Tuesday, December 02, 2008

eBay Users Say Holiday Giveaway Was Hacked

Bob Sullivan writes on the MSNBC "Red Tape Chronicles" Blog:

eBay.com users are complaining that a holiday contest offered by the auction Web site has been over-run by Scrooge-like computer hackers, and that eBay’s poor design for contest is to blame.

As part of its "Holiday Doorbusters" promotion, eBay is giving away about 1,000 items -- everything from jet skis to iPods to a Corvette -- for $1. The first buyer to find and bid $1 on the specially-marked items wins. But users say the contest has been overrun by "cheaters" who are implementing automated scripts to game the contest, winning hundreds of auctions before the items are even available to the public.

As evidence, the disgruntled point to a number of closed auctions where the visitor counter shows “0000,” meaning no Web users visited the item’s page before it was won. On Saturday, for example, a "Green Life" brand electric scooter worth $1,000 was won by a bidder before anyone visited the page, according to the counter on it. The next day, a vintage Oscar de la Renta evening gown was also won with the counter reading zero.

Forums devoted to eBay users are ablaze in complaints about the contest from disappointed would-be bidders who haven’t won.

More here.


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