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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- Both listings remain at approximately the same watcher number (< 7 additional watchers) between 4:30 AM & 12:15 PM.
- 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.
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:
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.