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TAGnotes Sat 31 Mar 2001 Vol 3 Number 44 Issue 305

The Auction Guild Notes for Sat 31 Mar 2001
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On 30 March the site was late coming back up after maintenance.
Users continued to report the site not working at 03:43:12 PT, and
books, movies, and music unavailable at 03:44:55 PT. At 04:52:30 PT
users were still reporting the site down intermittently. At 06:15:14 PT
users reported network errors, viewing auctions very slow, and
completed auctions not showing up at all. These problems appeared
to stabilize soon after and the site was stable for the rest of the day.
Neither the status lights, nor any post on the ebaY status board
reflected any of these problems.

At 19:51:04 PT ebaY reported that the 30 minute emergency
maintenance they planned on Collectibles, Books, Movies, Music,
Sports and Antiques and Art categories had been cancelled.

For the OUTAGE on Sunday 25 March, TAG recommends that all
sellers who feel their auctions were negatively impacted by the
outages apply for refunds. Though some sellers are now reporting
they have been denied refunds other are getting them. We
recommend that in the face of a refusal, sellers continue to request
and re-request the refunds until they get them. It is a well
established and long standing policy of ebaY's to give refunds
when asked. For directions on requesting ebaY refunds go to

ebaY has added commercial realtors to their Real Estate category.
ebaY has formed a relationship with HomeSeekers.com. When
viewing ebaY Residential Real Estate listing pages, click on More
Realtor listed homes to search for these additional residential

ebaY has a post on the AB warning users not to give their User ID's
and password to PayPal. This came about because of the glitch in the
new PayPal winning bidder notice option, that caused end of auction
notices to be sent even though the seller did not opt for them. PayPal
is reworking the tool as it had some glitches (see PayPal post below)
ebaY claims to have a higher level of security than PayPal, though in
TAG's opinion, ebaY has violated their privacy agreement with impunity
on several occasions. ebaY also encourages users to
carefully read the user agreements and privacy policies of third
party service providers you provide your ebaY User ID and
password to, in order to use their service. In this TAG concurs,
but TAG has found third party service providers to be as or more
trustworthy than ebaY or those directly associated with ebaY.
ebaY says in their new privacy policy that they do not sell
individual user information but they do share this information
allowing those services to SPAM ebaY users and use the
information for other purposes. In addition ebaY SPAMS users
in their end of auction notices and in other places users cannot
opt out of.

ebaY has extended Buy It Now as a free feature through the second
quarter of this year.

ebaY finally posted on 30 March about the incorrect listing fees
that has been going on for over two weeks. For listings including
10-day auctions, the total listing fee is displayed as 10cents higher
than the actual fee being charged. This is only a display issue, and
ebaY is actually applying charges correctly. ebaY does not know
when the problem will be fixed, but think it will be soon.

ebaY partner iPix is in financial difficulties

Sellers report that ebaY is shutting down auctions and deleting
About Me pages because the seller has a link to a mailing list in
their auction and on their about me page. ebaY quotes section 5 of
their users agreement, saying it does not allow them, but forgets
section 6 which DOES allow them. ebaY has admitted that there is
no explicit rule or policy that prohibits mailing list links ebaY, but
that they are reviewing the policy and would prefer sellers to include
the link on their About Me page and in end if auction notices. When
asked on 24 Mar "is it or is it not ok to put opt in email/customer
list links in auctions" at 18:36:19 PT mae-@ebay.com said,
"TAG, I will answer you straight up. eBay's preference is that the
mail opt links are provided on the Me page or are included in the
email exchanged by the seller and the high bidder. I cannot answer
your question about the auction page itself. I do not have enough
information."   Unfortunately, ebaY continues to end auctions and
remove About Me pages for containing mailing list links despite
the fact that there is no violation being committed. In TAG's
opinion what you should do is - in EVERY email you exchange
with ANYONE - include a link to your customer list sign up. When
a potential customer sends you a question about a listing - send them
a link to your customer list sign up. If someone asks you about a
reserve on an auction, or queries about a reserve not met auction or
wants to know about something you might have for sale - tell them
that due to ebaYs policies you can't give them any information about
any item unless they join your customer list in writing so that you
can PROVE they are YOUR customer and not ebaY's. Once they
sign up both you AND the buyer are safe. You have established a
formal direct provable relationship. You do NOT have to send
emails and this does not have to be a mailing list - just an opt in
customer list.

In the last issue of TAGnotes, TAG said "Users are cautioned that
Netscape has a flaw in displaying the Microsoft HTML 'td' tag,
and refuses to parse it unless it is perfect, and even then, it won't
necessarily parse it. When this 'td' tag is used in auction
descriptions, this causes those users browsing using Netscape to not be
able to view the auction listing. The easiest solution is to simply not
use this 'td' tag." Our subscribers have detailed that the 'td' tag is
not Microsofts - and that it is not Netscapes refusal to parse it that
is the problem but the fact that sellers who leave the closing tag open
are at fault. The POINT TAG was trying to make whilst making errors in
the details, was that problems with tables and the 'td' tag causes users
browsing using Netscape to not be able to view the auction listing so
don't use tables and the 'td' tag if you can avoid it. If you feel you
need to use the tables and the 'td' tag, there are several good HTML
tutorials online so you can insure proper usage. If your auction is
missing its description and pictures, check your table and 'td' tags.
Netscape users will be unable to see anything inside or below a table
including the item description and bidding box if the seller leaves off
the closing table tag.

Users have reported that there are still some refresh problems with
Auction Assistant even after uploading the patch.   Users report that
SAP appears to have a similar problem. It also appears that eBud
is no longer available for purchase, though TAG is waiting to hear
from Auctiva.Com, owner of eBud, on details.
Users report that the 24/7 email support for SAP and SAB is
nonexistent. Response to emails take 30 to 50 hours, and the answers
when received are no better than the run of the mill answers ebaY
provides through their normal support channels.

For sellers who feel they have not had their refunds or other situations
dealt with to your satisfaction, you can file reports with
The Attorney General of California and also in your home state
The Better Business Bureau
The Federal Trade Commission
The Office of Consumer Affair, US Department of Commerce
send email to - Caff-@doc.gov
The FBI's Internet Fraud Units
National Fraud Information Center
eComplaints http://www.ecomplaints.com/

If you have access problems on ebaY try one of these anonymizers
Masking servers list http://webveil.com/matrix.html
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:

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 5.37 mil auctions with 6% inflation for double listings
netting 5.05 mil listings.
* * * * *
Amazon Auctions, zShops and Marketplace

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
Approx 815,000 with an unknown number of duplicate listed items
based on 11 categories actual counts, 9 categories estimated counts.
* * * * *
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.
* * * * *
PayPal has taken their bidder notification option back to the
drawing board. It was opt out and not opt in and they are changing
it to be opt in. It automatically sent notices to buyers even if the
seller did not offer PayPal on that auction and also on closed reserve
not met auctions. They are working on fixing the problems before
relaunching it.

PayPal has a new pricing scheme. For premier and business accounts
this rate is effective as of 19 April 2001. Until then, non-credit card
payments (PayPal Balance; Instant Transfer from a Bank Account)
PayPal will charge sellers 1.6% + 30¢ with a $5 cap. On 19 April
transactions under $15. costs sellers 30 cents per transaction, and
transactions over $15. costs sellers 2.2% + 30¢ per transaction.
* * * * *
Online Auction Users Association
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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