Is this the new way of shill bidding on eBay?

Discussion in 'Third Party Sales & Auctions' started by David R. Modny, Nov 5, 2007.

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  1. David R. Modny

    David R. Modny Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Item is listed. Auction is stopped with a little over 12 hours to go and with 6 bids (on the low side so far) already on it - using the "error in listing" scenario.

    Item is then re-listed (exactly the same of course, minus two pictures), but with a series of these asterisked bids that conceal identity immediately running up the price.



    Initial listing:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=260176851819&ssPageName=STRK:MEWA:IT&ih=016

    Relist:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=260179152090


    If so...they just lost a potential customer.

    The original poster requested this be added to his initial post.


    Edit: I was misinformed about the new private identity-"asterisk thing" and how it's currently implemented on Ebay (many thanks to MikeyH). I would like to strike that aspect of my original post. That is, regardless of my feeling on the seller pulling his original auction early (i.e. my negative opinion still stands), these new bids are indeed legitimate in the new listing. My sincere apologies for the "shill bidding" assumption. 11/6 2:05 EST.
     
  2. stevef

    stevef Forum Resident

    Location:
    Irvine, CA

    On the initial listing where he ended it early, it shows "0 bids"...not six already on it.
     
  3. David R. Modny

    David R. Modny Forum Resident Thread Starter

    It had six - believe me, I was watching it. It was at 72.00 dollars when he pulled it. When the auction stopped, it went to zero and showed the starting bid price.

    Again, that's not even my biggest beef (though it's obvious what he's doing...ala MMF2). It's using phony bidders in his new auction--to give a false illusion of bid activity--that gets my goat.
     
  4. Eli

    Eli Party Coordinator

    Location:
    Isle of Lucy
    He had to cancel the bids to end the listing early without selling the item. Had he cancelled it with standing bids, the item would have gone to the highest bidder at the time it ended.

    The only change in the listing was the omission of two out of six photos of the item. If there was an "error," what was it?
     
  5. Another Side

    Another Side Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Well, not exactly the same. He set a higher opening bid amount, a reserve, and BIN.
     
  6. David R. Modny

    David R. Modny Forum Resident Thread Starter


    And 6 phony bids on the new listing, so far... :)

    Of course, he changed the price though. That was his intention in this whole cancellation/shill exercise. He was about to possibly get stung and didn't want to bear the brunt of playing fair.
     
  7. MikeyH

    MikeyH Stamper King

    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    If the reserve is over the 'anonymous bidder' limit, then you won't be able to see who bids. You can see some of their history by clicking on them, though. Current high bidder m***o has bid on 28 different seller's items in the last month, and clearly has more feedback than I do.

    I see nothing phony. Surely you'd expect the same people (dealers, I bet) to be bidding on similar vintage equipment. I bought phono cartridges and styli from the same sellers for several years on eBay, and had several good customers buying one or two discs a week for a couple of months.

    And the seller ate the listing cost of the first auction. No refunds for closing early with no sale.
     
  8. ATSMUSIC

    ATSMUSIC Forum Resident

    Location:
    MD, USA
    or maybe their really was an error in the listing? :shrug:
     
  9. Another Side

    Another Side Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    That's probably right.

    It's happened to me a few times where the auction was not going the way I was expecting, so I reassessed how I listed the item and relisted. If he decided to rethink the opening bid amount, I don't think it's being dishonest.
     
  10. David R. Modny

    David R. Modny Forum Resident Thread Starter

    OK then...is this what the asterisk deal is all about then? Reason I ask, was that I read on Ebay Forums that the hidden identity-asterisk thing would be a prime tool for shilling. That, coupled with one bidder putting up several bids in a row against himself, raised my suspicion. If this is legit...then, fair enough, I'll eat my words.

    But...

    That said, stopping an auction because the bid isn't high enough and immediately relisting it--regardless of whether or not the seller "eats the cost"-- is totally against the spirit of the term "Fair Auction." MMF2 tried this stunt several times, (using the "error scenario" when it's obvious there wasn't any) and got called on it.

    That's what reserve amounts are for. And, that's what he should have done to begin with. Auctions aren't supposed to be reassessed at the 11th hour simply because they're not going the way the seller wants.
     
  11. David R. Modny

    David R. Modny Forum Resident Thread Starter

    He removed two pictures, added a reserve and upped the price. That's not an "error." It's not liking the outcome of the original terms as he set it up.
     
  12. Another Side

    Another Side Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    I think a seller has the right to change his mind. eBay doesn't allow you to end the auction at the last minute (I forget the exact time limit). The seller perhaps should have listed a different reason for relisting, but that's about all I can see that he did wrong.
     
  13. David R. Modny

    David R. Modny Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Ebay gives the seller the right to withdraw an auction if it's truly a legitimate reason - something wrong with the item, the item no longer being for sale, a REAL error in the listing, etc. NOT because the bidding looks like it's heading for an outcome that the seller doesn't like. Turning around an immediately relisting an item at a higher price is clearly the latter scenario.
     
  14. Another Side

    Another Side Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    We may have to agree to disagree about this. Here is eBay's policy:
    eBay does not have very strict limitations as to what reason a seller has to give for ending the auction early. IMO, what the seller did is well within the rules.

    Edit: I should add that this is different than how it used to be. It used to be much harder to end an auction.
     
  15. David R. Modny

    David R. Modny Forum Resident Thread Starter


    You missed this part: :)

    http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/end_early.html

    Quote:

    "Note: Sellers are not permitted to cancel bids and end listings early in order to avoid selling an item that did not meet the desired sale price."

    So, how is immediately relisting an item at a higher price anything BUT this???
     
  16. Another Side

    Another Side Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    I think that refers mostly to listings with a reserve. The note continues:

    Clearly, if you relist and add a reserve, you cannot be accused of reserve fee circumvention.
     
  17. David R. Modny

    David R. Modny Forum Resident Thread Starter

    The fee circumvention is just one reason they happen to list. Surely you can't believe that they are condemning ending an auction early *only* for that reason? I think the "not reaching the desired price" part is a given in its implications.

    What's the point of an auction then if a seller can pull the rug out any time they want because they're afraid they're not going to make the amount of money they desire? Not much of a real auction then. :confused:

    MMF2 was a pro at this kind of crap for a while. Always using the "error" scenario as well.
     
  18. Another Side

    Another Side Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    But you can't end it at any time. Once you get within 12 hours of the auction end, you can't end it for any reason. And most of the time, most of the activity occurs in those last 12 hours. A seller can't know how the auction will end. He can only have an idea of how it's going. I think most sellers who end their auctions early, do it because they genuinely feel that if they listed the auction differently, they can achieve a better result. The seller still ultimately wants to sell the item.
     
  19. ATSMUSIC

    ATSMUSIC Forum Resident

    Location:
    MD, USA
    sounds like you really wanted this thing cheap and are mad you aren't getting it?
     
  20. David R. Modny

    David R. Modny Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Yes, I personally think a seller *does* have an idea in which direction an auciton is ending - even at the 12 hour mark. Particularly in light of how other same units around it are doing (i.e. is his item being passed over for another). You don't think it was merely a coinidence that he only discovered this "error" at slightly before the 12 hour deadline - in the course of a seven day auction?

    In the case of this auction, he was stalled at $72.00 while another unit (that happened to end slightly later than his did) was already up to 130 dollars. He probably knew that his was going to go for a lot less because of the listing strength of the latter (and it was a good ad and a nice specimen). Hence, pull the plug and relist at a higher price (while also pushing the auction time frame away from his competitor).
     
  21. David R. Modny

    David R. Modny Forum Resident Thread Starter


    Nope, not at all. I'm just against sellers who don't play fair. Ending an auction early under a false pretense (a non-error) is not playing fair. It was wrong when MMF was doing it, and it's wrong in this case.
     
  22. Another Side

    Another Side Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Francisco
    I think you're right that the seller was anxious about the auction, but it's awfully hard to predict where the auction will end up even at just a bit more than 12 hours before the end. Some auctions get too many bids too early and stall and others hover at low prices and have a flurry at the end. It's impossible to predict.
     
  23. David R. Modny

    David R. Modny Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Well, that's true. Nothing is ever 100% sure. But, I don't think he was willing to roll the dice based on what was going on around him. And, again, that's not what a fair auction is supposed to be, IMHO.

    If this was a one time deal, I'd probably cut him some slack. It's when it becomes a pattern (e.g. MMF again) that it ruins the spirit of fair play.

    And, I'll also say again, if the new bidders are indeed legit...then I truly apologize for *that* aspect of my accusation, and misinformation as to what the anonymous bidder protocol now is and how it relates to shill bidding.
     
  24. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    Location:
    City of Angels
    I've killed auctions where I had a $50 LP and the interest was appallingly low. I knew it was going to close at $14.99 and so I pulled it.

    I waited 3 weeks, relisted and got $55.00 buy it now.

    I've had some UK import LPs from the 70s that were never opened and barely fetched $9.99 while other's VGish junk went up to $26.00 of the same title. So I kind of feel that some of the buyers are not real good at details and checking feedback and need some guidance. Sometimes I have left the auctions run their course and cried myself to sleep that night, and other times killed the auction, and saved myself from those really dumb buyers who don't know an original UK from a nice priced / super saver mid-line pos.

    One better take care of their auctions, lock out bad news buyers (poor rated buyers), and just make sure you do not lose your merch and take losses because the moon and tides are not in alignment.
     
  25. David R. Modny

    David R. Modny Forum Resident Thread Starter

    :) :)


    http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/end_early.html

    Quote:

    "Note: Sellers are not permitted to cancel bids and end listings early in order to avoid selling an item that did not meet the desired sale price."
     
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