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TAGnotes Wed 23 Jan 2002 Vol 4 Number 6 Issue 388

The Auction Guild Notes for Wed 23 Jan 2002
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ebaY posted on 20 Jan at 19:15:37 PT that Checkout was down for use with
ebaY Billpoint payments. At 19:40:49 PT ebaY announced that users
reported having difficulty accessing the ebaY site. ebaY blamed the
Exodus network for the problem. At 19:59:56 PT ebaY said that the
problem with Checkout being down had occurred from 18:07 PT to 18:36 PT
and from 19:03 PT to 19:42 PT. AT 22:38:48 PT the ebaY payments system
was slow.

On 21 Jan at 00:27:50 PT ebaY posted that there was intermittent
slowness while using the ebaY Billpoint payments from 22:30 PT on 20 Jan
to 00:15 PT on 21 Jan. At 06:12:25 PT users reported ebaY picture
services iPix was not working and images were not showing in auctions.   
AT 12:53:15 PT ebaY acknowledged the continuing problems with
Title/Description (T/D) Search. T/D search indexing has been running
approx 24-48 hours behind and ebaY posted that it was only indexing
newly-listed items. Modified or revised items are not being indexed
normally. At 13:01:21PT users reported that they bidding final
confirmation screen was not showing.

On 22 Jan users reported on that some items listed on 19 Jan were still
not indexed or showing in T/D search. At 08:24:39 PT users reported
the "Ask a Seller a Question" feature, was down yielding, "Warning:
Unable to send your question(s) Unfortunately, we were unable to send
your question(s) to the eBay user via email. The user may be
experiencing problems receiving email at this time." There were also
problems accessing the ebaY chat boards. At 09:53:06 PT ebaY posted
that users were having intermittent problems signing on to ebaY through
Microsoft Passport. At 19:21:01 PT ebaY acknowledged that T/D Search
was behind 36 hours for all odd numbered items in Business & Industrial,
Clothing & Accessories, Everything Else, Toys, and Jewelry, Gemstones &
Watches. They claimed that even numbered items were not impacted.

On 23 Jan at 19:04:15 PT, users reported that auction pages were not
opening preventing buyers from bidding on items. At 19:43:27 PT users
reported the ebaY email system down once again.

ebaY takes the site down for maintenance from 0100 - 0300 on Friday
mornings, and though they have not announced it, TAG imagines they will
do so again this week. Usually the ebaY Billpoint payments also gets
taken down for maintenance.

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. ebaY users continue to have Billpoint logo appearance problems
with closed ebaY Billpoint payment accounts. Though the user closed the
account months ago, ebaY accepts Billpoint payments because for some
reason they do not know the account is closed. If you have this problem
contact ewa-@ebay.com . Bidding anomalies continue causing confusion
for buyers. ebaY title/description search indexing continued to be 24
to 48 hours behind.

Workarounds for ebaY's useless completed search is to go to Yahoo
Auctions where you can find closed items for up to 60 days, and can
search completeds by item. For problems revising auctions, go through
the entire revise process, then click on the final page and minimize it.
Sometimes just leaving it for 5 minutes will allow it to go through.

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 - When asked if the article from Oct 01 stating
that ebaY was going to make a fee based service selling info about
completed items, and the reduction of completed search to 10 days were
related, jer-@ebay.com at 06:21PT on 22 Jan said, "... The article from
10/31/01 includes the following sentence. "The company also plans to
introduce new fee-based services, such as selling information about what
items are selling and at what prices." From this I don't think it would
be fair to assume that eBay will be charging to use the completed search
as it is commonly used. When eBay charges for something it's tied to a
value added feature or service. I could only guess that the fee-based
service, such as selling information about what items are selling and at
what prices, would be more substantial than the current completed item
search. Again, I think it could be a great service depending on how it's
packaged. All the raw data is there. It seems like a no-brainer to me.
Regards, Jerry eBay Community Development" Remember that this is the
same pink who said there were no plans to charge for Buy It Now.

As previously announced ebaY changed its sign in procedure in the chat
rooms. All users are required to sign in to the chat rooms and accept
cookies before they can post. TAG sees this move as allowing ebaY to
more easily track and record user comments and add them to the users
ebaY file. ebaY can also correlate IP addresses and more easily block
user at any time if they feel they don't want a poster on the boards to
criticize ebaY or comment about an issue.   This makes the ebaY boards
appear as if they are available for free discourse, but it is just for
show. ebaY now spends more resources on community watch than they do on
customer service. This is further aggravated as ebaY not only has
unwritten rules for posters to follow, but they change them constantly
so though a user does not break what they thought were the rules, they
can be suspended anyway at the whim of the folks at ebaY.   Some
workarounds for the chat boards
- Post from DNF in Australia.
The international sites will be converted eventually, so those too will
be available.
- Open separate browsers in several different co-brands.   There are
about 10 different DNFs in co-brands (aol, icq, digitalcities, go, gc,
netscape, and others), you can bookmark each DNF according to whichever
ID you are posting/selling/buying with.
- Design a custom program an html page based on the code of the DNF,
which has a pull down box with all your IDs listed. Punch up the ID and
it will set you right up, if you code it right.

On 23 Jan ebaY started to send out tax notices to sellers who
participated in Auction of America. ebaY is sending via email one
notice per item.

ebaY is sponsoring the Antiques Roadshow on PBS again. For more info go
to http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/roadshow/

ebaY is going to be introducing a program they call the ebaY Assurance
Program for vehicles on ebaY Motors. This program is supposed to
increase buyer and seller confidence This program will include a Limited
Warranty, Purchase Insurance, Payment Protection and Mobile Inspection.
The use of any or all of these features is an option for both the buyer
and seller involved in an ebaY Motors transaction. The Limited Warranty
will provide sight-unseen coverage against significant mechanical,
electrical and structural problems in the engine, transmission and power
train for one month or 1000 miles on eligible passenger vehicles.
Purchase Insurance protects buyers against fraud or material vehicle
misrepresentation for any vehicle listed on ebaY Motors. Coverage
maximum is $20,000 with a $500 deductible. The Limited Warranty is
provided for free on eligible vehicles, and ebaY provides the Purchase
Insurance for free on every vehicle. The vehicle must be purchased on
ebaY Motors (through an auction-style listing or Buy It Now) to qualify
for the ebaY Assurance Program. Payment Protection consists of two
features: Fast Deposit and Secure Pay. Fast Deposit, provided by ebaY
Billpoint payments, will allow a Seller to collect a $200 deposit from
the winning bidder using Checkout and ebaY payments. For paying the
balance of a vehicle purchase, Secure Pay offers secure funds transfer
via escrow for $22. The ebaY Assurance Program applies only to vehicles
and only to ebaY Motors, and will begin to appear on the site over the
next few days. These features may not be fully available to all users
until the program is fully released.

ebaY has added member-to-member category discussion boards. These are
the Night Owl's Nest and Arcade: Coin-Op Games. The links can be found
at - http://pages.ebay.com/community/chat/index.html

ebaY is planning on changing the Health & Beauty categories by combining
the Personal Care category from Clothing & Accessories with the Health &
Wellness category in Everything Else to create a new "Health & Beauty"
category.   ebaY will position the new category in Everything Else. To
see the proposed change go to
Submit any comments or questions to what-@ebay.com by February 6,

Ongoing Issues and Information
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.
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. NOTE*
Yahoo Completed search is available by item search and goes back approx
3 Months

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 posted that 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.

Users have been reporting problems with registration. Many of the
problems are with users who registered before but can't remember their
User ID or password. Yahoo has provided the following link for those
who registered in the past but can't remember their User ID or Password
- (copy paste the whole URL into the address box on your browser) -


If a user signed up with a credit card for one ID, the user can't sign
up for another ID with the same credit card. Yahoo claims to do this
for security reasons. Yahoo also requires credit card validation and
some banks don't allow Yahoo to validate the credit card. If by chance
a user is trying to register with a card that does not allow validation
(this is very unusual) they will have to use a different credit card or
debit card.

Yahoo says they are giving top priority to requests for help with
registration through Thursday to try to make sure everyone who wants to
register and list on FLD will get the opportunity. If you are having
trouble, go to the help form at

(copy paste the whole URL into the address box on your browser) -
Choose "registration" from the drop down menu.

Yahoo! Auctions is holding a free listing day on Thursday 24 Jan from
00:01 PT to 23:59 PT. Yahoo will charge final value fees on
successfully sold auctions and special feature fees (for featured
listings, gift icons, etc).   Yahoo! Auctions is also holding a free
listing day contest for sellers to win one of two luxury cruise packages
on Cunard Line. To qualify sellers must submit a minimum of 50 items on
free listing day, and Yahoo will choose the winners based on -
* The seller with the highest sell-through (highest percentage of
successfully closed auctions of the total listed on free listing day)
This benefits the smaller seller
* The seller with the highest total dollar sales (total selling prices
of all items listed on free listing day) This benefits the larger

Yahoo! Auctions is conducting a survey focusing on sellers. Their goal
is to get feedback on users needs wants and priorities. Survey is at -

Yahoo is also seeking feedback and suggestions from sellers, send to -

Yahoo is attempting to reduce fraudulent sellers by requiring new
sellers to provide the verification code on the back of their credit
card. This is an effort to ensure that registering sellers actually have
the credit card they are using in hand.

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
As of 23Jan02 Yahoo Auctions had 313,102 listings on their site
* * * * *
SellYourItem.Com is going to continue waiving basic listing fees for all
of 2002. SYI charges final value and special feature fees. They offer
Auto-Relists, Anti-Snipe, BuyNow and Second Category options at no
charge. SYI has moved their servers to a new facility and feel that
they are prepared to sufficiently handle growth.

SYI has a feature called Relist Manager that displays items that have
ended within the past 30 days, which did not sell.. Sellers can relist
these auctions one at a time, or in a batch. SYI also allows sellers to
customize their end of auction message on both currently running, or on
saved auctions.

SellYourItem is seeking member ideas, email to
11438 Auctions currently running
* * * * *
Playle's Online Auctions has two sites they call auction malls. They
have a mall that concentrates on postcards and paper collectibles with
approx 34,771 listings, and a mall that concentrates on CD's and music
with approx 260 auctions. Sellers can choose between a standard program
that has a listing and Final Value Fee (FVF) for each listing, or a
Featured Dealer package program. In the standard program, Playle's is
currently running a promotion whereby listings in Antiques and
Collectibles, Stamps, Postal History and Covers are free. This applies
only to listing fees not special feature or FVFs. This does not include
categories in Postcards, or Cards and Paper Collectibles. Relists are
free and unlimited. Fee schedule is at

The dealer program costs $30. a month for unlimited listings plus FVF's
and special feature fees. Dealers receive a web page that can have all
the sellers' listings on the site sorted by category and in a searchable
format. They get a banner that is rotated through the pages of the
site, and several featured dealer links throughout the site. There are
also different auction duration options. For dealer package info go to
- http://www.playle.com/dealer_setup.html#dates

One of the most interesting features on the site is the ability to list
an item for up to 28 days in which a bid triggers the auction to close
in 7 days after the first bid. Other unique features are the ability to
show the auctions in your local time, and an email sent to the buyer and
seller providing the full postal addresses of both. The expected
features are also offered on the site, including proxy bidding, watch
lists, item listing notice, outbid notices, and image hosting. Bidding
increments are restricting, so bidders must bid in full increments.
Some of their ways of doing business are a bit different so make sure
you read carefully so you understand what the ground rules are.

It is difficult to figure out what the sell through rate is because of
the fact that items are listed until they are sold. The listings on the
site appear to be primarily those made by the 25 featured dealers. The
site works well and quickly. It has a very different look and feel,
making it much more interesting than the run of the mil auction site.
The owners email addys are readily available to users giving the site a
very down home and accessible feel. TAG definitely thinks this site is
worth a look see for those who sell stamps, paper collectibles and like
* * * * *
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.
You can register with them or use the tool at -
* * * * *
C2it appears to have some security problems. for an article on the
issue go to - http://stacks.msnbc.com/news/683646.asp?cp1=1
* * * * *
Online Auction Users Association
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