|Mon Oct 21 2013 21:16:47|
eBay Declares Open Season on Sellers
By: Ina Steiner
Sellers who research bidders using eBay's Advanced Search discovered eBay removed that functionality from its search tool on Monday, meaning sellers (and other bidders) are no longer able to research bidders.
The move has sellers concerned, especially going into the busy holiday shopping season. "So much for a more transparent marketplace. Now there is no way to find scamming buyers or shill bidders," a reader wrote to EcommerceBytes, and some say they feel it is now open season on eBay sellers from bad buyers.
The image above was taken from the eBay UK website where the feature is still available.
The move comes after eBay recently reduced transparency in another area: its feedback system. Last week, buyers and sellers noticed eBay had began removing purchase details from the feedback page. One blog commentor wrote, "when eBay removes transparency and begins to obfuscate helpful bits of information, the "venue" becomes a risky place to buy-and-sell."
In neither case had eBay given a warning to users about the changes, leaving them to wonder if unannounced changes were due to a glitch or to a deliberate policy change. EcommerceBytes confirmed the removal of purchase details from the feedback change was a policy change, and is awaiting word from eBay about the removal of the bidder tool.
Sellers are discussing the latter change on the forums. In one thread, titled, "WTH!? No more Advanced Search by Bidder," a seller explained how the feature had recently helped them. When a bidder with zero feedback won a $400 phone, they noticed the user had bid on 167 items in one day.
"I messaged them and said: let me guess you are not paying for all of these items, they wrote no. I said so me a favor and save me 7 days of filing a non pay and just click the cancel auction. They did. Without that, I could have wasted about 7 days trying to make them pay or 3 and lose my runner up." The seller then joked, "What next? taking away leaving feedback for a buyer.... oh wait."
Above image shows information users can see about a bidder when using Advanced Search by bidder ID.
A seller provided me with examples of how they used bidder searches, such as this one: "Sometimes when a claim gets filed you want to check recent purchases to see if there is a pattern or if your buyer has purchased a like item. Sometimes buyers will bid on a couple of the same thing from different sellers. Then whichever ends up being cheaper they pay for. The other they may pay, but they will return it or they may never pay."
If this affects you as a seller (or as a buyer), let us know - and please provide specific examples of how you used the feature and whether it's a big deal.