Bidding For Vigilante Justice

from the power-to-the-virtual-people dept

Fraud on eBay is nothing new. In fact, for years there have been stories from people complaining about how eBay was talking tough on fraud, but doing little to stop it – and how they were even cracking down on anyone who brought up the issue of fraud on their discussion boards. While I’m sure that eBay does take fraud seriously, and is working very hard to stop it – it certainly sounds like they haven’t been all that successful. That’s leading an increasing number of upset eBay users to take justice into their own hands and become eBay vigilantes – going around warning bidders of auctions they believe are fraudulent and (an interesting tactic) bidding millions of dollars on items to make sure no other person actually wins the auction. eBay, as you would probably guess from their previous comments, is not at all happy about these vigilantes – and seem to be spending some of their time cracking down on the vigilante activity. They claim that the vigilantes have been disrupting legitimate auctions frequently – but never give a single concrete example. What’s amusing to me, however, is that eBay’s whole trust metric system was built on the basis of having the systems own users police the system via their feedback mechanism – which was an innovative idea at the time. Now that people have figured out ways to successfully game the system, it looks as though eBay hasn’t figured out a way to advance their own “self-policing” system to handle the challenge.

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Comments on “Bidding For Vigilante Justice”

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007 (user link) says:

Rules of a social network

This is very similar to something that is happening over at Tribe is a social network similar to Friendster but with a much more open attitude & interesting people. Tribes are formed around common interests. Generally people make tribes about things they are interested in like cars & get other members to join & discuss the topics of similar interest. There is a tribe that has formed thats sole goal is to invade other tribes, post interesting & comically written posts & engage original members of invaded tribe in witty banter & dialog with the intent of picking up new members while on mission. The group in question has become the talk of the the social network. People want to know who they are, what their intent is & what tribe is going to be invaded next. You can’t join, you have to be invited.

Ebay, just like Tribe are prime examples of how social networks are evolving in methods that the original creators never suspected.
The very people that effectively live their lives in these forum begin to make the rules based within the tools they are given. Innovation occurs when a user finds a non traditional method to use the system to make it do what he or she wants. The wild west of Ebay these days keeps me from participating for real purchases like I did initially. Ebay now is a tool for amusement where I will intentionally bid on items I find absurd in order to run up the prices of the items and see how much a fool is willing to part with it. It’s no big deal to set up a new account if I overbid. Ebay is no longer a secure community for doing business in. It has become the ghetto of the internet. The very human nature of the end users of these communities set the norms for acceptable behavior within the confines of these self chosen communities.

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

As with any society, it’s only as good as it’s members and only if they are willing to live within the rules of the law. Unfortunately, technology enables a few people to become a substantial force in cyberspace. Hopefully, they will grow tired of this game and let the society rule itself. As with any society, it’s not perfect but it pretty much adheres to the policies and procedures it has set in place.

joe says:

ebay fraud

Ebay hides from the user in a convoluted system of menus and sub-menus, the means to contact them about filing a fraud complaint.

Ebay is not “user friendly” when it comes time to approach them with regard to fraud and fraudulent listings.

Ebay hides from it’s duty to punish fraudulent activities.

All ebay users should at once demand accountability and to provide weekly, monthly and yearly statictics regarding the number of fraud complaints and the number of succesful prosecutions for fraud.

Ebay can not be judged by what it says, but buy what it does, and it can prove what it does by providing users with accurate statistical information regarding fraudulent activities and ebay’s prosecution of these people.

AK says:

ebay fraud

I engaged in what I have learned is called ‘vigilante bidding’ for the first time recently. Did this out of frustration, because E-bay still had not shut down some fraudulent (hijacked) accounts 7 days after I alerted them. I raised this issue on the E-bay answers forum, highlighting that I saw this is stopping a crime in progress, and was aware that it violated E-bays rules. Made the mistake of using my own account though so will have to live with some negative feedback. What is quite funny is that I raised this on the E-bay answer forum. Most of the answers were from people who had been brainwashed by the E-bay rule book. They did not care about crime prevention. ‘Vigilante bidding violates E-bay rules.’ Some of them just seemed so disgusted with my actions. The E-bay rule book is their bible. It must not be questioned. They have become assimilated by the ‘Bay’.

matrix consul says:

ebay vs law enforcement

it seems to me that some laws should be put into place that make governments richer by fining such entities as ebay for their failure to properly investigate reports of fraud etc. Since ebay only exists to get its owners/ execs rich, this might get their attention. whole units should exist in law enforcement and law offices, for the sole purpose of attacking ebay and getting these fines. it would be a lucrative business.
Also ebay should be fined for their suspensions of users based on other users’ false accusations, all you have to do is fill out a form to get someone in trouble based on your false report. ebay does not check to see whether they are true or not, they just suspend the innocent users with the guilty ones. Especially if they are not power sellers and thus expendable. (lots of malicious accusations get taken as fact). this should cost ebay by law, like big traffic tickets that law enforcement should collect by their cyber cops. that would be real protection for society.

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