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Monday, January 22, 2007

eBay Heightens Security Precautions in 2007 - A Translation

Recently in an article by Rachel Konrad, eBay says they are making security a top precaution in 2007 for their customers. However, it reads more like a marketing spun press release than an Associated Press article. The truth is that eBay has sat by idly over the past two years and allowed identity thieves, scammers and frausters to run rampant on their sites (including PayPal) without any regard for their customers or users. The only reason eBay is now making this a priority is because of the results of an internal survey suggesting their reputation is suffering.

Based on my experiences with eBay, I have selected the important points of the article and translated it to what William C. Cobb, President of North America and others were really saying.

"Engineers also want to reduce counterfeit items and clamp down on scams between buyers and sellers from different countries, said William C. Cobb, president of eBay North America."
Translated: We would think our security and marketing departments would want these changes to be made rather than relying on our engineers to make the suggestions. This suggests we really do have an issue.

Cobb said in comments posted Wednesday to an eBay forum. "Where we've historically put an emphasis on transparency and free choice, today the security threats are more complex, and we're more actively protecting our buyers from fraud."
Translated: We've been very lazy because we are a very popular site. We are only making these changes now because we are starting to see lost revenue associated with it. Furthermore, eBay is doing very little at this point to protect buyers. The biggest scam on the planet, the $.01 auctions used to only boost feedback are still active. How we can continue to justify these auctions is beyond reason, in fact anytime someone intentionally loses money to sell something, we really should question it.

Representatives are also sending nasty e-mails to sellers who charge egregious shipping and handling fees. EBay reduced the average shipping cost in the "cell phones" category by 25 percent since last summer, Cobb said.
Translated: We noticed the people were simply charging the cost of their goods in the shipping rather than in the auction price. We calculated the revenue we were losing on that technique and decided we had to stop it. In the end, we realize that the users on our site are paying the same or a little bit more due to the increased fees. However, we are making more money.

"We're never going to completely stop the bad guys from using the Internet, but we do know that negative experiences are a major reason people leave eBay - and they pass along word of mouth to other people," Durzy said. "In 2007, you'll see a sea change in our approach to trust and safety."
Translated: We've never going to completely stop the bad guys. Heck we are not even really going to try. We are going to continue business as usual and do the absolute minimum we have to, so we can convince some people that we are trying to change. In the end, we realize we are a very popular site.

EBay says less than one-hundredth of one percent of the listings on its Web site are fraudulent.
Translated: We're going to give you a number that looks really small. However, we are not going to discuss dollar value because it will sound like a much larger number. This larger number will probably make you realize that we really are not trying, and even scare you. We realize that most scams are for larger dollar items, rather than the small value items that make up the majority of our auctions.