Why are Microsoft product keys so cheap on eBay? A case study

We are aware that you can find the cheapest prices for Microsoft product keys in eBay. But, what’s the trick behind this?

Is it true that they sell the same keys to more than one person? How do they manage to offer the cheapest prices on the web? These are related common questions. We prefer that people draw their own conclusions after reading this article.

Let’s search for a Windows 10 Pro deal in eBay US

We pick the 5th result from the first page. A seller from the UK that offers a cheap windows 10 key for just 5$. It may seem like a good deal at first. But, there’s something suspicious ?.

The seller states that no more than 2 keys can be placed per order. What’s the reason for this? Wouldn’t a seller want to make the most revenue from their sales?

About Microsoft software distribution channels

Keep in mind that Microsoft distributes it’s software license via multiple channels: Retail, OEM and Volume

Retail is oriented to final consumers. OEM means Original Equipment Manufacturer; it’s the channel that computer assemblers prefer to cut on costs.

Volume licensing it’s the most practical and cost effective approach for business. Some organizations prefer to use MAK (Multiple Activation Keys) to deploy Microsoft software on a wide range of computers by using an unique product key with a certain number of activations.

For example, there are Multiple Activation Keys for Windows 10 Pro which you can use to activate up to 500 PC’s with an unique license.

It seems that this is the case for the product offered by this seller.

Our eBay order update

The code was manually sent the next day. So now we have our Windows 10 pro key.


How to know what kind of license they sold you on eBay?

There’s a portable tool that some may not know called “PIDKey“. PID stands for Product Identifier. It’s an easy to use tool with a simple user interface.

You can download latest version of «PIDKey» from Vcgsoft

With this utility, you can check if a Microsoft product key is actually valid, if it’s already activated, and find out what type or channel it is.

Extract the files and launch PIDKey_x64.exe

This is the main program window. Comes by default in Russian, but can be set to English.

Because this software comes by default in Russian language, you may prefer to set it to English by using the contextual menu.

We want to obtain information about the license that we acquired through eBay US, so we place it on the available field and press on “GO!”.

We look for “Activation Count” value.

The truth about cheap eBay product keys

As we suspected from the beginning, the same key is sold to hundreds of users. At the time we publish this, it still has an activation count of around 400 times left.

So this pretty much shows how they can offer such economical prices for Windows 10 Pro and Office keys in eBay. You’re sharing the same code with hundreds of users, with the risk of being deactivated if some people decide to report it to Microsoft.

There’s also the chance that you wait a while after the purchase to use it, and when you decide to use the code it no longer has activations left because it has been sold to many people.

Now, it doesn’t mean that if you want to activate your Windows 10 copy you have to spend full retail price or go for the riskiest option of using an activator like KMS Pico instead.

Just think about it before going for the cheapest option. Now that you know how to verify what type of licenses are sold, you can make a better decision.

Not the cheapest option, but the most reasonable

In Software Planet, we offer various types of keys for different needs. If you need a single activation license, you can opt for Retail keys. If you need to activate more than one device, we offer MAK licenses that allow you to activate 5 or 20 devices and save money.

We do not fool our customers by offering the same keys to hundreds of people as many shady eBay sellers do, and that’s because we care about our reputation. It’s not as simple as creating a new user account in eBay and continue selling. Logically, this is why our prices will not be the cheapest in the market, but we respond with a guarantee and answer the inquiries because we value our customers.

Trustpilot reviews about our site reflects it.

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