Posts Tagged ‘eBay’

Kilobucks for Kilowidgets

Thursday, 13 October 2011

eBay lot #180729964545 sold on 26 September 2011 for a price of $1000 plus $140 for s&h. Categorized in Collectibles > Advertising > Food & Beverage > Cereal > Kellogg, the listing was entitled 1,000 Widgets. The description said only 1000 Widgets (omitting the comma). There was no picture. Two days later, the buyer left feedback declaring good widgets. thanks.

On 6 October, another 1000 widgets were allegedly sold as lot #180734234607, again for a price of $1000, but this time with $197 for s&h. The purchasing account left a feedback on 11 October that simply says acceptable.

The buying account is shared by Joshua Glew and his father, Steven John Glew. The latter has a 'blog that seems to relate some dirty doings by the Pez Corporation, but which I've done no more than skim because it's written in a decidedly ill-organized fashion.

A thousand widgets?

Her Cup Runneth Over

Friday, 22 October 2010

One of the persisting confusions these days is that between a shaving mug and a mustache cup. In fact, they are quite different things.

A shaving mug is a mug in which soap, cream, or lotion is worked into a lather with a brush, which lather is then applied by brush to some area to be shaved.

A mustache cup is a drinking cup, with a guard to keep the drinker's mustache from being wet by and drawn into the drink.

Though, really, the guard of a mustache cup would simply be in the way if it were used as a shaving mug, none-the-less, in era in which relatively few people use shaving mugs, and almost no one uses a mustache cup, it's not a terrible surprise that the two should be confused. So I don't typically much reäct when seeing one listed as the other (or as both) on eBay.

However, I'm definitely amused when seeing a mustache cup listed as Antique Mustache Shaving Lavender Ladies Cup & Saucer (underscore mine). [images of mustache cup] There were and are women who've been unfortunate when it came to facial hair; and some have had enough of a mustache that they could have got use from a mustache cup as such; but I really doubt that anyone has manufactured mustache cups specifically for ladies.

You'll find it on eBay!

Monday, 5 July 2010
Man fined over fake eBay auctions by Dan Whitworth of the BBC

eBay spokesperson Vanessa Canzenni denies that not enough is being done to prevent [shill-bidding].


[eBay user Rezza Faizee, having noted that shill-bidding were a significant problem, said] I honestly don't know what you can do to tackle the problem, I honestly don't.

Catching shill-bidders on eBay used to be one of my hobbies. I would regularly stumble-upon suspicious confluences, start examining auction and bidder histories, and from them often assemble proof that there had been shill-bidding, which proof I would then send to eBay and to the victims. I'm sure that I wasn't the only person engaging in this sort of detection.

But eBay began choking-off the data available to us. With decreasing information, it became ever harder to make the case. It became impossible even to see some of the confluences that would have triggered suspicion in the first place.

For an honest auction firm, there may be an optimal amount of shill-bidding to allow, simply because of enforcement costs. (A perfectly secure trading environment would be prohibitively expensive.) But for a dishonest firm the question is of balancing the gain that otherwise comes from allowing ending prices (and hence fees) to be thus increased, against the alienation of users who consequently reduce their spending. Access to information which both empowers volunteers to catch shill-bidders and alerts users more generally to the occurrence of shill-bidding is, as such, not in the perceived interest of a dishonest firm.

BTW, the changes that reduced our abilities to spot shill-bidders, and which made it more typically impossible for us to prove a case of shill-bidding (as well as other changes that enabled eBay to be more easily used by thieves) were primarily effected while Margaret Cushing (Meg) Whitman, now the Republican Party nominee for governor of California, was eBay's President and CEO.


Wednesday, 18 November 2009

I received notice this morning from eBay:

We received a report about a message you sent to another eBay member through our Email Forwarding System. The message violates the Misuse of eBay Email Forwarding System policy. We want to let you know about the report and invite you to learn more about communication between sellers and buyers. To learn more about the Email Forwarding System guidelines, please go to:

We're taking a neutral position regarding the report we received, but if we continue to receive similar reports, we'll have to investigate. Policy violations can result in a formal warning, a temporary suspension, or an indefinite suspension.

If you have concerns related to this matter, you can contact us by going to:

Well, I'd like to know about what message this complaint was levelled. But, naturally (this being eBay), there's no appropriate option at index_selection.html, and the best fitting options require that in one field I provide a relevant item number or user ID about whom I'm complaining. My own user ID is rejected from this field.

Over the years, eBay, like many other corporations, has modified its interface and protocols to make them dumber in ways that specifically increase the difficulty of confronting it with responsibility.

eBay was founded by Pierre Omidyar, whose user ID is pierre. So I entered that user ID in the field, and it was accepted. Doubtless that, if others do likewise, then the software will be tweaked to prevent it.

Doing the Bidding of the Beast

Friday, 31 July 2009

I am amused by this eBay bid history:

I'll translate:

  • On 27 July, at 11:30:10 PDT, seller posts item with an opening bid of $1.00 and some still unknown reserve price.
  • At 19:36:05 PDT, first bidder enters a maximum bid of $6.16; this does not meet reserve price, so first bid is $1.00.
  • On 29 Jul, at 12:45:05 PDT, second bidder enters a maximum bid of $5.00; entry automatically pushes bid of first bidder to $5.50.
  • 10 seconds later, second bidder enters some maximum bid more than 50¢ than first bidder's maximum bid, and finds that his or her bid is now $6.66.
  • 12 seconds later, second bidder enters some higher maximum bid, but his or her bid remains $6.66.
  • Another 12 seconds later, second bidder enters some even higher maximum bid, but his or her bid remains $6.66.

If the second bidder were to enter a bid not less than the seller's reserve price, then his or her bid would become that. Otherwise, his or her bid will remain at $6.66 until some other bidder enters at least $7.16.

(BtW, I put the words reserve and maximum in quotes, because, as far as I'm concerned, eBay abuses each term, one way or another.)

Dubious Distinction

Saturday, 27 December 2008

[four different eBay auctions using the same image for a mug dated 1890s, 1943, 1939, and again 1890s]

(I notice that the listings for tiogacentergeneralstore include several sets of listings rather like this set.)

What a pal!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

The Woman of Interest mentioned to me how some sellers manage to maintain acceptable or better feedback scores, and the initial negative feedback that they receive might not itself be particularly damning, yet one can discern from their replies that negative feedback that these are very problematic people. So I drew her attention to ohiopal (located in New Philadelphia):

I suppose that a few sloppy readers might actually be fooled by his recurring trick of signing a reply with the buyer's account, as it it were a follow-up. I've seen some of the photos that he claimed were inadvertantly misleading because of poor quality — they were clear photos, but of a different item than was delivered. And take special note to the entries on each page for lot 2164122076.

He's better behaved at [Edit (2008:11/17): Except in-so-far as he persuades buyers there to buy from him more directly, in which case they may get junk.]

(I've not myself ever done business with this account, nor to my knowledge otherwise with its holder. I just stumbled upon his record when I was investigating another seller.)

No time for the love you send

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Indicia of magazine for sale on eBay: ACE Annual,No.14 Published and copyright by Four Star Publications, Inc. c/o Signal Publications, Inc., 95 Madison Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10016. Spring 1973 Edition. Published Semi-Annually. Price $1.25. Printed in U.S.A. (All photos posed by professional models.) Ace Annual, published semi-annually in 1973.

And the world is even faster-paced to-day.

Well, did anyone ever see them together?

Saturday, 3 May 2008

You'll find it on eBay. Well, that is that you'll find it if it is tongue-ring ball that uses picture of Che Guevara for Bob Marley a tongue-ring barbell using a picture of Che Guevara as one of Bob Marley.

You'll Lose It on eBay

Saturday, 8 March 2008

eBay is one of those institutions that tries both to stream-line and to impair the complaint process by requiring that complainants use forms. In spite of eBay's efforts at impairment, I managed to use one of their forms to clearly report a pattern of shill feed-back, with demonstrating evidence. Thwarted, they fell-back to asking me for details in e.mail that were already provided in my initial report, as if they were lacking. At such point, many people of course give up, and others write an outraged response that eBay can then dismiss as the work of someone irrational. I instead took advantage of the fact that I was no longer confined to the earlier format, restated the case more as I would originally have stated it (if not confined by the form), adding new information that had arisen. And I concluded by making reference to the civil liability that eBay would develop by failing to act.