After removing purchase details from their feedback pages just a few days ago, eBay has now removed the bidder search link from its advanced search page. Until now, an eBay user could go to that section and use the tool to research any bidder’s past activity on the site.
This action reduces the transparency on eBay that many sellers have grown accustomed to. In the past the link could be used to find shill bidders and buyers who attempted to scam other sellers. Now they are without that link to protect themselves.One seller on the eBay forums said:
“Just last week i used it when a zero won my 400 dollar phone. I noticed the zero bid on 167 items in one day. I messaged them and said : let me guess you are not paying for all of these items , they wrote no. I said so me a favor and save me 7 days of filing a non pay and just click the cancel auction. They did. without that i could have wasted about 7 days trying to make them pay or 3 and lose my runner up.”
Another posted: “I hadn’t noticed… but it makes perfect sense given the removal of the View Item and Title from feedback profiles. eBay has clearly been on a “less transparency is better” track for several years now. All of this means the ability to investigate shill bidding is completely gone, and furthers the death of the auction format.”
Bidder Search UPDATE
In another eBay forum an eBay employee posted the following in reference to the issue:
“Yes, this is a new change to the site. We expect that with the features we’re announcing today (new profile pages, collections, etc.) that there will be more visitors viewing each other’s pages. Buyers may not want to share their past purchases with the general public, so the details on what items were purchased have been made private. You can still see someone else’s buyer feedback and their ratings. The details on what they purchased and for how much are the elements that have been made private. Also, you can still search by bidder if you’d like from Advanced Search. If you click on a search by seller first, you will see an option to search by bidder as well.”
Wait a minute, what? The link still exists they’ve just moved it to the wrong place on purpose? I am so confused…. Does that make any sense to anyone? If you use this function and want to reach it without the confusion you can use this direct link here. That is unless they change that too.