Does making listings PRIVATE help sales or hinder

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Personally, when I am wanting an item on eBay, I look carefully at the seller's feedback search back for similar items, prices and comments to assess the sellers trading record.

Today that is far less possible than it was since the winning buyer of previous items is now anonymous, and only by careful inspection of the feedback trail can you link these sales to actual users, that is IF feedback has been given.

Private listings remove this possibility completely, hence it is my opinion that private listings remove completely the "comfort factor" in being able to check previous sales.

I recently bid for and won an item that was private listed, the price this item fetched was way below the previous going range of values. When I asked the seller WHY he had made his listing private, his answer was "I didnt notice it was private" could this mean
that somehow his system had got into private by default?  Worth checking before you sell that your items are not listed suchlike.

Another example of the disadvantage of  PRIVATE LISTING  Bidders are becoming suspicious and quite rightly so, this shows in the level of interest, and of course the level of bidding.

Here is an example recently documented:-  D-Link DR615 Wireless Routers, these are a popular and plentiful router, mostly supplied by a large cable company in the UK, buyers will often want something a little more sprauncy than the basic unit, so their old, often not used or lightly used DR-615's get sold off on eBay. I use, also supply wi-fi routers to friends and customers, set these up for them, so a cheap supply is always welcome. An analysis of 16 recently sold DR615 routers showed 14 were open auction, and 2 were PRIVATE.

The 14 routers OPEN auctioned fetched an average price of £13.68, lowest being £9.50 highest being £21.55.  the TWO PRIVATE sales raised £6.50 and £7.51 each, about 50% of those sold on OPEN auction.

Throughout the month of April 2010 I have kept a close watch on the sale of these routers, with some PRIVATE listings picking up bids very early on, whereas the open auctions will sit there for days, sometimes even until the last hour or so, before receiving a bid, this is suspicious, and indicates one reason WHY sellers make their listings PRIVATE, to hide "assisted bidding" from watchers. 

Conversely to the previous statement about PRIVATE sales fetching less value, in the recent analysis, two PRIVATE router sales reached values some 50% above the average OPEN sale price, both of these sales exhibited a far greater number of bids than the average OPEN sale would, of course the identity was withheld completely, not even a a***x anonymous ID to compare, you must form your own conclusions here as to what went on.

WHY do sellers chose PRIVATE Listings for mundane, popular, household items? Private listings were surely only intended for items of high value or of a sensitive and private nature, using private for run-of-the-mill, everyday items is pointless surely,
unless the seller wants to hide suspect activity, WHICH IS THE MAIN REASON SELLERS OF FAKE FLASH MEMORY use PRIVATE LISTINGS, to HIDE what they sold, and WHO they sold to.
Such activities as price fixing, getting a friend to place unreasonably high bids or using another account for a similar purpose or to expose an existing bid, or to qualify an item as sellable at a higher than normal starting price. ALL these activities are rife now, one only has to look carefully at the time and style of bidding to see price fixing working, the placing by a friend or by another account that the seller owns to fix a minimum price, thus avoiding the charges for a RESERVE price. ALL these activities are virtually condoned by eBay because of their ridiculous stance on privacy. the new anonymous ID's  x***y  for example, which eBay say are unique to a particular bidder for a period of time. This is OK for them as they see the full user ID, we as buyers only see the truncated anonymous ID as despite what eBay say these can be duplicated from the viewers point of view, I recently reported two such cases where MY anonymous ID clashed with another buyers anonymous ID, on the SAME auction, another on similar items by the same seller, another uncomfortable feature of the new so called security ID anonimiser.

I also follow the prices and sales patterns of computer hard drives, because I use a lot of  them, buy a lot of them, as could be seen by reading my guides on the subject.

Here is an example of what I regard as "unusual activity"

Seller A puts up for auction a Maxtor drive of the capacity range and type I require this seller sets the start price at £50 (rediculous as new items 4 times the capacity are less than this price) they also fix the postage at double the reasonable value.
Result- Item fails to sell on a 10 day listing.

Seller A re-lists the item this time at £15, but with the same high postage. again the item fails to sell (10 day listing)

Seller A re-lists the item a second time  £15 and with high postage again the item fails to sell (10 day listing)

Seller A re-lists a third time,  same price, same high postage but but this time on a private 10 day listing. This time the item picks up a bid of the starting price at 3 days into the 10, this bid is not challenged and the item closes showing TWO bids of the SAME value both placed within a minute of each other SEVEN days before the closure date/time, NO other bids are placed in the following SEVEN days up to the auction closure.

This I maintain is IRREGULAR activity.  Un-checkable now by normal buyers because of the private listing and anonymous feedback. I maintain that this is the sort of  transaction that eBay security should be following, they have all the user details
and purport to check the IP address of all user activity, so could easily check these  bids and their source.

Update 6th June 2009
Item being sold by seller A now re-listed as open auction, same price & postage it is MY opinion that looking at these facts, the seller placed bids himself or got a friend to place bids so as not to make it look like yet another failed auction (Ego problems). Amazing thing is that IF the seller had made the starting bid £0.99 with a reasonable postage price, it would have probably
reached his price and sold FIRST TIME with NO re-listing costs.

These comments DO comply with eBay's guidelines, they are based on FACTS observed by myself
and accessible to any eBay member.  Lessons to be learnt  here!!

Observations from Labourinvein  June 2009 (1)  Router lists added March 2010 (2)  More router updates Apr 2010 (3)

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