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TAGnotes Sun 25 Mar 2001 Vol 3 Number 42 Issue 303

The Auction Guild Notes for Sun 25 Mar 2001
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The ebaY site crashed on 25 Mar and was down completely and then
intermittently from 16:45:58 PT to 20:33:43 PT. Users reported the
site down at 16:45:58 PT and at 17:06:27 PT ebaY reported the
system unavailable as of 16:51 PT. ebaY posted at 17:38:30 PT that
the site was down from 16:51 PT to 17:32 PT. Category listings
pages continued to be intermittently available. At 17:50:03 PT ebaY
reported that the category listings pages were back but at 18:10:27 PT
acknowledged that item pages are intermittently down, so users could not
view or bid on items. At 18:49:56 PT ebaY noted that some users still
did not have access and at 19:09:07 PT they decided to take the site
down from 19:15 PT to 19:35 PT. They posted at 19:40:39 PT, that the
site was unavailable from 19:15 PT until 19:30 PT, but that some members
accessing through specific ISPs continue to be unable to reach ebaY.
Users continued to report the site inaccessible for everyone, and the
site was not fully back until 20:33:43 PT. ebaY posted at 20:40:18 PT
that access was restored to all members and "users should now be able to
navigate as usual." Usual access for most of the month of March
continues to be very slow particularly for Cable modem users. At
23:26:40 PT ebaY posted their revisionist summary of the outage with the
statement that TAG hopes was an error, because if true would be a major
policy change "In accordance with our Outage Policy, Listings ending
during this time will not be eligible for credit. You may review the
eBay System Outage Policy by clicking "Help" then "Rules and Safety"
from the Navigation Bar, or by going to this URL:
That should read AUTOMATIC refunds, as it has always been ebaYs policy
to give refunds for outages or problems when sellers asked for them.
See Pink Quote of the Day.

There is another serious problem that was reported to us today by
a subscriber, and was also noted on the ebaY boards. On the ebaY
listing form there is an option of retaining several preferences
regarding International shipping, payment options, etc. The last
box is to denote shipping fees, either "See Auction," "Buyer pays,"
"Seller Pays" etc. The ebaY system is defaulting the listing
"Seller Pays" once the listing goes through even though a different
setting is selected. There have once again been reports of Billpoint
showing up on auction relists as the default, even when not selected
on the original auction or the relist. Check your auctions.

We have been reporting on, posting and pondering this problem for
several days. Users who access ebaY through RoadRunner and other
high speed providers are getting very slow access to ebaY. We
could not figure out the WHY but today an email from a subscriber
put the last piece of the puzzle in place and now we can intelligently
theorize the why. The email was about a conversation the subscriber
had with an Exodus techie during the big ebaY outage in June of 99.
Here are the pieces of the puzzle -
1. The problem is EBAY not Exodus not Road Runner (RR) or any
other Service Provider. It is also not a blockage on the internet.
The fact that safeweb and other anonymizers works to speed up
access proves it. ebaY is blocking a percentage of access to certain
Service Providers - if you hide the Internet Protocol address from
ebaY by coming in through the anonymizer, your access is fine. So
you can use RR directly - and not get in to ebaY, but if you use RR
and go through an anonymizer, you can access ebaY with no problem.

2. ebaY has had very few crashes in March as compared to Feb - where
they had crashes almost daily. We track this 24/7 and this has been
a very uniquely quiet period. Word on the street is that ebaY has not
purchased any equipment, or actually made any substantive changes
to account for increased stability.

3. There is a quarterly report coming up soon, and the market climate
is very bearish.

4. We predict that an insider stock sale is planned - we were correct in
our October predictions and analysis, and are equally sure this time

5. This problem started on or about the 15th. This method of access
control was tested at the beginning of the month to see if it would
work. Look at the thread on ebaY at
You will see access complaints on the 8th and 9th and then
everything is fine until the 15th.

6. The reason the relisting glitch was not addressed or acknowledged,
and the process was delayed, was so ebaY would get past their SEC
filing and quarterly report. They are hiding ALL site problems. ebaY
knew about this problem on the 15th and did not even acknowledge it
until the 23rd. They had evidence both from users and from at least
one third party service provider.

Our conclusion is that what you have here is ebaY having Exodus
close down a percentage of access to the site so this eternally
unstable site stays stable and crashes are prevented or minimized.
In the current stock market environment ebaY does not want
anything to foul up their quarterly report. They used this method to
recover from crashes in June 1999, and they are expanding the usage
of this control. In TAG's opinion they are doing this to manipulate
their stock price by hiding their site instability problems. They are
also receiving full fees from their sellers, while not providing full
service. If our theories prove accurate, then ebaY is guilty of at
best, very unethical activities, and at worst actionable fraud.
For directions on requesting ebaY refunds go to

Masking servers list http://webveil.com/matrix.html
Ones that work - remember, by using these sites they are probably
getting more traffic than they have ever seen and they might not
be able to handle it -
http://www.iprive.com/index.shtml very

TAG strongly recommends ALL users read the new User and
Privacy Policy Agreements (UA/PP).   
For a summary of the revisions to the UA and Privacy Policy, go to:
User Agreement: http://pages.ebay.com/help\basics\uarevision1-faq.html
Privacy Policy: http://pages.ebay.com/help/basics/pprevision1-faq.html
To view the entire revised User Agreement, go to:
To view the enter revised Privacy Policy, go to:

Pink Quote of the Day When asked about ebaY outage problems
and sellers adding clauses allowing them to not honor bids if an
auction ends during an ebaY crash on Aug-03-00 at 17:58:03 PDT
(August 2000) Cla-@ebaY.Com said,
"I'd strongly urge them to use reserves where appropriate, rather
than any disclaimers - it's just safer all the way around. I usually
point to the User Agreement Secton 5, specifically 5.2, about this.
And of course, encourage the seller to request credit where
appropriate." Has there been an unannounced policy change?

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

ebaY partner eLance's founder and general manager was indicted
for securities fraud today.

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
* * * * *
Amazon Auctions, zShops and Marketplace
The best summation TAG has seen of the current situation at Amazon
has been expressed by the holder of the highest feedback on Amazon
in a letter of apology to his customers.

Amazon Marketplace users are still reporting better results with books
on Amazon that they get on Half.Com.
Amazon User chat board

Amazon owned Bibliofind.Com is free for the
bookselling community.

Amazon live telephone customer service 16 hours a day Toll-free
in U.S. and Canada: (800)201-7575
* * * * *
Yahoo Auction
Yahoo announcement board

Yahoo site map.

Yahoo Contact Information
Yahoo PayDirect phone number

Actual auction count 21 Mar 267,761 of all auctions available via
the Yahoo category page. Spot check yields a 10% bid rate and an
approx 1.5% daily sell through rate including take it now sales.
* * * * *
Online Auction Users Association
The March newsletter is out and can be viewed at

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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TAGnotes. Visit their auctions.
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