There are several reasons for eBay's requirement that visitors become members in order to buy and sell, all of them related to safety and fairness.
- Membership gives buyers and sellers recourse. Because eBay maintains contact information for all buyers and sellers, those who feel as though they've been defrauded are guaranteed some recourse and a way to contact or communicate with the other party.
- Membership reduces fraud and vandalism. Because every item listed and every bid placed on eBay can be traced to someone, the frequency of false and misleading auctions or false and insincere bids can be reduced. Membership keeps the wheels of commerce turning smoothly.
- Membership provides performance tracking. By using a clever and democratic feedback system, eBay is able to provide every user with an indication of how his or her trading partners have performed in past transactions. This makes good users look better while making it virtually impossible for poor users to continue to do business using poor practices.
- Membership makes it easier to buy and sell! Because eBay remembers your shipping address and (if you so choose) payment information, you don't have to re-enter this information each time you purchase or sell an item.
eBay seems to have done a good job of protecting member privacy and has demonstrated a good security track record over the years, relative to other online companies.
Are you ready to join eBay in order to buy or sell? Join eBay, Step-by-Step is designed to make the process easier to follow.