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TAGnotes Sun 20 Jan 2002 Vol 4 Number 5 Issue 387

The Auction Guild Notes for Sun 20 Jan 2002
Quality, variety & great deals, shop the experienced auction sellers of
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On 16 at 07:11:23 PT users reported that items were still indexing
erratically. In a group of listings made at one time, some but not all
items were indexed in title/description (t/d) search. Along with t/d
search running 24 to 48 hours behind, this problem has been occurring
intermittently for a week.   Buyers reported that bid problems continue.
With some bids you have to enter it several times to get the bid to
register. there are also bid problems with the bid screen. Buyers
receive a message saying, "Problem with bid amount You are the current
high bidder with bid amount $35.00. Please go back and bid a higher
price. (Please type numbers and the decimal point (.) only)". this is
also a problem that has been happening intermittently for approx one
week. At 15:40:37 PT users reported iPix images were not showing in

On 17 Jan at 08:21:33 PT users reported feedback problems. If you tried
to view feedback left, you could only view the first page. Attempts to
access the second page would require you to sign in and then your would
be taken to a page that showed the option for the feedback you had left,
not that of the persons feedback you had been attempting to view. At
10:32:37 PT users reported sign in timeout problems that continued
throughout the day. ebaY posted at 11:45:14 PT that ebaY picture
services iPix was not working and sellers could not upload new images.
ebaY claimed the problems lasted from 11:20 PT to 11:29 PT. Users
reported that in their attempt to use Mister Lister on the Australian
site ebaY was trying to force the seller to list in Euros, despite the
fact that Australia is not a member of the European Economic Union.
Users again reported problems with the feedback forum with the feedback
left as reported above. For a partial workaround change the number 25
at the end of the URL to 500. At 16:54:00 PT buyers reported that they
were not able to bid in the Consumer Electronics Category. This was
still down through 17:01:57 PT.

ebaY took their system down for maintenance from 01:00 PT until 03:00 PT
on Friday 18 Jan. ebaY also took down their ebaY Billpoint payment
system for the same time frame. On 18 Jan at 04:07:25 PT ebaY posted
that their secure server to post credit card information and payments to
ebaY accounts was down from 03:00 PT to 03:45 PT.

On 19 Jan at 09:07:39 PT users reported the feedback forum down. At
10:42:09 PT users reported they could not sign in because their password
kept getting rejected even the password was correct. At 13:19:19 PT
ebaY reported that items were not indexing in description search in a
timely manner. This was affecting only some items. At 19:04:50 PT ebaY
posted that users were reporting receiving multiple End of Auction,
Listing Confirmation and Bid Confirmation notices. ebaY claims they
found the problem and fixed it. Bidding problems surfaced again and
were confirmed by ebaY via email from timesen-@ebay.com at 13:33
PT. "... thank you for reporting that you received a message to use
commas when placing a bid. We are working to correct this as quickly as
possible. In the mean time you should not receive this error if you do
not use the dollar sign when entering a bid amount. For example if you
wanted to place a bid amount for one hundred dollars please enter the
amount as 100.00 instead of $100.00" and at 16:49, "Thank you for
taking the time to write to us with your concerns. I would be happy to
assist you further. I am sorry you are having so much trouble when
placing a bid on our site. When we researched this problem we found that
it was effecting international bidders placing bids on the U.S site or
U.S bidder placing bids on international items from the U.S site. We
found that if people removed the $ sign and commas from the bid price,
it corrected the error." None of these alleged cures had much result.

At 07:57:00 PT on 20 Jan, users reported search was not working. At
11:43:44 PT ebaY reported that they had fixed the problems with ebaY
picture services iPix where images were not coming up on auctions. At
14:48:30 PT users reported page opening and bidding problems. From
15:20:06 PT to 15:24:03 PT parts of the site were down and there was no
access to search or the chat (not threaded) boards. At 16:14:20 PT
parts of the site were again down and there was no access to search or
the chat (not threaded) boards. This lasted until 16:20:02 PT. Once
again at 18:44:23 PT users reported problem, sellers could not relist
and search was down once again. This occurred again intermittently from
19:04:28 PT to 19:33:51 PT.

There have been no solutions for the ongoing problems with sign
in/cookies, incompatibility with MSIE and at times all browsers, and the
inability to relist and revise. Sellers who opt out of Checkout can
still be forced into taking Checkout from the closed auction by the
buyer. 10 Day completed auction search is inadequate. Sellers who use
Billpoint report their auctions are being sabotaged when the price of
the auction exceeds their Billpoint allowable credit and a notice shows
on the auction that causes buyers to back away form the auction, because
it makes it look as if the seller is unreliable. In addition sellers
who use ebaY's Billpoint keep reporting that unjustifiable chargebacks
continue. Bidding anomalies continue causing confusion for buyers. ebaY
title/description search indexing continued to be 24 to 48 hours

TAG has received a rash of reports from sellers who had closed their
Billpoint account, some as far back as April 01, with Billpoint suddenly
appearing and allowing buyers to pay using Billpoint without the seller
even having a Billpoint account. Email
ewa-@ebay.com about this - explain the situation that you have closed
your account but Billpoint is still showing up on your auctions and has
accepted payments on your behalf though your account has been closed.
Hopefully ebaY will start coordinating with their payment service side
of the house and get this ongoing problem straightened out.

TAG recommends that IF you are going to list on ebaY, do NOT use
Billpoint, ebaY pic services, Checkout, or ANY ebaY provided service
beyond the most basic ones. None of ebaY's services are reliable, and
the feature and site reliability degenerates daily.

TO REQUEST REFUNDS from ebaY go to
Don't take NO for an answer; keep requesting until you get them.
If you don't get your refunds complain to the BBB Online at
And also file a complaint with the FTC

Pink Quote of the Day, in a CNET article whilst talking about site
reliability, Maynard Webb the ebaY techie said, "Webb says eBay now
averages unplanned downtime of 4 seconds per month--a respectable ratio
considering that the site gets 260 million page views per day (from 65
million in 1998) and sends 1.3 gigabits of data per second (from 180
megabits per second in 1998)." Anyone who reads TAGnotes know that this
is a blatant lie that does not even approach the amount of time ebaY is
down with a major function not working. If ebaY thinks it can define
its way out of an outage, they can run but TAG won't let them hide.
When any major function is not working, the site is DOWN no matter how
ebaY wants to gloss over the fact. ebaY claims it has increased site
reliability, this is a lie, all they have done is make the site outages
less visible to the media, but NOT to the site users. How CNET or
anyone can parrot this obscene misinformation is beyond contempt.

TAG sees that the main stream media is keeping up it sycophantic
articles on Meg and ebaY
Unfortunately they miss key points, don't understand the reality of
using the site and either don't ask the hard questions or let ebaY and
Meg get away with not answering them. For example, "Whitman also takes
heat for PowerSellers, a program that gives extra support to large
partners such as Sun, IBM and the U.S. Postal Service. PowerSellers must
sell $2,000 a month and maintain a 98 percent positive feedback rating.
They may buy ads linking to their sites--a loophole that allows them to
legally participate in the gray market, infuriating small sellers, who
are penalized for doing so." This is NOT the problem sellers have with
the large corporate sellers. The problem is that ebaY allows these
sellers to violate ebaY's rules with impunity, for example allowing
Sears to keep the link to their website on their auctions, though other
non corporate sellers, even powersellers, have their auctions ended
summarily and without warning for the same or even more minor
infractions. There is also suspicion that these corporate sites are
receiving sweetheart deals not available to other sellers, in addition
to the favored treatment visible on the site. TAG thinks the regular
sellers are subsidizing the auctions of these corporate sellers for the
sole purpose of keeping the listings on ebaY from dropping, therefore
keeping the stock price propped up.

The article also said, "Their fears escalated in April 1999, when eBay
acquired upscale auction house Butterfield & Butterfield for $260
million--a move many customers said was an attempt to move eBay away
from its humble roots as a site for Pez aficionados and Beanie Baby
collectors." Sellers don't now and never feared ebaY's acquisition of
Butterfield. They resented their fees being wasted on Butterfields when
it was desperately needed for infrastructure for site stability, and
users have been proven right as Butterfields slowly fades into oblivion
with rapidly dropping sales, layoffs, closings and the ongoing rumors of
it and ebaY Premier closing down completely.

In addition the article said, "Despite the challenges, eBay can point to
a rate of growth that has eluded most Internet companies. Net revenue in
2002 is expected to be at least $1.05 billion on gross merchandise sales
of $13 billion, up from about $730 million in net revenue and $9 billion
in gross merchandise sales in 2001." Enron showed equally stellar
reports - what makes CNET think ebaY's reports are any more reliable
than Enrons?

ebaY is again changing categories. To provide input on ebaY's
categories, to
*MUSIC expanded Pro Audio Equipment category

*NETWORKING & IT includes a new category for Home Networking Kits.

*SPORTS new categories for Gear & Accessories, Wakeboards, Water Skis
and restructured Fishing categories and Skateboarders Apparel

To move an item to another category go to
*Sports Memorabilia-Autographs Category Changes
*Baseball–MLB AL, Baseball–MLB NL and Baseball-Other will be combined
into one category: Baseball-MLB.
*Basketball – College/NCAA ebaY will move Listings from Basketball-Other
into this category.
*: Olympics - ebaY will move Basketball-Olympic, Hockey-Olympics,
Swimming and Track & Field into a new category: Olympics. Sub-categories
for Summer and Winter Olympic sports. Hockey will be in the
Olympics-Winter sub-category and Basketball-Olympic, Swimming and Track
& Field will be moved and combined into the Olympics-Summer
* Football-College/NCAA ebaY will move listings in Football-Other into
this category.
*Football-CFL has been removed because of the lack of listings ebaY will
move listings in Football-CFL into Football-College/NCAA.
*Rugby-League and Rugby-Union will be combined into a new category:

Fee Increases Effective 31 Jan 2002. The old Final Value Fees will
apply to all listings that were made prior to 31 Jan. For example ebaY
will charge the old final value fees on items listed on 30 Jan that
close on 6 Feb.   Can users expect additional fee increases later this
year? ebaY says, "We continually evaluate the cost of doing business and
may increase fees if the business necessitates it. Naturally, as we
introduce or upgrade features to the sites, there may be charges
associated with the use of these features. If we apply additional fees
we will notify users as prescribed in the User Agreement." TAG
interprets this as a YES, Expect quarterly fee increases as long as
sellers continue to stay on ebaY and list. If sellers move 3 million
listing to Yahoo Auctions and other auction sites then you can expect to
see ebaY make drastic changes including fee cuts in order to draw
sellers back to their site. The Buy It Now (BIN) fee will apply at the
time of listing and will not be refunded if a bid eliminates the BIN
option. ebaY hints that this might change. ebaY will charge twice for
the BIN when listing in two categories.
FAQ - http://pages.ebay.com/community/news/price_increaseFAQ.html#4

ebaY is cutting Butterfields again and has laid off 20 employees in its
Los Angeles office this week. ebaY says it will have about 140
employees after the job cuts. ebaY cut 15 percent of its staff in
November 2000.
TAG has not seen any information to confirm or deny that ebaY is going
to close ebaY Premier, though the information is still making the rounds
in the industry.

ebaY will announce on Monday it is launching a new marketplace, within
its ebaY Real Estate site, devoted to the trading of real estate

Ongoing Issues and Information
Anti and No Checkout logos are available on the TAG site at -
For those still getting the Checkout logo on their auctions, TAG has a
Checkout disable script you can add to your auction description on the
website at -
Make sure you keep an eye on your Checkout options, as ebaY has a
tendency to change your "opt out" selection to "opt in", despite your

Is Checkout interfering with your online business? Is the new search
slowing down your sales? Tired of the scam Chargebacks form Billpoint?
You pay ebaY for services, so file a complaint against ebaY with the
Better Business Bureau, the FTC and or The Consumer Trouble Shooter.
BBB Online - http://www.bbbsilicon.org
FTC - https://www.ftc.gov/ftc/complaint.htm

There is a partial workaround for the limited 10 day completed search.   
Users can search by category search at -
If you input the category number you want and the day and page, you can
manipulate the database to extend your completed search 30 or more days
back. For example -
By inserting the category number 448 (Franciscan pottery) -
By changing the day12page1 you can change go back to 12 Nov on
completeds. You need to experiment with this to find your favorite
searches. it is very inconvenient, but better than nothing.

Since ebaY is no longer fully compatible with Microsoft IE, TAG
recommends you have IE, Netscape AND the Opera browsers on your
computer, so you can alternate between them as required. Better yet use
another auction site, where the depth of problems you find on ebaY does
not exist. Opera can be found at http://www.opera.com
For WebTV users, some users have had some limited success by unplugging
their WebTV unit after each ebaY session for sufficient time to let the
unit. Some other WebTV links that might be useful -

To move an item to another category go to -
ebaY categories with the category number
An off ebaY category number locator page

TAG no longer reports ebaY numbers because we don't believe ebaY is
providing accurate numbers in their categories anymore. We believe they
are lying about and inflating their numbers to prevent stockholders from
knowing the true state of listing on ebaY. Even with ebaY's various
means of inflating these numbers, the inclusion of a multitude of
foreign sites and the proliferation of corporate sellers and stores
listings, the listing numbers on ebaY continue to be stagnant for well
over a year. To see the trends on ebaY go to the MedVed site to view
their long term records.

ebaY CONTACT for ebaY, ebaY UK, Billpoint, Half.Com, information
including analog mail and email addresses, phone numbers, regular and
toll free, refund info, close account info, and insider trading info etc
can be found at

ebaY Community boards
ebaY news board
ebaY status announcement board (SAB)
* * * * *
Amazon Auctions, zShops and Marketplace
Auto relist for Pro sellers problems continue with no indication as to
when this will be fixed. This is causing many problems for large
sellers and the pro account act like a warehouse type account.

Friday sales, where many sellers pick up great bargains for resale -

Find links to all events on the Outlet tab.

Amazon Announcement Board

Amazon chat boards -

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 Auction/ Warehouse
On 18 Jan there was a problem with the Yahoo! Auctions message board.
Some messages were unavailable for viewing, but Yahoo claimed they had
not been erased.

In contrast to ebaY's 10 day or less limit on completed search,
completed search on Yahoo Auctions is available at the bottom of the
search result page and goes back approx 3 months. Yahoo Auctions
completed search only shows sold items.

Ongoing Issues -
Users can attempt to seek user to user help at -
and community chat boards at
Live chat
Yahoo Buyer Protection Plan

Remember Yahoo allows links from auctions, and has a MUCH more liberal
and less paranoid point of view on off Yahoo sales. Yahoo's policy can
be found at -
Yahoo also allows free speech on their site, does not track and record
users posts and does not co-mingle posting on their boards with listing
on their sites.

Yahoo contact Information

As of 24 Nov 01 Yahoo Auctions had 274,047 listings on the site.
As of 5 Dec 01 Yahoo Auctions had 399,258 listings on their site
As of 7 Dec01 Auctions had 504,507 listings on their site
* * * * *
QXL Ricardo the European online auction house QXL is teaming up with
MSN’s auction channel and shopping home page.   The partnership means
QXL will help provide special auctions of Microsoft products and unique
items. QXL spans Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Norway, Spain,
Sweden and the UK.
* * * * *
PayPal was down for maintenance on 16 Jan that extended beyond the
original predictions until approx 06:10 PT.

PayPal has increased the sending limit for International accounts,
allowing International members in 36 countries to send payments before
they become International-Verified.

* * * * *
Feedback Site this site allows users who move to another auction site to
allow their potential buyers easy access to the feedback on all the
sites they sell or have sold on.
* * * * *
USPS - Sellers can get Free USPS shipping confirmation on priority mail
if you print the shipping label online. Delivery Confirmation service
gives you the delivery ZIP Code as well as the date and time that your
article was delivered. If delivery was attempted you will get the date
and time of attempted delivery. You can find this information at the
USPS Track & Confirm Web site. You can't track the item in transit, but
you can check on when the item is received at the other end
* * * * *
Articles on mail irradiation and how it might affect collectibles
Stamps - http://www.linns.com/print/archives/20020121/news3.asp
The second article, by Cecil Munsey, describes affects on bottles and
gemstones. It is on an excellent resource site for bottle collectors at
* * * * *
Online Auction Users Association
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