EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1514 - April 11, 2007     3 of 4

eBay Announces 'Proactive Fraud Reduction' Policy

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eBay announced a "proactive fraud reduction" initiative on Monday that extends one of its current Trust & Safety policies - an anti-counterfeiting initiative launched in November - that includes a policy of delaying some listings containing items that are most favored by fraudsters from becoming viewable in search results. The new listings are still viewable on the site through My eBay or by specific item number. However, they are not immediately visible through a keyword search or browse.

eBay spokesperson Nichola Sharpe said eBay made a change recently so that listings placed on hold will appear in the Newly Listed sort based on when they are made visible in Search. This gives the listings more equal exposure as those listings that are not held back for review. eBay did not respond to questions 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.

"We wanted to proactively tell buyers and seller because eBay is increasing the number of listings impacted," Sharpe said. "However, that number is still a "very small percentage overall.""

Any listings impacted by the review process will now appear in the "Newly Listed" sort based on when they are made visible in Search (as opposed to when they are listed.) According to the announcement, this ensures they will appear at the top of default Browse results - as well as within the "Newly Listed" sort option for Search - where they belong.

In addition, sellers whose items are impacted by the policy will get a pop-up box during the Sell Your Item flow (during the listing process) informing them that their listings have been flagged, though items impacted by delays due to typos, profanity or other reasons will not see such messaging.

Sharpe said eBay is taking a more proactive approach to protecting the community with this change. "We are constantly trying to be more open about these proactive precautionary measures taken to ensure the safety of our community of buyers and sellers." She said eBay could not reveal criteria eBay uses to flag items because it would give fraudsters a head start.

The head of eBay's Trust & Safety department Rob Chesnut will join other executives at the April 30 Town Hall meeting to discuss safety initiatives.

Update: Please see the AuctionBytes blog for an update to this story:

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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