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How does eBay associate accounts?

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As you know, eBay can suspend any account for any reason – justified or not justified.

In June 2005 you and Jim Cockrum were writing about eBay account suspensions. You suggested to open multiple accounts. Jim stated that eBay will suspend all of
your accounts because they’ll find you by your IP address.

I know about cases that accounts were suspended because eBay linked active accounts to suspended accounts. Do you have an update on this issue? What could be done in case my account gets suspended?


* * * * *
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eBay uses more than the IP address to suspend accounts. An IP address is the location of a computer’s connection to the internet. IP addresses can be static meaning they don’t change, or change frequently. Because they change, someone else may end up with the same IP address. This means there is not enough certainty to associate eBay accounts using just the IP address.

The name used to create the account is a big part. So is the physical address. If the first name is different, but the IP address and physical address are the same they might ask for clarification in the form of a faxed copy of a drivers license. But that only happens when people started listing the same auctions on the new account.

I’d bet eBay also uses information about your computer. Your computer shares information with the web sites it visits. Things like the user name, browser type, operating system, cookies, and screen resolution. These don’t seem to play a big role in associating eBay accounts because there is a possibility two users could be using the same computer. If it does play a role it would result in a request for a faxed copy of a driver’s license.

Another factor seems to be when the accounts are created. If an account is suspended and a new one shows up selling similar items with a similar name, address, and IP, the new account is suspect.

So that’s six things we know eBay uses to associate accounts.

  • First and Last name are the same.
  • Physical (mailing) address is the same.
  • IP address is the same.
  • Computer information.
  • when the accounts were created.
  • The products offered, and HOW THEY ARE OFFERED.
  • The last one how products are offered hasn’t be covered yet. I’ve seen people take auctions ran on a suspended account and list them on a new account without making any changes. Each auction is different because each seller is different. The products sold might be the same, but the description, images, and layout will always be different.

    Use the list of six items eBay might use to associate accounts to remove as much overlap as possible.

    Here’s a link that explains setting up a second eBay account, and removing cookies from your computer.


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