Feature Request: self test

Subscribe to Feature Request: self test 2 post(s), 2 voice(s)

Avatar bidder507 3 post(s)

Since ebay screen scraping is prone to breakage, perhaps there could be a self-test that can detect incorrectly scraped data and issue a warning.

One way is to scrape each field using two different methods and compare the results.

The 2.1pre6 almost won multiple auctions in a multi-snipe setup. Apparently it won one auction and didn’t detect it. I manually stopped it before it placed more bids. This type of error should be prevented at all cost.

Avatar Morgan Schweers Administrator 1,204 post(s)

The problem with this is that there are about a half-dozen different listing types, each with slightly different behavior, and varying by whether a user has bid on them or not. Essentially, there are:

  • normal (known inside eBay as ‘Chinese’, but actually ‘Vickrey’ style) auctions
  • auctions with Buy It Now
  • auctions with a reserve (met and unmet!)
  • private auctions
  • Fixed Price listings
  • Second Chance listings

…then there’s eBay Motors, with a bunch of other small features. The views also vary by who is looking at the listing. (So, for instance, the seller and the high bidder can see the bidder name, but other users can’t.) Now listings with a Buy It Now become ‘normal’ auctions, once someone has bid on them, so that variable isn’t as bad, but in general it’s a lot of listing types.

Unfortunately in order to detect whether something is wrong, I need to be in control of all the variables (price, bidder name, etc.), and be able to detect when something’s wrong. This means that I need to list the items, I can’t just use a random item on eBay.

Listing items is, frankly, pretty expensive for me, so I list about 20 items a month, purely in the test area right now, and about half the time, eBay shuts down my accounts for ‘shill bidding’, even though I’m obeying their test-account requirements to the letter. I have three accounts for testing, two bidder and one seller, all with ‘test’ in their name, every auction is listed with ‘test’, every description notes that it’s a test, and I never leave feedback from or for the accounts. Still, sometimes eBay’s automated systems freak out, and I have to contact their shill bidding folks to get my accounts reinstated. Including my personal one, which isn’t involved in the testing at all. :(

In order to have a complete set constantly running, it’d cost me more in listing fees than it costs me for hosting JBidwatcher, My JBidwatcher, these forums, my personal domain (resume, blog, project list, etc.), combined.

So. I rely on users telling me, ‘Hey, something’s not right!’ (And giving me item numbers so I can see for myself, when possible…)

— Morgan Schweers, CyberFOX!