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TAGnotes Thu 7 Feb 2002 Vol 4 Number 10 Issue 392

The Auction Guild Notes for Thu 7 Feb 2002
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The TAGnotes archive is available in a searchable format at     
More info about TAG is on our website at http://www.auctionguild.com
You can find contact info for several sites and services there, along
with editorials and other info.
Thanks for your help with the TAG RESEARCH PROJECT. So far we have
received 155 responses. For anyone who would still like to participate,
please send the number of User ID's you have on ebaY, active or
inactive. If any of them are no longer registered (NARU) please let us
know that also. ALSO, if anyone knows of someone now deceased who was
on ebaY as a buyer or seller, PLEASE provide us with their user ID?
Thanks again for all your help, the results should be interesting.
ebaY - On 5 Feb users reported receiving emails from ebaY, stating that
ebaY had involuntarily changed user IDs to an arbitrary user ID that
appeared as userXXXXX with the Xs being a number. This appears to have
happened to sellers whose ebaY user ID was a web address such as
www.domainname.com. The sellers vociferously objected to this change
and ebaY changed their IDs back to their web address on 7 Feb. These
user IDs were grandfathered when ebaY put the new rules in place not
allowing users to have an email address or web address as a user ID, and
the rule only applied to new users.

On 6 Feb at 06:48:45 PT users reported that bidding was down. Buyers
could not place bids and the bidding pages were hanging. At 07:16:21
PT users reported problems with ebaY pic services iPix. Sellers could
not post images and buyers could not view images. This problem was
intermittent and short lived. At 20:30:20 PT a seller reported that an
auction listed with a reserve, had the reserve disappear from the
auction. The listing confirmation showed the auction as listed with a
reserve. Sellers should check their listings as a matter of course to
make sure glitches such as this are caught, and that other ebaY unwanted
default options do not appear on the auction once it posts.

On 7 Feb at 09:28:37 PT users reported iPix images not showing on
auctions. These problems persisted for nearly two hours, but ebaY did
not post this latest iPix problem on the SAB. At 10:29:21 PT users
reported recently closed auction disappearing from the site with the
"Not in the database" message coming up. This problem was intermittent
and appeared only sporadically.

ebaY Billpoint payments problems and why you should not have a Billpoint
account can be found on the TAG website at

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 continues to be problematical.

ebaY took their site down from maintenance from 0100 PT on 8 Feb until
0300 PT on 8 Feb. ebaY again forgot to post this announcement in
advance on their boards.   ebaY usually takes Billpoint down during the
same time period.

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

Three charged in alleged ebaY glass bidding scheme
"According to the complaint, eBay had investigated Danis and Grismore
for suspected shill bidding in early 2000. At that time, the two
allegedly denied they were involved in illegal activity and were
permitted to keep their eBay accounts." Supporting TAG's oft-propounded
theory that ebaY does not seriously investigate shill bidders, because
of the short term profit to ebaY. When ebaY limited the ability of
users to investigate shill bidders by no longer allowing registered ebaY
users to view email addresses, they claimed they had put systems in
place that would detect shillers, so buyers no longer needed to worry
about it. This ebaY anti shilling system is obviously as effective as
ebaY's system to protect its users from SPAM. This seller,
norsepottery, had items that closed on 6 Feb 02 and ebaY finally
suspended the seller on 7 Feb 02. Well done ebaY!

The ebaY Wanted board is STILL available - you just need to get to it
via a different route. Go to the ebaY Australia site and you CAN get
there from here -

Another ebaY Wanted board alternative

Here is a method to break the ebaY monopoly and provide the incentive to
ebaY it obviously needs to provide better service to its users, and to
its customers, the sellers. Sellers need to develop other marketplaces
so they can insure they have an online marketplace for their goods into
the future.
TAG has an editorial on the website titled 'ebaY- a solution NOW'.    

ebaY is holding the first part in a three-part series of workshops on
Jewelry on Fri 8 Feb from 16:00 PT to 19:00 PT. the other two will also
take place in Feb. This first workshop is entitled "What You Should
Know About Jewelry Appraisals". ebaY member Backroom1 is the host, and
she received her graduate gemologist diploma from GIA in New York City.
In this workshop, she will teach members about the different types of
appraisals, the problems associated with certain kinds of appraisals and
what to expect should you seek the services of a professional appraiser.
Find the Workshops Board at

For info about future workshops go to -

ebaY is testing a new page design for categories. Over the next few
weeks, they will test new page designs in the Computers and Sports
Memorabilia categories. ebaY says the purpose of the tests is to help
them determine which designs make browsing easier for users. At the end
of the test, ebaY will return the pages to the current design. TAG
wonders why ebaY does not test this off site or on one of the smaller
international sites, rather than risk beta testing a product on the US
cash cow site. ebaY has consistently caused site stability problems
with their imperfect implementations of changes, always at the cost of
sellers who lose money due to site instability and glitches.

ebaY is adding a Buy It Now (BIN) tab to search.   ebaY will place the
All Items tab and a BIN tab at the top of the Category listing and
Search results page. The default will show all auction listings,
including those with the BIN feature.
For a preview go to http://pages.ebay.com/search/items/bintab.html
ebaY will add this tab to international sites later this Spring.

TAG has once again received reports of the latest ebaY SPAM campaign.
This time it is the 'Cupid's calling you to ebaY' SPAM. TAG has noted
that ebaY appears to be using a method of tracking the contact
information of users on its special file list, involving these SPAMs.
What TAG sees ebaY doing is changing the SPAM option from opt out to opt
in, on the accounts of obscure user IDs held by the users ebaY tracks.
They then use the result from this email - for example if it bounces
back - to threaten the user with suspension from ebaY, due to having
incorrect contact info. In TAG's view this is another of the many
manipulative tactics used by ebaY. We are noting it here so that ebaY
can see that it has not gone unnoticed or unrecognized for what it is.
Users should once again check their SPAM preferences on their accounts.

ebaY is conducting what they are calling a Usability Study
To participate go to the TAG site for all info

As TAG continues its research into registrations on ebaY, we have found
some interesting information. For the most part ebaY is the Hotel
California, you can check out but you can never leave. To have an ID
completely removed from ebaY is not quite possible, because some info
will always remain in the feedback files of your trading partners. To
remove your account information from public view - for example your
feedback file, ID info etc, you have to specifically request that ebaY
remove it. A simple closing of an account will not accomplish this,
though that will result in ebaY marking the account NARU (Not A
Registered User). For a user who HAS requested and demanded this
complete removal, when you search for info on this user ID you will
receive a message that says "Sorry, this user is no longer at eBay! The
user that you have requested information about has requested that we
close their account entirely. As part of the agreement, and in accord
with our Privacy Policy, eBay has ended all contact with this user and
removed all associated information about this user, including their
Feedback Profile and About Me page [if they had one]. Read more
information about our Privacy Policy. Your Feedback Profile will be
unavailable to other members. Please note: The feedback you have left
for other users (including your email address if it is your User ID)
will NOT be deleted. If you do not wish to leave your email address as
your User ID, please change it before requesting closure. "
For account closure info go to

Ongoing Issues and Information
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
FBI's Internet Fraud Complaint Center at: http://www.ifccfbi.gov/

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.
These will become even more inflated by the higher Dutch
Auction Prices. 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)
Opening 6pm, Saturday, February 2
2 February - 9 March 02 http://www.g-module.com
g-module 15 rue debelleyme, 75003 Paris
telephone - 01 42 71 14 75, fax - 01 42 71 14 67
Yahoo Auction/Warehouse/Classifieds
We have heard from Yahoo that they are going to take another look at the
prohibition of sellers from out of the US. This is a problem that Yahoo
needs to solve quickly, as international sellers are valuable members of
the US site community. The problem stems from scams channeled through
international sites, defrauding sellers by auctioning great items at
wonderful prices and saying the seller accepts charge cards. When the
auction is over the con artist seller tells the buyer they need to use
their charge card to buy a Western Union wire transfer. TAG has an
editorial about this scam on the TAG website at
Though this is a real problem needing solving on ALL online auction and
trading sites, mass punishment of the overwhelming majority of honest
and reputable sellers is not the answer.

Ongoing Issues -
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.

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

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 Yahoo Auctions had 504,507 listings on their site
As of 23Jan02 Yahoo Auctions had 313,102 listings on their site
As of 25Jan02 Yahoo Auctions had 620,132 listings on their site
* * * * *
Amazon Auctions, zShops and Marketplace
Amazon posted on 7 Feb at 14:01 PT that due to maintenance, records of
zShops and Marketplace cancelled listings which were cancelled before
Mon 4 Feb, will no longer be available via Seller Accounts. Cancelled
listings, which were cancelled after 4 Feb will be unaffected. At 01:10
PT on Fri 8 Feb some zShop listings were coming up blank in the My
Account page and on search requests. Amazon said they had isolated the
problem and were working on it.

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
* * * * *
Third party online payment systems have been both a boon and a burden to
the online auction and trading industry. Gartner Research has found
that 27% of online purchases are made through PayPal, 11 percent of
online shoppers use ebaY's Billpoint payment system, 3 percent use
Yahoo's Pay Direct and 1 percent use Citibank's C2it. 68.3 percent of
PayPal's payments were made through an auction site, primarily ebaY.
Credit cards currently are used in more than 93 percent of online
payment transactions. For the article go to
Gartner Research's site is at http://www4.gartner.com/Init
* * * * *
PayPal's IPO was delayed due to a patent law suit
Though many users don't have any problems with PayPal, when you do have
problems, they can be really bad and hard to resolve. Here is an
interesting site on the downside of PayPal.
* * * * *
Online Auction Users Association
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