The eBay auction site made it possible to achieve instant gratification to completing a model train collection, outfitting yourself in T-shirts from bands of your childhood or obtaining reading materials from foreign countries; but along with the instant gratification comes the ability to delay clicking those "Buy It Now" and "Bid Now" buttons. eBay makes it possible to watch a potential purchase instead of buying right away, which racks up numbers on both the shopper and seller portals.
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While there is no specific button, link or window on eBay called "watcher view," the description denotes a section of the eBay seller portal. Once a seller has listed even a single item for sale via auction or Buy It Now, the seller portal shows a horizontal listing of information, including the date listed, the date of auction closing (where applicable), the price and how many people are watching the auction. This view is on the main seller page, not a page of its own, but is easy to narrow in on since it is labelled "Watchers." Some auctions never have watchers, which means this number remains zero. An auction may have a single watcher or hundreds, there are no limitations.
How It Works
When a prospective buyer wants to remember an auction, perhaps to come back and bid at a later date or to gather multiple items from a seller and buy them together, he clicks the "Watch This Item" button on the auction listing. This action results in a few different things happening. The seller's "watcher view" count goes up by one. The watcher then finds that item listed in his "My eBay" page in the "Items I'm Watching" section. Watchers don't have to see their auctions through to fruition; at any time they may check the box next to the item watched and click "Delete." This does the opposite of watching an item -- it removes it from their watched list and the seller's "watcher view" count goes down by one.
Counts of watcher view totals skew up for any number of reasons. An auction may accumulate watchers who plan to snipe -- bidding in the very last seconds of the auction -- or people tracking an item they are interested in buying but are not yet ready to purchase. The watcher view doesn't calculate how many people have viewed the item, just those who have clicked the "Watch This Item" button in the auction itself.
Because electing to watch something or having your auction watched have no financial or time-related impacts, there really are no drawbacks to the "watcher view" process. For sellers, a listed item with multiple watchers may lead to erroneous conclusions about a potential bidding war or even that the item will sell at all, since the number of watchers has no bearing on an item's closing price. Shoppers who add many watched items to their "My eBay" page may find it hard to navigate and could potential miss out on an auction closing, even though eBay does colour and time-code its watcher view listings so the soonest-to-end are easy to spot.
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