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TAGnotes Wed 7 Nov 2001 Vol 3 Number 110 Issue 371

The Auction Guild Notes for Wed 7 Nov 2001
Detailed disaster contact information, disaster relief information and
links for contributions to the United Way, Salvation Army etc. on the
TAG website at
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For quality, variety & great deals, shop the experienced auction
sellers of the EMPORIUM http://www.lynnet.com/~jmm/emporium.html
       * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
$Buck98 Holiday Extravaganza going on NOW. Next $Buck98 event starts 13
Nov. $1.98 No Reserve Auctions http://members.ebay.com/aboutme/$buck98/
       * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Support the people who support TAGnotes. Click on their links, bid on
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The TAG email system is broken, and we have not heard from our service
provider when it will be back in service. If you need to reach us, and
email to ta-@theauctioguild.com bounces, please try our temporary email
address at tagc-@usadatanet.net.
The TAGnotes archive is available in a searchable format at     
Interested in more information about TAG? Go to our website at
http://www.auctionguild.com You can find contact info for several sites
and services there, along with editorials and other information.
On 2 Nov at 04:10:17 PT the ebaY threaded boards were down, returning to
service at 04:45:43 PT. At 04:50:57 PT Web TV users again reported they
still could not list US only auctions, with the auction defaulting to
international despite the option chosen by the seller. Sellers also
started posting complaints about receiving double bills with the second
one showing the account past due with a threat of suspension if not
paid. In addition users continued to post problems with sign in/cookies
preventing listing, relisting and revising, and ongoing confusion caused
by Checkout.

On 3 Nov at 22:14:09 PT ebaY announced that they had erroneously sent
sellers two copies of their ebaY bill for October. they claimed tat
ebaY had not charged any accounts and that ebaY would only charge
sellers once for the amount owed. Disregard the second email.   TAG
always recommends sellers carefully track their accounts on ebaY.
Sellers continued to post complaints about receiving double bills with
the second one showing the account past due with a threat of suspension
if not paid. In addition users continued to post problems with sign
in/cookies preventing listing, relisting and revising, and ongoing
confusion caused by Checkout.

On 4 Nov at 02:40:40 PT ebaY picture services was down. ebaY posted at
03:36:03 PT that picture services were down from 02:04 PT to 03:15 PT.
All sellers using ebaY pic services should ask for auction refunds as
this critical service was down for over an hour. Sellers using ebaY pic
services and paying for ten day auctions should also request refunds.
At 11:23:33 PT the entire ebaY site crashed.   At 11:24:28 PT ebaY
posted they were having technical difficulties, and at 11:31:51 PT that
Business (Office & Industrial), Clothing & Accessories, Everything Else,
Weird Stuff, Jewelry, Gemstones & Watches, Real Estate and Toys &
Hobbies were down from 11:21 PT to 11:28 PT. Users reported the site
restored at 11:34:40 PT. At 11:51:01 PT users reported that the account
system was not working, and accounts were not being charged correctly
when listing. Sellers continued to post complaints about receiving
double bills with the second one showing the account past due with a
threat of suspension if not paid. In addition users continued to post
problems with sign in/cookies preventing listing, relisting and
revising, and ongoing confusion caused by Checkout, which got worse as
more auctions closed with checkout.

On 5 and 6 Nov the ongoing complaints about sign in/cookies preventing
listing, relisting and revising continued. The majority of problems on
the boards were being caused by the faulty implementation and imposition
of the mandatory Checkout program. This is causing problems of
confusion for buyers who don't understand that though they have checked
out, their transaction is not complete. Buyers also don't understand
that they were able to checkout, but the seller does not use Checkout,
or that not all sellers accept Billpoint despite ebaY's adding it to the
end of auction notice and making it appear that the seller accepts
ebaY's Billpoint. Buyers report getting caught in endless Checkout
loops where they went around in circles and could not pay with a more
desirable method, such as PayPal, or complete the transaction. As
sellers discovered that Checkout was mandatory, not the option ebaY said
it was, they posted their anger, frustration and outrage. Opinion ran
universally against Checkout, with the overwhelming number of posters
saying that ebaY had taken efficient working systems, and interfered
with their normal incompetence, and problematical result.

On 7 Nov at 13:08:44 PT users reported cgi5 not working for relists if
the item qualified for a free relist. Users reported "The page cannot
be displayed" messages whilst clicking on the continue button. Items
not qualified for a free relist went through. At 13:01:08 PT ebaY
posted that Checkout summary details were not appearing on completed
listings. Completed listings were once again showing the right
information, but ebaY had not yet figured out a way to retrieve the lost
information. At 16:12:42 PT ebaY posted that Dutch Auction listings
were displaying incorrect bid amounts.   No solution to this problem was
announced as being fixed as of this printing. At 17:03:17 PT ebaY
posted that for those items entered with Checkout details between 24 Oct
and 7 Nov , ebaY will restore shipping and handling details. Checkout
details will reappear on these items starting mid day on 7 Nov, however,
it may take a few days for all items to have Checkout details
reinstated. Completed items without Checkout details or those that were
entered Wednesday afternoon or later will not be affected.

The ebaY system will be unavailable from 01:00 PST until 03:00 PST on
Friday, November 9th, for regularly scheduled maintenance. The
Billpoint web site and functions will be unavailable on Friday, November
9th, 2001 from 01:00 PST to 03:00 PST for scheduled maintenance.

TO REQUEST REFUNDS from ebaY go to
Don’t take no for an answer; keep requesting until you get them.

Pink Quote of the Day 1, Kevin Purseglove, ebaY PR man, in an interview
with MSNBC on 4 Nov, about Checkout said, " “People go on the board with
grand conspiracy theories,” he said. “It’s very clear for any user to
see that the various services are optional.” and " “The creation or
introduction of any new service is designed to do what? Designed to help
people buy and sell,” said Purseglove. “We have to be consistent in our
willingness to work with buyers and sellers to improve the service.” TAG
finds ebaY's definition of optional interesting. We define ebaY's
method of definition as lying. Past experience has proven that ebaY's
ONLY goal is to extract the largest amount of money possible from the
seller whilst providing the most minimal service, and their objective
has rarely been to improve the service, only their own profitability.

Pink Quote of the Day 2, Sonny@ebaY on 3 Nov at 23:02:53 PT said, "we
do not sell your personal info to telemarketers. We can share that
information with our partners, but we do not sell it".   TAG sees this
as a distinction without a difference. What "considerations" do those
partners provide ebaY? The partners are still buying access to that
information, whether by cash or some other consideration.

ebaY now limits the number of emails a user can send through the ebaY
email system to six (6) per day.   This appears to be limited by IP
address and not cookies or user IDs. This is interesting and has the
potential to become really bad. If ebaY limits the availability of the
buyers email address to the seller, and limits the ability to email the
seller, even through ebaY's system, then the only method to contact that
buyer would be through Checkout. Is this where ebaY is headed? TAG
thinks this IS the time for sellers to Checkout - check out getting your
own web page, check out Yahoo and other sites, and prepare yourself now
to be more independent of ebaY. Sellers must have options so they can
continue to trade freely online, person to person. One email limit
workaround for now, is to access ebaY through an anonymizer site such as
SafeWeb.Com or Anonymizer.Com. That way ebaY might be able to limit
email access to your user ID, but not by IP so you can use other IDs for

Do you use Passport on ebaY? If you do BE WARNED. The Passport wallet
is completely vulnerable to have its information stolen. Read an
article on this here -

Banned on ebaY - Intimidation and Censorship increasing
TAG has been given a 30 day suspension from posting on the ebaY boards.
We were suspended in a frantic effort by ebaY to silence our leadership
in fighting the forced Checkout program. ebaY's excuse was that we
posted a prohibited link to a new chat board on another site, an act
that not only was never a violation previously, but one that was
violated within the hour of TAG's alleged offense, and passed by without
sanction, as all other such postings are, unless a user is being
specifically targeted. ebaY was on a hunt for any excuse to squelch the
protest on their site. TAG has heard from reliable inside sources that
though ebaY is downplaying user furor in public, within the walls of
ebaY Inc they are frantic over the reaction to Checkout. We all need to
keep the pressure on ebaY to make Checkout completely optional. This is
the nose of the camel in the tent. Fail to stop ebaY now and you will
soon be living with the whole camel.

Unhappy with Checkout? Show your buyers you will have no part of it.
TAG has some logos for your auctions - Go to Gifs you can use on the TAG
site at
We will probably add a separate page for these logos as we keep
receiving new ones.

TAG also recommends that if you are not going to fill in the Checkout
details, you put the words NO CHECKOUT in your item description in
addition to all the other things you are doing to get your buyers to not
use Checkout. The mainstream media goes by numbers, and if they could
search ebaY and see that millions of auctions have NO CHECKOUT in them
instead of the current approx 100,000, it will get much more play in the
press. The only way to influence ebaY is through outside pressure, and
the press is a valuable source of that pressure. Also add you voice to
that of thousands of other ebaY sellers at -   

In addition, you can use HTML in the location box and post in bold red
letter that you do not use checkout. Using the location box makes your
non-acceptance of Checkout visible to the buyer at the end of the
auction on a page otherwise dominated by ebaY's mandatory Checkout
button. You can also get the word out to a wider audience of users by
posting a message that you don't use checkout in a gif that you place in
the Gallery section of the auction. This will show up in all gallery
spots, gaining much wider viewing by the 6 or so million active auction
users on ebaY. At 25 cents each that is an inexpensive way to get
attention, and since it is information that directly affects your
auction, is ebaY legal. The impact of thousands of checkout logo
protests will catch the attention of the 6 million users who normally
don't read the chat boards, but do browse the listings.

Another site that might be of interest to users is
The Anarchists Guide to Checkout - http://checkout.batcave.net/

Articles on checkout -
The Street - http://www.thestreet.com/stocks/timarango/10003236.html
CNET - http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1007-200-7744121.html
CNET - http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1007-200-7763531.html?tag=cd_mh
Bloomburg -

The Street - http://www.thestreet.com/stocks/timarango/10003405.html
MSNBC - http://www.msnbc.com/news/653177.asp?cp1=1

ebaY is changing their power seller program. In TAG's view ebaY has
always used the power seller program as a divide and conquer tool to
separate larger sellers from the smaller mom and pop businesses. This
helps ebaY control protest and organization on their site. ebaY alleges
that they will provide power sellers with online access to program
benefits through a new portal page, a banner ad tool, a power seller
branded merchandise tool, a recognition and reward program, and an
exclusionary power seller discussion board. Rather than doing what all
corporate America does - provide a discount for quantity buyers - ebaY
prefers the exclusionary programs that create class differences on their
sites, with some sellers being more equal than others.
As a point of interest, one long time ebaY power seller said they tried
an ebaY banner ad during the trial period, and paid $140. for 40,000
impressions yielding only about 20 click throughs.

Netscape 4.78 is a version of Netscape that is said to work well with
ebaY and to provide a successful platform on which to relist and revise
auctions on ebaY.

ebaY news board - http://pages.ebay.com/community/news/index.html

ebaY categories with the category number
An off ebaY category number locator page

ebaY contact information including analog mail and email addresses and
phone numbers, regular and toll free, refund info and insider trading
info etc can be found at

Want to PERMANENTLY close an account on ebaY? go to

ebaY announcement board http://www2.ebay.com/aw/announce.shtml
* * * * *
Amazon Auctions, zShops and Marketplace

Announcement Board

Amazon live telephone customer service 16 hours a day
Toll-free in U.S. and Canada: (800)201-7575
Auction Pro phone number 1-877-251-0696
* * * * *
Yahoo has posted their long awaited announcement on the fee structure
price changes. Yahoo has significantly reduced the cost of listing and
selling on their site with listing fees ranging from 5 cents to 75 cents
and final value fees from a high of 2% to .5%. These price reductions
come into effect right at the start of the holiday selling season, and
should provide both a boost to Yahoo listings and a break for Sellers
struggling to survive in a depressed economy. Yahoo is also providing a
free relist for items that don't sale, and TAG hopes there will also be
ongoing rewards that will tie seller success with Yahoo's success.

Yahoo has also added a new community chat board
In TAG's view, this is an effort to get better community communications
flowing, to prevent the kind of problems that resulted from Yahoo's
isolation from it's community in the fee implementation disaster that
occurred last year.

Yahoo is encouraging person to person selling and promises to head in
the opposite direction to ebaY. They have the large commercial sellers,
they are now trying to bring those millions of buyers to the
auction/warehouse/classified person to person side of their site. They
also promise more open communication, including boards that are not
strictly controlled in content (you can post a link to ebaY and not get
BANNED!) hopefully allow reasonable links to web sites, allow direct
communication with potential buyers through their instant messaging from
the auction, and more initiatives towards openness. They want to weave
new threads in the web and include person to person sellers and buyers
in that web so ALL can profit together. The timing of all this is
coincidental, but very hopeful given the very scary scenario developing
at ebaY. Competition is healthy, and Yahoo is in position to provide
that competition NOW. We are cautiously optimistic.
Articles - http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1007-200-7794808.html?tag=owv
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Online Auction Users Association
Election results slated to be posted on 8 Nov 01 at
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