In the world of online sales and resales, eBay is king. You can find pretty much anything on the site, and many people make entire careers out of the money gleaned from small business sales. Of course, you don’t have to actually produce something to sell it—you just have to own that thing.
Over the years a large community has grown on eBay built entirely around buying items below what they’re worth, then selling them at a higher price. If this sounds like your typical yard sale, estate sale, or flea market, then you know what I’m talking about. That’s exactly what this is, but because these sales are conducted over the internet, there’s a bit more tech running the show.
The most typical way that tech is used in the above scenario is through auction sniping . This is the process in which an automated service or program automatically bids in the very final seconds of an auction. There are plenty of services that you can pay to do this, or individual software programs you can download . For the most part this is allowed (and encouraged in a way) by eBay. It doesn’t thwart their rules and many members do it.
But the lenience and good will stops there. eBay is known as one of the more ruthless companies when it comes to suspending or banning accounts. These bans can last a very long time (as in, forever), and can happen for a number of reasons, as defined in its long list of rule violations.
You’re here because you want to avoid these bans, and I’m here to tell you how to do that with proxies, specifically. I’ll get into that below, but first a word of warning.
eBay Proxy Warning
If I wasn’t clear a moment ago with the word “ruthless“ you need to be paying better attention. The reality is that eBay, which is owned by PayPal, is one of the strictest and most unforgiving companies out there when it comes to bans.
The service is inherently built around exchanging goods for money, so it is imperative to eBay that you are a real person or business with real goods, or a real buyer of those goods.
This warning is, therefore, more important than other proxy warnings and is actually more complicated, too. Sometimes you don’t even have to be using proxies to get an account suspended or banned—the red flags will go up if you try to buy or sell too many items at once, or if you break some other part of the rules.
Doing this often elicits gasps of pain and confusion from legitimate sellers who then have to spend days or weeks working with eBay to undo an error, or pay for their misuse.
When eBay bans or suspends your account, it bases the ban on IP the computer and account is associated with, your email address on the account, the physical address on the account, and the name on the account. This means that if you’re in a shared household and get your account banned, everyone in that house will also be banned, because you share an IP. It also means all those legitimate identifiers you used are now not available.
Often this sort of blanket banning leads to overt frustration, which you might be feeling at this very moment.
The complex part of this is that the best way to go about getting back into eBay is using proxies, because proxies by nature change your IP address. However, when using proxies to get around an eBay suspension or ban:
- You’ll have to get more than a diﬀerent IP, you’ll probably need a diﬀerent address, email account, and name, too.
- It’s frowned upon. eBay wants real people to use its site, not robots. Proxies are robots with people behind them.
- It’s potentially more dangerous. If you decide to go the proxy route because you’ve already been banned, you can get in a lot of trouble if you get caught. If you start oﬀ with proxies you’re in a better boat, but eBay will deal with you harshly if it’s ever traced back to you.
The warning is clear, yes? The best-case scenario is to actually start your whole eBay account, business, selling/buying scheme with a proxy in the first place, so if you do get banned you can move around more easily.
With that in mind, here’s how to use proxies to sell and buy on eBay while avoiding bans.
Smart Proxy Use on eBay to Avoid Bans
The first thing to know about using proxies on eBay is that you have to be diligent. It’s not as simple as signing up for a VPN service or purchasing a batch of proxies and then acting however you want, buying and selling at lightning speeds through multiple accounts. You have to be persistent and dedicated to your proxy use on eBay.
Keep Your IPs in Line
One of the biggest red flags for eBay is when an account is accessed from diﬀerent IP addresses frequently. I’m not talking about three IP addresses in three days, though that still raises some suspicion. An easy way to get suspended on a single account is to access that account for purchasing or selling 50 times in a single day, each with a diﬀerent IP address.
No human can do that. With that sort of activity, it becomes overtly obvious to eBay that your account is either being hacked all over the world, or you’re using a bank of proxies to do your buying and selling.
This is a backward mentality for most proxy users and is one of the reasons eBay is so diﬃcult to deal with. Often many proxies is the best case scenario — like in domain harvesting, you want to use as many IPs as possible so it can’t be traced back to you. This is not the case for eBay.
The issue with eBay is that you’re accessing a single account.
If you want to use a proxy (which I do recommend) keep the number of IPs per account to 1-2 proxies. Make sure these proxy IP addresses stay the same or are at least consistent enough that they won’t trigger eBay. Many ISPs use dynamic IPs, which means they constantly change.
If this is your case, email eBay to ask what the best solution is, and use their response to help you figure out a day-to-day plan for your Dynamic IP, but also use the response for your proxy plan.
The second solution: If you want to use multiple IPs, create multiple accounts. This can get tricky because theoretically, each account has to be linked to a human, and if you list the same identifiers on multiple accounts eBay will link all those together, and instead of getting one account banned all of them will be shut down.
I recommend reading through “How to Beat an eBay Suspension 2015 “ by John Martin for learning more about multiple accounts. Actually, the book is excellent for all manner of eBay tricks, and it’s worth it just to see how eBay functions.
Choose a Great Proxy Service
It makes a lot of sense to set up and use proxies for eBay, but as I’ve said, you have to do it wisely and slowly. One of the ways to do this is find a proxy provider that has your back.
Shop around for providers that specifically list eBay proxies as one of their oﬀerings, or have special sections on how their services work in conjunction with eBay.
One provider that has a reputation for this is a site like 24vc.com, though it’s more of a VPN than a private proxy service. You can read through the site’s documentation as a reference if you’re looking for a diﬀerent kind of service.
VPNs work well for eBay because they are typically a single IP address that is anonymous, which eBay likes overall. However, most VPNs will not grant you a new IP address whenever you want, because that’s not how VPNs function. When looking for a VPN, find one that is open to changing your IP address when needed.
One of the benefits you’ll see in 24vc, and many other proxy providers have this, is “virgin“ or fresh IPs. This means IPs that have never been used before, and therefore won’t be banned outright by eBay and other companies. This is an important rule for all proxy use, not just eBay, but it matters most for strict sites that will ban accounts if their IP addresses don’t line up.
For eBay I recommend always using a virgin IP, and using one for each account you have, and only registering and accessing each account with that specific IP address. As you can maybe tell this gets complicated, but hacking the eBay system is no easy feat.
The Do Nots
After keeping your IP’s in check and using a good proxy provider, you’re definitely on the right path to buying and selling on eBay with proxies. I’ll outline hard and fast don’ts below, because sometimes you just need to be told explicitly what not to do. (You know who you are!)
Don’t Use Free Proxies
This is a big no-no. Free proxies are great because they’re free, right? There are huge lists of them online and you can even check to make sure they’re available. Well, they’re free because they’re infested with crawler software and will get banned in about 24 hours.
eBay has one of the largest IP blacklists in the world, and you can bet any free proxy you might use is already on there. What happens when you sell or buy an item with a blacklisted IP? Say it with me: “You get banned!“
Don’t Use Shared Proxies
The same general principle applies here. You can purchase shared private proxies at a discounted rate, but you’ll pay the price later with a big fat ban. Even if they’re technically private, shared proxies are by definition not virgin proxies (they are being used by other people right now), and they probably carry some stigma.
Even if they work for a time, you can’t know what your other proxy-mates are doing with that shared proxy, and if it’s illegal stuﬀ the proxy will eventually get banned.
Shared proxies work for a handful of activities online, but not eBay.
Don’t Be Stupid
Listen, the reality is that if you’re using any sort of proxy, hacking, or stealth moves with eBay you’re probably going to get suspended or banned at some point.
The system is strong. If this happens to you, take a small break. It may sound like defeat, but it’s not. eBay punishes those who push hardest. If you get a suspension or ban and then proceed to buy a bunch of half-rate proxies, open 10 more accounts, buy and sell like mad, all within a week of your original issue, the odds of ever using eBay again are not good.
Give yourself a breather and do more research so that when you get back into the game you have a clearer idea of how to succeed.
That About Does It
I don’t have much more on this subject, mostly because eBay is so intense about their banning and suspensions. Please take all that I’ve said with a grain of salt, and know that the best way to do this is to use eBay as legitimately and naturally as you can. That said, smart proxy providers are the best way to get ahead. Good luck!