How Does eBay assign auction numbers?

I’m not going to mince words.  American eBay sellers can literally spend hours going crazy,  wracking their brains trying to figure out how to beat the can’t see me – Cassini system.  This is what I’ve learned about the 12 number auto assigned auction numbers and I hope other eBayers will come along and add to my list and make any corrections:  We’re talking about the first 3 numbers that appear in a string of 12.

181 and 191 – You are doomed to failure.   Close your account and start over.  This auction is live and visible on the site, but it will never be visible to anyone but you.  Within the blackout theory, when you are assigned this number you are in a 24/7 blackout.  This is a number I experienced when  I got tired of not having sales on my main account.  I read on the eBay website that new eBayers get a placement boost so I created a fresh account, unfortunately, eBay must have recognized what I was doing based on my IP address and nipped it right in the bud by assigning me an auction number that started with 181.  I had a quilted Caviar Chanel bag listed for an opening bid of $49.99 and received zero page views for 7 days, not even a single bot view.

111 and 112 – Low priority.  This number is assigned to eBayers who sell less than 0.4%.   Regardless of whether or not you have changed products or made positive corrections to your business model, eBay has made the decision that either you as a seller or the items you are selling do not offer a significant contribution to the site.   You are stuck here for a long while and moving up the food chain will be a lot of work. It can be done but don’t expect any favors.  Don’t lose hope.  This is where you either collapse to the pressure and quit, get caught in a cycle of no views/no sales, or you figure out how to break out and move up the food chain.

111 and 112 are also assigned to lower priority sellers whose relists may have started with a higher number (121(2)/131(2)/171(2)) on the first go around.   Unfortunately, because the item didn’t sell, it lost priority in the relist.  Change your keywords, your photos or an item specific before you relist anything.  It may or may not help.  Sometimes the right person didn’t see the listing but they will this time.  The next 3 numbers in the sequence will be one of the determining factors.

Within the blackout theory, when you are assigned the number 111(2) you will experience rolling blackouts.  The only time you can be positive your items will appear in search is when you have first listed it, and just before it ends.

121 and 122 – Low priority.  A step up from 111(2), this number is assigned when eBay has made the decision that either you as a seller or the items you are selling do not offer a significant contribution to the site, but you have potential.   It’s the next step up from the 111(2) range.  It doesn’t matter if you have a 100% feedback or have qualified as a TRS or PS.  Your sell through rate is approximately .05% to .06% which means you have grown and still have more room to move up the food chain.  You have your work cut out for you.  It’s tough breaking out of the not visible/results in no sales cycle.  Keep pushing.

Within the blackout theory, when you are assigned this number you will continue to experience rolling blackouts.  The only time you can be certain your items will appear in search is when you have first listed it, and up to 12 hours before it ends.

131 and 132 – Low priority.   This is one of the new seller boost numbers but it’s also used for longer standing casual selling accounts as well as another step for those fighting through the 100 range.  The next 3 numbers in the sequence are the determining factors.  This number is assigned when eBay has made the decision that either you as a seller or the items you are selling do not offer a significant contribution to the site but show potential.   It doesn’t matter if you have a 100% feedback or have qualified as a TRS or PS.  Your sell through rate is approximately .06% to .07% and you have more than likely been a seller for 2+ years.

I am unsure if there are numbers 141(2) to 161(2)..  if you have knowledge, please feel free to post it and I will add it to the list.

171 and 172 – Low priority.   This number is assigned when eBay has made the decision that either you as a seller or the items you are selling do not offer a significant contribution to the site.   It doesn’t matter if you have a 100% feedback or have qualified as a TRS or PS.  Your sell through rate is approximately .06% to .07% and you have been a seller for a substantial amount of time i.e. 5 to 10 years.  This should be easy enough to make the jump into the 200 range but with eBay, no one really knows.

I am unsure of the 181 to 191 range.  If you have knowledge please feel free to post.

200 range – Reserved for established sellers of 5 or more years.  The second set of three numbers determines the outcome of your sell though.  If your 4th number starts with an 8, you are a mid to low priority seller.

In the case of 200 and 300 range sellers, the lower your 4th number, the lower priority.  Example:  2XX2 is a lower priority than 2XX9.  In either case, your sell through rate will be double to triple that of the low priority sellers who are in the 100 ranges.

300 range – Reserved for eBay starlets.  The majority of these listings are  are usually from the high volume sellers.  There’s only 4 ways to get here.  1. Devalued products for a deliberate high volume sell through,  2.  Rarity of items.  Those who are fortunate enough to have access to a product that isn’t mass produced.  3.  Right place/right time.  You had a following before the collapse and you had the business sense to pull through and even grow.  Your efforts have been rewarded.   4.  Location.  Asia seems to have the 300 range pretty locked in regardless of their sell through rate, quality of product or feedback number.

The second set of three numbers still determines the outcome of sell though but not to the extent of the 100 and 200 ranges.

400 range – Promoted listings.  This is currently in beta.  Your listings will appear spontaneously on any give place within page 1 of best match and will also appear, sadly for their competitors, as the header to a competitors store front.

There are other things I’ve learned about the Cassini search engine which many other eBay sellers also know about.  The “things” are not necessarily work arounds but more like tweaks.  Tweaking  can make the difference between being seen or unseen and being placed on page 1 or page 11.  Out of respect for those who know those tweaks, I will not post what those tweaks are.   I’m also not sure it would be in my best interest to post for the mere fact that it’s how I am able to sell anything as a 100 range seller.

Outside of Cassini’s manipulated search criteria, there’s other factors that come into play; time of day, day of week, week of month, month of year – all of which are pretty much common sense to anyone who pays attention to their sales and what their competitors are doing.



For the record:  I am in the 121 range.  I look forward to learning about the higher priorities as I learn how to get out of the no visibility/no sales cycle.

* Change log June 2016: Auction number(s) assignment update. 111 has rolled over to 112. Update is noted as 111(2) to show 111 or 112. 121 has rolled over to 122 and is noted as 121(2). 131 has rolled over to 132 and is noted as 131(2). 171 has rolled over to 172 and is noted as 171(2).

The number roll overs are a natural progression of listings being added to the site.


My experience with

Money!  Money!  Money!!  Did somebody say money?

I knew that might get your attention.  It got mine too!  As a full time home based eBayer of 12 years, I was immediately hypnotized by the prospect of an alternative to eBay, especially in seeing the flurry of bidding activity on Catawiki.


There is a lot you need to know about Catawiki before you think about getting involved, especially if you do not live in Europe.   I caution you on a number of different levels no matter what country you are joining them from:

1.  If you consider how American based eBay sellers (and most European, Australian and Canadian ebayers) responded to the idea of China being invited to sell their products on eBay U.S., EU, AU and CA, you will understand how many of the Dutch auctioneers of Catawiki may view you.  If you are not in the Netherlands, you are NOT favored.  Many Netherlanders don’t understand that the American media, it’s financial fraternity and their political actions is not a true representation of most American citizens, they assume we are all equally self entitled and brash.

2.  A seller on Catawiki has no control of their product listing once it is  uploaded to the site.  You can not delete or edit your product description. You will have to contact the Auctioneer to make any changes.  I know many eBayers will preload their listing apps or schedule auctions days and weeks in advance.  You can’t do that on Catawiki.  Only upload what you can afford to pay for, out of pocket for shipping costs and a very lengthy turnover time.  If you list too much too fast you will get in over your head.  I found this out the hard way when 32 of my auctions were listed over a period of 3 weeks.  32 auctions x an average of $28 per shipment = 896 USD out of pocket.  I don’t know too many Micro businesses (ebay sellers) who can afford this, especially when the profit turnover can take anywhere between 4 weeks to 6 months and your inventory is in limbo.  That’s significant and can bankrupt you.

This also means if you are the type of business person who works by the, “more eggs/more baskets” philosophy, if it’s a one of a kind or single item, you will need to remove it from every other site once it’s uploaded to Catawiki because if it sells on ebay before it even goes to auction on Catawiki, you are S.O.L.  The auctioneer will most likely let the auction run anyway knowing full well the product is not available.  Catawiki in turn will dock 50% of the final value of said product and claim it as a fine for misbehavior regardless of whether or not it was your fault.  If this happens, you can try to e-mail your auctioneer to stop the sale or to cut the listing but in my experience, the auctioneer will have little regard for your wishes, wants or needs.  I’m tempted to believe there must be a commission agreement somewhere in the mix to encourage such behavior.

The example I will use is Sigrid Markus.  I e-mailed her on several occasion with the request to return my auctions to me for deletion.  Several e-mails were sent for her to stop listing my items for auction.  All of my requests were ignored with the exception of one response, “Do I really need to pull your auctions?”…. um… YES!  I’ve asked you well over a dozen times already!  I’m in over my head and you are destroying me!

3.  You may not communicate with bidders or potential bidders.  Some may think this is a good thing, but if you have an issue as the one I pointed out above, your winning bidders will not be very pleased.  This leaves you open to feedback negativity.

Communication options do not become available until after the winner of your auction has paid, otherwise,  the only communication you will have is with your auctioneer and I highly suggest you keep communications with the auctioneers to a bare minimum. When someone has that much control over your product, it also means they are in control of your success or failure.  The last thing you want to do is step on their toes, even mistakenly.

4.  Be sure you fully understand the rules, especially the post/after auction rules!  You may think you understand them because they are written very brief and seem very simple, but those simple 1 and 2 sentence rules in no way represent the depths of the actual policies.

For example, depending on how quickly your product description has been reviewed, approved, auctioned, sold, and paid for, it will take a minimum of four additional weeks from the time you’ve uploaded your product to the site before you will actually see a payday.

If your buyer, who is allowed three weeks and even longer in many instances, waits until four weeks after the sale, this moves your first possible payday to eights weeks.

Payday can very easily extend trice if there is an issue with delivery or upon delivery.   Your payment date will be pushed back again another two to three additional weeks.  In some instances you may never actually get paid at all and you will also have lost your product.

Catawiki has a habit of throwing curve calls by quoting rules that you never saw, signed or agreed to.  Here is my example; Approximately 2 months after I requested the closure of my account due to the fact that the auctioneer, Sigrid Markus, was clearly not acting in my best interest,  I received an e-mail notice that I was going to be “fined” for unbecoming behavior of my assigned auctioneer!   Due to the fact that she continued running auctions despite my repeated requests to stop, and the lack of ability to communicate with potential buyers and bidders, they buyers were duped into believing these items had been sold to them when in fact, we were underhandedly manipulated by the likes of one Sigrid Markus.

The Catawiki finance department gave me warning via e-mail that they would be withdrawing X amount of Euro from my bank account without my authorization to cover Ms Markus’s shopping spree.

5.  Only list what you can afford to lose.

Catawiki receives payment from their buyers and places those funds in an interest bearing Escrow account.  Funds will not be released to you until the buyer of your product has indicated that the transaction has been completed to their satisfaction.    If your buyer indicates dissatisfaction of any kind, your payment remains in escrow until Catawiki deems it payable.

There are no written terms associated with how long Catawiki can hold your funds.  If they decide not to pay you, you’ve lost the item, you’ve lost the out of pocket expense of shipping the item, and Catawiki is not motivated to disburse funds for which they are collecting interest on.

I repeat:  If you make an error.  If a buyer has a complaint.  If your product is delivered to the wrong address…..  if you piss off an auctioneer…. you can plan on waiting an extended and undetermined amount of time for your payment to be dispersed to you.  You may never get paid at all as your money sits in escrow collecting interest for Rene Schoenmakers, and if you think he’s going to let go, forget it!  He’s in the business of making money.  You’re loss.

6.  Just because someone claims to be an expert, it does not mean they truly are.  Catawiki’s best selling point is their auctions are curated.  While this may be the case, it will not be unusual to learn that you actually have more knowledge than your expert auctioneer.    The example I will use again is Sigrid Markus, Fashion Auctioneer.  Imagine my astonishment when she contacted me with a price comparison for a no longer obtainable gold and pearl necklace by sending me a link to a BRASS and CLOTH/velvet BRACELET from Fall/Winter 2014.  That’s a big mistake and a very costly one, not just for Catawiki but for YOU as a vendor.

There are other things that most people involved with fashion know, for example, The correct spelling of fashion brand St John is not Saint John.  Balmain & Zara are two of the most celebrated fashion houses in the fine fashion world and should not be excluded from any presentation, and  Escada is NOT an unknown brand.    I’ve heard of fudging a resume to land a coveted job but these are pretty significant mistakes and after having been employed by Catawiki’s fashion department since 2011, it’s just appalling that she still doesn’t know these very simple and basic fashion facts.

7.  Catawiki does not offer a customer service line.  Communications with auctioneers and customer service is limited only to e-mail.  Response time is slow, and Catawiki only responds during certain hours a day.  Often there will be no response at all.  It is extremely frustrating.

As I think back, with millions upon millions of collectors in this world, Catawiki is an unsaturated market for a reason.

8.  The Catawiki website says, “Our auctioneers assess all lots submitted as soon as possible. Our goal is to review your lots within a week. However, for themed auctions or highly popular auctions, the assessment may take a little longer. The moment your lot is accepted, you will receive an automated message.”

Well I can tell you right now, the above quote which I pasted from the website is not true.   At least it wasn’t for me.  After the first week had passed, and seeing my products had not been reviewed,  I wondered if maybe my items were being included in a themed auction.  My product is fashion so it was definitely a possibility and it would certainly explain by my auctions were not being included in the Thursday night Fashion listings for several weeks.

After two weeks of watching fashion auctions running without the inclusion of my products,    I assumed the delay was a simple case of “Slow to get started blues”.

After the third set of fashion auctions started without my fashions included, I started to wonder if maybe the auctioneer wasn’t seeing my submissions or maybe there was a glitch in the e-mail form.  I found myself making excuses to explain why she was not responding.   I decided maybe I should contact customer support but there is no customer phone number (red flag).  Since there is no customer service number and the auctioneer in control of the fashion category was not responding to me (another red flag),  I chose Facebook.   I was met with an enthusiastic response and the representative who messaged me assured me Sigrid Markus would be contacted expediently to find out what the hold up was.  In the interim, an e-mail appeared in my box from Ms. Markus explaining to me that she was, “very busy” and,  “did not have time to translate my product listings”, at which point, I mentioned perhaps she did not see that I already translated the auctions for her… which brings us to another red flag – never ever piss off an Auctioneer at Catawiki.  Read this paragraph again if you need to because this what I am describing is what got me into hot water.  I pissed off the auctioneer.  I made her senior officers aware that she wasn’t doing her job.   However innocent of a mistake it was, she would certainly let me know exactly what she thought of me going over her head.

Always remember, an auctioneer is in complete control and is very empowered.   Your survival on Catawiki depends solely on your relationship with your auctioneer.  If you do not play well with the auctioneer, the auctioneer can and will  make your life hell.

Sigrid Markus (fashion auctioneer), not only listed dozens of products knowing that I was not able to keep up with the out of pocket cost of shipping and in all of my pleas and protests she refused.   She also knowingly approved a duplicate listing and sent it to auction.  She admitted to Catawiki administration that she had acted inappropriately but as a result,  funds from all 32 of my auction listings remain in escrow, including the out of pocket shipping costs I incurred as a seller.  She single underhandedly sabotaged my potential to be a great part of the Catawiki family.

Did you know the United states does not have a regulative policy with the Netherlands?  With Leading Edge Capitol and Lorrie Norrington posing as, advisers you may stand half a chance by contacting the FTC but your chances are very slim.


If you are an eBayer looking for a new home or if you are an American looking to explore Catawiki, be afraid.  Be very afraid!!