Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed Oct 23 2013 22:46:43

Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay rolled out yet another unannounced change to its site today in a series of changes this month, all of them resulting in reduced transparency on the site. Today, readers discovered eBay began masking the User IDs of buyers on sellers' feedback pages.



In the graphic above, you can see that eBay hides purchase information for the buyer's transactions (you can't see what he purchased or how much he paid) but reveals who the seller was, but when the user sold an item himself, eBay displays what he sold but masks his buyer's ID.

Last Wednesday (Oct. 16), users began noticing that eBay removed purchase details from users' feedback pages. And on Monday (Oct. 21), eBay removed the ability for sellers to research bidders using eBay's Advanced Search, meaning users are no longer able to research bidders.

eBay confirmed the first two changes prior to the changes that began rolling out today, saying they were based on customer feedback from both buyers and sellers.

eBay is now displaying information about the item that buyers purchase on the seller feedback page - but you can't see the buyer IDs, and it is hiding information about the item that the buyers purchase on the buyer feedback page. The bottom line - eBay is increasing bidder anonymity.

We'd like to quantify what readers think about these changes. Please take our survey on SurveyMonkey and let us know what you think.




Comments (71) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity   Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Wed Oct 23 23:03:03 2013

O***h M***y G***d!

If anyone had ANY lingering doubts about eBay's hostile and anti-seller motives... those doubts should now be FINALLY laid to rest.

This latest action ranks among the TOP-TWO most contemptible assaults against sellers.

Not only does it prevent sellers from being able to pro-actively investigate a suspicious situation or a suspicious buyer... it ALSO prevents a seller from being able to effectively argue their case AFTER the fact.

It's absolutely INSANE!

Complete MADNESS!

Perminate Link for Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity   Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Oct 23 23:03:52 2013

Its stuff like this that:

1) Confirms peoples suspicions of eBay as a shady company. Its been fine like this for YEARS - it accomplishes nothing, so why do it?
2) makes people hate eBay - those people being sellers who use this information to combat eBays angelic buyers
3) Makes people tell anyone who will listen to RUN not walk away from eBay
4) ONLY helps Amazon cause thats where people are headed.

Way to go stupid eBay management.

Perminate Link for Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity   Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Wed Oct 23 23:22:10 2013

Things must be MUCH worse than eBay is letting on. There may, in fact, be some sort of ''bounce'' or short-term gain from this.

After all, savvy sellers won't be able to protect themselves from scammers... and savvy buyers ALSO won't be able to get the full story about the buyer they're considering trading with.

But ultimately it will BACKFIRE! I guarantee it.

''Ah... take a breath, Annie. Relax... calm down... smile. None of this has anything to do with you any more!''

I know, I know... it's still maddening to see what's happening to those who remain at eBay. What a challenge this Holiday Season will be for them.

Not only will it be a lackluster selling season... but the RISKS will be greater, and the ROI will be less.

But... if someone is trying to pay rent, make the mortgage, buy the blood-pressure meds, and feed the babies... what choice do they have?

The whole cabal of eBay execs and their minions are truly beneath contempt. Absolutely vile!

Perminate Link for Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity   Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity

This user has validated their user name. by: Map

Wed Oct 23 23:31:56 2013

I smell a rat.

Hiding the sale price covers the books for ebay.

For along time now ebay has been posting on the feedback the sale price as it happened before the sellers sale was deducted from the order total. I have long suspected they have been cooking their books & inflating their sales total to Wall st.

When we sell an item for $100 with a 20% sale the total was $80 but ebay would publicly display that it sold for $100.00

Now that ebay is having hard times for bankrupting all the small sellers they are covering up their numbers to protect their corporate officers.

Perminate Link for Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity   Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Thu Oct 24 00:29:39 2013

Interesting CNN article from today Oct 23: eBay's turnaround hits a speed bump - As it moves further away from auctions, investors wait to see if the company can grow into its e-commerce and mobile payments business.

http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2013/10/23/ebay-stock-gro
wth/

Changes
in feedback and bidders anonymity are all about Donahoe's mission to kill auctions. It's pretty obvious don't you think? Purging of sellers, hiding or not showing sellers listings in search...to turn ebay into JD's delusional vision of a big retail and mobile ecommerce site.

The end of the article is this: ''More worrisome is that competition is intensifying in e-commerce just as economic uncertainty is slowing the pace of e-commerce growth. Even if it continues to make shrewd moves, eBay investors may find the turnaround it took years to put into place may not be producing the rich crop of fruits they once anticipated.''

Here is the kicker IMO - if ebay would have kept their focus on auctions by promoting and enhancing them, they would BE THE king of ecommerce. Ebay had nothing to ''turnaround'' instead they are doing a tailspin which never has a good ending.

Perminate Link for Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity   Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Thu Oct 24 00:33:22 2013

Sorry the above link didn't work, try this.

http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2013/10/23/ebay-stock-growth/

Perminate Link for Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity   Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity

by: alfabarn This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 24 06:30:37 2013

I serve a very small Automotive niche market and there are several ''heavy hitters'' in that market. restorers, collectors, and mechanics. They where known to the community by their ebay user names as well as their business and real names. Their frequent purchases and feedback amounted to an endorsement that may have meant as much, or more, to potential buyers than the feedback rating itself.

this is just one more reason I have decided to ''shopify'' rather than Ebay-die. Wish me luck. If you staying with Ebay, I wish you the same.  

Perminate Link for Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity   Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity

This user has validated their user name. by: ebayisajoke
Web Site

Thu Oct 24 07:03:23 2013

You have to click on the ''by seller'' link in order to see the ''by bidder'' link. They moved it off the main page is all they did.

Perminate Link for Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity   Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu Oct 24 07:04:30 2013

I am SO GLAD that CFPB is investigating BillMeLater.  I hope that it is only a matter of time before that investigation moves over to PayPal.

There is no seller protection whatsoever no matter what Richie Rich says.  

Perminate Link for Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity   Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity

This user has validated their user name. by: ebayisajoke
Web Site

Thu Oct 24 07:07:14 2013

The fact they are hiding buyers from seller's pages is very suspicious though. They are basicly doing it because they feel critic like myself are going after sellers. lol

Perminate Link for Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity   Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Thu Oct 24 08:21:41 2013

This new feedback format quite naturally follows on from the “disconnection” of the “Items by bidder” search, for which the unique underlying user ID is required, and which the seller always had access to.

So, once again—for the same disingenuous excuse of “privacy”—rather than omit the transaction details completely from all feedback, on anonymous buyers’ feedback, eBay is going to still identify the sellers but anonymise the details of the items purchased; and for sellers, they are going to still identify the item sold but further anonymise the “buyer” by using the buyer’s non-unique, utterly anonymous, (shill) bidding ID instead of the underlying anonymous user ID—just like they did when they launched their new improved shill bidding wire fraud “marketing” scheme in 2008.

Now, given that the underlying user ID is unique and eBay’s “shill bidding” IDs are deliberately not unique, what purpose does this further anonymising of the “buyer” serve, other than to make it more difficult for genuine buyers to identify and keep track of the activity of any “buyers” that appear all too regularly with the same seller, which may suggest that the seller is employing eBay’s tacitly recommended, shill bidding wire fraud “marketing” scheme?

These changes have nothing to do with “privacy”, they are simply further clumsy attempts to better obfuscate the endemic shill bidding wire fraud that infests eBay auctions … http://bit.ly/11F2eas

Regardless, eBay is demonstrably the greatest calculated facilitator of auction shill bidding "wire fraud" on consumers that the world is ever likely to know, and whenever eBay/PayPal does anything or a spokesperson moves their lips, they are invariably being disingenuous ... http://bit.ly/YvxFEg

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking ...

Perminate Link for Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity   Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity

This user has validated their user name. by: Captain Nemo

Thu Oct 24 09:51:13 2013

But Philip, Ebay is phasing out auctions by creating disincentives for both buyers and sellers.  So the purpose isn't to create more shills or cover them up, but to make auctions insignificant altogether.

When they are done, ebay will be a straight retail site, every order paid upfront, and no need to research buyers any more than sellers do on Amazon or Bestbuy.com, and all those ''noisy'' auction sellers will be long gone.

Perminate Link for Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity   Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Oct 24 10:29:50 2013

@ Map

"When we sell an item for $100 with a 20% sale the total was $80 but ebay would publicly display that it sold for $100.00"  I'm unsure if I actually understand this statement, but I think you are saying that you gave the customer a 20% discount, therefore you sale was actually the $80.  Your sales figures are not Ebay's sales figures.  They would use it for GMV, but that is just reporting how much of a $$ value is posted on Ebay at a given space of time.  That is NOT EBay's sales.  Sales is what appears on the Profit and loss statement, not GMV.  

Certainly GMV is important to report for Ebay and the higher the better in many ways.  They don't reduce that number by cancelled transaction either.  They never have.  But again, it is not a part of their P&L.  That is all driven by what their sales & expenses are.  Sales come from fees and advertising on the site.

*********************

If this was only about a buyer's perceived privacy, then why not just make all buyer's FB private.  Not that I would like that at all, just saying if a buyer is that concerned about their privacy, they have a way to fix it for themselves.  Ebay had no need to step in.  They did it just because they felt like flexing their muscles, like any other bully likes doing.  It makes them feel important and worthwhile.

Perminate Link for Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity   Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity

by: Flippit This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Oct 24 11:48:33 2013

The changes that have taken place over the last several years on Ebay have all been mechanisms designed to take power out of the seller's hands. Ebay's whole buisness model has shifted and instead of serving as an "online flea market" they want to become a newer, more buggy Amazon.com.

For anyone interested, I currently work for an Ebay alt. site called Flippit.

We should be launching within the next few weeks with 3+ million items. The service allows buyers and sellers to connect with each other directly. Users input a location radius, type in an item search term, and sit back and relax.

Unlike Craigslist and Ebay, your search continues automatically for 30 days with new results being sent directly to your inbox. Once you find what you want the search can quickly and easily be stopped. No ads, no fees taken out of your sale, and no hassle.

For anyone who is interested in being a beta tester and getting a first look at this site, please go here

Like this page- www.facebook.com/flipp.1.it

Perminate Link for Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity   Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Thu Oct 24 11:55:49 2013

Marie hit on an important point when she used the word ''bully''.

That's precisely correct, Marie! This latest action serves NO useful purpose other than to intimidate uppity eBay users. It's a rather transparent attempt to put the ''complainers'' in their place.

It's the equivalent of ''Oh yeah? Well, I'll show YOU who's in charge! There! How do ya like THAT! Huh? Yeah, that outta teach you a lesson!''

Perminate Link for Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity   Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity

This user has validated their user name. by: Map

Thu Oct 24 12:51:53 2013

@Marie you are some what difficult and don't know why I need to clarify.

Yes, we ran a sale that gave the customer 20% off. The total sale was $80. The item was listed for $100.00 but sold for $80.

However ebay publicly displayed that the listing sold for $100.00, so what is your beef.

This has always annoyed me because ebay is not representing the actual price that the listing sold for. Also customers have seen this and have inquired me about it.

If you have every used markdown manager you would have noticed this before.

Perminate Link for Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity   Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity

by: gutspiller This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 24 12:59:17 2013

I have a hunch what the next move will be: Ebay will no longer show finished listing just as Amazon.

Think about it. Just some time ago the minute a listing had ended it showed up in the ended listings. Now there's a gab of +- 24h.

Ebay tried to shut up their community by placing the link somewhere people can't find it.

Sellers have no protection left whatsoever.

Since today buyers can act compltely anonymously.

The only thing that hasn't changed are the finished auctions. Or... there is the 24h gap. Maybe just a test from Ebay to see how people would react on it. I've read a lot of posts but nothing about this gap.

If Ebay would do this they would have reached their goal. As a seller you would be in a complete darkness. Not able to see what other sellers sell. You just see a feedback but nothing more. Raise your concern on the discussion boards? Where, they have vanished.

Having terrible sales and contacting Ebay about it? You would have to believe everything they say. No way to check the finished listings to so how sales for other sellers are going.

Compare your feedbacks with the feedback of others sellers would mean nothing. I use Ebay both as a buyer as a seller. I've never left and star ratings. Fron today on I will no longer leave feedback. I don't see any point in it if it's completely anonymously.

Perminate Link for Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity   Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Oct 24 13:28:27 2013

@gutspiller

In the past couple of years, JD has had the "complete" listings suppressed at least a half dozen times.  Each time it has happened, members, both buyers and sellers have yelled and yelled loudly.  Eventually causing the return of the completed listings.

So you may be right.  They may do it again, but I think members will do again what they did before and hopefully have the same result.

As sellers we do have some protections, it isn't true that we don't have any.  While most certainly they could and should be better, we did get some good things in June and July regarding some FB protection.

It is just right now we are all so upset, so what little good there is we tend to forget about it.  

I think Ebay is in no way prepared for the outlash they are going to get from members over these recent FB page changes.  Rarely does Ebay make changes that affect every single member like these changes did.  

Perminate Link for Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity   Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity

by: gutspiller This user has validated their user name.

Thu Oct 24 14:17:25 2013

I know one thing. This market place is going to implode. Things can't continue the way they are going.

I originally joined Ebay because even after all the fees I would make more profit on Ebay than on other venues. Now the market place has become impossible to trade on. Buyers seem to have completely vanished. Prices have never been this low and are gowing down by the day.

The only message I get from Ebay is "Item not sold".

If Ebay would still be the only place where I'd sell, I would have been bankrupt.

Everybody seems to be confronted with a lack of sales since months. Everybody knows Ebay is doing some creative bookkeeping to be able to show + numbers.

After the fee increases my invoices still are only 50% of what they used to be. No matter what Ebay does they are at a loss.

This month after 3 weeks on my website I've had as much sales as I normally have in a complete month. I expect very strong sales in the month to come.

6 months ago due to some issues I was force to close my Ebayshop. Coincidende or not. That month I had record sales on my website. If things don't start picking up on Ebay I might just do the same thing beginning 2014. Just let the listings run until they are finished and then close my Ebayshop. Just to see how it goes.

Next to the purges how many sellers have left Ebay by their own? How many started selling on the river and other sites? How many started their own website?

In fact because I could no longer rely on Ebay with the constant changes was for me the very reason to start my own website. In the meantime I have items I no longer sell on Ebay and will problably never sell again. Even if Ebay would turn back the clock and go back the way it was, it will never convince me to stop with my own website. I've lost every piece of faith I had in Ebay. No matter which change Ebay does, nothing will change that.

Perminate Link for Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity   Survey on eBay Changes to Feedback and Bidder Anonymity

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Thu Oct 24 16:58:10 2013

@gutspiller,

Is it possible that most of the buyers are still out there but, with the combination of Best Match and Cassini, eBay is now deviously funneling the majority of buyers’ generic searches to its “preferred” sellers, those leading retailers, brands and manufacturers that it is so desperately trying to attract and retain (too bad Neiman Marcus)?

“Our ambition is to be the strategic partner of choice for every leading retailer, brand and manufacturer across the world …”—eBay Employment Ad (2013) …
Johnny Ho is delusional, of course; then, we are all entitled to dream … http://bit.ly/YvxFEg

Regardless, such delusions are not a basis for a viable business plan; I too give them five to ten years before they and their rusting old scow finally slips beneath the waves …

@ Captain Nemo,

Undoubtedly auctions are “messy” and are not now eBay’s preferred way of doing sales transactions but, it would not be true to say that eBay is discouraging auctions by those major merchants that appear to be making sales only by nominal-start auctions.

Certainly, they are not discouraging merchants with extraordinary sell though rates who are paying large amounts of FVFs on those “sales” even though they are shill bidding on and buying a good deal of their own stuff.

Indeed, just the opposite is the case, eBay has given every support to the lady from Chicago to continue with her ~250/day auctions, from which eBay collects a large amount of FVFs on sales, both real and faux, and in support of that contention I offer http://bit.ly/11F2eas

eBay will take revenue from wherever they can find it and the continuation of their demonstrable criminal facilitation of massive auction shill bidding wire fraud on the consumers of the world is possibly an indication of them now becoming more and more desperate in their search for revenue …

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking ...

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