Did eBay Pulse "Watched Item" Scam Kill eBook & Digital Delivery Sales on eBay?

A scam is just that... a con job, a deception, a crime...

A blockbuster deception has been reported... The world should know... But it seems no one is concerned. This particular Scam is detailed in a press release (with links to the source of this story) in the block quotes at the end of this article.

I was a victim of this deception, I fell for it.. and may have been an unknowing party to adding to its success, yet I had a feeling it was a scam.  How many victims of a con have had that same feeling?  You know there is something wrong, something just does not look or feel right.  In this case I ignored that undefinable inner voice and proceeded to write & publish an article featuring one of the perpetrators of the scam.  If any one of my readers followed my story and bought from the seller, I apologize.

Read the article I wrote here: What should you sell on eBay...

I was fooled, but I knew deep down that there was no real reason why the seller Keoka64 should have been featured as the seller with the most watched item on eBay for such a long time.

Keoka64Kekoa64 sold eBooks on eBay and from my perspective, the way these listings were being marketed on the eBay site was not all that great.  The listings I saw were unprofessional and the photo of him and his girlfriend was out of focus.  The ad copy in his listings had bad grammar and spelling.

Everything pointed to a novice eBay seller just getting started on eBay... everything but the 6600 feedback and being placed on the most watched item list on the front page of eBay Pulse for over a year's time. If eBay verified that many people watching this sellers items, I must have been missing something.  I mistook the outstanding achievement (the eBay Pulse front page longevity) as a sign that eBay knew more than they obviously did.

Now it has been revealed it was all smoke and mirrors. Kekoa64 did not deserve one moment of time on the front page of eBay Pulse.  He and the other sellers who used the Scam or hacking tactics detailed below did not deserve all of the traffic or the resulting sales from that traffic.  I am left with several questions...

Hindsight is 20/20 - we all can look back in time to see events more clearly.  Let's run through the timeline here...

  • Over a year ago eBay users ’mysterygiant’, ’jjfjq’ and ’kekoa64’ begin dominating the eBay Pulse page at will.
  • The eBook sales of these sellers (at least) begin to skyrocket.
  • eBay does nothing - they do not notice what I did (which was the seemingly odd lack of quality of the listings featured as most watched items on eBay Pulse for over a year, from the same sellers, every day).
  • Sometime in the last few months the blog "GuruCreation" exposes the scam, complete with an almost "how to" video.
  • Shortly thereafter or concurrent to this expose, eBay shuts down digital delivery on eBay.  All information and digital products are removed from the core listings and sent to the classifieds section of eBay. This was at first labeled a feedback issue.
  • Then at Catalyst in early April, Stephanie Tilenius portrays this closing down of an entire category as a result of a "fraud" problem.

Can we now read between the lines... Could an assumption be made which supposes eBay was so incensed by this year-long gaming of their system (which benefited multiple parties) that they simply shut down every seller of digital delivery goods in an effort to remove all chances that anything like this could ever happen again?

eBay was a victim here...let's be clear. How they missed this is really not the point.  The fact is that they were deceived, they were scammed and it hurts when you are a victim.  eBay really would rather no one know about this little problem which lasted over a year. Without anyone from eBay wondering why it was that a few sellers - and always the same sellers - were always on the front page of eBay Pulse. I wondered... Did you?

Is it right to respond in such a massive fashion? If what I am supposing - and I have no hard facts to support my theory - is true, would eBay be justified in closing down digital delivery because of the actions of these very few sellers who gamed a system...which in the end had no connection at all to digital delivery other than the fact that it was the category they happened to sell in?  Couldn't a collectibles seller or a media seller or a book seller have perpetrated the same scam?

I really hope I am wrong, and that the two incidents are unrelated.  I must say though, I have been quite perplexed whenever I try to figure out why the entire digital delivery fiasco was initiated.  Why did eBay shut down eBay's own digital delivery initiative?

Was it simply a matter of embarrassment?  Do they really hate being the victim that much?  I hope not.

eBay - we understand, it hurts to be a victim of a con, really, we do...

Digital Products

From: WebWire

4-25-2008

Another huge kink in eBay’s armor has been revealed today. Several eBay members have managed to manipulate eBay by rigging the eBay Pulse page and making thousands of dollars per month for their effort.

An eBay member has apparently created a piece of software that creates hundreds of thousands of fake eBay accounts. He is then able to use these accounts to create watchers for his and several other eBay members auctions.

This allows eBay users ’mysterygiant’, ’jjfjq’ and ’kekoa64’ to dominate the eBay Pulse page at will. The eBay Pulse page is the single highest traffic webpage on eBay. Manipulating the eBay Pulse page has allowed these three eBay users to earn a combined estimated income of over 160,000.00 dollars in the past year alone.

The software being used to manipulate eBay’s system is able to bypass captcha and IP tracking security features on eBay. The eBay Pulse monopoly by these three users has been an extremely hot topic among the eBay community for months. With no answer from eBay on this situation it appears an eBay member took it upon himself to expose this scam.

A video along with a detailed account of events that have taken place can be found at ( http://www.gurucreation.com/2008/04/ebay-pulse-scam.html ).

Internet scams are not uncommon but for one of this magnitude to go unchallenged by eBay is uncommon. This exposes serious security flaws in eBay’s current system and leaves the door wide open for more eBay scams.

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0 Responses to Did eBay Pulse "Watched Item" Scam Kill eBook & Digital Delivery Sales on eBay?

  1. CashBackAtEbay.com June 28, 2008 at 12:58 pm #

    It wasn’t all a crock. I was an eBay buyer who bought many of them and I’ll tell you that some of those ebooks had great content on how to make money on eBay and beyond. But I agree that there was deception around how the titles got such good play on the eBay Pulse pages. And fraud was a reason eBay took the plunge to ban the items.

    When Digital Delivery Products were banned March 31, 2008 by eBay I don’t think they took note of the other kinds of products besides eBooks. The policy impacted eBay sellers who wares included digital images, auction templates, music, animations, egreeting cards, wallpaper and more. eBay auction templates were wonderful to find on eBay and my favorite Web desinger is no longer a registered user on eBay as a result.

    All the changes that eBay made has affected good sellers. While I quit selling on eBay May 19, 2008 — I still buy occassionally, but not like I did when I was buying low and selling high on eBay. I think that eBay hasn’t fully accounted for the fact that their best buyers were the sellers themselves. I’m a case in point.

    Best wishes to all surviving eBay sellers!

  2. Heather July 12, 2008 at 10:35 pm #

    Ebay was always aware of what was going on.
    I was in contact with ebay and played a huge role in reporting the same info you posted above back in Nov 2007.

    Right now Ebay is loosing Millions of dollars by getting rid of digital delivery.

    It seems to me someone at ebay should be smart enough to create a digital delivery system on ebay that doesn’t allow cheating.

    And a HUGE truth about ebay is this – Ebay refused to do anything at the time. This went on for a total of 2 years.
    So I wrote ebay and stated if you don’t stop the cheating I am going to prove I can get on the pulse page by cheating.

    I did using a system I created.
    But the system behind it all is what is called a Cron code or a Cron Job where every 90 seconds a new ebay account is created as a watcher in a foreign country such as Singapore, and these guys got away with it.

    I am glad these 3 cheaters are suspended, and yes I believe they single handedly ruinned ebay for 1000’s of digital sellers…..but I think ebay should reopen the the digital sales of ebooks. But just create a system where no one can be on the ebay pulse more than 1 time in a month.This would stop a lot of problems.
    Also ebay needs to create a system of human watchers to check the main pulse page daily by the hour to stop the cheating.

    Like I said ebay has destroyed the lives and jobs of ebook sellers world wide all because of 3 people.
    Maybe it’s time for ebay to reopen this area.

    Another truth is this, NO ONE WANTS to buy an ebook from a Classified add, because it’s too slow, too hard for the average person on ebay to find, and it’s not worth the time or effort and the struggle.

    With people out of work, ebay needs to reopen the digital Highway.
    But open it in a better stronger avenue.
    Thanks Heather

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