Some eBay sellers use private auctions and justify it by arguing that "all the big auction houses do it." True, but the big auction houses are established businesses and the identity of the principals should be a matter of public record. The reason why it's okay for established auction houses to have private bidding -- and not okay for eBay -- is that an established auction house is supposed to adhere to a code of ethics and be above reproach in this regard. We place trust in the good name of the established auctioneer and expect that the auction will be conducted fairly (i.e., no shill bidding.) Not the same can be said for eBay sellers who conduct private auctions. We don't even know who they are and/or what their real name is and they expect to be trusted?