Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Mar 22 2015 11:39:38

eBay Considered Anonymizing Seller IDs Says Source

By: Ina Steiner

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How many times have you found an item on eBay sold by a merchant that clearly had an ID mirroring their own web stores? For example, you find a widget sold by eBay merchant "WidgetWorld" and type in WidgetWorld.com in your web browser, taking you to their retail site where pricing and selection might be better than on their eBay store.

Evidently, eBay felt the practice was prevalent enough to consider making seller IDs anonymous.

According to a source close to the matter, the concept of anonymizing seller IDs was raised at the same time eBay decided to anonymize buyer IDs, but was tabled at the time. (The accompanying graphic is our rendering of what this might look like.)

eBay could see that visitors would search for items on the site, open listings for items being sold by sellers with IDs matching their off-eBay stores, then leave eBay. The data showed that there was a pattern of cart-abandonment with those merchants, according to the source.

It's not a new concern - long time readers may remember that eBay used to allow sellers to use an email address as a User ID or to add a dot-com to the end of their User IDs, but prohibited those practices.

Some at eBay felt that providing buyers with a seller's feedback, TRS and DSRs would give them enough information to purchase from a seller, even if they couldn't see the seller's ID. Plus, there was also a comfort factor with eBay's protection policy ("money back guarantee").

Others were against anonymization, however. Larger brand retailers (think Home Depot and ToysRUs) had been brought on-site with a clear understanding that their brands would be visible on eBay. There was the risk that buyers would actually be less likely to buy due to uncertainty, and once a buyer did pay, the seller's name would be known to the customer anyway.

So is this idea dead and buried?

eBay is always looking at ways of cutting down on off-eBay transactions and boosting conversions. There's new management coming in this year, and sometimes all things old are new again.

How would you feel about having an anonymous eBay seller ID? Would you purchase something from an anonymized eBay merchant?




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Readers Comments

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This user has validated their user name. by: Puck

Sun Mar 22 12:48:25 2015

''Sir, we've struck an iceberg and are going down hard by the bow. Do you want to order passengers into the life boats?''

Captain eBay: ''No, order all hands to begin rearranging the deck chairs!''

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by: Orwellwasright This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 22 12:53:51 2015


Everything the relates back to the original successful ebay sense of community and connection is despised by a despotic management culture which yearns for absolute control and no responsibility for all transactions.

At first the disempowering of the seller community was disguised as "buyer safety"

Now that the masks are off and the management switched to full assault mode I have no doubt this policy will become a reality, despite the fact that buyers are far more comfortable when they have a better knowledge of who they are dealing with.

This will further cripple sellers and don't be surprised if there is a 2 tiered system where preferred sellers CAN keep their ID's and the disposable proles cannot

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

Sun Mar 22 13:54:38 2015

I agree with orwellwasright, and was thinking about that the other day: whatever happened to the "core values"?

(which are or were:)

   We believe people are basically good
   We believe everyone has something to contribute
   We believe that an honest, open trading environment can bring out the best in people
   We recognize and respect everyone as a unique individual
   We encourage you to treat others the way you want to be treated

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This user has validated their user name. by: MeTech

Sun Mar 22 14:02:46 2015

I'm one who will not make a purchase from an anonymous ID.

This site just get more ridiculous with every new sunrise.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Sun Mar 22 14:15:24 2015

Is there a difference between anonymizing seller IDs and making sellers listings invisible? Buyers are not even seeing sellers descriptions.

eBay is e***y already to most buyers and sellers.

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by: Disgruntled_Seller This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 22 14:22:55 2015

I already put a unique identifier in the title, mainly to combat the barrage of Chinese knock offs hoarding the search. Works great. So far, at least until they perform a anonymization of the title too ....

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

Sun Mar 22 14:33:37 2015

eBay itself runs paid ads on listings that take potential buyers off eBay, directly to the advertisers own website ...

What a bunch of cretinous criminals these people running eBay are, and getting more and more desperate and cretinous every day ...

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas  

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by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 22 14:38:29 2015

How would you feel about having an anonymous eBay seller ID?

there are buyers who track me and buy from ME.  anonymizing ID's would just be another way of killing my sales.

Would you purchase something from an anonymized eBay merchant?

nope, it would be then end of what little buying i do on the site.

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by: retiredcatlady This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 22 14:51:45 2015

I will NOT buy from a seller whose ID I cannot see or check out their feedback.  Big mistake.  

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by: retiredcatlady This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 22 14:52:17 2015

Or I'd have to put my user name in the title

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

Sun Mar 22 15:03:03 2015

Funny though, they anonymised buyer IDs so that unscrupulous sellers could better hide their shill bidding activities and thereby defraud buyers, but, of course, principally to improve eBay's bottom line from such fraud, on sales real or faux.

Ultimately, the only thing that matters to eBay is its FVF, although I suspect that, as eBay continues on its journey down the toilet, they will have to keep increasing the FVF percentage, which in turn will only increase the speed at which it continues its journey down the toilet ...

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas  

Perminate Link for eBay Considered Anonymizing Seller IDs Says Source   eBay Considered Anonymizing Seller IDs Says Source

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sun Mar 22 15:07:06 2015

So do eBay think the big boys (brands/retailers) came to their site to do anything but take the buyers off their site?

FOOLS!

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by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 22 15:08:49 2015

I would have to REALLY want to buy something to buy from an anonymous ID (and someone I didn't know), assuming there was no other way to figure out who they were ... their location, writing style, etc.).

I'll bet if eBay tries this, there will be more than a few descriptions like this: You can find me at P r a i r i e P r i m i t i v e s F o l k A r t d o t c o m. :-)

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sun Mar 22 15:12:09 2015

Ina says "eBay could see that visitors would search for items on the site, open listings for items being sold by sellers with IDs matching their off-eBay stores, then leave eBay."

They're worried about buyers leaving the site when they have plastered eBay with paid ads that ensure that they do.

Management at eBay do not have a clue about how to run an ecommerce site.

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by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 22 15:33:15 2015

I could care less. Its been months since I've bought anything on Ebay and it will be a cold day in the hot place before I ever do.....

So Ebay Anonymize all you want..

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by: renaissancegirl This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 22 15:37:33 2015

Ebay is just making it more and more challenging to do any business up there whatsoever both from a buyer and a seller standpoint.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Sun Mar 22 15:40:07 2015

How would searches work on IDs?
How can you check the feedback by ID?
Now they will have to check the description for "visit me at mythingsForSale on the web-ster dotCom".
Bad enough I can't sell a Western Union frank or a Western Pacific/Union Pacific timetable without resorting to a little effort & ingenuity to avoid eBay's paranoia.

Hell, we as merchants have to put up with eBay's return policies as a "cost of doing business", what about eBay putting up with people abandoning their carts as a cost-of-doing-business as well.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander.

PS. Toys-Am-Us, Home-Despot and the other big boys will NOT be anonomized - they'll just take their marbles home with them and tell eBay that most French of gestures - a shrug of the shoulder whilst saying "phitt".


Sounds like more work for the poorly trained programming staff.  

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

Sun Mar 22 15:43:24 2015

"eBay could see that visitors would search for items on the site, open listings for items being sold by sellers with IDs matching their off-eBay stores, then leave eBay."

Oh, do tell, how could eBay possibly know that those searchers were then going direct; and even if so, that would undoubtedly be due to eBay's ever-increasing FVF percentage that would be raising the price of goods advertised on their site; frankly, I doubt that the database reporting of these cretins could be so effective ...

eBay's problem is that it imagines conspiracies to "defraud" them everywhere, and that undoubtedly is so because eBay itself is a master fraudster—where, in fact, the unspoken and most serious conspiracies to defraud are, between eBay and its many unscrupulous sellers, to defraud naïve buyers at auction; is it any wonder that auctions on eBay have been atrophying—just like eBay as a whole ...

The eBay executive suite—where the incompetent mingle with the disingenuous, the malevolent and the outright criminal, and the just plain stupid ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas  

Perminate Link for eBay Considered Anonymizing Seller IDs Says Source   eBay Considered Anonymizing Seller IDs Says Source

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Sun Mar 22 15:55:28 2015

It's bad enough searching for items specifying USA ONLY and seeing a zillion Chinese listings as the United States for location. Add the anonymizing seller IDs and the infiltrating of ebay will be complete. Small sellers will be anonymized out of business.

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by: Russ This user has validated their user name.

Sun Mar 22 16:09:24 2015

This article mentioned the idea/ concept was tabled at the time.   One can be sure that any ''tabled'' notion will surely come to pass when there is a slow ''thinking'' day in San Jose.

Gosh, I can still hear the words of Meg Whitman, et. al., at Bay Live! gatherings back in the day....Transparency is key for success...so, how's it going at HP, Meg?  Hopefully, better than your gubentorial run...

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