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  1. #11

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    http://www.ecommercebytes.com/forums...842#post167842
    7 October 2012

    Now, how about some jewelry and watches …

    I did an “auction only” search for “Rolex” in the Jewelry & Watches category, picked out a dozen merchants with higher feedback counts, and analyzed a couple of nominal-start auctions in the higher price range (not necessarily for a Rolex) from each of their completed listings:

    beckertime (15,883)
    davefrommayfairgalleries (14,388)
    fierygems (7,002)
    gerryzu (5,552)
    istanbul_market (14,998)
    sflmaven (59,435)

    Ultimately, analyses were not done for six of the selected merchants because they had, from their many listings, effectively no sales or, in one case, was using the “private” auction format (the ultimate eBay-supplied hide for the shill bidding merchant brazen enough to use it). Indeed, five of these undoubtedly honest merchants had such utterly abysmal sell-though rates no analysis could be attempted nor was there any point in doing so …

    headphomania (11,493)—OK; sets start price at minimum prepared to accept; but, very few sales!
    hessfineauctions (79,729)—“Private listing - bidders' identities protected” …
    interwatches (8,069)—Few sales! No bids!
    jfm_watches (4,027)—Very few sales! One bid!
    universaldiamondexchange (2,464)—No sales! No bids!
    universalnyc (69,733)—Very few sales! Very few bids!

    Assuming much of the activity in the first group may be artificial, can anyone explain why the second group has such a lack of sales or even bids, other than the possibility that eBay is desperately manipulating the exposure of merchants’ listings to favour those “diamonds” and national brands that eBay’s chief headless turkey, Donahoe, prefers …

    The composite spreadsheet (~1MB) at:
    http://home.exetel.com.au/philipcohe...s&Jewelry).xls

    You will notice distinct differences in the patterns of bidding by any “regular” bidders on each merchant’s auctions: some of the merchants have a great many “regular” bidders making very many bids and these are probably “commercially-supplied” bids; but, as has been noted elsewhere, where these regular bidders appear at the lower-value end of the bidding on nominal-start auctions, its not impossible that such bidding could also be other unscrupulous sellers’ making faux bids on other sellers’ auctions to water down their own “% with” statistic …

    Regardless, it appears that the eBay marketplace whale is now well and truly stranded on the beach and putrefaction surely has to have commenced. Notwithstanding the honest merchants that are still trying to make a living on this broken marketplace, I suspect that on eBay auctions there are now more bids being made by shill bidders than by genuine bidders as much of the observed bidding activity has at least the appearance of shill bidding …

    eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking
    Last edited by PhilipCohen; 10-20-2012 at 08:21 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.

  2. Default

    Hi Philip,

    I have not looked at the spreadsheets but will do so. I do have 1 question-

    I can definitely see the benefit of shill bidding for items such as high-priced watches, etc. where there is probably not a high amount of 'traffic'. The seller basically wants to have it both ways- they don't want to get stuck selling for cheap, but don't want to set a price too high that will basically turn of potential bidders right away. On top of that, of course there is shill bidding to try to 'smoke out' proxy high bids.

    But for something like an iPod Touch, what's the point of having so many shill bids at obviously way-under-market prices? (sub $1). Not sure if these particular examples show this, but it's something you have pointed to before. I'm not denying it exists, just wondering what the actual benefit is in this case.

    EDIT- I guess one benefit would be to water down their own “% with” statistic as you mention in your last post.
    Last edited by iversonballer; 10-09-2012 at 02:01 PM.

  3. #13

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    @iversonballer,

    Only my speculation, of course: The nibble bidding at the high end is possibly to smoke out a proxy bid, then retract the last bid (see some of the “regular” IDs with very-to-extremely large numbers of retractions); many bidders/bids, even low-value bids, creates excitement and makes you believe that many others are vying for the item and can establish the price that you think that you will have to pay; and, yes, the extremely low bids on nominal start auctions, as nonsensical as they appear, could possibly be bids made by other sellers’ shills to water down their own “% with” statistic, as could be any nibble bidding at the lower-value end; this could be particularly the case for those involved in the commercial shill bidding ring where the placing of bids in the low range serves multiple purposes: laundering “% with” statistics but still demonstrating buyer “interest” in the item; obviously, if a commercial shill ID is used for tens of unscrupulous merchants then the “% with” stat can easily be kept under the radar.

    You only have to look at most of the auctions that do not have the flood of “regular” bidders to notice that those auctions usually have fewer bidders, many fewer bids and little nibble bidding … see particularly the composite spreadsheet sampling of the four antiques dealers eBay is currently promoting at:

    http://home.exetel.com.au/philipcohen/eBay/eBay%20Shill%20Bidding%20101%20(antiquespromo).xls

    But, of course, the best example of blatantly obvious commercially supplied shill bidding is that which is found on virtually all of the auctions of Corri McFadden’s “edropoff”; in her case, little effort appears to be made to control the “% with” stat as some of the IDs bidding on her auctions are bidding on hundreds of her auctions and with “100% with”; the spreadsheet at:

    http://bit.ly/MJlM6b

    “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. #14

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    http://www.ecommercebytes.com/forums...879#post167879
    15 October 2012

    eBay’s renewed focus on auctions and collectibles

    eBay is again (desperately?) promoting auctions in a campaign called “Fall into Antiques.” An introductory page for the campaign points to the four featured sellers: Bloom Fine Art & Antiques, Bruneau Antiques, Estate Auctions Inc. and Rhode Island Internet Consignment & Sales Inc.


    The original ecommercebytes.com story about this at: http://www.ecommercebytes.com/C/blog...347430467.html

    “eBay's Gene Cook, … said there is a renewed focus on the collectibles business at eBay.”

    Collectibles! Auctions! What will these headless turkeys in the eBay executive suite think of next?

    Unfortunately, eBay auctions are literally riddled with shill bidding activity by professional dealers and I take it for granted that any professional dealer that starts auctions at a low nominal value is likely going to have a mechanism to obtain the price that the dealer wants by setting a reserve price or by, the less scrupulous means of, shill bidding.

    So, having said that, it always whets my appetite to look more closely at any dealer that is promoted by eBay, for whatever reason, and I have therefore prepared a spreadsheet analysis of a small sample of auctions from these four featured dealers.

    The “antiquespromo” spreadsheet (~1MB) may be downloaded from http://home.exetel.com.au/philipcohe...quespromo).xls

    On the spreadsheet, bidders bidding on more than one auction in the past 30 days are coloured red; bidders whose 30-Day Summary statistics appear to me to be atypical are suffixed with a double asterisk; such atypical bidders that appear only at the early nominal value stage and have a very low “% this seller” are probably the shills of other eBay dealers making early nominal bids on other sellers’ nominal-start auctions to water down their own “% this seller” statistic.

    The eBay 30-Day Summary bidding statistics are recorded on the right hand side of the spreadsheet along with a calculation of the total number of bids made on multiple items with the particular seller.

    Look particularly at the patterns of “regular” bidders on all four of these dealers’ auctions. The auctions by Bloom Antiques look perfectly honest to me: Bloom protects themselves by setting reserve prices. I’ll let readers draw their own conclusions from the recorded data as to whether any of the other three may be using some other mechanism to get the price that they want from their auctions …
    Last edited by PhilipCohen; 10-20-2012 at 04:40 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.

  5. #15

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    http://www.ecommercebytes.com/forums...882#post167882
    16 October 2012

    Seller-cancelled auctions …

    If you log on via the ebay.com.au site you can still sort a merchant’s “Completed listings” by “Number of bids: fewest first”. You may then be presented with a group of unsold “zero” bid auctions; in the case of eDropOff, some of these will be auctions cancelled by the seller because the highest (genuine) bid was not high enough.

    For example, take a look at eDropOff’s 16 October auction number 350619535489 for a Chanel handbag. It is shown as unsold with zero bids; in fact, it had at least 11 bids from 11 bidders, only two of which appear to be genuine bidders and, obviously, neither of those two bids were high enough:

    http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/350619535...orig_cvip=true

    Regardless, I’m not too sure what the purpose of eDropOff’s current crop of auction cancellations serve as the desperate-for-fees eBay has previously announced that, starting 1 October, it is going to charge a FVF on any auction listing ended early that has received at least one bid above any set reserve.

    Then, if the highest shill bid is only a nibbling bid and not a bid set at a higher point under which the merchant is not prepared to sell, a genuine bidder could still “snipe” and get the item at a price possibly much less than the merchant wants to sell for … in such circumstances then it’s better to cancel the auction and pay eBafia the at-that-point lower FVF—Oh, desperate days …

    What then is the unscrupulous shill bidding merchant now to do? Maybe they will have to pay the fee-desperate eBay the additional fee to set a reserve price that they can then shill bid up to …

    The eBafia does not care whether or not a merchant shill bids, or can get a fair price, as long as eBafia gets its percentage—just like the Mafia of old …

    eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking
    Last edited by PhilipCohen; 10-19-2012 at 05:55 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.

  6. #16

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    http://www.ecommercebytes.com/forums/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=167887#post167887
    15 October 2012

    The eBay Collectables category …

    You can do a spreadsheet analysis, similar to that which I do in my spreadsheet, of a single auction and get a good indication of whether or not a merchant may be shill bidding.

    Regardless, the linked composite spreadsheet contains an analysis of a number of dealers from the eBay Collectables category; I selected dealers that had auctions with the highest numbers of bids … Form your own opinion as to whether or not …

    The composite spreadsheet (~1MB) at:
    http://home.exetel.com.au/philipcohe...lectibles).xls

    Bear in mind that even when some bidding may appear abnormal, particularly in the low-value range of bidding, it may not be shill bidding by the merchant being examined; it could be bidding by another (unscrupulous) merchant for the purpose of keeping watered down his own “% with” statistic; this is particularly possible if you consider the operations of a commercial supplier of bids using common bidding IDs to service many merchants: the more unscrupulous merchants being serviced, the lower will be the “% with” at any given time; so, a low “% with” is no foolproof indication of honest bidding if a commercial provider is supplying the bids …

    Indeed, that is undoubtedly why on edropoff’s auctions some of the bidders with abnormally large numbers of bids on many auctions have very low “% with” stats: spread the particular shill bidding ID activity evenly over 100 merchants and, voila, a 1% only “activity with” …

    But, back to the spreadsheet. Take a look at “sparklecitycomics” and “jscomics” … no doubt, eBafia, in its death throes, very much appreciates receiving all the FVFs on what appears to be many self purchases being made by such dealers—or do such dealers have some sort of “special” arrangement with the world’s greatest criminal facilitator of wire fraud, eBafia, to avoid FVFs on failed attempts to defraud genuine buyers?

    I wonder just how many planets have to align before that “sophisticated and proactive software”, that the eBafia claims to have, triggers a shill bidding alert? That’s a facetious rhetorical question, of course … And, I’m beginning to wonder if there are, in fact, more shill bidding IDs than genuine bidding IDs in circulation on the eBay marketplace …

    Funny isn’t it, Lance Armstrong has just been caught cheating and is now getting the attention from the media and the authorities that only a serial mass murderer could otherwise expect, yet the likes of eBay, where the facts demonstrate a calculated facilitation of massive wire fraud by unscrupulous merchants on the consumers of the world, and apparently no one in authority or the media is interested. What does that tell us about the reality of moral values of the government–media–corporate complex?

    eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking
    Last edited by PhilipCohen; 10-26-2012 at 04:46 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. #17

    Default

    http://www.ecommercebytes.com/forums...918#post167918
    http://bit.ly/Vm3zfu
    26 October 2012; last revised 21 July 2013

    The Sisters Kardashian …

    Even celebrities are now selling stuff by auction on eBay and, obviously, celebrity status should bring interest to such auctions. I have no way of knowing if these celebrities are personally behind these selling operations or if they have simply licensed their names thereto …

    Anyway, an analysis of some eBay auctions by the sisters Kardashian: “kimsaprincess”, “khlomar” and “kendallandkylie”. Again, take a look at the bidding statistics analysis on the right hand side of the spreadsheet … form your own opinion …

    Is it not a little strange that there are so many common bidders bidding on multiple items; so many “newbies”; so many very low feedback-count bidders; so many “100% with”. And the classic “red flags” are in evidence: many bids made almost immediately after the item is listed; on some auctions, the majority of bids have been placed on the first day of the listing. Then, I suppose the naïve punters have to be made to believe that there is a lot of interest in all this stuff …

    Bear in mind also that each of the sisters’ auctions are periodically batch listed on one day and each batch ends on the one day, so the bidding statistics for each batch are sometimes effectively “one day” statistics … One day! A critical analysis of the bidding statistics then suggests that at least some of the bidding may be “commercially” supplied …

    The composite Kardashian spreadsheet sampling at: http://bit.ly/WTQHQ2

    All those other poor eBay sellers that cannot get even a single bid (even when eBay has their views “turned on”) must be so jealous …

    Now, try an eBay search for simply “Kardashian” and you will find ~100 auctions from other sellers trying to re-sell something supposedly from the “Kardashian Kollection”; but, it’s odd that these sellers never get anywhere near the number of bidders or bids on their auctions as is received on the sisters Kardashian “Charity eBay Auctions” (managed by “Auction Cause”?), and certainly they never get the flood of bidders/bids on the first day or so of their auctions as the sisters Kardashian habitually do … Funny that, is it not?

    Auction Cause …

    http://www.auctioncause.com/

    “Auction Cause is a premier auction management agency specializing in high profile corporate, celebrity, and nonprofit eBay auction events. For more information on how Auction Cause can assist your brand or charity, call (323) 655-0554 or visit us online at auctioncause.com.” …

    Is Auction Cause directly managing all aspects of these “Kardashian” auctions, including the bidding?

    And, just for fun, a sampling and analysis of some “auctioncause” charity auctions; there are more atypical bidding patterns on some of these auctions than I would normally like to see …

    Believe me people, you are not alone in now having few or no sales on eBay. Even the fraudsters are having a difficult time (see the July 2013 [fake?] “Glenn Close collection” from seller auctioncause2). …

    The composite “auctioncause” spreadsheet sampling at: http://bit.ly/12UVDJk

    “This is an eBay Giving Works charitable listing (Administered by MissionFish)”

    Really? The only “charity” that eBay has ever recognized is eBay itself …
    Last edited by PhilipCohen; 07-21-2013 at 07:59 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. #18

    Default

    http://www.ecommercebytes.com/forums/vbulletin/showthread.php?p=167924#post167924
    27 October 2012

    An eDropOff competitor: “linda*s***stuff” …

    The seller “Linda’s Stuff” is apparently a consignment seller, somewhat similar to eDropOff. Let’s then compare the bidding activity on Linda’s auctions with that on eDropOff’s. Firstly, Linda appears to start her auctions at the minimum she is prepared to accept, and that can mean that a lot of her stuff does not get a bid and does not sell. Indeed, in comparison with eDropOff’s appearance of an exceptionally high sell though rate, Linda’s completed listings are a “sea of red” of unsold items. Strange, that contrast, is it not?

    Linda has a feedback count four times the size of eDropOff, and yet Linda has noticeably less bidders and less bids on her auctions. Now, Linda does have a few bidders that appear atypical but then there are always going to be a few bidders that are genuinely atypical. Overall though, there are no patterns of bidding that suggest any obvious shill bidding … Indeed, the contrast between the patterns of bidding on Linda’s and eDropoff’s auctions could not be more stark.

    Given that stark contrast, I again invite readers to draw their own conclusions about the honesty or otherwise of eDropOff’s auctions (and eBay’s criminal aiding and abetting of wire fraud thereon) …

    The spreadsheet on a sample of “linda*s***stuff” at:
    http://home.exetel.com.au/philipcohe...7;s_stuff).xls

    eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking
    Last edited by PhilipCohen; 10-27-2012 at 03:42 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.

  9. #19

    Default

    http://www.ecommercebytes.com/forums...929#post167929
    28 October 2012

    Another eDropOff competitor: “luxury.overload” …

    The seller “luxury.overload” from Beverley Hills, CA, is small fry compared to “eDropOff” and “Linda*s***stuff”. Their feedback currently stands at only 5536. They, also, appear to usually start their auctions at a price that they are prepared to accept which means that there is no need to shill to attempt to obtain the minimum the seller wants. However, there are a few more atypical bidders present than I would normally like to see—but still nowhere near the number there are on eDropOff’s auctions where the majority of bidders are atypical, some extremely so …

    The “luxury.overload” spreadsheet at:
    http://home.exetel.com.au/philipcohe....overload).xls

    eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking
    Last edited by PhilipCohen; 10-27-2012 at 04:16 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.

  10. #20

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    How about a nice Chanel handbag …

    This spreadsheet contains a small sampling of auctions from a collection of dealers (with substantial feedback counts) from around the world. Take a look at the summary of bidding statistics. I’ve marked a few bidders that appear to be atypical; ask yourself, do you, or anyone you know, spend so much time in any 30-day period making so many bids trying to buy this sort of item at auction on eBay? I’ve added a couple of eDropOff auctions, to supply some contrast—actually, some extreme contrast! And, those bidders that appear on more than one merchant’s auctions are on a light blue background …

    The “ChanelHandbags” spreadsheet at:
    http://home.exetel.com.au/philipcohen/eBay/eBay%20Shill%20Bidding%20101%20(ChanelHandbags).xl s

    eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking
    Last edited by PhilipCohen; 10-31-2012 at 11:18 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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