Bedford Ramblings
Steve Mills

Hold on tight folks, eBay is making changes to their Best Match Search Algorithm

Posted Saturday, July 21, 2012, at 7:40 AM
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  • While I was setting up the next pot of coffee, a little voice kept bugging me saying "some may want to know why folks look for auctions ending soonest, so give them some ideas".

    OK, the first is pretty obvious. Buyers want to know if something they are looking for is about to sold at a good price.

    But an offshoot of that are folks who look for auctions with no reserve and have no bids for a variety of reasons like misspelled words, wrong category or maybe a poor choice of key words or listed local only, plus many more.

    "Well how do you find those?" Ugh, that voice again. There are a number of ingenious ways but a start is to explore the search options running down the left hand side of the page when you start a search. Ever looked at them?

    Also, make sure you change your "sort by" search parameter in the top right quadrant of the page, a few spaces under the blue button that says "Search".

    OK, my coffee is ready.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Jul 21, 2012, at 7:58 AM
  • By the way PhillipCohen, could you just blog us your thoughts on this topic and not the rest? :-) :-)

    -- Posted by stevemills on Sat, Jul 21, 2012, at 8:23 AM
  • Ah, Steve, come on, there's much more fun to be had with the eBafia in their latest ongoing efforts at aiding and abetting another outrageous eBay merchant fraudster at ...

    "Shill Bidding Fraud on eBay: Case Study #5"


    eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking

    -- Posted by PhilipCohen on Mon, Jul 23, 2012, at 10:40 AM
  • Hey Phillip, I was starting to get worried about you. :-)

    At least you came through, my other respondents must be on vacation. Did you ever share with us if there are selling sites you like?

    I mean, I still like eBay, but my blood is still just red, no extra colors yet, so I consider all opportunities.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Jul 23, 2012, at 5:46 PM
  • Hi Steve, I still buy the occasional item on eBay; it and Google Product have their uses for searching items. Regardless, for me there is a serious principle involved; eBay can be demonstrated to be a most unscrupulous entity; indeed, the greatest knowing facilitator of auction wire fraud on consumers that the world is ever likely to know, and no one seems to want to do anything about it; such is the power of such large corporations, apparently ... I mean, the ongoing blatant shill bidding activity of the eBay merchant, eDropOff, is simply an outrage, and eBay simply sits there and collects FVFs from all her sales, real or faux ...

    -- Posted by PhilipCohen on Mon, Jul 23, 2012, at 8:41 PM
  • Just for fun, another gem from the "master wire fraud facilitator", eBafia ...

    Oh, shock, horror!

    "New Auction Fee: Beginning October 1, eBay will charge sellers for ending any auction listing early that has received at least one bid. ... eBay believes ending an auction early once it has received a bid leads to disappointed bidders." (And eBafia needs the extra fees, too; after all, they can't simply keep "reducing" the fees paid by merchants, to keep the rusting old scow afloat.)


    Obviously, this "ending auctions early" fee is being introduced principally to stop unscrupulous merchants avoiding eBay's FVF by the monotonous cancelling/relisting of their grossly shilled auctions that have not yet attracted any, or any reasonable, genuine bids. The "master fraud facilitator", eBafia, is wise to all the tricks that such fraudsters play to avoid eBay's FVF; after all, eBafia has that "sophisticated and proactive software" to keep track of all you shill bidders. ...

    But, fraudster should otherwise fear not; they are hereby advised that eBafia permits them to carry on blatantly shill bidding on their auctions, but eBafia is no longer going to let them avoid its FVF. A great move, eBafia. No doubt about it; the "master fraud facilitator" knows how to turn a blind eye to such fraud but, the avoidance of their FVF--that, the eBafia finds simply intolerable and so, after 1 October, merchants are going to be paying a FVF on early cancelled auctions that have received at least one (shill?) bid (above any set reserve). Brilliant, eBafia, brilliant! However could we have expected you to be satisfied with collecting your fee on only the successful frauds when now, as merchants become ever more desperate, there is an ever increasing amount of attempted fraud, your cut on which you have hereto before been missing out on. ...

    eBafia, the Mafia of old would undoubtedly be most proud of your evolving business model ...

    Anyone want to bet that after October 1, eDropOff's monotonous early cancellation of many so auctions (if not the subsequent relists) will cease?


    Just my opinion, of course ...

    -- Posted by PhilipCohen on Tue, Jul 24, 2012, at 6:37 PM
  • Well, your opinion counts but I want to point out that you are not necessarily picking on the majority of eBay sellers, just the unscrupulous ones that I believe eBay really would like to weed out.

    I know, you believe otherwise, but I guess we will have to agree to disagree on this point.

    Honestly, I don't believe in a seller cancelling an auction because they are not happy with the bid, unless they have a reserve on it from the beginning.

    BUT, I also believe the buyers should not cancel unethically either, so to stop it eBay should be STRONGER than just a fine. Just fines falls in line with your thinking Phillip. See, we can agree at times!! :-)

    -- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Jul 25, 2012, at 8:31 AM
  • Steve, seller "eDropOff" is continuing to blatantly shill bid on virtually all their auctions and eBay is doing nothing about it; it's as obvious as the noses on our faces that eBay is effectively complicit in such fraud ...

    If you have not already done so, I invite you to peruse the facts, not just opinionn, presented in:

    "Shill Bidding Fraud on eBay: Case Study #5"


    -- Posted by PhilipCohen on Wed, Jul 25, 2012, at 10:52 AM
  • I have not spent ANYWHERE close to the time that you have apparently spent in researching this and while some things I can explain to repeat buyers, competitors and resellers, the last one is puzzling.

    We used to have a customer who constantly bought teddy bears from us. It kept happening to the point that I contacted her and learned more. She had a real emotional issue so we would ask her at least three times if she really needed her current purchase. We eventually stopped selling to her.

    BUT, I don't think she bought from us exclusively so your last example was intriguing. That one I intend to do more research on and the next time I am in Chicago I am also going to visit the seller you mentioned.

    They are in an extremely tough selling category that by itself would bring extreme scrutiny by eBay and customers who buy in this category would be extremely critical as well. To do as well as they have is impressive to me, but that nagging case you mentioned needs clarification, so....

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jul 26, 2012, at 8:34 AM
  • "That case" is only one of very many demonstrated in the spreadsheet; and, how did you like the bidder that had made ~11,000 bids on ~5,000 eBay auctions in the previous 30 days; could that be other than a third-party commercial supplier of shill bidding? No, of course not. Regrettably we are here dealing with a rampant shill bidding merchant and eBay, the "master fraud facilitator, has also here demonstrated that it could not care less ... Or to put it another way, eBay provides the tools, the now opaque bidding system, that is, and then simply let's the unscrupulous merchants get on with it ...

    -- Posted by PhilipCohen on Thu, Jul 26, 2012, at 10:38 AM
  • Phillip, before you started this crusade, did you try to get eBay to respond? Now, I am sure they would probably avoid you like the plague, but did they ever respond?

    I will be visiting with a few eBay folks soon and often have "off the record" discussions. If I find out anything that I can discuss openly, I will share it.

    eBay and I don't always see eye to eye but nothing in our discussions over the years have led me to believe they would purposely allow this. In fact, they have been trying to minimize auctions for several years so it could be a case of them not being able to identify it clearly enough for legal actions.

    I know, I know, they should be able to, but there are other things I think they could control better that would benefit them and they haven't so.... There are also soooo many other things to chase down that shill bidding may be low on their priorities.

    Don't know, but I will try to find out more.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Thu, Jul 26, 2012, at 2:17 PM
  • Yes, back in July 2009 when I first realized that shill bidding was rampant and they, contrary to their claims, were doing nothing about it, and I started watching their auctions, the media communicated with them and, of course, they obfuscated; later I communicated with a David Smith at eBay, but our emails simply went round in circles ...




    Needless to say, it would be interesting to hear if you get any better response to such ongoing allegations; of course, even if they are prepared to talk to you "off the record" about such criminal activity they will probably want you to sign a non-disclosure agreement (non enforceable in such circumstances) ... Still you should be able to develop a goodly list of embarrassing questions to ask from my Case Study #5--LOL

    Steve, it gives me no real pleasure to say it but the fact is eBay has always been a knowing facilitator or wire fraud, on a massive scale.

    -- Posted by PhilipCohen on Thu, Jul 26, 2012, at 7:57 PM
  • With the huge target they have painted on their company I am sure they are under more scrutiny that yours Phillip. As long as I run my business in an appropriate manner, I'll keep selling there. I still have not found anything that comes close.

    Wanna buy a watch mista? :-)

    -- Posted by stevemills on Fri, Jul 27, 2012, at 5:36 PM
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