Watched item ending soon

December 19, 2007

Watching Kekoa64, Josh Kulp and MysteryGiant for 24 hours – The mechanics behind the high watcher count

There are three top eBay sellers featured on the eBay Pulse (Pulsers) who have tens of thousands of watchers on their listings: Kekoa64, MysteryGiant, and Josh Kulp (jjfjq). To have this many eBay watchers on a listing, you need: #1. a way to generate the watchers, and #2. a method to keep watchers on an eBay listing after it terminates.

I made a discovery on #1 – how they generate the eBay watchers. Short story: Kekoa64 and Josh Kulp both added 730 watchers in 24 hours. The watchers were generated by an automated software script (a cron job), no people involved at all!

Long story: I gathered the watch count data for the 3 most watched eBay listings over the past 24 hours using the eSeller Street watcher page. The data was gathered in 15 minute increments and in the Central Time zone.
Kekoa64, Josh Kulp, MysteryGiant

The similarity in Kekoa64’s and Josh Kulp’s watchers should jump out at you. Except for the starting number of watchers, kekoa64 -73,026 vs Josh Kulp -56,275, they add watchers in an identical manner. In fact, not only are they using the same automated script, but I think they are using the same server!

Key points on the Kekoa64 watcher chart and the Josh Kulp watcher chart which match the pink numbers (1,2,3,4) on the charts:

  1. Both listings get exactly 1 watcher every 90 seconds from 6:15 PM until 4:30 AM CT. I double checked that the watchers were added every 90 seconds by sampling the data every minute.
  2. There is a glitch between 12:00 AM & 12:30 AM. No watchers are added between 12:00 & 12:15, but 2 watchers are added every 90 seconds from 12:15 to 12:30. This leads me to believe they are running on the same server.
  3. Both listings remain at approximately the same watcher number (< 7 additional watchers) between 4:30 AM & 12:15 PM.
  4. At 12:30 PM, each listing starts to get 2 watchers per 90 seconds but then slows down to 1 watcher per 90 seconds.

MysteryGiant is not running the script during this period and his chart is completely flat. This is an excellent control case to show that these listings do not get many watchers on their own. His watchers started at 67,602 and ended up just 2 watchers 24 hours later. The next day he started a new listing with 70,937 watchers and incremented it 1 watcher per minute using his own script.

Here’s the watch count near the end of the period taken at 5:00pm Dec. 18, 2007.
kekoa64, MysteryGiant, Josh Kulp jjfjq watchers on Dec 18, 2007

Take a look at the actual listings:

So which URL or link does the software script access every 90 seconds to add a watcher? I don’t know. I think it has something to do with the guest watcher feature and all of the watchers are just guest watchers.

This script separates the top pulsers from the other sellers who acquire watchers using the embedded “MakeTrack” links. The “eBay Pulse code” or “MakeTrack” trick relies on people visiting your listing so that the listing is forced into your eBay watch list without your knowledge. In contrast, the script adds watchers independent from the number of hits to the listings.

You can see the MakeTrack trick in action on http://turnkeywebsites4u.com/. If you visited this site while you were logged into eBay, you are now watching their listing. Look for this HTML code on the page source:
make track trick to get eBay watchers
Link 1 calls the eBay MakeTrack URL which tells eBay to save the listing number in your watched items list. Link 2 does the same plus adds an affiliate cookie to your PC so that they get commissions on your eBay purchases. Of course, link 2 violates Commission Junction/eBay policy in that a visitor must take positive action on your site to get a cookie. e.g. Unless a visitor clicks something on your site, you are not supposed to force a cookie on a PC by using a popup window which is similar in nature to using the embed tag.

Well, that’s a lot to digest for today. MysteryGiant just started a listing with 70,937 watchers last night. That’s the next piece of the puzzle.

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15 Comments »

  1. Wow, just wow.

    How do we bust these guys?

    Comment by tarzan*auctions — January 14, 2008 @ 4:12 am | Reply

  2. I’m an eBay Pulser paparazzo, not a buster! 😉

    Comment by estreet — January 16, 2008 @ 12:00 pm | Reply

  3. So lets call a spade a spade. These script kittens are ripping off the people that THINK they’re actually getting something for their buck. And to make matters worse they involve other people to participate as their pawns that don’t know it. Lets not forget the that he also receives the $20.00 for selling his PDF. All I see is that he’s teaching you to rip off someone much in the same way he rips off his Ebay cutomers. All that profit will come in handy when this idiot is foiled by the man, because he’ll need a good defense lawyer. He may also need some good medical benefits after many angry victims get wise.
    This is the exact kind of moron that makes the internet worthless. I hope he continues so that his reward only become as fitting as his wrong doing.

    have a nice day,

    not a victim of a leach

    Comment by Ray — January 17, 2008 @ 7:53 am | Reply

  4. Wait a second here, lets think about this. Their feedback shows that people are happy. I bought Kekoa64’s book. Nothing ground breaking, but defanitly not a scam and any 1st timer or novice seller would defanitly find it very useful.

    Granted adding something to your watch list is very questionable. However, it doesnt force someone to buy anything.

    Call me Crazy, but if people were not happy, would there not be an overwhelming amount of negative feedback?

    – Crazy Guy

    Comment by Crazy Guy — February 28, 2008 @ 3:34 pm | Reply

  5. Dude. You know why they don’t have alot of negatives? Its cuz they play the feedback hostage game. If you neg them, they neg you back. Then they bribe you for mutual negative feedback withdraw. Or you ask for refund and they ignore you until you negative them. Then they negative you and they email you saying if you want feedback lets mutual withdraw. Or you ask for refund and somehow they reply to you witch is 1 outa 100 times. They say, ok give me a fake positive and I will refund you. That is why they don’t have overwhelming negatives.

    True they did not force people to buy their book, however being on the pulse page is like the ultimate free marketing, thus making them more money. Being on the pulse page is all good, but if they got there by shaddy means….

    All of these guys ebooks are just affiliate marketing. the.rich.boy’s is fulled with affiliate links in his ebook etc.

    Comment by the.wealthy.guy — March 3, 2008 @ 9:33 pm | Reply

  6. Crazy Guy is right.

    Comment by AgentsEye — March 22, 2008 @ 7:35 am | Reply

  7. Some of you are simply hating on these guys for “cracking the code!” Sorry wealthy guy but take some time to go through their feedback, there are not many fedback withdrawls and what you explain does not happen much.

    Your just mad cause they figured this out and you have no idea. Well, I have been a webmaster since age 12 when AOL 1.0 was available pnce ranked 6 in the nation for web design. If you knew what they were doing, you would be copying them. Stop hating. They are living it up because they worked to figure this out. I highly doubt they will need a deefnse lawyer because all though it may seem like a scam, the info they give is not bad. I will crack the code, I know a lot of what these guys are doing and they will soon see a master take their place. Just a bunch of amatuers but there income is temporary.

    Comment by AgentsEye — March 22, 2008 @ 7:41 am | Reply

  8. […] Item watched some top sellers on eBay Pulse, and gathered some compelling evidence that there is rampant cheating going […]

    Pingback by Black Hat Mashups | The BookmarkMoney Blog — March 30, 2008 @ 11:06 am | Reply

  9. There sure is black hat. Now write to ebay as I do so we can get rid of the scammers.

    Comment by Steve — April 3, 2008 @ 4:19 pm | Reply

  10. Good Luck……how do you get rid of friends and family members who have the inside scoop on the pulse pages.
    Scammers……..it FLAT OUT RIGGED…and it’s done 2 ways.
    By a code from the outside of ebay…….and also from inside ebay where employees rigged the pulse when they need to.

    Comment by Heather48DD — April 18, 2008 @ 1:41 am | Reply

  11. HAHAHA KULP THEY BOOTED YOU AGAIN FROM THE PULSE PAGE. GIVE IT UP PAPPI. YOUR DAYS OF RIPPING PEOPLE OFF ARE OVER. GO GET A REAL JOB!

    Comment by Steve — April 24, 2008 @ 4:25 pm | Reply

  12. HOW IS BIZ KULP??? CAN YOU SAY BOOTED???

    Comment by Steve — April 30, 2008 @ 5:56 pm | Reply

  13. kekoa64 is no longer a registered Ebay user.
    Mysterygiant is no longer a registered Ebay user.

    Comment by Dave — July 5, 2008 @ 10:02 pm | Reply

  14. I do agree, start small. http://www.ebay-cash.com shows some good methods for drop shipping. It can be hard if you don’t do it right. Great Blog By the way.

    Comment by Doba Review — December 8, 2008 @ 1:01 pm | Reply

  15. I bought the item from this Josh Kulp. I actually had a huge ordeal with him over it and did infact play the feedback hostage game with him. SCAM

    Comment by Rick — January 26, 2009 @ 8:07 pm | Reply


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