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TAGnotes Tue 8 May 2001 Vol 3 Number 56 Issue 317

The Auction Guild Notes for Tue 8 May 2001
We apologize for the very late posting of this issue of TAGnotes.
Topica, our list server has been down for an unexpectedly extended
maintenance period starting at 1800 PT on 8 May running over 20 hours.
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Users reported ebaY down on 5 May at 05:09:39 PT and ebaY
posted at 05:38:45 PT that they were experiencing technical
difficulties. Site functions were intermittent or down. At
05:54:46 PT ebaY reported that View Item, Bidding and My eBay were
intermittently unavailable from 05:10 PT to 05:35 PT.

On 6 May ebaY reported at 11:24:58 PT that their picture service
was down, preventing uploading of new images. Users could still
view images in auctions. At 11:58:27 PT ebaY posted that
the problem with uploading new images lasted from 10:41 PT
until 11:45 PT. Users reported at 13:12:22 PT that cgi 5 was
showing blank pages again, which has been happening
intermittently over the last two weeks. At 20:45:24 PT users
reported completed search was down, another ongoing
intermittent problem. Sonny@ebaY acknowledged the problem
on the ebaY boards at 21:04:30 PT, but it was never posted to the
SAB. Sonny@ebaY reported completed search working as of
21:23:22 PT, but users continued to report problems with it at
21:23:22 PT. At 22:34:58 PT users reported problems with the
entire site for a few minutes.

On 7 May at 20:04:55 PT users reported cgi 2 errors and auction pics
not opening. At 06:18:52 PT cgi 3 errors started to show up
intermittently, and at 08:29:21 PT cgi 2 errors were again reported
by users. At 10:12:02 PT problems with search for completed
auctions were once again showing up. Users reported at 14:27:21 PT
that there were problems with ebaY picture services. These problems
were short lived and intermittent.

ebaY took the feedback forum down for maintenance from 00:00 PDT
to 00:30 PDT on Tuesday, 8 May. 01:58:40 PT brought user reports of
most ebaY functions being down. At 08:17:15 PT users reported the
feedback forum down. The problems with the feedback forum continued
intermittently through out the day. At 12:28:36 PT My ebaY was down.
The problems with My ebaY were reported to be happening intermittently
throughout the day. At 21:33:11 PT users again reported site functions
were unavailable, there were also reports of delays and outages of some
categories, with the sports category the most mentioned. These problems
were short lived and intermittent, but appeared to keep cropping up.

ebaY is eliminating certain kinds of historic memorabilia. On 17 May,
auctions for these items will be removed from ebaY. This ban includes
World War II items with Swastikas, items related to murderers, and
other items ebaY has decided to censor. For more information go to the
MAB post on 3 May 2001 at 11:57:23 PT.

ebaY has a post on the MAB about ebaY's payment terms. Sellers
are required to pay the invoice amount in full. This payment is due
before the end of your next billing cycle. ebaY allows about 30 days
in which to make payment. If payment is not posted to your account
in that time, your account may be restricted due to delinquency.
ebaY sends emails stating your invoice amount owed, and also notices
of delinquency if your account becomes past due. For accounts with a
debit/credit card on file for billing, ebaY also sends decline notices
when the attempt to charge the card is declined by the card issuer.

ebaY has changed the category listing pages. The default view is now
'all items including gallery preview'. Each time you go to a new
category you have to change your option tab to get a view other
than the slow loading 'all items including gallery preview'.

Pink Quote of the Day - When challenged on 5 May about her role
on the boards justifying ebaYs ban of certain types of historical
memorabilia, Katy@ebaY at 16:32:03 PT said, "I'm sorry if you are
offended by the policy or my actions. That is never our intention,
but, just as you are not required to sell certain items only because a
buyer may request it, eBay is also free to choose not to allow certain
items to be listed. That is how it is done in the United States, right?
......Katy" In TAG's view, censorship was how it was done in Nazi
Germany, not the US. This sounds to TAG as if ebaY is saying like it or
leave, it will be ebaY's choice, no matter what their customer the
seller wants, or how much ebaY's actions hurt the sellers business.
Since ebaY has a monopoly in the online auction space, their actions
might bear closer scrutiny by regulating agencies, particularly when
ebaY, who claims to be a venue only, bans legal items, causing a
restraint in trade for those items.

For sellers who feel they have not had their refunds, that ebaY is
restraining trade or other situations not 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/

Announcement Board Marketing - (MAB)
Announcement Board Status (SAB)

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

ebaY auction count approx 4.98 mil inflated by at least 6% yielding
an actual listing count of approx 4.68 mil auctions. On 8 May 2000
ebaY had approx 4.1mil auctions
* * * * *
Amazon Auctions, zShops and Marketplace posted on their AB that
they had problems on 8 May with zShops pages loading intermittently.
This continued for several hours. There were also intermittent
problems with Seller Account pages, and some Marketplace listings
were unavailable for purchase. Amazon says that no data was lost
as a result of these problems.

Users report Amazon has had intermittent persistent ongoing
problems for several months. These consist of (but are not
limited to) missing listings, no browse paths working for
Z Shops, customers unable to make payments using Amazon
payment system, customers not being able to access invoices sent
for additional payments, Marketplace listings showing many
books to select from, but when clicked on a 'not available' message
comes up. Calls to customer support yield nothing but a surprised
response that the caller is the only one with the problem, and that
Amazon was not aware of the difficulty, a scripted and untrue
response, or their standard, "try again". Email requests for
assistance garner canned answers of the same caliber. Sellers receive
no refunds regardless of the problems, though extensions sometimes
occur on auctions. In TAGs view, Amazon has relegated their merchant
sellers to a very small role in their corporate structure and Amazon's
focus on these merchants is insignificant. They keep the merchant
seller side of their business running marginally, when it works the
merchants make sales and profit, when the site does not run Amazon tends
to it as a very low priority issue.

Amazon Outage Policy -

Amazon User chat board

Amazon live telephone customer service 16 hours a day Toll-free
in U.S. and Canada: (800)201-7575
* * * * *
Yahoo has had site and auction access problems. The latest of these
appear to be related to an a PG&E underground vault explosion at
Exodus Communications, when Exodus's backup system failed.
Services were reported restored by 18:45 PT on 7 May. Yahoo
has also been blaming statewide power shortages for some of
their access problems.   Yahoo formerly hosted its services with
GlobalCenter, the Web hosting unit of communications carrier
Global Crossing. But Exodus acquired GlobalCenter earlier this
year. An article on this can be found at

TAG wonders if this is a sign of things to come. Yahoo and Yahoo
Auctions have had consistently reliable up times of over 99% with
infrequent and short lived access problems. Now that Exodus, ebaYs
server host, is also carrying the Yahoo site, will Yahoo start to
experience some of the poor site performance approaching the 90%
uptime that ebaY has? Does being the server host of both these sites
cause conflict of interest problems for Exodus?

Yahoo has changed its maximum title length for auctions to 50
characters. For comparison ebaY allows 45 characters, Bidville
75 characters and ePier 70 characters.

Yahoo is also running a sweepstakes where sellers get
entered in the contest every time they sell something successfully
on Yahoo. Enter from 12:01 AM PT on 7 May, 2001 until
11:59 PM PT on 4 June 4 2001. You can also enter by mail
without making a sale.
Yahoo is also advertising combining a Yahoo store and Merchant
Auctions, but there is no real integrated program available, and no
special pricing to encourage sellers to combine the two.

Yahoo Auctions continue to decrease slightly, taking a hit of over
10,000 with the loss of the adult section auctions, and showing no
significant gains in any area. Overall categories are stable or
showing small decreases. Total auctions number less than 200,000.
* * * * *
USPS is imposing new increased rates on 1 July 2001.
First class for ounces over one ounce goes up 2 cents per additional
ounce, priority one and two pound remains the same, but there are
increases on heavier priority packages. Postcards increase by one cent.
New Rate PDF - http://www.usps.com/ratecase/newrates.pdf
* * * * *
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
Go to http://www.auctionpie.com
They host live chats every Sunday night at 8:00PM EST

Vintage Items Co-Op info can be found at
http://www.ali-baba.org./ and
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