Site Policies

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  • Shill Bidding: What It Is and Why It's not Permitted on

    Shill bidding undermines trust in our community and is not permitted on In addition, shill bidding is considered a felony with severe consequences. We want to ensure that all users understand what shill bidding is, why treats it so seriously, what can happen if one engages in shill bidding, and ensure that one does not unknowingly engage in the practice.

    Q. What is shill bidding?

    A. Shill bidding is the deliberate placing of bids to artificially raise the price of an item and is not allowed. To avoid the appearance of being involved this activity, family users and individuals living together, working together or sharing a computer, should not bid on each other's items.

    Q. Can my friends bid on my item?

    A. If your friend sincerely intends to purchase your item, then her bids are certainly allowed. Bidding on your item for the sole purpose of inflating the final bid amount is forbidden.

    Q. If I turn someone in for shill bidding, will they be suspended?

    A. It depends on the situation. Many factors will be considered when determining whether shill bidding has occurred. These factors are carefully weighed. In the end, only bidders determined to be shills (based on the evidence) are suspended.

    Q. Why are some reports of shill bidding to not acted upon? Why are reported shill bidders allowed to continue to do business on

    A. Shill bidding reports received by are investigated thoroughly. Sometimes, what appears to be a shill bidding may actually be a legitimate bidding activity. This can occur for a number of reasons, for example, a bidder may bid almost exclusively on one or two sellers whom they have come to trust.

    Q. I only bid on items listed by one specific seller; will I be considered a shill bidder?

    A. In some cases, placing bids in only one seller's listings might raise suspicions about whether or not you are a shill bidder (insincere bidder). However, bidding on only one seller's listings is not the sole factor that would use to make a determination about the possibility of shill bidding.

    Q. Why isn't a seller suspended permanently the first time shill bidding is Discovered?

    A. recognizes that some people might not understand that shill bidding is wrong and believes in educating users and providing them with a second chance. This is why a temporary suspension is made. A temporary suspension is serious, and sellers take it as such.

    Q. What happens if the seller shill bids again after the temporary suspension?

    A. If the shill bidding continues at any time after the temporary suspension has ended, the shill bidder will be suspended from indefinitely.

    Q. What happens if the seller sets up new accounts after the other accounts are suspended?

    A. Use of secondary registrations (new accounts) to avoid suspensions is cause for indefinite suspension of all participating registrants.

    Q. Is a seller allowed to have more than one registered account?

    A. No, a seller is not permitted more than one registration even if their reasons are legitimate. There should NEVER be any interaction (especially in the areas of bidding or feedback) between the accounts, and all user information MUST be accurate and consistent.

    Q. Can sellers bid on their own listings?

    A. not any more. originally allowed sellers to bid on their own listings as a way to close their listing without selling to the highest bidder. Unfortunately, this privilege was abused so it had to be eliminated. Now, bidding on your own item is considered shill bidding and is not allowed.

    Q. What if I need to end a listing early and it already has bids?

    A. You can do it. When you want to end your listing because you've changed your mind about selling an item, be sure to cancel all bids before you end it. If you don't cancel all bids before ending your listing, you will be required to sell the item to the high bidder when the listing closes.

    Q. appears to benefit from shill bidding so why does it care?

    A. This violation creates a barrier to success since bidders hesitate to bid if they suspect shill bidding. This leads to decreased bidding, decreased seller success, and, ultimately, decreased success for Furthermore, it is unfair to our treasured community. Thus, it is in the best interest of and its community to prevent shill bidding.

    Q. Changes to enhance privacy make it more difficult for me to detect potential shill bidding since I cannot easily see email addresses. How do I manage this?

    A. The changes related to privacy, including limiting the visibility of email addresses are essential to address a number of issues, e.g., spam, bid siphoning, and fee avoidance. Although this will eliminate one community avenue for shill bidding detection, we believe that this is the right move as we have implemented internal tools along with enhancements to Bid History and Bidder Search to effectively address the concern.

    Q. How exactly does Bid History and Bidder Search help?

    A. The Bid History page provides a moment-by-moment view of the bidding and possible retractions that take place in a transaction. This allows visibility to bidding patterns. Patterns that suggest no advantage to the bidder but significantly increase the bidding price of the listing may suggest shill bidding. Questionable patterns include multiple bids by a bidder in short, deliberate intervals and bidding several times in small amounts even if not having been outbid.

    Sample Scenarios:
  • A user bids several times just under the highest bidder towards the end of a listing, incrementing the final sale price by a dollar and retracting if he/she inadvertently bids more than the high bidder.
  • A user bidding 30 times or more even when there are no other bidders on the listing (an attempt to create a Hot item).
  • The Bidder Search page allows you to view the Sellers of the items that a user has bid on. Sorting this list by the Seller id allows unusual patterns to be seen, for example, a user who bids exclusively on a seller's items. Of course, there are cases where it may be valid for a bidder to buy frequently from a particular seller. However, this is the exception and will be able to rule this out after analyzing the trading patterns using internal tools.

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