A very alarming trend is appearing regarding false reputations built on copied Guides and Reviews from other peoples hard work, copied adverts and lots of penny bargain sales in order to gain positive feedback. This means the seller looks much more reputable than they really are. I have uncovered evidence that this is happening on an increasing scale too new for eBay to react - so its up to us to be aware and not get duped. This is why this guide has been put together, you can make a difference and help others by voting YES below in so doing making this advice visible to others in order to help make eBay a safer place to buy and sell.
Something new has started that should be communicated, see ALERT WARNING Paypal eBay Details Latest
Ask yourself one question - why are they doing this? Of course this guide could be relevant to anything sold on eBay and by any seller. Do not think this is just restricted to just the associated tags at the top of this guide, the chosen software, memory, PC equipment, clothing, phones, ipod, laptop and games are but a few examples and should not be considered as limitation of relevance - this applies to all items sold here and on any other site for that matter.
Point to ponder about the seriousness of eBay's reaction to this: ...... Over 14,000 helpfulness votes which contributed to an unparralleled reputation of the UK's No.1 Reviewer were somehow deleted by eBay sending the Ranking crashing to 12,000th, see for yourself by comparing the score for this (over 9000) against the total for all guides that eBay condescended to record. This of course does have a dramatic and very negative effect on the visibility of this topic, and despite repeated communications since late June, nothing has been forthcoming except email responses of appeasement and fob-off.
If you have been ripped off this will be of help to you: How to take legal action to get money back
Warning signs like blatant plagiarism and buying items at 1p for quick positive feedback to gain reputation usually precedes a scam that is almost undetectable to all but a few who recognise the trends before it happens. Look at how long they have been a member and ask yourself how long would you wait before setting the trap. Do not be duped by these people or you will loose money.
Instant reputations can be and are being built up by writing guides and reviews in order to gain a very positive reputation effect on buyers because they assume the seller is putting much effort into being helpful. These copies (often every word) are passed of as their own work, not a very trustworthy thing to do so why trust them. How do you tell, simply copy and paste the first few lines onto Google and see if you get more that one hit, youll see what I mean when you do it. What does eBay say about this, click here to see their policy but they dont enforced it until someone tells them.
Scores are kept once people vote on them, even if they are found to be fraudulent or blatant copies of others work or other internet reviews. Even when the members are suspended from trading in eBay scores still stands so others often copy these because they cant report it or complain.
Fake levels of helpfulness are obtained by selecting similar items and using the same words for each to vastly inproved their reputation on their feedback page so it looks much better than it really is and superficially has a very positive effect. If you see the same wording on different items you can bet it has been copied. Which one would you trust?
Advise and claims with no experience or ability to verify in real life would be ignored so why take notice of it on eBay. Why do so many believe what they read on eBay from people who have no standing experience and then give it credence.
Shilling Circles, have been getting more sophisticated over a couple of years now, are organised groups of eBay members who give each other very good ratings, often from 1p BUY IT NOW offers and then scratch each others backs by driving up bids till some unsuspective buyers step in and wins it. These can be recognised by looking for similar comments and comments about items that have little relationship to the items being sold, something difficult for eBay to spot so they relie on members to highlight it basing this on the sound principal of 1 million eyes sees much more than one.
Another more recent discovery of likely 'Shilling' or 'back-stratching' activity is the number of dealings with members 'no longer registered'. Mathematics shows us that anything outside of normal probability is open to suspicion, therefore if a member has an unexpectedly high dealing rate with revoked members then what would that suggest to you!.
Since writing this I have even been informed that even the exulted of the Guide and Review writers have copied reviews from someone else to get them there and had to take it offline yet still claims it to be their own work. So why is eBay not sanctioning that person and removing their feedback scores. This comment alone has generated some not too surprising responses which have been recorded. Action taken so a victory for the good side.
Since writing my original about this activity, I have had numerous feedback and the following suggestions for eBay to improve their service to both Buyers and Sellers. They fall into these main headings
- Delete all guides and Reviews from suspended members to prevent copying and misleading information.
- Delete feedback of any Guide, Review or advert completely and blatently copied without a good reason, as there is no difference between this and any other law on copyright.
- Generally unacceptable behaviour.
- Downright unlawful.
Any others I receive I will publish as updates
I am taking a risk in writing this, and from the negative votes you can see a reaction beginning. They don't want you to see this. It seems even software has an opinion and its a good job I always keep records - see July update bullet point 2 below.
Update 25th October - Latest trick to stop detection is to change the words in the leading paragraphs, so if you do enter text into Google choose text from further into the guide, review or advert.
Update 2nd November - Rightly so, it was pointed out to me that in some cases it was perfectly permissible to use others words. Providing they had permission contractually as in a partnership or by prior knowledge. It can also be acceptable to use small textual extracts, and information from a topic which could not be explained any other way. Relatively speaking e=mc2, or symbols for recognition purposes.
Update July -
- Check how long someone has been regisitered and ask yourself, is thier feedback rating believeble? Also I have had a few communications regarding people who only take cheques, remember that there is a risk when using this method of payment and these are sumarised on the following page PAYMENT SUMMARY If you do get into an unsatisfactory situation, try to consider who maybe the next person coming down the same road; we have a right to police intervention and eBay will co-operate in any legal process - at least that is what they have communicated to me. I will have an interesting update on this one when it concludes.
- Here is one to ponder, over 14,000 helpful votes which contribute to the Reviewer Rank for my Guides were deleted by eBay sending my Ranking crashing to 12,000th from the UK No. 1 position which has a dramatic and very negative effect on the visibility of this and other similar topic guides.
Update September -
It has been over three months now since eBay lost over 14,000 helpfulness votes for these guides. Despite numerous contacts with the supposedly Customer Focused mail-box, they are refusing to reinstate these, and little seems to be happening and looks to me as though they either couldn't care less or are in no rush to make these guides as visible as they could be which is tantamount to blatant censorship.
Update November -
As you will note the Feedback now shows the correct earned vote totals, although it did take nearly six months to reinstate these lost votes, and some of you are still reporting errors when submitting YES votes on these guides. At least it shows persistence is contributory factor in a victory for the good guys and thanks for the support I received.
Update February -
Noted from comments received over the past couple of months that there is a growing trend in sourcing product review material from other websites; notably IMDB for films, epinions for electrics, mobile-phones-uk, ciao, mobiletechreview, phonescoop for mobiles and Amazon, virginradio for music. It will tell you a lot about the eBayer if you find they are mostly using other peoples work.
The more agressive responses I have received so far seem to be missing the point, this guide is about the abuse of misdirection for the purposes of fraud. Copying complete adverts, guides, reviews from eBay or other sources such as IMDB or Amazon in some cases so blatant not even bothering to remove personal comments, examples or dates from the orginals and even simply using the same text for numerous other products. Therefore the target of this is to point out to eBayers the need to look carefully at who you buy from and what you buy. There are too many opportunities to fall down and seemingly a lot less of us willing to stand up and outstretch a hand. eBay are taking action on this matter, for those in the know you will have noticed it, but this can only be done with the members assistance and it takes time to investigate, therefore continued vigillance is always advisable and will be of continued relevance especially to new members who may fall victim.
Checking for originality:
How to check if Reviews and Guides are originals or blatant copies is to simply copy the claimed text and paste into Yahoo and see the results. If they are not what they seem the results of the search will show where they stole the information from; then think about would you trust someone who does this?
Try typing "Every now and then a product comes along that promises to revolutionise the market. The N95 is such a beast, combining satellite navigation, a cutting-edge 5-megapixel camera" using Yahoo and see what you can deduce.
It seems such a shame some people think the route to success is that easy.
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Collection of Warnings, Advice and Experiences with eBay from its members across the UK grouped into natural sets to help you avoid the pitfalls and less scrupulous of its members.
If you have found this guide helpful, help others by voting YES below to get this noticed and fight back to make eBay a safer place to buy and sell.