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Possible Ebay Bid Rigging?

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Posted 02/10/2022   08:22 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add hungrypirana to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I've found what looks like funny business involving CK Stamps.

I'm not picking on CK; in fact I've bought a number of lots from them and I'm likely to continue bidding.

However, there are bidders in the bid tabulation submitting bids seemingly to put a floor under the winning bid or raise the floor to enhance the sale price. If you look at the bid tabulation, the bidder names are different from the name per the bidder history (click the link from the bid tabulation to see what I mean), but the one thing in common is the winning bids in parentheses. In the case of my study the suspect bidder has (593) winning bids but has multiple names. And the bidder per the bidder history is always u****7.

Look for yourself if interested. Put several of CK's lots on your watchlist and, after the auctions end, look at the bid tabulation for any bidder who has (593) winning bids and trace that bidder back to his bidder history. You should see the bidder names don't match.

You should also see that "Total bids" and "Items bid on" do not increase for bidder u***7 evidently because that bidder's bids don't match the names on the corresponding bid tabulation.

Lastly, bidder u***7 is showing a very high number of "Total Bids" (6535) and "Items bid on" despite the fact those totals don't increase as explained in the paragraph above.

Something is up. Any comments appreciated. Try watching a few lots and see what I mean.

p.s. tried to upload my analysis, but .pdf is disallowed.
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Posted 02/10/2022   09:09 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Isn't the number you refer to the feedback rating number, not the number of bids?
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Posted 02/10/2022   09:23 am  Show Profile Check KRelyea's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add KRelyea to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Just to facilitate;




Shows an awful lot of bids for on buyer. Is this a buyers consortium?

Here's one of the item 593 bid on https://www.ebay.com/itm/403447616016
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Posted 02/10/2022   09:59 am  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I am not sure that eBay assigns the same bidder 'shorthand' to every listing. It could be that that a randomized algorithm is used; to test someone would have to have some bids on a few listings, log off, check the X***X bidder designation on each listing to see if they match.

I do agree that looking at the number of bids is one possible way to ID the same bidder.
Don
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Posted 02/10/2022   11:55 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Stephen J Bukowy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Looks like the individual likes CK. 49% of His/her bids for the last 30 days were on CK items
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Posted 02/10/2022   12:11 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The (593) is feedback not winning bids. Can you use the number to make a circumstantial tie back to another bidder ID? No. That feedback is solely assigned to one ID. Could two CK bidders have the same amount of feedback? Very long odds on that one. This really shows nothing other than a bidder that bids frequently with CK which is not unusual.

That being said, in general I know that there is rampant shill bidding on eBay in the categories that I follow. I follow some popular Russian material sellers that sell very high-end material and start at 99 cents. Some of the material does not attract much interest but it always ends up being bid up high because in the last few days lots of bids miraculously start being entered by users that have bid rates with those sellers in the 90 percent range. Why do these miracle bidders show their hands and not snipe? We know why. And without fail those bidders that pump up the bids never win because by then they have accomplished their goal. Shilling is probably the biggest eBay sin if measured by pure volume.

eBay has the resources and expertise to crack down on this behavior but chooses not to. Just like the Cartel accounts where identifying the offenders is done by collectors rather than eBay.
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Posted 02/10/2022   1:23 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tsmatx to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I thought I spent too much time and money on eBay, but I cannot wrap my head around 6500+ bids on 3200+ items in 30 days. I don't understand how that's possible for an individual. It sounds like a full-time job honestly.
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Posted 02/10/2022   1:33 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hungrypirana to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The 593 score is in fact a feedback score, not the # of winning bids, but that difference is moot.

I'm using the 593 score as the first clue to follow the audit trail and track down what's happening.

Follow the links below....

Look in the bid tabulations and find that 593 score. Then note the truncated buyer name. Then follow the link from that truncated buyer name, which takes you to the page captioned "Bid History: Bidder Details". On that page you will see that every one of these different bidder names ties to one bidder "u***7 (593)"

Here are eight links. There are eight different truncated winning bidders, but only one truncated name on the Bid History page.

Each and every one of these bids was submitted within the final 5 seconds and each elevated the price without winning the lot.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/403447557762

https://www.ebay.com/itm/353889009548

https://www.ebay.com/itm/403447593468

https://www.ebay.com/itm/363713027420

https://www.ebay.com/itm/363713822389

https://www.ebay.com/itm/363706235656

https://www.ebay.com/itm/403394684881

https://www.ebay.com/bfl/viewbids/403355747630

It appears this bidder is bidding on hundreds of lots every week, and raising every one by (guessing) roughly $20 - 30 on average.

I'm also guessing there must be an explanation for the different bidder names. Possibly the different names are needed to avoid eBay algorithm designed to detect bid rigging.

I've added about 20 CK lots to my watchlist and will continue to post....
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Posted 02/10/2022   1:42 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
As Don alluded to, the different bidder names are because they are randomized by eBay. Click on any of the bidders to see their bid history and what you can see of the name will be different on that page for every one of them.

As far as the number of bids in 30 days it is probably another seller looking for material to resell.
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Posted 02/10/2022   2:15 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add danstamps54 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I agree with rogdcam. I believe there's rampant shilling on eBay. eBay doesn't do anything about it so I've accepted it as part of the process. I'm not surprised about funny business in bidding anymore.
I set an amount that I'm willing to pay for an item and snipe it and let the chips fall where they may.
Dan
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Posted 02/10/2022   3:37 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Parcelpostguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
To summarize the below there is not enough information yet (an why).



Quote:
I am not sure that eBay assigns the same bidder 'shorthand' to every listing.


More than one account can be assigned the same "anonymizing ID" such as A***j(1234). The such ID is not consistent for one seller on all lots bid upon. (For a while when such anonymizing ID started, it was.)

To confirm if the same "account" you need to consider the combination of the ID, A***j and feed back number (1234) to narrow it down. Even with a match, it is not 100% certain they represent just one person. Also remember the feed back number changes in real time where ever displayed.

Yes, folks can spend money. What is a lot of bidding or buying? That is a matter of opinion. I am a regular buyer on eBay. I may not make a purchase for days or as I did yesterday purchased close to 200 individual items. (I finally spent much of my time going through sellers listing looking at many, many thousands of items, all relating to my topical collection -- the joys of a topic which does not always list in a list title.) I may make such a similar search in 3, 6 or 12 months or not for even longer. This was only the second in over three years.

That said, CK would be a fine seller for a new to the hobby collector to build a collection. Bidding does not mean winning. In the thread about SAN changing its policies, it was revcollector (if memory serves) how said while bidding through SAN he won $60,000 in bids but also placed $200,000 in losing underbids. If you say that is three losses for every win, that is not unusual. So folks, even me included, may not place winning bids that frequently and have more underbids as well. That is not shilling.

So back to your premise, one piece of important information would be what that buyer is bidding upon, win or lose. If only buying #1s or various Special Delivery or other mix of collection building material you likely go a new collector with $$$.

Now if the wins are only on 1910-1940 US but the losing bids are scatter around with no set pattern then you could just have someone who is focused on 1910-1940 but is taking a flyer bidding on other material in hopes of winning at a low bid level. And yes all losing bids are at a "low bid level."

Now if you look at CK Stamps recent (approx 90 days) sales history, there are 18,000+ items. Of those, 1200 have sold for more than $100 (that's over $120,000 in volume) with top 50 sales being $500 to over $1000. At the other end, the lowest 1000 sales were on item $2.26 or less with the lowest 60 ranging from $0.01 up to $0.26.

With the gross volume there seems no need for shilling and from all of the low selling items there is no shilling at all evident as many went a super-duper bargain prices. Your suspected bidder seems to just be doing his own thing.


Lastly let me describe what I see as the general bidding level:

1. I was shocked I lost. Items of my main focus and want.
2. I bid and stick to it until I win, except in cases of #1. Items of my main focus and want.
3. Bid to upgrade, but okay if I don't in my focus area.
4. Bid to get items in my general interest areas.
5. I haven't seen that before, let me try for it in an area of no active interest. I have no real idea of value.
6. That looks fun. I have no idea of value.
7. If I win, I know where to flip it. Also called bottom feeding.
8. Oops, did I really bid on that?
9. I bid to support the market without a concern of winning or not winning. In stock terms that would be similar to dollar cost averaging.

With the exception of #2 (this is where I am never the under-bidder) all 7 other cases will produce under-bids and a lot of under-bids. Am I schilling? NO, I am losing.

It is in the interest of most bidders to never tip ones hand about the level of the bid you are willing to make until as late as possible. So your example of the bidder bidding late in the auction is not unusual, it is wise. Nor on eBay will all late bids show. Lot is at $10, I try to bid $20, but while doing that someone else bids and the price jumped to $21, my $20 bid will not be accepted nor displayed.

Two examples of obvious shilling, bidder climbs bid up one level at a time, exceeds your bid and then retract that bid or climbs level by level to a few cents under your bid, say $40 with you bid high bid now $40.09. You either hit the sweet spot with you bid or you just got played.

Lastly, think about this. I see an item I don't really need but it is smack in the middle of my main focus. I bid, if I win, oh well I accept it--I have trade material. BUT if I lose which is my hope, I am supporting the market (not the seller). Still not shilling. Or if I run up your first bid, perhaps you will not have money left to bid high on the other items I want. But now we are getting in the multi Nobel Prize in Economics winning area of game theory.
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Posted 02/10/2022   3:49 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Parcelpostguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I believe there's rampant shilling on eBay. eBay doesn't do anything about it so I've accepted it as part of the process.


From eBay:

How do I report shill bidding?

If you think that another member is shill bidding, you don't need to report it to us. eBay has a number of systems in place to detect and monitor bidding patterns and practices. If we identify any malicious behavior, we'll take steps to prevent it.


eBay needs to be sure to be able to defend its decision if it block a shill bidder.

Policy overview

Shill bidding happens when anyone—including family, friends, roommates, employees, or online connections—bids on an item with the intent to artificially increase its price or desirability. In addition, members cannot bid on or buy items in order to artificially increase a seller's feedback or to improve the item's search standing.

Make sure you follow these guidelines. If you don't, you may be subject to a range of actions, including limits of your buying and selling privileges and suspension of your account. Shill bidding is also illegal in many places and can carry severe penalties.


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Posted 02/10/2022   3:55 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
If you think that another member is shill bidding, you don't need to report it to us. eBay has a number of systems in place to detect and monitor bidding patterns and practices. If we identify any malicious behavior, we'll take steps to prevent it.


The same systems that allow the Cartel/Ryle accounts to operate for years.
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Posted 02/10/2022   5:11 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add shermae to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Since that shill account has only bid on CK auctions 49% of the time, I will guess that the other 51% were placed with NYStamps. They are sister companies, or the same company. The feedback probably comes from a purchased eBay account, or fake wins when the account accidentally overbid when shilling.

I sometimes wonder if there is a pool of shared shilling accounts. In other words, several stamp and/or coin sellers agree to use the same account to shill so that the bids are spread about somewhat and fewer accounts would have to be bought. Just a theory, I have no supporting evidence that this actually happens.
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Posted 02/10/2022   7:33 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add mootermutt987 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
If you think that another member is shill bidding, you don't need to report it to us. eBay has a number of systems in place to detect and monitor bidding patterns and practices. If we identify any malicious behavior, we'll take steps to prevent it.


Don't pay any attention to the man behind the curtain!

Sorry for piling on, rogdcam, but I just can't help myself with this one!
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Edited by mootermutt987 - 02/10/2022 7:34 pm
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Posted 02/10/2022   7:50 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Don't believe your lying eyes.
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