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Wed Apr 11 2007 22:52:02

Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay announced a "proactive fraud reduction" initiative on Monday. On the one hand, eBay is expanding the number of listings that are being delayed as eBay reviews them for possible counterfeit items. On the other hand, sellers will be notified during the listing process through a pop-up warning if the listing will be delayed, and once the listing is visible through search and browse, it will appear at the top of search results when sorted by Newly Listed.

As an update to the story, eBay did get back to us on the question about listings that been held for review prior to this week's policy change that had not received top exposure on Newly Listed search results. I asked whether eBay would provide any recompense for sellers of those items for getting less exposure than they normally would have. eBay spokesperson Nichola Sharpe replied via email:

"No, eBay does not charge for listing time by the hour or by the day, so we do not refund in this situation. We certainly work to minimize any impact to our sellers, however, by ensuring that listings are indexed as soon as possible. To improve this for our sellers, we've made the change to ensure listings become visible at the top of Browse listings pages and in "newly listed" sort option as soon as they are made visible in Search, regardless of the time when they were listed."

In terms of targeting listings of items prone to counterfeiting, it seems inevitable that some babies will be thrown out with the bathwater, as the expression goes. It reminds me of email filters that prevent legitimate emails from getting through in an attempt to eliminate spam. Nevertheless, it's understandably frustrating to sellers who feel their listings should not be targeted.

I believe there is good news in this announcement from eBay - if it works as described, sellers will be aware of delays as they list, and their items will receive top exposure on Newly Listed results.




Comments (25) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy   Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy

This user has validated their user name. by: Bill

Thu Apr 12 02:04:31 2007

That is interesting since there are 2 ways to search on eBay in order to get top exposure. Newly listed and ending soon. If the listings before were delayed and did not get put in then the people that were putting these items on were being cheated on their due exposure. It would be fair and equitable to compensate them for the lack of the newly listed exposure but that would create such a mess for eBay to try to figure out who were cheated that it could not probably effectively be done. Why do they not just come out and say that instead of putting a political spin on the problem?

Bill

Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy   Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy

by: AlphaLeap Co. Ltd

Thu Apr 12 02:41:15 2007

From our own technical research and personal experience, the restrictions are not part of a fraud reduction policy, or at least not in its entirety, but rather, a method of increasing profits by increasing seller's listings through limited visibility.

Listings with just minutes or even hours prior to ending are not visible to buyers.  The limited visibility restrictions are not only being placed on potentially counterfeit items and so-called ''babies'' or new members, but also on sellers that sell generic name items that have been selling eBay for many years.

Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy   Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy

by: DOC

Thu Apr 12 08:16:06 2007

eBay has been doing this listing delay sham for a good 3 Years on eBay Motors, and looking at my site http://www.ebaymotorssucks.com you can see just how effective it has been!

All the scammers do is list a simple legitimate looking auction, let it pass through pre-search screening, then revise it after it is search-able. Many motors professionals suspect all eBay is doing is delaying listings so we think they are looking for fraud. Now they come up with this same line of bull as a measure to curb the fraud on the core site!

Here is a screen shot of how the scammers do it.
http://www.ebaymotorssucks.com/images/na...

These are the facts.. No mater how eBay tries to spin it!

Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy   Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy

by: Tim

Thu Apr 12 09:46:45 2007

eBay has been doing this delay tactic to me now since Novemeber. They have never compensated me a dime and several of my listings they delayed for 12 hours or more. When I ask for an explanation, I get the same eBay bunk that it must have been my computer or browser was at fault. What creeps they are. I have 99.9 percent positive and 2000 feedbacks, and an eBay member 9 years. I offer a 100 percent money back guarantee PLUS SHIPPING FEES PAID BY ME BOTH WAYS, if one of my items is ever deemed to be a counterfeit. I advertise this boldly in my auctions. The consumer is protected 100 percent. If you ask me the lack of compensation adds up to millions of dollars of unjustified profit to eBay, just as their scheme if you up your own bid (place an insurance bid on an item so as not to be outbid) they increase your own bid by sometimes 25 cents! This whole scenario needs a Justice Depratment review. If a consumer did this delay tactic to a merchant, it would be considered theft of service. eBay doing this delay tactic to us, delaying our exposure , yet keeping all of our money for listing is theft plain and simple.

Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy   Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy

by: Brandi

Thu Apr 12 10:35:51 2007

I sell items that are on the list for delay. I am sorry but do not agree with Tim above.I have to compete with fake items which drives the price down of authentic items. I am for ebay trying this out to combat fraud. If you have a 7 day auction, I don't see what the problem is. If you want more  visibility make it a 10 day auction...That is plenty of time for bids... really I sometimes see less profit on 10 day auctions. Buyers get board and look for it ending sooner.I myself have done that. I get 80% of my bids in the last 2 days unless it is a really hot item. I really have not seen a decrease in profits myself.. I have had my items not come up for over 12 hours. I have almost 3000 feedbacks with 100% rating. I just don't see what the big deal is
I don't think Ebay is trying to cheat someone out of money. The more bids you get the more money that ebay gets.

Tim... knockoff sellers say the same things you say... it covers them so when a buyer is not happy they get all of their money back and don't involve ebay or paypal.The seller gets to keep on selling hoping to sell to people who don't know how to spot the fakes. When they get caught they refund quick making the buyer happy.

Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy   Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy

by: Violette

Thu Apr 12 11:22:02 2007

This is a tough call. People get on Ebay's case for not doing more to combat fraud, yet when they do, no one is happy. The biggest problem is in *how* to combat fraud on the site.  With the enormous volume of listings on Ebay, there's no way to have people screen each one, so they have to resort to writing software to do it. I'm a software engineer myself and do similar types of work, so trust me when I say it's not as easy as you might think. It's a lot like spam filters. Once you start filtering successfully, they spammers find another way around it. It takes a lot of time and resources to keep up with it. You have to first figure out why it's escaping your detection, then figure out how to sucessfully add it to your "filters." This can resukt in enormously complex code that can slow a computer to a crawl, even some of the behemoths I'm sure Ebay has at their disposal.  It's a neverending game of cat-and-mouse with no easy solution. I don't know what the right solution is, but I do give them credit for trying to fix it.

Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy   Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy

by: Phil

Thu Apr 12 12:59:47 2007

The best way to eliminate 1/2 of the fraud on Ebay would be to stop the free listings that users of Ebay China recieve.  It makes it so easy for unscrupluous sellers overseas to peddle counterfiet items since there is literally no investment required.  I sell some higher end antiques and pottery and we see this every day.  If they were at least charged a nominal fee it would reduce the number of bogus items listed.  Anyone that has shopped for small electronics, asian antiques, software, music or video games can tell you that there are 1000's of these sellers listing on the Ebay sites for free.  I am all for a little competition, but don't give the scam artists free reign while making the legitimate sellers pay.  I understand that there are many honest, hard working sellers on Ebay China, but there are millions of hard working sellers on Ebay U.S., Canada and other European markets too.  Why should these sellers financially carry the load so that Ebay can give free listings in China.  

If EBay wants to give free listing to thier Sellers on Ebay China, thats great.  Just make sure that those listings are only available to view on the Ebay China site.  If Ebay China sellers want to reach the international market, then charge them a listing fee just like the rest of us pay.  

Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy   Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy

by: AlphaLeap Co. Ltd

Thu Apr 12 23:45:32 2007

Under eBay’s proactive fraud reduction policy, how does one inspect auctions and determine whether or not a physical product, not in their possession, is counterfeit?   Is eBay inspecting merchandise or asking sellers for proof of purchase or proof of authenticity by fax or email or have they employed scouts to visit seller’s place of business for a trust and safety inspection?  If not, what other methods are available? Is it a magical formula perhaps?

I’m personally not one to believe in magic, but as an eBay business seller and third party application developer, we’ve never been asked to provide proof of authenticity nor has an eBay representative asked to review our products, records or VAT receipts for products sold.  If requested, our legal business would have immediately provided any information requested in their fight against fraud.  Instead, however, unwarranted visibility restrictions are placed on our account while listing U.S. and U.K. products. Our products (name brand and generic) are most often seen in countries and regions of unwanted interest – countries and regions that have extremely long customs related inspection delays, significant non-delivery issues and increased risk of Paypal charge back resulting in dissatisfied customers and poor feedback.

As a business, we didn’t use magic when deciding to move forward with eBay for 3rd party application development and product marketing in early 2005 with a budget just over $150,000.  We researched thoroughly while trying to find the best match for our business and our business model. Although other companies at the time offered similar tools and resources that fit our needs, we chose eBay after thorough marketing research and felt they were the best choice. At the time, eBay appeared to be a very reputable business with good business ethics.  Unfortunately, however, we couldn’t foresee the future. We didn’t know that our visibility would be severely restricted by manipulating natural search results; nor did we know that tens of thousands of dollars would be lost as a direct consequence.

We were never informed of limitations and/or restrictions of visibility.  Instead, when our sales started to slowly decline, we felt that the problem was on our end and felt that additional time and money needed to be spent in order to correct the problem.  First, we redesigned our listing templates numerous times. When this didn’t work, we started focusing on download times. We then purchased two dedicated servers one in Denmark and the U.S. with fast backbones to insure fast downloads and built a CSR application to help with customer service.  Needless to say, our attempts at correcting the problem were useless.  Our sales continued to fall and income needed for continued eBay 3rd party application development quickly dried up.

As we see it, eBay is successfully destroying reputable businesses prior to eliminating fraudulent sellers.  Reputable businesses must pay licensing fees, sales tax, social security, profit tax, etc.; they cannot afford to have restrictions placed on their account.  Fraudulent sellers of counterfeit items and sellers not paying sales tax have practically nothing to lose.  They remain on eBay, listing even more auctions and perhaps selling more with decreased competition now that legitimate tax paying sellers are out of business.

Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy   Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy

by: Jonathan

Thu Apr 12 23:54:44 2007

As an eBay Powerseller of 8½ years, I believe eBay's ''Fraud Reduction Policy'' is nothing but a smokescreen. I've found that all of my items, most in low-risk categories, consistently take 12+ hours to appear in Search as well as my eBay Store. It appears to be a database indexing issue and eBay is trying to head off lawsuits charging misrepresentation of listing times. If a ''7-day'' listing only lasts 6.5 days, and a ''10-day'' listing only 9.5 days, sellers will cry fraud.

Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy   Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy

by: Corzine

Fri Apr 13 23:35:50 2007

if eBay has trouble getting their "General Announcement feeds" to work properly over a 7 day period(http://www2.ebay.com/aw/announce.shtml#2007-04-13124944)
>Imagine
what happens when they have a hiccup with their site index.

Put on your seatbelt people!!

Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy   Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy

by: Seller

Mon Apr 16 13:11:40 2007

I've been selling on Ebay for almost 9 years.  I have over 3,000 feedback 0 negatives 0 neutrals. All I sell are things I make myself - I am not a resaler.  I sell my artwork - and art is a BROWSING category no matter what ebay says.  The first day of an auction and the last are both equally vital to my sales.  My auctions are each being delayed for 6+ hours.

Ebay is taking at least 6 hours to index most auctions.  Not only is Ebay delaying auctions but they are indexing them minus the 6 or so hours and placing them in the time slot for 6 days 17 or so hours.  We are missing
the benefits from that vital first day of an auction!  So, now sellers are paying for 7 days of auction time and getting 6 days 17 hour - sometimes even less.  Many people have written to Bill Cobb but get canned replies as usual while we all continue to lose our vital first day of newly listed time.  Many many sellers still aren't aware of the problem especially since the auctions show up in MyEbay immediately - though they are not searchable until they are finally indexed.  I, for one, was totally unaware and couldn't imagine why my sales slumped and I was getting hits and bids on the last day of the auction instead of at the start!  I hope everyone who knows about it helps to make sellers aware of this problem....it would
be a big help.  I do not know why ebay is doing this.  I know their revenue is off and has been off - that's why they've been offering so many 20 cent listing and half priced features days!  I just need it to STOP!

Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy   Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy

by: art seller

Mon Apr 16 15:19:30 2007

I thought I could work around the listing delay and figure in the 6 hour delay. Wrong!
I had two pieces show up right away and the other after a few minutes.
If they need 6 or 8 hours to index why not just tell us that and we'll figure out our listing time accordingly. At least they could be consistent.

Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy   Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy

by: seller

Mon Apr 16 16:11:05 2007

Just had to comment again because I noticed this in the article:

''No, eBay does not charge for listing time by the hour or by the day, so we do not refund in this situation.''

That would never hold water in a legal situation since the auction listing form clearly states 7 day, 3 day, 5 day 10 day!  

A day has always meant 24 hours.

Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy   Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy

by: DOC

Tue Apr 17 16:20:08 2007

The only way to get your full listing exposure time is to schedule a listing to start 14-24 hours after submitting. But that costs 1.00!  

And i see the scammers are still submitting innocent looking listings and revising them after they are live on the site!

This program is nothing but eBay market manipulation at it's finest!

A Lawyer Guarding The Hen House.. That's A Riot.. :)

Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy   Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy

by: Shawn

Sun Apr 22 09:17:07 2007

I used to rely on eBay for my entire income - but no more. I have had nothing but bad experiences due to their various anti-fraud policies. In one instance, I had auctions pulled due to what I am convinced were my competitors reporting my items as violating one of eBay's policies. When I pointed out to eBay that 12 other people sold the identical item, and when I tried to explain why it was in fact not in violation, etc. all I got was a canned response. It's things like this that make me laugh when I see that eBay is making any new initiatives or policy change: I know they're just gonna screw things up even more. (I have a current ongoing series on this subject at http://diydollars.com also.)

Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy   Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy

by: the_troll_truth

Wed Apr 25 06:26:28 2007

Proactive fraud reduction is a laughable statement when it comes from ebay. ebay relies on its members to spot and report those listings that member's deem fraudulent. While they do have several T & S reps. that do a great job in removing listings reported to them in the HIDDEH live link, the webform is the suggested method to report, and these may take several hours or in some cases days to be looked into.
It has been suggested to ebay on numerous occasions that ebay have more T & S reps. monitor the site on weekends and holidays when most scams occur, however since it is not in the interest of the bottom line, ebay has MINIMAL T & S reps available during this HIGH RISK timeframe.
Additionally ebay has decided that in it's best interest, to eliminate/suspend members who speak of fraud on the discussion boards. This is directly in conflict with the COMMUNITY VALUES of :  
We believe everyone has something to contribute.
We believe that an honest, open environment can bring out the best in people.
We recognize and respect everyone as a unique individual.
By deleting/removing posts, sanctioning members, that MAY shed some light concerning fraud on the site, ebay is showing contempt for these values.
If you want the truth about ebay, DON'T listen to ebay. They have a conflict of interest in making any statements concerning fraud on their site.
This has been just 1 troll's opinion.  
 

Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy   Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy

by: indie1138

Tue May 1 11:59:37 2007

Been on eBay 10 years, in that time only 2 negative feedbacks (both wrong!). Account suspended Friday no idea why, took 4 days just to find out it was the fraud squad. Process is so good you can't get the problem fixed because no one knows why it happened in the first place. eBays customer support has been going down as fast as profits have been going up.

Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy   Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy

by: Woodson

Sun May 27 17:02:56 2007

Have been an eBay seller since 1999. 100% 350+ FB. Delaying auctions by reputable listers with a long track record does not sound like effective fraud prevention in any way shape or form.

I agree with AlphaLeap above: No one from eBay has contacted me for verification of any sort; prior to finally indexing my listings.

The question I have is: What does delaying an auction listing's appearance for several hours have to do with preventing fraud?

As a side note, perhaps it is merely a coincidence - I notice my auction listings have been delayed ever since I made a negative comment about eBay on one of their discussion boards.

In essence, I said eBay will eventually be broken up as a monopoly - and be relegated to collecting miniscule auction conduit fees; much as regional telephone companies must allow competitors to lease their communication equipment to competitors.

And, if anti-fraud software development can be hugely cumbersome - as one poster said above - fine; but develop the software until it is working, and THEN start using it - rather than delaying auction listings for hours on end while eBay continues their ''Fix it until it is broke'' mantra.

Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy   Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy

by: online auction

Tue Jun 5 21:44:58 2007

I agree it is inevitable that such a large corporation will have to split and hence become more manageable.  Anytime you become so large, you have to deal with potential risks being greater.

Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy   Article Update to eBay Proactive Fraud Reduction Policy

by: artseller

Sun Jul 15 10:03:13 2007

I don't believe that the delays in indexing have much or even anything to do with fraud prevention.  It looks to me as though Ebay is having platform problems. Their platform is too small for the expansion that they have done.  I have noticed that many of my auctions dissapear  in the middle of the listing for up to 24 hours at a time.  It looks like Ebay is rotating auctions on and off the platform.

Just my observations.

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