Last time they did this there was an uproar of protest and they backed down. As far as i'm concerned i'm going to stop using ebay full stop when this comes in. The bit about 'investigating reports' on shill bidding is a complete joke, how can you report what you can't see?
***Protecting bidder User IDs ***
26 March, 2008 | 08:00AM GMT
From 31st March, we'll start hiding the User IDs of members bidding on all auction-style listings on eBay.co.uk and eBay.ie. All bidder IDs on the Bid History page and the high bidder's ID on the View Item page will be masked.
The winning bidder's ID will be shown once the listing has ended but the other bidders' IDs will remain hidden. Sellers will still see all the bidders' IDs on their listing when signed in, and each bidder will see their own ID when signed in.
Why are we hiding bidder IDs?
eBay is an industry leader in helping defend users from the threat of fraudulent emails, websites and phishing attacks designed to extract confidential user information for criminal gains.
In early 2007, we began masking bidders' IDs on auction-style listings once the bid price went over a certain value. This proved very effective at reducing fraud from fake 'Second Chance Offers' (emails that are sent to bidders by fraudulent users pretending to be the seller and offering the item for sale outside of eBay).
Expanding the use of hidden IDs to cover all bids on auction-style listings will help us continue protecting bidders from this type of threat.
What about shill bidding?
Shill bidding (bidding on your own items) is a serious breach of eBay policy. We will investigate any reports we receive and take appropriate action against offenders.
Although the bidder IDs are anonymous, you can still see detailed statistics for each bidder by clicking on their masked ID. Our systems also collect more detailed information on selling and bidding activity than members can access, to help us detect patterns and accurately identify members who may be breaching the policy.
More about protecting User IDs
We appreciate that some people prefer to see all the details of who they're bidding against and may find hidden bidder IDs to be unwelcome. However, this is a necessary measure to protect all our members from email scams and fraud.
The eBay Team