What Is an eBay Watcher?

By Carol Finch

If you check your eBay selling account, you may notice that some of your listings have "watchers." These are other eBay users who have bookmarked your auction, typically so they can keep track of it automatically. Having watchers is a good thing -- it shows there is an interest in your listing -- but it may not ultimately help you sell your item.

How Watching Works

When people browse eBay, they can track listings that are of interest by adding them to their Watch lists. This bookmarks the listings in their accounts, allowing them to track auctions from the site and to receive email and mobile updates if listings change. As a seller, you can track how many watchers you have by checking your individual listings in the selling area of My eBay. However, there is no way to identify watchers or to learn more about them.

Why Watchers Watch

Watchers can be buyers or sellers. Sellers may watch items to gain competitive information. For example, they may track items they plan to sell in the future to see how well your auction goes. Buyers may simply want to bookmark an item they're interested in while they decide whether to bid, or they may be tracking the same item across multiple auctions. Some buyers use watch lists to help them snipe, or win auctions by the smallest possible amount at the last minute.

Influence of Watchers on Bids

Finding out that your listing has attracted watchers is a bit of a buzz; however, there is no guarantee that watched listings will sell. You can have a lot of watchers on an auction only to see it close with no bids at all. Buyers may forget to bid in time, may lose interest in the item or may buy it somewhere else. Watchers also have no influence on other potential bidders, as only sellers can see the number of watchers on a listing.

Turning Watchers Into Bidders

If you have a lot of watchers and no bids, you can try to stimulate interest by dropping your price. However, if this works and the item does sell, you can't tell if the winning bidder was one of your watchers or not. If your item expires unsold and you want to relist, check out similar items on eBay first -- both active and sold listings -- to see if there is anything you can do to make it more attractive to bidders. Any watchers from the original listing receive a notification of the relist.