PreyPal” can be found at:

    http://www.ecommercebytes.com/cab/abn/y12/m11/i02/s01

    “… If you’re shopping at PayPal’s large retail partners, including: The Home Depot, Abercrombie & Fitch and Jos. A Bank this year, try paying with your PayPal account …”

    And, when you next visit one of these large retailers, don’t forget to ask the cashier how “Pay Here With PayPal” is going.—LOL


    PayPal Business Loans …

    It’s been reported on ecommercebytes.com that “PreyPal” intends launching a small-business financing service next year (2013) ,,,

    (The reader comments at the ecommercebytes link are informative.)

    Well, seeing as the clunky “PreyPal” “pretend bank” is itself not licensed to provide credit, and in almost everything that it does is little more than a parasitic middleman, what do you imagine the interest rate might be for such loans. Undoubtedly it would be cheaper to borrow directly from your local Mafia loan shark … Ah, there it is, it’s effectively 27% …


    Before anyone “unbanked” or utterly desperate enough to apply for such a business loan does so, I suggest they try out “Bilk Me Later” another eBay financial “pea and thimble” trickster for whom “PreyPal” also fronts. As mentioned above, “Bilk Me Later” is an eBay-owned company that contracts with a Utah bank (a real bank) to provide credit to (desperate) consumers for purchases via the Internet as an alternative to credit cards. But before you put your toe in this stagnant pond, follow that above link about how “Bilk Me” works to maximize the fees and interest it may charge you for the whole of the otherwise interest-free period, if you are ever one second overdue with a payment.

    A business loan from eBafia’s “PreyPal”?—LOL

    Why am I laughing so much? Because it really is all too funny … Visa’s professional online digital wallet, “V.me”, is now out of beta testing (and MasterCard’s similar “PayPass” product is soon to arrive). “PreyPal” is therefore effectively dead in the water except for its effectively mandated use on the ever atrophying eBay marketplace. The fact is merchants who have a merchant account with a real bank will drop “PreyPal” like a “hot potato” as soon as the professional Visa/MasterCard products become generally available.

    Good bye clunky “PreyPal”—it has not been nice knowing you …


    Wells Fargo Called Out For Continuing To Offer Payday Loans…

    … the Center for Responsible Lending and the National Consumer Law Center say Wells Fargo can call this loan whatever it wants, “but it is structured just like a loan from a payday loan storefront, carrying a high-cost (averaging 270% in annualized interest) combined with a short term balloon repayment (averaging just 10 days).”


    Needless to say the infamous Wells Fargo Bank is PreyPal’s retail banker through whom “PreyPal” operates its credit card merchant account … What’s that old adage? “Birds of a feather flock together” …


    Transaction Dispute Resolution …

    An interesting case (from the UK I suspect) related by “Linda R” demonstrating the unscrupulousness of “PreyPal” and its hard-wired, buyer-biased, transaction dispute mediation process (what mediation process?), one of the many scathing comments on “PreyPal” at BenchmarkReviews.com at:
    http://benchmarkreviews.com/index.ph...18417&Itemid=8

    “I was scammed by a buyer on eBay claiming my DKNY bag was a fake. Despite the fact I contacted DKNY head office and found the original receipt, PayPal refunded the buyer [redacted] the full amount. I was livid. They didn’t even listen to me, they were rude to me calling me a fraudster despite the fact that my job involves being CRB & FSA approved!

    “I contacted The Financial Ombudsman who agreed to take the case on by alerting PayPal that they were monitoring their dealings with me. Incidentally when I asked for PayPal’s complaint procedure they practically laughed citing their base in Luxemburg as a reason I had no recourse to compensation.

    “Well, once the Ombudsman got involved and gave them six weeks to investigate I also sent a scathing letter with all my proof supporting my claim and bingo - my money was refunded to me straightaway! Plus, each time the Ombudsman investigates this bunch of crooks known as PayPal they have to pay the Financial Ombudsman £500!

    “Get contacting people; make them pay and let it hurt their pockets. Hope this helps …”

    (I’ve paragraphed the comment and corrected some typos)

    I particularly like that bit about the Financial Ombudsman charging the financial institution a £500 fee every time they—presumably after seeing some prima facie evidence—agree to investigate a matter (or maybe its only if they find for the consumer?). Regardless, if “PreyPal” has arbitrarily sided with a buyer and you believe you have been scammed by that buyer who has then been effectively aided and abetted by PreyPal’s hard-wired buyer bias, and you have the facts to support your case, contact your local Financial Ombudsman …

    In the UK and Australia (at least) the “Financial Ombudsman” is the statutory independent authority for settling complaints between consumers and businesses providing financial services—even if their registered office is in Luxemburg. And I have no doubt that complaints about “PreyPal” will be keeping the Financial Ombudsman busy …

    If you have ever had a problem with a credit card transaction you will know that you can pick up the phone and immediately talk to a customer support person from your card-issuing bank (try that with “PreyPal”), and obtain a fair and professional mediation of the problem (try that with “PreyPal”) ...

    I really don’t know how anyone can think that this clunky “PreyPal” operation can have any future outside of its effectively mandated use on the ever atrophying eBay marketplace once Visa and MasterCard release their “professional” online digital wallets for general public use; to suggest otherwise I think one would have to be either a poorly paid eBay shill, or a fool, as probably are today many of the so called journalists that do little more than uncritically regurgitate corporate media releases …

    And, as has been oft stated before, anyone that suggests that “PreyPal” can ever make even the slightest dint in the off-line payments market at physical point of sale, an area dominated by Visa, MasterCard and Amex, is delusional in the extreme, or is, again, a paid eBay shill; I suspect that the only way “PreyPal” could get its foot in the door of any off-line B&M merchant is for eBay to subsidize the transaction processing costs … I see not even a short term profit in that business plan, and when eBay stops the subsidy, if not beforehand, the retailers will drop the clunky “PreyPal” like a hot potato …

    And, don't forget to checkout the “PreyPal” Doomsday Contest and other Special Offers at:
    http://cappnonymous.files.wordpress....test_spoof.jpg


    The Consumerist: PayPal—clunkity, clunk, clunk, clunk …

    The Consumerist: “PayPal Blocked Access To My Account After Denying Me A Debit Card”
    http://consumerist.com/2013/01/02/pa...-a-debit-card/

    Why would anyone be denied a debit card, even a PayPal DEBIT MasterCard? This story is also one more classic example of PreyPal’s utterly abysmal customer service.


    More PayPal Horror Stories / Comment …

    Googling “paypal horror stories” currently results in 584,000 entries; here are a few …

    TechCrunch.com: “PayPal Apologizes For Freezing Science Fiction Writer Jay Lake’s Cancer Fundraiser, Promises Greater Transparency”


    This is simply one of the very great many horror stories to be found on the internet involving the utterly clunky “PreyPal”; the readers’ comments are particularly enlightening …

    And another classic story at money.cnn.com; you will love the many reader comments … http://cnnmon.ie/XTmFLX

    And another, just one of many stories critical of “PreyPal”, from the UK Guardian … http://bit.ly/VUmqkv

    “eBay's PayPal cuts 445 jobs” … http://money.cnn.com/2012/10/29/tech...ment-794919008

    “A PayPal Christmas v2.mp4” … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wV2fk56ktVE&lr=1

    “Truth about PayPal and eBay - News Report” … http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vYh9c1y3sc

    “Top Corporate Hate Web Sites: PayPal: PayPalSucks.com” … http://www.forbes.com/2005/03/07/cx_cw_0308hate_3.html

    “90 percent of INQUIRER readers don’t trust PayPal” … http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/...t-trust-paypal

    “Paypal says UK is getting close to eliminating cash” … LOL
    http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/...iminating-cash
    Utterly delusional; but love the readers’ comments, particularly the one from “MC” …

    “These 28 Words Explain Why PayPal’s Creators Are Funding A Startup To Kill It”
    http://au.businessinsider.com/these-...013-6#comments

    Ugh! @PayPal is like being trapped in an infinite loop of horror. You change your p’word every 3 mins to log in. No luck. To hell with them.—Stephen Fry via Twitter

    And probably all the other “PreyPal” horror stories you could ever want … http://www.paypalsucks.com/


    Cramer’s Mad Money: eBay/PayPal…

    http://bit.ly/XCpKUN

    ‘Cramer likes eBay, and thinks it is still inexpensive. “I think PayPal is worth almost the entire price of the company.”’—LOL

    Cramer has always “liked” eBay. And, again, with Visa’s “professional” digital wallet, V.me, now out of beta testing and MasterCard’s similar product on the way, only a paid eBay shill or a fool could make such a statement about the value of “PreyPal”, then, I suppose it’s always possible that Cramer’s reading from his new digital Ouija board that he bought for 99c on eBay …


    PayPal wants your online banking password …

    http://cappnonymous.wordpress.com/20...ount-password/

    “PreyPal” has for some years now been asking users to supply “PreyPal” with their online banking password so that they can “confirm” users’ banking accounts. Just what hallucinogen are these headless turkeys at “PreyPal” being fed? Must be good stuff; that they could ever think that anyone, other than a complete imbecile, would, under any circumstances, give “PreyPal”—of all “people”—the password to their bank account … that is just too funny …

    “When you give someone your Online Banking ID and passcode, you are authorizing that person to use your service, and you are responsible for all transactions that person performs while using your service. All transactions that person performs, even those transactions you did not intend or want performed, are authorized transactions.”—Bank of America online banking service agreement.

    Amex would never ask for a user’s online banking password. Visa or MasterCard would never ask for a user’s online banking password; I wonder why that is? Oh, that’s right, Visa/MasterCard don’t need it as they already have direct and dynamic access to the user’s “credit card account” with the user’s real bank. And Amex? Well, they simply aren’t in the business of providing “payday loans” …


    Veriphone retreats from mobile payments …

    http://www.engadget.com/2012/12/13/d...m-ceo/?m=false

    … says acquiring users, “fundamentally unprofitable” …

    After joining the mobile payment bandwagon last spring with Sail, VeriFone is ready to scale back its efforts in the venture. "Our experience through 2012 with tens of thousands of these micro-merchants tells us that the standalone economics of micro-merchant acquiring are fundamentally unprofitable," the firm's CEO, Doug Bergeron, said in a quarterly conference call. According to the head honcho, the cost of wrangling up new business users through ads and the like "will never justify the razor thin-margins produced by merchants with infrequent volumes and extremely high attrition." As a result of those costs and the risks of fraud associated with payments, the outfit will be handing off the user recruitment side of Sail to banks and "merchant acquirers," and plans to sell some of the platform's related assets. Despite the company's retreat from mobile payments, Bergeron considers the only way others could survive in the space is to provide merchants with auxiliary services, such as digital wallets, which competitors such as Square have begun to dabble in. …

    Ah, well, there’s always the Square card reader or, heaven forbid, PayPal Here or “Pay Here With PayPal” … LOL. But, realistically and ultimately there is only Visa and MasterCard that can supply a truly professional “digital wallet” dynamically linked to your bank account (and/or credit cards) …


    PayPal’s President, David Marcus: Hallucinations for 2013
    https://www.thepaypalblog.com/2012/1...ahead-to-2013/

    1. NFC will fail to gain mass adoption

    “The NFC payments debate will slowly die in 2013. Is tapping a phone on a terminal any easier than swiping a credit card? … it’s not solving a real consumer problem and its not providing additional value …”

    You’d best stop consuming those magic mushrooms Mr Marcus. Regardless, Marcus is either being disingenuous or he is simply a fool. NFC already has gained mass adoption in Australia and Europe. Then, maybe Mr Marcus is only hallucinating about the US market. Regardless, Visa and MasterCard, with ~85% of the world’s payment processing business between them compared to PreyPal’s ~1%, will drive the adoption of NFC worldwide, if for no other reason than to make it harder for fraudsters to duplicate cards—regardless of the hallucinations of the president of “PreyPal”, David Marcus, and his overseer, John “Not For Commerce” Donahoe …

    2. The payments, loyalty and coupons businesses will merge
    Seriously, and who cares about loyalty and coupons programs anyway (and, how’s your Groupon investment going?) …

    3. The cash register will go mobile

    “… sales associates will be free to roam the stores and help their customers check out and pay from the aisle or even the changing room …”

    In the “changing room”; that should be interesting; but without the processing simplification of NFC, that’s unlikely ... Regardless, I can just see all the big retailers employing that extra staff to wander about their stores looking for customers to “check out”; and I suppose they will be using smart phones and PayPal Here; and how is the customer going to show that they have paid for the item when tackled by store security outside of the store? Dream on Mr Marcus …

    4. The rise of new experiences beyond check in

    “2013 will be the year that we will truly see disruption in the shopping and payments space, …”

    And there I was thinking that the retail banks and credit card companies had told “PreyPal” that they had already had enough of PreyPal’s (and John Donahoe’s) “disruptions” to last them till the end of time …

    But seriously, peruse the readers’ comments on any online story about “PreyPal”: invariably they are mostly negative in the extreme; you simply cannot develop such a disreputable reputation, worldwide, as “PreyPal” clearly has, without being a genuine clunker …

    Still, Mr Marcus is entitled to dream … Frankly, his predictions are no more than another load of self serving nonsense from the eBay Dept of Spin … Visa’s digital wallet is now generally available in the US and Canada and MasterCard’s version of same very soon to be: “PreyPal” will soon be “dead in the water”—if it is not already so …


    “How Visa And MasterCard Benefit From Square”


    This is an excellent, independent, professional analysis of the strengths of the positions of Visa and MasterCard in the evolving payments market. Funny, but the clunky, parasitic “PreyPal” does not even rate a mention …

    And, an independent analysis of the new MasterCard “MasterPass” digital wallet at “Mobile Payments Today” at …


    Goodbye clunky “PreyPal”, it has not been nice knowing you …


    “Log In With PayPal”—LOL


    PayPal is rolling out a new identity solution designed to help streamline the mobile shopping experience – Log In With “PreyPal”. The idea is that when you authenticate with your email address and PayPal password you can then give permission for “PreyPal” to share basic information with the merchant so that the website you’re on can pre-populate fields such as your name and address.

    Thanks, but I’ll let MasterCard’s new, professional, “MasterPass” do all that for me …

    Hello MasterCard "MasterPass". Goodbye clunky “PreyPal”—it has not been nice knowing you ...


    “E-commerce site Rakuten.com implements MasterCard MasterPass”
    http://www.finextra.com/News/Announc...topic=internet

    “Rakuten.com Shopping recently implemented MasterPass, a digital wallet service that allows consumers to use any payment card or enabled device to discover enhanced shopping experiences.”

    Goodbye clunky PayPal, it has not been nice knowing you …


    MasterCard “MasterPass” online digital wallet

    MasterCard’s new “MasterPass” professional online digital wallet for buyers is now available; application details at …


    If you are a seller with a retail bank credit card merchant account then all the info you need re accepting payments via “MasterPass” is available at …


    Goodbye clunky “PreyPal”, it has not been nice knowing you …


    “MasterCard is Making it Easier for Merchants to Accept Online Payments”
    http://newsroom.mastercard.com/press...line-payments/

    Purchase, NY (June 27, 2013) – MasterCard Worldwide is reaching out to US merchants and developers with “Simplify Commerce”, a new product that makes it easy to accept e-commerce and mobile commerce payments, regardless of payment brand, in a matter of minutes.

    Merchants, especially those managing smaller businesses, do not always have the resources readily available to help them set up the payments acceptance portion of their sites. Simplify Commerce is the developer-friendly solution that gives merchants the power to accept electronic payments, which can lead to additional revenue and a larger customer base.

    “As a technology company with a strong history of payments experience, MasterCard is always looking for ways to empower merchants to grow their businesses. We recognize the value that electronic payments bring to merchants, both large and small,” says Garry Lyons, Chief Innovation Officer for MasterCard. “By offering straightforward integration tools to developers and streamlining the process for businesses to get a merchant account, Simplify Commerce makes it easy for merchants to deliver online and mobile payments experiences to their customers.”

    Goodbye clunky “PreyPal”, it has not been nice knowing you …


    “Web.com Incorporates MasterPass Checkout Services”
    http://online.wsj.com/article/PR-CO-...googlenews_wsj

    “We proactively seek out the latest advanced technologies, innovations and solutions that will enhance our customers’ businesses and MasterPass was a natural fit,” said Jason Teichman, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Web.com. “This type of service has typically been reserved for Fortune 500 companies, but through our partnership with MasterCard, we are making it available to our tens of thousands of small business customers who use our online store solutions. It can be difficult to stand out in a crowded online marketplace, however, by offering advanced commerce features like MasterPass, our customers can differentiate themselves and deliver the shopping experience that their consumers demand.”

    Goodbye clunky “PreyPal”, it has not been nice knowing you …


    In summary …

    And its worth repeating over and over and over: the fact is, this clunky operator, “PreyPal”, is typically licensed only as a “money transmitter” (like Western Union); “PreyPal” is not a bank; “PreyPal” is not licensed to provide credit; but “PreyPal” acts like a bank—a “pretend bank”: it holds no banking licence (except in the European tax-haven country of Luxemburg); there is no statutory prudential oversight of “PreyPal”; users’ funds are not covered by FDIC insurance; generally speaking, there is no banking ombudsman for users to complain to; there is virtually no customer support (indeed, in comparison to that offered by the real banks, “PreyPal” has zero customer support); transaction dispute mediation is effectively non existent and apparently hard-wired, either way, to best suit PreyPal’s (or eBay’s) financial interests; arbitrary, and sometimes lengthy, holds (in habitual breach of local state “money transmitter” regulations) are placed on payee’s funds; other than the operating of its credit card merchant account with the infamous Wells Fargo Bank, “PreyPal” has no formal partnership with the real banks of the world as do have Visa/MasterCard; “PreyPal” has no dynamic linking to payers’ banking accounts with those real banks: the primitive ACH “direct debit” process is used by “PreyPal” to access payers’ funds (if users are silly enough to allow “PreyPal” such access to their bank accounts), a process not ideally suited to PreyPal’s purpose (how does “PreyPal” immediately decide at physical POS if a payer has sufficient funds in a banking account? Toss a coin?); and who bears the risk of any fraud, or mistakes made by “PreyPal” in approving a transaction, particularly off-line POS purchases, where there turns out to be insufficient funds in a payer’s bank account?

    Clunkity, clunk, clunk, clunk …

    eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking …
    Last edited by PhilipCohen; 12-26-2013 at 11:55 PM.

    “Today we’re dealing with phase two or phase three [he can’t remember which one] of disruptive innovation. We’ve had the disruption, now we’re having to disrupt the disruption. ... Based on our experience, here’s how innovation at the core worked. We had to create a mind shift at our company—we had to think bold and not just incremental. We had to create a vision of the future so people could let go of a very successful past.”—John Donahoe (26 Sept 2007).

    “The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.”—Anon.

    Note: All the statements made by me and contained herein are my opinion only; readers must form their own opinions from the facts presented.

  5. #5

    Default

    http://www.ecommercebytes.com/forums...816#post167816
    29 September 2012; revised 2 October 2012

    The previously eBay-promoted seller, “quickshipelectronics” …

    It’s about time I applied my improved spreadsheet analysis to another of eBay’s favored major sellers: quickshipelectronics. Take a look at the bidding statistics analysis on the far right side of the spreadsheet …

    Once again, I’ll invite readers draw their own conclusions as to whether or not this seller is an habitual and rampant shill bidder. My only question would be, have not any of these regular bidders yet been successful at winning any one of these auctions for a “Vizio 65" M3D650SV Theater 3D Razor LED LCD HD TV 1080p 120Hz WiFi Internet Apps”?

    Once again, the bidding statistics suggest that there is a commercial supplier of shill bidding involved. But eBafia, with their “sophisticated and proactive software” to detect and protect we simple consumers from such criminal fraud, can see none of this. Indeed, eBay has in the past promoted this merchant. Again, I invite readers to draw their own conclusions as to whether or not eBafia can be other than, at the very least, a tacit supporter of this demonstrable rampant fraud.

    The new spreadsheet at:
    http://home.exetel.com.au/philipcohe...ectronics).xls

    And its sibling, “quickshipwarehouse” …

    Once again, scores of regular bidders making bids on multiple items, some on many items …

    The spreadsheet at:
    http://home.exetel.com.au/philipcohe...warehouse).xls

    eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking
    Last edited by PhilipCohen; 06-19-2013 at 06:54 PM.

    “Today we’re dealing with phase two or phase three [he can’t remember which one] of disruptive innovation. We’ve had the disruption, now we’re having to disrupt the disruption. ... Based on our experience, here’s how innovation at the core worked. We had to create a mind shift at our company—we had to think bold and not just incremental. We had to create a vision of the future so people could let go of a very successful past.”—John Donahoe (26 Sept 2007).

    “The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.”—Anon.

    Note: All the statements made by me and contained herein are my opinion only; readers must form their own opinions from the facts presented.

  6. #6

    Default

    http://www.ecommercebytes.com/forums...820#post167820
    30 September 2012; revised 2 March 2013

    The previously eBay-promoted seller “beckertime” …

    Beckertime is another of eBafia’s favored sellers, previously promoted by eBay. Only a minority of beckertime’s sales are now by nominal start auction; I suspect that these occasional nominal start auctions are simply a device by which the dealer establishes, for the naïve public, the “market” price that is reasonable to pay, and that therefore all his other BIN offerings are fairly priced …

    Take a look at the bidding statistics analysis on the far right of the spreadsheet. Once again, I’ll let readers draw their own conclusions as to whether or not this seller is shill bidding. All I can observe is that, on these nominal-start auctions, there are many regular bidders. If you aren’t a “collector” of such items, how many Rolexes can you wear at one time?

    Once again, the bidding statistics suggest that there may be a commercial supplier of shill bidding involved. But still, eBafia, with their “sophisticated and proactive software” to detect and protect we simple consumers from such fraud, can see none of this. And, again, I invite readers to draw their own conclusions as to whether or not eBafia can be other than, at the very least, a tacit supporter of such fraud.

    The new spreadsheet at:
    http://home.exetel.com.au/philipcohe...eckertime).xls

    eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking
    Last edited by PhilipCohen; 04-01-2013 at 07:04 PM.

    “Today we’re dealing with phase two or phase three [he can’t remember which one] of disruptive innovation. We’ve had the disruption, now we’re having to disrupt the disruption. ... Based on our experience, here’s how innovation at the core worked. We had to create a mind shift at our company—we had to think bold and not just incremental. We had to create a vision of the future so people could let go of a very successful past.”—John Donahoe (26 Sept 2007).

    “The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.”—Anon.

    Note: All the statements made by me and contained herein are my opinion only; readers must form their own opinions from the facts presented.

  7. #7

    Default

    http://www.ecommercebytes.com/forums...d=1#post167821
    30 September 2012

    eBay seller “strangeling” …

    And now an analysis of a seller of flat art, “strangeling”. This is another eBay seller who appears to buy much of her stuff herself.

    It’s monotonous, I know, but once again, I’ll let readers come to their own conclusions as to whether or not this seller is also an habitual and rampant shill bidder. All I can observe is that there are a number of regular bidders bidding on her artworks; they all must each have a lot of wall space …

    Once again, the bidding statistics suggest that there is a commercial supplier of shill bidding involved. But still, eBafia, with their “sophisticated and proactive software” to detect and protect we simple consumers from such criminal fraud, can see none of this. Indeed, eBay has in the past also promoted this merchant. Again, I invite readers to draw their own conclusions as to whether or not eBafia can be other than, at the very least, a tacit supporter of such rampant fraud.

    The new spreadsheet at:
    http://home.exetel.com.au/philipcohe...rangeling).xls

    eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking
    Last edited by PhilipCohen; 03-18-2013 at 02:00 AM.

    “Today we’re dealing with phase two or phase three [he can’t remember which one] of disruptive innovation. We’ve had the disruption, now we’re having to disrupt the disruption. ... Based on our experience, here’s how innovation at the core worked. We had to create a mind shift at our company—we had to think bold and not just incremental. We had to create a vision of the future so people could let go of a very successful past.”—John Donahoe (26 Sept 2007).

    “The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.”—Anon.

    Note: All the statements made by me and contained herein are my opinion only; readers must form their own opinions from the facts presented.

  8. #8

    Default

    http://www.ecommercebytes.com/forums/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=167822#post167822
    30 September 2012

    “thegolfhabit” …

    This time a retailer of golf equipment, “thegolfhabit”. Take a look at the bidding statistics analysis on the far right of the spreadsheet. Obviously there are some genuine bidders trying to buy one of these sets of eight brand new TaylorMade irons, but there are even more bidders that are bidding away to ensure that the price achieved will exceed ~$640 …

    Once again, I’ll let readers draw their own conclusions as to whether or not this seller is an habitual and rampant shill bidder. All I can observe is that, on these nominal-start auctions, the very great majority of the bidders are regular bidders.

    Once again, the bidding statistics suggest that there is a commercial supplier of shill bidding involved. But still, eBafia, with their “sophisticated and proactive software” to detect and protect we simple consumers from such criminal fraud, can see none of this. Again, I invite readers to draw their own conclusions as to whether or not eBafia can be other than, at the very least, a tacit supporter of such rampant fraud.

    The new spreadsheet at:
    http://home.exetel.com.au/philipcohen/eBay/eBay%20Shill%20Bidding%20101%20(thegolfhabit).xls

    eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking
    Last edited by PhilipCohen; 03-18-2013 at 02:01 AM.

    “Today we’re dealing with phase two or phase three [he can’t remember which one] of disruptive innovation. We’ve had the disruption, now we’re having to disrupt the disruption. ... Based on our experience, here’s how innovation at the core worked. We had to create a mind shift at our company—we had to think bold and not just incremental. We had to create a vision of the future so people could let go of a very successful past.”—John Donahoe (26 Sept 2007).

    “The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.”—Anon.

    Note: All the statements made by me and contained herein are my opinion only; readers must form their own opinions from the facts presented.

  9. #9

    Default

    http://www.ecommercebytes.com/forums...&postid=167827
    http://bit.ly/IzMP4M
    1 October 2012

    Some Australian “flat art” sellers …

    Here is a sampling of flat art sellers in Australia. They each have “regular” bidders on their auctions. Bear in mind also that these sellers are listing only small numbers of items per month not the thousands that do the larger merchants that eBay “protects” …

    Take a look at the bidding statistics analysis on the far right of the spreadsheet … Again, I’ll let readers draw their own conclusions as to whether or not any of these sellers are bidding on their own items. All I can observe is that, on these nominal-start auctions, there are many regular bidders …

    Most of the small sellers probably do their own shill bidding; that at least does not clog up eBay’s database with so many of the usually commercially-supplied “nibble” bidding IDs …

    But still, the eBafia, with their “sophisticated and proactive software” to detect and protect we simple consumers from such criminal fraud, can see no problem with all this regular bidding. Again, I invite readers to draw their own conclusions as to whether or not eBafia can be other than, at the very least, a tacit supporter of such fraud.

    The new spreadsheet at:
    http://home.exetel.com.au/philipcohe...latArt_AU).xls

    eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking
    Last edited by PhilipCohen; 11-30-2013 at 12:35 PM.

    “Today we’re dealing with phase two or phase three [he can’t remember which one] of disruptive innovation. We’ve had the disruption, now we’re having to disrupt the disruption. ... Based on our experience, here’s how innovation at the core worked. We had to create a mind shift at our company—we had to think bold and not just incremental. We had to create a vision of the future so people could let go of a very successful past.”—John Donahoe (26 Sept 2007).

    “The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.”—Anon.

    Note: All the statements made by me and contained herein are my opinion only; readers must form their own opinions from the facts presented.

  10. #10

    Default

    http://www.ecommercebytes.com/forums/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=167835#post167835
    4 October 2012

    What about a nice Apple iPod Touch 4th Generation …

    Any number of merchants are offering this “hot” product and some of those that I have looked at look as though they may be bidding on their own auctions and buying some of the stuff themselves; one of them is very obviously utilizing the services a commercial supplier of shill bidding (hence the greater number of low-value bids, etc); but don’t bother complaining to eBay about this criminal activity because they won’t do anything, as they have done nothing about the blatant shill bidder “eDropOff”, the criminal activities of which eBay is now actively aiding and abetting …

    Now, some genuine bidders will bid on multiple items with the same merchant, so one can never be sure unless the patterns of bidding become overwhelmingly obvious (as is the case with eDropoff, and one of those below). Anyway, take a look at the bidding statistics analysis on the far right of each of the following spreadsheets and draw your own conclusion as to whether or not …

    eBay seller “quickshipwarehouse” spreadsheet at:
    http://home.exetel.com.au/philipcohe...rehouse-2).xls

    eBay seller “musicsubmarine” spreadsheet at:
    http://home.exetel.com.au/philipcohe...submarine).xls

    eBay seller “buyrite7” spreadsheet at:
    http://home.exetel.com.au/philipcohe...(buyrite7).xls

    eBay seller “volumemerchant” spreadsheet at:
    http://home.exetel.com.au/philipcohe...emerchant).xls

    eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking
    Last edited by PhilipCohen; 10-19-2012 at 05:57 PM.

    “Today we’re dealing with phase two or phase three [he can’t remember which one] of disruptive innovation. We’ve had the disruption, now we’re having to disrupt the disruption. ... Based on our experience, here’s how innovation at the core worked. We had to create a mind shift at our company—we had to think bold and not just incremental. We had to create a vision of the future so people could let go of a very successful past.”—John Donahoe (26 Sept 2007).

    “The difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.”—Anon.

    Note: All the statements made by me and contained herein are my opinion only; readers must form their own opinions from the facts presented.

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