|Mon Mar 26 2012 00:37:09|
Is eBay Snatching User IDs to Give to Large Retailers?
By: Ina Steiner
Can eBay take away the User ID you have been using for 14 years and give it to a branded retailer? One eBay user says that appears to be what happened to his account.
The seller, who opened an account on eBay.com in 1998, was shocked to discover eBay changed his User ID "animal" to "animal_animal123" after 14 years of operating under the name Animal and earning 11,930 feedback ratings. He discovered that eBay had given his User ID to a UK retailer who sells a line of products for surfers with four brick-and-mortar stores in Wales and England.
In February of this year, the UK retailer Animal created an eBay User ID "animalshop," which was changed to "animal" on March 6th and now has a shop on eBay UK where it is running test listings, such as this listing for a "Bulge Animal womens backpack in Peacoat Navy & Pink."
The original seller opened a thread on eBay's Seller Central discussion board to solicit ideas on how he could get his eBay User ID back, and wrote that an eBay UK rep made the change without his consent. "How can that happen? How can someone just take my ID. It all sounds illegal to me and the fact that an Ebay Rep did it, makes no sense at all. I thought it was Ebay USA policy to protect us."
It's not clear exactly how eBay communicated to the longtime seller about the name change, if at all, nor how "animal" ended up with the unappealing name of "animal_animal123" (another seller owns the ID "Animal_123").
It's also interesting to note that the UK retailer Animal does not own the ID "animal on Facebook or Twitter - its ID on Facebook is AnimalFreesports, its ID on Twitter is Animal_Team, and its ID on Youtube is AnimalFreesportsTV.
It's difficult to imagine shoppers of Animal watches and wetsuits in the UK being confused by a seller of a 13.5-inch microwave replacement plate and some brackets for window blinds in the U.S.
eBay sellers have always felt confident that unless they were on the losing end of an Intellectual Property dispute, their User IDs were secure - but that may no longer be the case. It will be interesting to see how this plays out and if eBay will explain what exactly happened to animal's User ID.
For sellers who have invested a lot of time and money branding their eBay businesses, this discussion thread is certainly unnerving.
Update - see the following EcommerceBytes Newsflash articles for updates to this story.
Seller Stunned When eBay Gives Her Name to UK Retailer(March 27, 2012)
eBay Admits Mistake, Returns User ID to Longtime Seller(March 28, 2012)
Due to a technical difficulty, this blog post was republished on March 28, 2012.