Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Automated Scripts Overrun eBay Holiday Contest

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the dollar-for-this-dollar-for-that dept.

Security 182

turnkeylinux writes "TechCrunch is reporting that eBay is under fire from users because of a holiday giveaway contest gone awry. On Tuesday Nov. 25, eBay announced its $1 Holiday Doorbusters deals promotion, giving away 100 gifts on a daily basis, all for a $1 fixed price. The gifts ranged from jewelry, clothing, digital cameras, and GPS devices to a brand-new Chevrolet Corvette. The only catch is that there's no announcement on when these items are released or in which category they will be. But cheaters came up with a clever way of winning deals on an automated basis by continuously running scripts to bid on items for $1."

cancel ×

182 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

The internet is full of assholes... (0)

steeleye_brad (638310) | more than 5 years ago | (#26003653)

story at 11.

Re:The internet is full of assholes... (5, Funny)

orthancstone (665890) | more than 5 years ago | (#26003711)

When griefing gets boring in online games, take it to the next best place: Ebay!

Re:The internet is full of assholes... (2, Funny)

jandrese (485) | more than 5 years ago | (#26003717)

Isn't this the foundation of Ebay?

Re:The internet is full of assholes... (0)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004103)

eBay decided that they were going to going to give 100 people per day a present, and raise the prices for every other individual to subsidize that present. So, they're screwing everyone, both buyers and sellers, minus 100 people.

If you want to be a beneficiary of the screwing rather than the victim, you have to come mindlessly click around the eBay website.

Seems like eBay was the real asshole here.

Re:The internet is full of assholes... (5, Funny)

bberens (965711) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004689)

By using that logic no company should ever advertise because it raises the base cost of doing business... which is bad for their customers. The reality is that advertising increases market share which generally lowers the per transaction cost and saves customers money. If we all thought your way there'd be no such thing as marketing. Wait.. maybe you're on to something...

Re:The internet is full of assholes... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26003803)

...such as you?

By any objective measure, it's a really cool, responsible, and good thing to rip off Ebay when they make stupid holiday offers. There is nothing bad about screwing large corporations like Ebay and there should definitely be more of those little pranks for Amazon, Google, Microsoft, etc. :-) Any volunteers?

Re:The internet is full of assholes... (4, Insightful)

kiwimate (458274) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004161)

How is this ripping off eBay? They were going to sell this item at $1 anyway. If anyone's being ripped off, it's the other eBay users who now realistically have zero chance (as opposed to a miniscule chance) of getting lucky and scoring a nice holiday bonus.

Re:The internet is full of assholes... (4, Funny)

paeanblack (191171) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004909)

If the automated scripts are just placing a $1 bid on everything they find, it sounds like a good time to ebay the contents of my penny jar...individually.

Re:The internet is full of assholes... (3, Interesting)

Technician (215283) | more than 5 years ago | (#26005129)

If the automated scripts are just placing a $1 bid on everything they find, it sounds like a good time to ebay the contents of my penny jar...individually.

I was thinking more along the lines of state quarters, plus S&H and insurance. Maybe the next sale will be a money maker as the script kiddies find their liability for their purchases mount. If they relesed quarters at 1500 items to each sale item, it would kill the profitability of the scripts and the problem would go away.

Re:The internet is full of assholes... (5, Insightful)

coopaq (601975) | more than 5 years ago | (#26005485)

Buyers have no incentive to pay anymore, but you always pay to list the item.

Feedback has been removed so shill bidding is easy.

Re:The internet is full of assholes... (5, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 5 years ago | (#26003927)

World is full of Assholes ... And Assholes use the law to continue to be assholes.

Everyone knows an asshole. You know, the guy/gal who sits on the fence of the law, skirting around the edges, being an asshole and taking every advantage to be one.

We all know we want to punch the asshole in the face, because they definitely deserve it, but we also know that the Asshole will sue and so we don't.

We're in the age of the "legal asshole", the asshole that never breaks any law, but abuses the gray areas simply because they can.

Re:The internet is full of assholes... (5, Funny)

jhRisk (1055806) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004595)

More assholes need to get fucked.

Re:The internet is full of assholes... (3, Insightful)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 5 years ago | (#26005323)

In many places that is still against the law, even if you could get the Asshole to agree to such an invasion. Not getting permission first is definitely a bad idea, and illegal in most jurisdictions.

ON an asside note, most bad laws are written because some Asshole did something that wasn't against the law. So they write a law to make it illegal so we can "legally" punch them in the face (ie jail or fine).

You'll see this everytime someone says ... "There ought to be a law". No, there shouldn't be a law, we should be allowed to punch assholes for being assholes.

Re:The internet is full of assholes... (0)

JCSoRocks (1142053) | more than 5 years ago | (#26005335)

No goatse link?

Re:The internet is full of assholes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26004673)

Was there ever not an age of the "legal asshole"?

Re:The internet is full of assholes... (1)

publiclurker (952615) | more than 5 years ago | (#26005357)

How about when dueling was allowed?

Re:The internet is full of assholes... (0, Offtopic)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 5 years ago | (#26005103)

Nice post. You phrased it better than I could.

Re:The internet is full of assholes... (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26004149)

Yes the world is full of assholes, but don't discount the dicks and pussies quite yet...

Pussies don't like dicks, because pussies get fucked by dicks. But dicks also fuck assholes: assholes that just want to shit on everything. Pussies may think they can deal with assholes their way. But the only thing that can fuck an asshole is a dick, with some balls. The problem with dicks is: they fuck too much or fuck when it isn't appropriate - and it takes a pussy to show them that. But sometimes, pussies can be so full of shit that they become assholes themselves... because pussies are an inch and half away from ass holes. I don't know much about this crazy, crazy world, but I do know this: If you don't let us fuck this asshole, we're going to have our dicks and pussies all covered in shit!

The moral of this story is: if you want to fuck over these assholes then be a dick, not a pussy.

Re:The internet is full of assholes... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26004833)

Carlin?

Re:The internet is full of assholes... (5, Funny)

DRue (152413) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004261)

/me hurridly begins posting his "ebook" on ebay for $1 each.

Re:The internet is full of assholes... (1)

aztracker1 (702135) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004543)

What's funny, is that is a really awesome idea... or a download from your server of a FOSS to cover "costs". Or any number of infinite goods that you can produce online for less than $1.. same could work for indy band mp3's, etc.

Re:The internet is full of assholes... (4, Funny)

TheLink (130905) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004891)

Maybe it's time to sell my set of foldable[1] air guitars. They're still in mint condition since I rarely play them.

[1] Folds up and fits nicely in an envelope. Cool eh?

Buy My Scripts for $5 (0, Troll)

fibrewire (1132953) | more than 5 years ago | (#26003655)

Yes i make scripts for just such purposes. Oh, and visit my sponsor Big-Al's-house-o-porn.com

Time to offload some crap (5, Interesting)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#26003703)

Are these scripts still running. Seems like it's time to list a ton of stuff for a buck that wouldn't even sell at a garage sale. I wonder if they check the shipping price... could really nail them then.

Re:Time to offload some crap (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26003839)

Just sell single paper sheet on the format of a postcard for 1$, you can even go so far to pay for the stamp, should make a profit of about 10 cents per item then :-)

Re:Time to offload some crap (3, Funny)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004291)

Too expensive. I plan on selling individual toothpicks for $1 - and saying "winner must pick up item in person". I like a profit of $1 per item.

Re:Time to offload some crap (1)

mikael (484) | more than 5 years ago | (#26003871)

Then they would just add a keyword search to the listings. If the punters were after an iPhone for $1, then Ebay could sell iPhone covers, iPhone cases, iPhone headphones all for $1. But the punters would get wise and look for a string like "iPhone with *", rather than "iPhone *".

Re:Time to offload some crap (5, Funny)

nizo (81281) | more than 5 years ago | (#26003957)

Your life won't be complete until you augment your iPhone with a new postcard! Bidding starts at only $1!!

Re:Time to offload some crap (1)

Kabuthunk (972557) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004307)

Eh, easy enough way around that. You could grab a pencil, draw a 2-second drawing of an Iphone with case (a few squares inside of other squares, maybe a circle or two would suffice), and advertise it as "Iphone with case drawing". If shipping is included (as stated with the stamp), it might look almost legitimate enough that a script kiddie would just glance at it and might think it's the real thing. If he has to skim though hundreds or thousands of bids his script made, that might be just enough to net you a ton of envelope sales.

Re:Time to offload some crap (2, Interesting)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 5 years ago | (#26003887)

Sure, in a perfect ebay where people weren't unscrupulous, this might work. But you have to figure the case is more like, they opened a new account just for this bot (or maybe stole someone elses account), just in case they get caught, their "real" accounts won't get terminated. After their bot runs, they pick and choose what they want. They let the rest go, simply not paying for it.

Re:Time to offload some crap (1)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004051)

I'm not sure that would work.

Ebay is quite good at connecting accounts, and typically the will block a whole string accounts based upon shared IP addresses. So somebody thinking they could setup an account "scriptbot2" while leaving their other "smithfamily" account clean will likely find both accounts linked together as one customer & then blocked.

Re:Time to offload some crap (2, Informative)

Blimey85 (609949) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004229)

Use a proxy? If you are sophisticated enough to write a bot for this sort of thing, you surely know about using proxies and most likely have some at your disposal. Or maybe your mom hates you and won't let you get broadband to the basement so you are still on dial-up. Each time you dial in, you get a different ip address. But then again, how are you possibly running a bot that needs to make a lot of connections on dial-up? lol

Re:Time to offload some crap (4, Insightful)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26003907)

You read my mind. I have a few items left-over from last Christmas that didn't sell even when marked down to 0.01 so maybe they'll sell now this year to one of these script-kiddies.

DRAWBACK: A lot of these script-kiddies are probably deadbeat non-payers as well. Surely they are not going to buy 10,000 items that they won last week for a dollar each. Instead they'll just refuse to pay and leave sellers to eat the losses in Ebay fees.

Re:Time to offload some crap (3, Informative)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26003931)

P.S.

And of course with Ebay's "brilliant" idea to not let sellers give buyers negative feedback, there's no way for us to warn other sellers about these deadbeat non-paying bidders. Yippee.

Re:Time to offload some crap (1)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004055)

Really? You can't leave negative feedback for buyers?

What is the point of feedback?

Re:Time to offload some crap (5, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004257)

Really? You can't leave negative feedback for buyers?

What is the point of feedback?

Because a good chunk of sellers won't leave feedback until the buyers leave them positive feedback. It became a tit-for-tat system, where sellers could get 100% feedback ratings because buyers who got scammed refused to leave neutral or negative feedback. There were even lawsuits threatened (and maybe even launched) because sellers took negative feedback as libel.

Buyers have few recourses if scammed by a bad seller. Sellers who have a non-paying bidder though, should file a complaint with eBay (who is supposed to refund all fees due, and mark the buyer, I don't know if this happens).

Feedback is supposed to rate the trustworthiness of buyers and (especially) sellers. It's a bit more important for a seller because buyers use that to determine if they should bid since once payment is sent, recourse is limited. Pretty much the worst that can happen for a seller who has a bad buyer is they don't pay. (Of course, there is the issue with sellers claiming they didn't receive it or it was damaged, which is why there's tracking information and insurance, all of which a seller can mandate).

I will agree though that eBay's system is horribly screwed up (as a buyer). Some sellers have gone to use the (neg) in the comments to mean negative feedback. A system where feedback is kept hidden until both parties have sent it in (keeping tit-for-tat at bay) would work better.

Re:Time to offload some crap (3, Informative)

Poruchik (1004331) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004375)

As a seller, now I have no recourse against a bad buyer. Ebay does not refund ALL fees, just the final value fee, which is a percentage of the final price that the buyer pays. I lose the insertion fee (which would be refunded if an item is relisted, but not for multiple item auctions) and any and all listing upgrade fees that are substantial. So in essense, it is GOOD for Ebay to have non paying buyers, as they get double the fees if the item has to be relisted.

Re:Time to offload some crap (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26004929)

The perfect compromise would be that sellers CAN leave feedback, but they must leave feedback BEFORE the buyer can. Once I give a seller my money, they have everything they need to give me feedback, and they know everything that they and other sellers need to know about me, that I pay on time. I should feel free to leave any feedback I feel appropriate for a seller without worrying that they will leave me negative retaliatory feedback.

Re:Time to offload some crap (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26005055)

What is wrong with a tit for tit system? Do you believe it is possible for one side of the transaction to be happy while the other side is not?

It is not possible with the feedback system now or before to determine which side was at fault. It would be better if both sides received the same rating.

Now, sellers will be rating buyers on the ratings they give sellers. Which is back to the tit for tat system.

Re:Time to offload some crap (4, Interesting)

theaveng (1243528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26005063)

So now we have a solution where buyers can blackmail sellers with comments like, "Give me free shipping or I'll leave a negative on your account," and of course ebay won't do anything to stop the buyers from this blackmail.

>>>Buyers have few recourses if scammed by a bad seller.

Bullshit. I'm a buyer and I have LOTS of recourse for protecting myself:
- threaten to neg seller if he does not do the right thing (not very effective)
- file paypal complaint (you almost always win)
- file credit card chargeback (you win 100%)
- court lawsuit

The real problem is: Who protects the sellers? I had a buyer return an EMPTY envelope to me, and then she filed a credit chargeback to reverse $80 out of my account while she kept the PSP handheld. There was nothing I could do to stop this scam, or any future scams. It's the buyers who are best-protected, and the sellers who are most vulnerable.

Re:Time to offload some crap (1)

terraformer (617565) | more than 5 years ago | (#26003917)

No, there are specific items to look for, only that it is not known which ones on which days.

Re:Time to offload some crap (4, Funny)

xgr3gx (1068984) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004035)

Oooh! Scam the scammers!
Sell a bunch of worthless crap for $1 and charge $8 shipping.
Assuming you can get the script to automatically pay with paypal, I'll be selling all of the pennies in my change jar for $9 each!

Re:Time to offload some crap (2, Insightful)

bev_tech_rob (313485) | more than 5 years ago | (#26005347)

Some people are already doing that as a way of revenge against the scripters.....a woman was selling pictures of her cat for $1 each by putting DOOR BUSTERS in the picture description.....sold quite a few according to one article.....nice.....

Re:Time to offload some crap (5, Funny)

bev_tech_rob (313485) | more than 5 years ago | (#26005461)

Here is a quote from the MSNBC article about the same issue...pretty funny :P

"This is picture I took of my cat with my Cannon Powershot Camera after she overheard that people where using scripting to purchase HOLIDAY DOORBUSTERS items on eBay. Not responsible for poor scripting techniques."

eBay (4, Insightful)

olddotter (638430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26003719)

eBay needs help. They have alienated there sellers, gone to supporting "stores" more than hobby/small-time sellers, and they take almost 10% of sells.

Now they show they can't think through the obvious implications of a badly designed promotion (scam).

Really ebay would do much better to cut their fees and support the mom and pops in this economic environment. I think the time is ripe for competition in the on-line auction market. http://poorbenjamin.blogspot.com/2008/08/for-jerry-yang-to-ponder.html [blogspot.com]

Re:eBay (4, Insightful)

cwAllenPoole (1228672) | more than 5 years ago | (#26003815)

s/eBay/Microsoft/ The basic problem though is monopoly. Once an organization reaches critical mass, it has the ability to simply dwarf the competition. Look at how long it has taken to get Firefox to reach its current position, and alternate OS's still haven't managed to even dent the mega-corps. Fortunately things are never quite that bad on the internet, but the fundamental issues are the same.

Re:eBay (2, Insightful)

Blimey85 (609949) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004345)

It depends on what you are offering. Google seems to be quite good at breaking into existing markets. I've used Gmail for a long time now and most people I know also use it. Even people who before handled email themselves have switched to Gmail. I did just for the spam filtering because no matter how many hours I spent working on it, I could never get filters setup just right on my own servers. A quick signup with Google and a few minutes changing dns and now email for my domains runs through Gmail. I can still access it with whatever program and my phone, plus I have a nice reliable web interface that I didn't have when I did my own email. Yahoo and Hotmail used to dominate and I'm sure they probably still have the majority of the market, either one, but Gmail has grown by leaps and bounds and continues to get larger.

And then there is Google itself. It dominates and has for years.

The iPod and iPhone are two prime examples of taking over markets. If I read the article correctly a week or so ago, the iPhone either has or is about to pass up Blackberry for sales.

What would it take to become larger than eBay? I dunno. Amazon used to have auctions, and maybe they still do, but the couple of times I visited years ago the place was dead. The hot action was on eBay. If a behemoth like Amazon can't pull it off... then again, eBay has continued to piss people off. But so has PayPal, for a lot longer and they are still going strong. Maybe you can treat your customers like shite and get away with it because you are just so large.

Re:eBay (1)

pzs (857406) | more than 5 years ago | (#26005261)

I concur. When eBay made PayPal mandatory in the UK I tried to take my business elsewhere by selling my latest round of unwanted games and DVDs on eBid, which (as I understand) is their nearest rival. I couldn't get any bidders at all on fairly recent DS titles so I had to go back to eBay just to shift the items :(

Re:eBay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26003965)

Couldn't agree more. As one of those small-time users myself, they've gone out of their way to burn bridges and run my type out of the service.

They seem to have limited their seller pool to mass-volume movers hawking Chinese knock-offs.

I now root for their demise with enthusiasm.

Re:eBay (1)

tgd (2822) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004093)

You forgot, also, that the odds are as a buyer you're still going to have your money stolen if you buy from there ...

Re:eBay (1)

eltonito (910528) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004109)

Why does eBay need help? If anything they need more direct competition and a loss of revenue that forces them to address the multitude of complaints regarding their service. Until that happens eBay will continue to slowly alienate the grassroots users (hobbyists, individuals) that made eBay what it is today.

At one point I thought Craigslist might be the catalyst for change at eBay. Craigslist seems to be where former eBayers end up, but that mild exodus hasn't slowed down eBay at all.

Re:eBay (4, Insightful)

timholman (71886) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004129)

eBay needs help. They have alienated there sellers, gone to supporting "stores" more than hobby/small-time sellers, and they take almost 10% of sells.

The problem is that eBay quit being an auction site a long time ago, and now has become the world's biggest flea market. There's nothing necessarily wrong with that; I often will buy some inexpensive item from a "Buy It Now" power seller, but I gave up on actually bidding for items a long time ago. Between the scammers and the snipers, it's not worth the hassle. The power sellers are now eBay's true customer base, and that's who they cater to.

Nowadays I find that Craigslist typically provides a better selection of high-end merchandise, plus you deal with local sellers and buyers without the overhead. The real problem, I think, is that the online auction business model is slowly becoming obsolete - otherwise, you'd see legitimate competitors taking over the market segment that eBay has turned its back on.

Craigslist (1)

swb (14022) | more than 5 years ago | (#26005345)

The problem with buying on Craigslist is that you have to be careful where you go and who you buy from and who you sell to.

I've had good experiences selling some items, but I'm always REAL wary of prospective buyers who email you one-line questions like "Where do you live?" It's too easy to have it become a burglars' shopping service, or even if they buy something not terribly expensive, they get a chance to case your house. Buying is a whole other risk category; wandering into a strange house/neighborhood for a deal with a few hundred dollars in your pocket can be risky. There have been several stories about people getting robbed in the local news media.

Personally, my stuff for sale I've kept in the garage and only let the buyers in there and not into the rest of my house. I also holster up my Glock in case something weird were to happen, and I would certainly do the same if I went to buy something.

I'm sure the robberies are more the exception than the rule and if you don't assume there's a great deal on expensive items in the ghetto you won't have problems, but it still gets risky.

Re:eBay (1)

Rick Bentley (988595) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004715)

They have alienated there sellers...

Their sellers are there?

Re:eBay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26005141)

eBay needs help.

Maybe we could give them a bailout. A few billion should help them.

Now _this_ is unfair (3, Funny)

Andr T. (1006215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26003779)

From TFA:

Meanwhile, bot scripts are being offered on RentACoder for $20 and even free of charge here and there.

How can I sell my scripts if there is someone giving them out for free? This is outrageous!

Re:Now _this_ is unfair (1)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004117)

How can I sell my scripts if there is someone giving them out for free? This is outrageous!

Somewhere, Darth RIAA has felt the presence of his new apprentice.

Re:Now _this_ is unfair (1)

Andr T. (1006215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004181)

Somewhere, Darth RIAA has felt the presence of his new apprentice. --

You read this sig. You owe me $1.

I know by your sig that you want to compete with me. Com'on, let's get this over with.

* Grabs his red double lightsaber *

Cheaters? (4, Insightful)

forand (530402) | more than 5 years ago | (#26003797)

I don't see how making a script of this sort is cheating. If they don't want to allow scripting that is their problem to try and stop but anyone with the knowhow will realize that spending 30 min writing a script is much better then spending 24 hrs/day hitting refresh on the same search.

Re:Cheaters? (-1, Offtopic)

Andr T. (1006215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26003861)

If they don't want to allow scripting that is their problem to try and stop

Yeah, and it shouldn't be illegal to try to rob a bank. If they don't want it, it's their problem to stop it. It's a much faster way of winning money than just working your ass off.

Re:Cheaters? (2, Insightful)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 5 years ago | (#26003943)

How is using a script similar to robbing a bank? One is using a tool to make using a service easier, and the other involves the theft of goods (Money). Completely unrelated. If I could mod you down (Overrated), I would have.

Re:Cheaters? (1)

Andr T. (1006215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004017)

The problem is not the action itself, but the argument. If the scripting was prohibited by the site, you were not allowed to do it, even if it's just making a service easier. You'd acting against the rules of the competition.

Anyway, it seems even eBay is confused about this.

Re:Cheaters? (2, Funny)

sexconker (1179573) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004875)

You're right, the problem is the argument.
Your argument sucks.

Re:Cheaters? (1)

Andr T. (1006215) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004943)

Yeah, I got that.

Re:Cheaters? (1)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 5 years ago | (#26005073)

Bad car analogy next time please.

Re:Cheaters? (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 5 years ago | (#26005447)

How is using a script similar to robbing a bank?

How about:

Guns don't rob banks, people use guns to rob banks.

Scripts don't cheat eBay, people use scripts to cheat eBay.

It's not the tool, it's how the tool is used.

Re:Cheaters? (1)

chalkyj (927554) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004015)

The scripts aren't breaking any rules - TFA says that ebay can't decide what automation is legal and what isn't.

Re:Cheaters? (3, Informative)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004077)

The two are similar in no way, and sticking them next to eachother in the same post does nothing to make them similar. One is a violation of the rights of another - taking their property without their permission. The other, at best, may be a violation of some end user agreement, resulting in the termination of the user's account, but no rights are being violated. eBay is selling the stuff for $1, and people found a way to find the stuff and buy it. The transaction is made with both parties acting voluntarily. Where's the problem?

Re:Cheaters? (1)

nebulus4 (799015) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004099)

Yeah, and it shouldn't be illegal to try to rob a bank. If they don't want it, it's their problem to stop it. It's a much faster way of winning money than just working your ass off.

And that's what they did, making it illegal to try to rob the bank. You need to come up with a better example than that.

Using scripts like these could be considered unethical, but I can hardly see it as a scam.

Re:Cheaters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26005283)

If you can tell me how to rob a bank by repeatedly offering to buy it for $1, I'm interested!

Wait, with the current state of the banks, they'd take the offer and I'd be on the hook for billions in debt! NO THANKS!

Re:Cheaters? (1)

hattig (47930) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004091)

It's not getting in the spirit of things is it now?

Re:Cheaters? (2, Insightful)

networkconsultant (1224452) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004165)

They made the "special" very boring; and repetitive, I cannot remember where I read it but last time I checked any good sysadmin loved to automate the boring and repetitive.

Re:Cheaters? (1)

Kneo24 (688412) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004843)

It's not cheating, but at the same time it's not in the spirit of it either. Everyone should be on an even playing field here in that regard. If you want the $1 item, you need to work as hard as joe schmoe by out clicking them manually, not having a script do it for you.

So yeah, not cheating, but definitely cheap and lame.

Re:Cheaters? - More like Pay for Skill (1)

Webcommando (755831) | more than 5 years ago | (#26005053)

I agree with parent. This sound's more like skill and cunning winning out (assuming scripter wrote their own code).

Hear me out. We pay athletes way too much money because they have skills that a supposedly worth that much (my bias is probably obvious). Here is some skill "players" taking advantage of scripting to get some rewards.

This isn't gaming the system like sniping or similar. It has no direct impact on most people (maybe if you were forced to pay fees on a $1 item you put for auction and had the script bid)..I'm not out anything unless I honestly believed I was going to beat out the million other people looking for the prize.

Seems somewhat like "Real Genius" with scripts instead of post cards. Well my opinion anyway..and..I'm not much of an eBayer so I could be missing the point (prefer craigslist)

Re:Cheaters? (1)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 5 years ago | (#26005057)

I don't see how making a script of this sort is cheating. If they don't want to allow scripting that is their problem to try and stop but anyone with the knowhow will realize that spending 30 min writing a script is much better then spending 24 hrs/day hitting refresh on the same search.

Way to go shitting on anyone's cornflakes who were playing fair. Just because you can doesn't mean you should. There is a difference between following the rules and following the spirit of the rules. It's things like this that destroys the fun for everyone else.

For other examples, research mmoglider, moving the chess pieces while the other person isn't looking, and using a dictionary during scrabble.

Too bad. (3, Insightful)

Jeheto (1414993) | more than 5 years ago | (#26003853)

It seems Ebay's advertising CEO's have trumped it's techinicians, as is inevitable in all companies.

Re:Too bad. (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004385)

IT folk: File this and other blunders so that you can (hopefully) force your company's marketing department to have their ideas vetted by IT.

Re:Too bad. (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 5 years ago | (#26005385)

I am over marketing and IT for a small manufacturer. I am constantly trumping myself, and it is starting to piss me off. ;) And yes, marketing considerations always win.

As I told someone yesterday: It does you no good to have great customer service if you have no customers.

Giving Away for 1$ is selling (0)

danieltdp (1287734) | more than 5 years ago | (#26003905)

giving away 100 gifts on a daily basis, all for a $1 fixed price"

Isn't this wrong? If you charge for something, you are not giving it away, right? It seem that it is more like selling for a cheap price that anything else...

Common theme (2, Interesting)

thecalster (1081075) | more than 5 years ago | (#26003933)

I've seen this done on a few other websites as well... wowhead.com (World of Warcraft db) ran a contest where you had to find where 5 different pictures were located on the site. It wasn't the best contest as the name of the file name was the exact same that they used for the caption as the filename for the page. So what people ended up doing was caching the whole site and just doing a quick search for where file name *******.jpg was located at.

eBay is not news (2, Insightful)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 5 years ago | (#26003955)

The first year it was in business, it was fun and useful.
Now it is so-called "power sellers". Just a bunch of merchants
without a brick and mortar presence.

Let it die the death it deserves and stop posting eBay related
CRAP.

Re:eBay is not news (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004387)

Just a bunch of merchants without a brick and mortar presence.

This may be so for common consumer crap. But there are still a lot of individuals selling stuff (like myself - collectable Indian pottery and Navajo rugs, collectable beads...).

On a different note, several posts here say (essentially) "Fuck eBay, more power to the bots". But I have to ask: Why is it OK to screw eBay for being Big Giant Cocks, while it's "unethical" to fight fire with fire when it comes to spammers?

How a python script stole Christmas! (2, Funny)

vakond1 (986568) | more than 5 years ago | (#26003977)

me@localhost:$ python grinch.py -bid_a_buck_on_ebay

My solution .... (0, Redundant)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004043)

1) List a single paperclip
2) Let Bots bid $1
3) ?????
4) Profit!!!!

Re:My solution .... (1)

Pincus (744497) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004193)

Seconded!

And what is ebays policy on gouging on shipping costs? What if the paper clip is packed super safely, in multiple layers of padding, driving the shipping cost into the double digits?

Or better than a paper clip, what if I offer to sell this nifty document I just created? Can somebody create a script for me to post my blank.doc every minute for $1, please?

I don't need no stinking script (1)

DevConcepts (1194347) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004121)

I missed out due to timing (Probably a script beat me) but a proper search, with auto refresh added to page does just fine.

Solution (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004225)

The solution is to put out a lot of fake items (e.g. empty envelope sent by USPS) for $1 as well. The automated script wins thousands of these, bankrupting the Script Kiddies. Moral: Look before you bid.

Re:Solution (1)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#26005109)

That only gets the stupid ones. The smart ones know how to parse the page to be sure they're getting one of the items, rather than some fake. A friend of mine wrote his own script for this and he hasn't had any false hits on this except the ones he did on purpose to make sure the script would really make it through the buy process.

So for less than $10, he has a shot at a car and quite a bit of experience learning to scrape websites. His wife's a little angry about the lack of attention last weekend, though.

Also, with as many people 'cheating' as there are, they each have a very small shot at each prize. He hasn't managed to snag a single item yet despite multiple computers running scripts multiple times per second.

Man, somebody wasn't thinking at all (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004251)

Whoever came up with this idea should have bothered to put a minimum time limit. Even if someone is super-speedy, it should take at least a half second to click the "bid" button, load the bidding page, and hit submit.

I would have at least set up a new random bid URL for each items so people couldn't just hitting the URL for regular bidding and would need to take the time to download the item page before finding the URL for that item. Plus, after they caught on, that'd reduce the # of false bids on other $1 items.

But then I've done similar myself, although not so scummy, just auto-buying a Wii(at the regular price) from Amazon so I didn't have to stay awake all night for the 5 minute window that it was in stock.

I still feel OK with it, since I didn't check Amazon more frequently than I would have hitting F5 and scalpers are still selling it for a $100 mark up this long after release.

This could easily have been avoided... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26004289)

All they had to do is make it so that there was a reasonable minimum bid on the items. I bet no one would be writing scripts to automtically bid the minimum on every item on the site...

First hand experience at Ebay $1 attempt (-1, Redundant)

wowwashington (117784) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004325)

So, I tried hard a few days ago to win the Juicy Coutur bag, and found that for a short while the auction was going at 16 and 46 minutes after the hour - if you follow the "Search Now" link from their $1 banner showing the products of the day - you can then set your advanced search for "between $1 and $1" and also check the "Free Shipping" then you order the products by "Just Listed"

I was able to see the Juicy Coutur bag listed 3 times in a row at the 15/16 and 45/46 minute after the hour mark - however, even with a fast SHIFT+REFRESH of the browser - those items were gone the instant they were posted and the counter was "1 view" - that should have beenb my view! Yet the product was already gone.

Citing:

Ebay Auction 260325441536 - 1 view closed Dec 01, 2008 03:16:10 PM PST
Ebay Auction 180310728770 - 5 view closed Dec 01, 2008 03:46:17 PM PST
Ebay Auction 320322265708 - 1 view closed Dec 01, 2008 04:15:30 PM PST

There was simply no chance to get the items - I attempted for others but could not find the pattern as they were removed too quickly and auctioned off at wierd times - such as the digital photo display, started midnight, according to the # left it didn't auction until early morning and then suddenly at 10 AM there was only about a dozen left, then at 2pm there were 30+ left.

It would have made the search more fair to change up the price, offer 'rebate' to change the random price to the $1, and modify the submitted time stamp to not just make it a brand new auction, but rather one that you seriously had to search for and find - not just grab the newly posted one dollar free shipping item as soon as it showed up :(

Cheat? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26004349)

I agree with brian0918, unless its stated in the user agreement, there is no "cheating" occuring. They are just smart...

Naive (1)

Snotman (767894) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004365)

When are dumb business people that come up with these ideas going to be weeded out of the IT industry? eBay is an Internet company and yet they amaze me in how much they do not understand the Internet; the slashdot crowd should be used as consultants to test out stupid ideas like this and at least discover what may be an Achilles heal(the real strength of trolls.) People should should stop shopping there and let them fade into the internet as a relic of the early 2000s.

Since the economy is taking a big dumb, I am betting they are leveraged to the max like lots of other companies and it should be easy to tip them into bankruptcy - hopefully Chapter 7. How many people have gotten screwed by eBay because they are not accountable to those that buy goods in their marketplace? I can name several people that have been screwed by eBay, which is almost equal to as many people as have been touched by cancer in my life - 1 in 3. It is amazing that eBay wants to eat their cake and have it too by creating a marketplace and not protecting their buyers. Needless to say, I don't know anyone that goes to buy stuff on eBay. Why would we if they don't care about their reputation?

Re:Naive (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004783)

at least discover what may be an Achilles heal(the real strength of trolls.)

Real trolls would discover the Achilles heel, then tell the company that their idea looks excellent.

sell junk for 1 dollar (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26004437)

just setup lots of auctions with bits of scrap paper for 1$ and set the P&P to $10.
In fact I have a load of junk mail I would like to sell on ebay.

(re)captcha? (2, Informative)

Devil's BSD (562630) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004545)

they just couldput in a recaptcha... prevent bot bidding and help digitize books... it's win-win!

Re:(re)captcha? (1)

nog_lorp (896553) | more than 5 years ago | (#26005411)

Search Slashdot for "Captcha" and you'll see why the "prevent bot [x]" part of your comment is funny.

Should be easy to catch (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 5 years ago | (#26004723)

This should be easy to catch. Just search the database for users making a few thousand $1 bids per day. Normal users probably won't be doing that level of bidding, especially all at the same price. Of course, then the script writers could make the bids random values between $1 and $2 (eating the extra $1 would be nothing if your prize is really worth a few hundred or thousand dollars). Still, looking for users making a large number of low cost bids should be a warning flag.

They Tried (but mostly failed) (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26004839)

Ebay tried to make things harder for the scripters as time went on. The first few days, the listings were simply text, easily searched by bots (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=270311657856&ru). They then shifted over to making the entire description an image (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=270313225226&ru).

Already a best-practice fix (1)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 5 years ago | (#26005471)

Use a CAPTCHA. End of scripted bids, scripted sniping, and anything else that removes the human element from the process.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>