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TAGnotes Tue 13 Mar 2001 Vol 3 Number 34 Issue 295

The Auction Guild Notes for Tue 13 Mar 2001
Please excuse the scarcity of issues of TAGnotes over the past week.
It was due to an internal deficiency in operator headspace and timing.

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ebaY users reported some problems on 8 Mar at 18:17:29 PT with
relisting. The problem appeared to be a javascript change requiring
javascript to be turned on in order to relist. At 18:29:59 users
started to receive Network error Unable to read URL from host
cgi3.ebay.com: Connection reset by peer when trying to post to the
boards. Both these problems were intermittent with more cgi5 relist
problems reported at 20:28:54 PT

On 9 Mar at 11:46:38 PT ebaY reported that Honesty
counters on Item Pages were down. This could cause slow or no
loading of item pages. This problem was reported by users at
07:05:05 PT. At 12:58:44 PT ebaY reported that the Honesty
Counters were back up. This was due to an Honesty network
hardware problem. At 13:07:52 PT ebaY reported that Billpoint
registration and create offer features were down. At 13:41:57 PT
they were reported working again having been down from 12:31 PT
to 13:25 PT. At 14:28:05 PT ebaY reported an unusually bad
problem with the slow title search update, with the update finally
taking place on 10 Mar at 00:20:55 PT current through 16:37 PT.

On 10 Mar at 12:48:53 PT ebaY reported problems for AOL members
using ebaY's pic services. AOL users could not upload pictures using
These problems were reported by ebaY as resolved as of 19:16:54 PT.

ebaY started implementing the changes to Buy It Now (BIN) late
on 9 Mar, and a serious coding problem in the BIN feature appeared
and was reported by users. When a seller lists an auction with a
reserve and with a BIN, the BIN is supposed to remain until the
bids are high enough to meet the reserve, and it is then supposed to
disappear with the auction continuing as normal. Instead, when
someone placed a BIN bid on an auction with a reserve, the auction
would close but reflect the reserve price, not the BIN price as the
final price. According to Sonny@ebaY, posting on 11 Mar, "It was
a glitch that went out in some new code. It was so weird - tested fine
in QA, but then bugged out when it went live on the site. We rolled back
the bad code immediately, and put in a fix last night. It shouldn't
still be happening" And that "Because it was a problem on our end, we
would not expect the seller to do that [ed. honor the bid] When we
received mail from sellers and bidders regarding this, we explained that
to them, so all would know that the obligation didn't exist since it was
our glitch" User complaints about this problem continued through 12 Mar
at 03:32:36 PT so has obviously not been resolved as ebaY thought it
had. TAG recommends that users hold off using a BIN in combination with
a reserve auction until ebaY fixes all the glitches.

To add to the ongoing ebaY problem list, Sonny@ebaY acknowledged
that "if someone revises their auction and then a bid is placed on it
before the next indexing (whether it's the first indexing for that
auction or a subsequent one), the revision will never be indexed. That's
a long-term bug that we've been trying to fix, but the code touches so
much other stuff, that it's pretty risky business, I understand. If you
revise at any time, then someone bids between the time you revised and
the next indexing cycle, the revision never gets indexed. If no bids are
placed, the next indexing picks up the revision. If your auction gets a
bid between the time you revise it and the next Search indexing cycle,
the revision will not be indexed. Your auction will still show up, of
course, but with the text that was in place BEFORE the revision." And, "
But in all honesty, I don't think it will be fixed for awhile. We're
building new site architecture this year, which will untangle a lot of
the old code, which is very good news. However, as you can imagine,
this is going to be a painfully long process, so I can't tell you when a
fix will go in."

The Personal Shopper Service (PSS) went down on 11 Mar, and since
it is being replaced it is unlikely that ebaY will restore it. ebaY is
replacing PSS with the Favorite Searches feature where you can
save up to 15 searches and retrieve and manage them through My eBay.
On 13 Mar, ebaY confirmed that they would not fix PSS.

On 13 Mar at 12:51:51 PT users reported cgi3 problems which were
confirmed by Sonny@ebaY at 12:54:04 PT involving About Me,
bidder search, the boards, and a few other items. ebaY posted at
17:37:52 PT that the About Me page was still loading intermittently.

For information and links to request refunds on ebaY go to

Pink Quote of the Day 11 Mar 20:55:18 PT when asked about
the need to put up a board that addressed ongoing problems,
Sonny@ebaY said, "what you're asking for is already in
development. We are working on changing the Announcements
Board format to show current issues. Due to space constraints, it
won't list every bug on the site, but it will show the major issues."
And at 21:14:24 PT, "the new Announcements Board (and I can't
give you a date, 'cos I don't know when it will be) is not going to
show every bug - it can't possibly do that without becoming
cumbersome and unusable. But it will show current system issues"
Concluding a set of posts on the ebaY discuss new features board
that were the most forthcoming and informative that TAG has
seen on ebaY in years. In TAGs opinion, if ebaY made a practice
of communicating this openly and honestly with their users, it
would alleviate an incredible amount of grief and alienation on the
site. Unfortunately such posts are a rare commodity on ebaY.
TAG has listed these ongoing problems for close to a year at

ebaY did maintenance on their Tradenable feature on Sat 10 Mar,
The service was down from 08:00 PT to 24:00 PT. For
queries contact supp-@tradenable.com

Hackers again attacked the ebaY HTML enabled boards on 11 mar.

ebaY Workshop Calendar can be found at

ebaY University schedule and registration can be found at

ebaY posted an updated policy on Bonuses, giveaways, raffles, and
prizes section of their Listing Policy.
Listings that promote bonus items, giveaways, or random drawings or
prizes as an enticement for bidders are not permitted on ebaY as these
promotions are highly regulated and may be unlawful in many states.
ebaY itself may run such promotions on the site, and may grant
authorization to its partners or third party companies to run
promotions, that comply with applicable laws. In TAG's view this only
emphasizes ebaY's other than venue status and falsifies both the claim
of community and a level playing field.

ebaY is changing its pic hosting services and changing prices on it.
Instead of two free pictures per listing users will get one. Each
additional picture will cost 15 cents each. The price for SuperSize
and Slide Show will now be 75 cents. ebaY is adding a Picture
Pack option that will allow you to (1) add up to six pictures to your
listing, (2) present your pictures in SuperSize format, AND (3)
include your picture in the Gallery for a cost of $1.00. ebaY is also
adding a title bar picture which displays a small picture in the top
left corner of your listing. Title Bar Picture is a FREE option for
any listing that uses ebaY Picture Services.
ebaY will change the pricing on Mister Lister and Seller’s Assistant
immediately, and will add Picture Pack and Title Bar Picture within
a few weeks after launch. For more info go to

ebaY is holding a contest based around their 1/2 billionth item
listing. ebaY users can win one of two ways, either by listing an item
at the exact same time the 1/2 billionth item is listed, or by correctly
guessing when the listing will occur. Those who nail the exact time will
share in a $50,000 cash prize and be eligible for the Grand Prize
drawing for the Ultimate eBay Sellers Package. The Ultimate ebaY Seller
package consists of a flat screen PC, laser printer, digital camera,
software and more. For U.S. residents only. For more info go to

The services replacing Blackthorne software, ebaYs Seller Assistant
Basic and Sellers Assistant Pro are now in effect. All new customers
will receive the first 30 days of their subscription free of charge. All
users will pay a monthly subscription charge. Blackthorne license
holders must register and accept the new system, and they will get
a one extension of their license for free, after which their licenses
will be void. They can expect the current software they have to
become completely obsolete and unusable when ebaY does the
first upgrade when the free year expires, as was demonstrated by
the complete obsolescence of the software when ebaY changed
its email system. For more info on the Seller Assistant products go to
For more info on Blackthorne's forced upgrade and one year license
extension go to http://www.blackthornesw.com/bthome/

ebaY has signed a pact with Microsoft Corp to use each other's Internet
technologies and services. The companies said they will work together
to integrate ebaY's online marketplace into a number of Microsoft's Web
properties, such as MSN, CarPoint and WebTV, later this year. ebaY will
support Seattle-based Microsoft's new Internet effort .NET and will be
one of the first Web sites worldwide to offer its community-based
commerce engine to Web developers as an
Extensible Mark-up Language (XML) based Web service.   The
financial terms of the alliance were not disclosed. TAG is not yet sure
what this will mean for the users of ebaY but we are looking for more
information at to its potential impact. Full article is at

ebaY is going to limit the manner in which users have access to the
personal contact information of other users. They will change the
"Contact (Personal) Information Request" feature on ebaY. The contact
information currently includes a user's name, city, state, and telephone
number. (ed. note - since the new email system went into effect, email
addresses are no longer included). Only bidders and sellers who are
involved in a transaction will be able to request contact info. In an
active listing, the seller and bidder(s) will be able to request each
other's contact information. In a closed listing, the winning bidder(s)
and seller will be able to request each other's contact information.
Both the requestor and the user will receive an email notification with
both members' contact information included. This might take ebaY
several days to implement. They will initially apply to the U.S. site,
and follow in upcoming months on the international sites. Due to
national privacy laws, some international sites will have more stringent
requirements than the U.S. site. In particular the German and Austrian
users requests for contact information is permitted only between the
seller and winning bidders in successful, closed items.

ebaY Online Payments' is holding a reimbursed listing fee month
starting 14 Mar. When you list an item and a buyer purchases that
item using ebaY Billpoint from 14 Mar through 13 Apr, ebaY will
reimburse the listing fee. TAG holds that since Billpoint fees are
high, unless you routinely offer and use Billpoint, it is unlikely that
this will be a cost effective, since the listing fees will probably be
much lower than the resultant Billpoint fees.

ebaY is going to run a test by allowing a number of randomly selected
sellers to run their own banner ads on ebaY. Part of the test is to set
the criteria for sellers who want to purchase banner ads. The banner
ads will run on the ebaY site and will link to the sellers' ebaY About
Me page. ebaY will then evaluate the results of the test and design a
package for sellers. Once they design the package, ebaY will publish the
details including the criteria for sellers to purchase ads.

It appears that ebaY is now going to start doing some feedback removal
IF the users pay the $15.00 to go through ebaY partner Square Trade
and agree on the feedback change.

Title search approx 12 hrs - 9 Mar, 6.5 hrs -10 Mar, 1 hr-13 Mar;
Title and Description search approx 29 hrs - 9 Mar, 46 hrs - 10 Mar,
33.5 hrs 13 Mar ebaY search indexing lag times

For workarounds to ebaY's email system and attempt at exclusive
agency go to http://www.auctionguild.com/generic.html?pid=50

ebaY Contact Information, analog mail and email addresses and
phone numbers, regular and toll free, refund info and insider
trading info go to http://www.auctionguild.com/generic.html?pid=17

Approx 5.36 mil auctions inflated by approx 6% due to double
category listings yielding 5.04 mil auctions
* * * * *
Amazon Auctions, zShops and Marketplace -
The link to leave feedback for bidders continues to be missing
from zShops.

Announcements board
Amazon User chat board

Amazon live telephone customer service 16 hours a day Toll-free
in U.S. and Canada: (800)201-7575
* * * * *
Yahoo Auction http://user.auctions.yahoo.com/html/guidelines.html

Yahoo announcement board

Yahoo site map.

Yahoo Contact Information

* * * * *
GoTo Auctions/Rover/ChannelVision has identified their email problem
as being one with the SPAM filters on ISPs, particularly AOL. They
are working on a solution, so that they can insure after auction emails
reach their destination.
* * * * *
Andale/Honesty has had several problems. On 8 March Honesty's
auto refresh feature was down. Users reported that it doesn't
automatically refresh the session all day, and no know fix time was
predicted. On 9 Mar the sites were reported down by users at
07:05:05 PT, including the counters on ebaY, which ebaY also
reported on their AB as down. Andale/Honesty reported network
issues as the cause and the items involved 1. Andale Auction
Management services (www.andale.com)... 2. Honesty services
(www.honesty.com)... 3. Honesty and Andale Images on eBay
listings... 4. Counters on eBay listings... 5. eBay Manage counter
page. At 11:27:23 PT users reported that Andale/Honesty had
inserted a replacement logo so their users auction pages would
not continue to hang up, and would download so buyers could
view them. This was a good action on their part. Services were
restored by 12:58:44 PT
http://www.andale.com   http://www.honesty.com
* * * * *
Vrane.Com has launched a new tool. The latest one gives a seller the
automated ability to check the high bid on their auction and auto close
the auction, canceling any bids first, if the high bid does not meet the
sellers expectations. This virtual reserve tool could be very valuable,
but TAG thinks should be used in great moderation, and only is special

As always - the most amazing tools are created for ebaY by Vrane.Com,
most are free, and are incredibly useful for managing auctions on ebaY.
* * * * *
PayPal has launched a pilot program for their best customers called
PayPal's Red Carpet Club. An email went out to a limited number
of users offering 24/7 support from PayPal's customer service reps,
via an email at redca-@paypal.com or by phone toll free at
(888) 204-4481. This special email address and phone number work
only for Red Carpet members, and is tied to your registered phone
number on PayPal.

There is a 23 Feb story about PayPal freezing accounts at

PayPal has received 90 mil in funding from the Spanish bank
Bankinter, Japanese Internet bank eBANK, the ING Group, Providian
Financial, and the French retail bank Credit Agricole, as well as other
new and pre-existing investors. So far PayPal has $225 mil in financing.
* * * * *
UPS is buying MailBoxes Etc
* * * * *
OneMain ISP had email problems that they expect to be fixed by
14 Mar. If you are dealing with someone using OneMain, give them
some extra time to contact you. If you use OneMain you can call them
at 800-663-6246.
* * * * *
Photos4All appears to be having some serious problems that are
unexplained on the site. Tag recommends that you seek a different
photo hosting site. http://www.Photos4all.net

Free Image Hosting
WebSpace provided by most ISPs with your account. You upload
the photos using FTP software such as Fetch for the MAC or CuteFTP
or WS FTP for PC based computers or WebTV. Many of these type
programs are available as freeware or shareware from Zdnet.

Free Site for Storefront and Customer List

Free Auction Management Tools
* * * * *
Online Auction Users Association
The March newsletter is out and can be viewed at

Chat Schedule
Thursday, March 15, 9 p.m. EST - Topic - Chat with OAUA
President Jen Hassler hosted by Gail
Monday, March 19, 9:30 or 10:00 p.m. EST - Trivia Night with
Trivia Master Steve
Thursday, March 22, 9 p.m. EST - Chat with eDeal
(rescheduled from February)
Thursday, March 29, 9 p.m. EST - Chat with Joe Force from
Bargin and Haggle. com (tentative, waiting for confirmation)
OAUA live chat http://www.auctionusers.org/chat.shtml

Interested in volunteering and serving the Online Auction Community?
Check out http://www.auctionusers.org/volunteerop.shtml
* * * * *
Online Auction & Trading Site Co-op
Interested in an OAT Site Co-op?
Interested in getting involved?
Information on co-ops -
Ideas for co-ops continue to develop
To participate in weekly live co-op chats go to
Every Sunday Night at 8:00 PM EST.
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If you would like an Auction House or Service Provider added to
this list, please email us at ta-@theauctionguild.com
Have any information for us? email us at ta-@theauctionguild.com
TAG Subscribers have often contributed to information reported on in
TAGnotes. Visit their auctions.
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