For those of you who 1) have read today’s eBay Watch column on EcommerceGuide or 2) remember the stink many eBay members raised over the masking of bidder IDs on auctions over $200, then eBay’s latest announcement will be of interest. EBay’s theory behind masking user IDs would be to limit damage from fake second chance offers. Fair enough, but by masking user IDs many eBayers felt this changed the social dynamics of the auction community. Collectors, for example, often planned bid strategy based on the people they were bidding against. With IDs masked, there was just no way to tell who they were up against.
So, rather than listen to its members before making the changes, eBay has gone back to change the ID masking to help bring back (and yes I quote) “some of the magic of that makes eBay so unique”. eBay plans to bring back the bidder’s actual feedback score next to each member’s respective User ID. Currently when masking User IDs eBay uses (Bidder 1, Bidder 2 and Bidder 3) and they plan to change this format and use two random characters from the member’s User ID instead. This should be enough to help competitive bidders figure out the competition and still protect those bidding over $200 on items from being scammed.
EBay went on to say that at the end of a listing, the winning bidder’s User ID will be displayed on both the item and bid history page, and that they also “reserve the right to change this masking algorithm in the future, but will only do so if absolutely necessary and with advance notice”.