Tag: eBay

“The PERFECT eBay/Paypal SCAM”

Before linking to this tale of woe from an eBay seller, I’d like to point out that I pilfered a quote from their story for the title. However, my favorite from the drama is actually…

This business model puts underpants-stealing gnomes to shame.

It certainly does, so feel free to read on, because the laughs just ended.

Meanwhile, it is the opinion of your’s truly that eBay rules are so extraordinarily biased towards buyers that you have to be slightly nuts to conduct business via the platform. There is no ability to issue negative feedback to bad customers, and eBay actually encourages sellers to provide positive feedback immediately upon receipt of payment. Ridiculously stupid advice, me thinks. The transaction cancellation system allows even the nastiest of buyers to simply reject the request – eBay’s transaction fees are secured (for eBay, of course) even if the seller refuses to send a pallot of MacBook Pros to an exiled Ethiopian prince seeking political asylum in Siberia. Add in that deadbeat buyers can still hit a seller’s feedback rating rating to the negative even if they haven’t paid, and you’ve got a marketplace that is ripe for pushing honest individuals and small businesses into the insolvency bracket. Or at least inducing a self-imposed benching.

The linked story goes even a step further, with an obvious scammer putting their credit card company in between them and Paypal. Sadly, only the seller loses, but only because eBay and Paypal have stacked the deck against them.

MG signing off (because I too have a screw loose, but I don’t mind using it for self defense)

Persistent “brand fake” suits will kill litigants’ secondary markets

eBay has been successfully sued by Louis Vuitton & Company over brand fakes being sold on the site. eBay may have lost this case because the courts are unable to discern between platforms and the users of said platforms, but there’s a bigger issue at hand. eBay maintains that the companies suing them are more concerned with controlling their respective markets:

“If counterfeits appear on our site, we take them down swiftly,” eBay spokeswoman Sravanthi Agrawal said. “But today’s ruling is not about counterfeits. Today’s ruling is about an attempt by LVMH to protect uncompetitive commercial practices at the expense of consumer choice and the livelihood of law-abiding sellers that eBay empowers every day.”

I’m inclined to agree – everyone wishes they were DeBeers, but the way eBay is spins this could make one think they are the sole victim here. In actuality, I think that these litigants are inadvertently killing their own market with their efforts.

The luxury goods set, the primary targets here, rely on consistent turnover of their product to maintain their appeal. Each year new designs come out, and are paraded across magazines – the affluent, early adopters (the core customer base) are first to grab the goods. But these “must have now” industries don’t rely solely on the top tax bracket – if they did they wouldn’t bother advertising – instead they would rely on the word of mouth circling elite cocktail parties. No, there is a secondary market that wants to be like the elite, and their avenue for “upper-crustship” is simply looking the part. These wannabes can’t really afford draping the latest LV bag over their arm each and every season, but they mortgage themselves to the hilt to do so anyway.

And when the extraordinarily overpriced item shows up on the credit card bill, they pass on last season’s via any means they can to get that bill paid – one of those means just so happens to be an internet site called eBay. eBay is marketplace, and marketplaces provide liquidity – all Louis Vuitton and the rest of their ilk are doing when they sue eBay is reducing that liquidity. It’s no different than if the SEC, the NASD, and the Fortune 1000 got together and declared that secondary stock sales could no longer be executed via an online brokerage account – their shares would plummet thereafter.

I suspect the volume of brand-named handbags being hucked will start doing the same fairly soon.

UPDATE: Ditto.

The curious and contrarian in today’s tech

  • Today Vonage hit new lows as another competitor jumped into the VoIP fray. It’s a new company called Ooma, who is offering free service in exchange for a high-priced phone. Curious – will everyone in Hollywood jump on this since star Ashton Kutcher is involved? Contrarian – the business model is the exact opposite of the cell-phone set (where it seems all the telecomm growth is).
  • Ebay posted some good numbers, but folks are really talking about how their auction business is stagnating. Curious – what is doing well at Ebay, since everyone also seems down on all the acquisitions? Contrarian – a 50% rise in the net is nothing to shrug at, but people are shrugging anyway…I thought the idea of being in business was to make money (but what the hell do I know). Also noted – Ebayers often pay more than fair value for items – please send similar business models my way…please?!
  • A new OS X based worm could soon be on the loose. The anonymous creator said they were tired of hearing about OS X being so secure. Curious – will I soon be sticking my foot in my mouth along with all the other comfy OS X users? Contrarian – if you’re so tired of the cockiness, release the damn thing already (instead of blathering about it).
  • Paul Kedrosky’s new Blackberry has 6 fonts, none of which he likes. Curious – my old Blackberry has 11 fonts…why would Blackberry cut down on fonts? Contrarian – I like BBCasual and I’ll probably never change it…hence I don’t care if it has a memorable name or not.
  • UPDATE: Carlo Longino goes contrarian on Ooma. Meanwhile, I may be waiting a long time for that OS X bug…the “creator” is on the lam.

    Forget barriers to entry – you need barriers to exit

    Google and eBay had a tiff, and it looks like eBay got their point across. But it brings up a bigger issue in my mind – how easy it is to advertise on the web can also be a web advertising broker’s undoing.

    eBay pulled all its ads, in a heartbeat. Combine that with the ease of communication the internet provides (and how quickly information spreads), and you see how one big screwup can really cause pain. Imagine a bunch of web advertisers banding together to pull their ads from a broker because, say, their prices are artificially inflated, they lack transparency, or they provide terse responses to customer service questions (although I’m sure no brokers would dare do such a thing).

    As for calling Google “wimps,” and eBay a “bully”… Google, wimps? Someone bullying them? Come on.

    UPDATE: Another example.

    A clever eBay phishing attempt

    We’ve seen them before, but let’s take another peek. This one is clever indeed.

    Phishers show their love for eBay and Co

    According to recent report by Sophos, phishers are persistently targeting PayPal and eBay users. The reason? Ubiquity of the services. eBay is available in 27 countries, and I doubt there are many people who haven’t bought, sold, or at least browsed for goodies.

    That’s a big market to go after. Add the fact that there are probably a lot of casual internet users (i.e. not so technologically sophistiicated) on eBay, and you have a big, targeted market for phishers.

    I love stating the obvious.

    Ode to the Powerseller

    I don’t suspect that someone with a 10,000+ positive rating at eBay would ever fall for a phishing exploit, but you never know. Someone did, and the pilfered account information was being hocked on a Russian website. Sunbelt found the site, and eBay got it knocked down. According to an eBay spokesperson, nobody knows how many accounts may have been misused – that generally means nobody’s talking.

    A hell of a phishing attempt!

    I just recieved what is quite possibly the most intricately well produced phishing attempt I have ever seen. The HTML is so well formed, I was able to preserve it in all its glory within the Spamroll database! Please note: the Spamroll database and this link have been removed.

    Please do not click on the links within. They likely work, and who knows what is behind them. If I had any dealings with eBay UK, I might have been snagged myself.

    Have faith, in yourself that is

    People are getting more capable, as far as identifying phishing attempts is concerned. It is a simple matter of experience. So when a huge internet company rejects someone’s claim of a phishing attempt, that person should trust their own judgement. It is better to be safe than sorry, and big companies just don’t get it anyway.

    When in doubt, delete. Then move on.

    Is eBay getting into the list business?

    After reading this article about eBay’s purchase of Skype, I beg the questions…is eBay really intending on selling Skype account details to junk callers? Does this mean they have sold eBay account information in the past?
    (more…)