Now comments found at this discussion and ecommercebytes blog show the ebay shill bidding tutorial also had content removed. Namely 2 questions. The tutorial shrunk from 13 questions to 11 questions.

The content removed  was question 8

Consignment shops (sometimes called ‘drop shops’) offer a great service for helping people sell their items on eBay. However, to avoid even the appearance of Shill Bidding, owners or employees of consignment shops may never bid on the items the shop offers for sale. If the consignment shop is part of an extended franchise operation, individuals employed within any part of the franchise are not allowed to bid on items listed by any franchise member.

and question 9:

When a member’s eBay business grows, they sometimes hire employees to help with that business. Bidding on a seller’s item by individuals employed by the seller – in any role – is a violation of eBay’s Shill Bidding policy. As an eBay member and an employer, you are responsible for actions of your employees as they affect your account and your eBay business. It’s important that your employees understand and follow eBay’s policies. eBay has suspended member accounts as a result of actions by those member’s employees.

Add to that, much like the shill bidding policy change, there are some very convincing reasons to believe this unannounced change was also very recent and made without too much planning, and/or in great haste:

Current Live Shill Bidding Tutorial Introduction Page

(emphasis mine)

Thanks for taking our tutorial on eBay’s shill bidding policy. This tutorial will show you:

  • What shill bidding is
  • How shill bidding harms other members
  • What could happen as a result of violating our policy
  • How you can avoid violating this policy

This tutorial has 13 questions and should take 15 – 20 minutes to complete.

Let’s get started.

Yet when you get to page 11 you see this:

Did someone have a few “oops!” moments when they forgot to change everything to match?

To add another heapin’ helpin’ to the notion it was very recently changed, much like the shill bidding policy, other English language sites such as ebay India, still have the questions 8 and 9, and a full 13 questions to the tutorial.

So far I have not found any ebay site on the planet where those questions were removed other than the USA. Try it yourself.

Again, note that the content removed dealt with consignment shops and individuals bidding on their employer’s goods.

If you read the post about the shill bidding policy change you know they left very conflicting info on the policy Vs Tutorial pages for the USA.

So what in tarnation is going at ebaY? Golly gee, all the flurry about the [alleged] shill bidding VH1 House of Consignment Reality TV star Corri McFadden edropoff scandal,  SLAPP censorship and lawsuits breaking out couldn’t have anything to do with it? Could it?

What do you think? Cover-up? Whitewash? Coincidence? Sloppy website keeping?


Looks like ebaY may have another Oops! moment, as they still have those now missing questions (and all 13 questions) featured live on the current  non-javascript or text only version of the page for the USA: (click for larger view)


See this update:

ebaY’s Secret Shill Bidding Policy and Tutorial Changes Revisited