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TAGnotes Mon 25 Feb 2002 Vol 4 Number 15 Issue 397

The Auction Guild Notes for Mon 25 Feb 2002
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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.
TAG RESEARCH PROJECT. We have received 270 responses, 130 to go! We are
seeking 400 responses, so are still collecting information. 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.
Anyone who knows of a deceased person who had an ebaY ID, please send us
that User ID also. Thank you!

We apologize for the lateness of this issue but we wanted to include a
line by line comparison of the new user agreement.
ebaY- On 22 Feb at 03:10:37 PT ebaY noted that the Feedback Forum was
down. ebaY posted at 03:48:49 PT that the Feedback Forum was down from
03:00 PT to 03:30 PT.
Users reported that they were receiving their billing invoices in
German. ebaY posted at 13:25:13 PT that some users reported receiving
their ebaY invoices in two languages. At 16:10 PT certain groups of
users reported that ebaY was down. This appeared to be affecting users
on attbi across the country west of the Mississippi. This continued
until approx 16:28 PT.   At 14:10:42 PT users reported the Feedback
Forum was down again. At 17:43:05 PT the ability to enter item
specifics on the listing form was down.

On 23 Feb at 08:39 PT users reported ebaY so slow that pages were timing
out prior to downloading. Auctions were inaccessible and My ebaY
extremely slow. At 22:03:12 PT, users reported that ebaY was throwing
error messages when trying to submit listings, "Due to prolonged
activity, please sign in again." this despite no time lapse in signing
in and auction submission.

On 24 Feb at 13:20:07 PT users reported an ebaY crash. Users received
messages that said, "This function is currently unavailable We apologize
that you are not able to access this feature at the present time. Our
Technical Support Team has been notified and we are working on resolving
this difficulty as quickly as possible. Please visit the eBay
Announcements Board for updates on recent and upcoming changes, major
system issues, and other important eBay news.
http://www2.ebay.com/aw/announce.shtml". No messages were posted on the
SAB. At 13:21:42 PT cgi 5 crashed, at 13:23:20 PT accessing any page
returned, "This function is currently unavailable We apologize that you
are not able to access this feature at the present time. Our Technical
Support Team has been notified and we are working on resolving this
difficulty as quickly as possible. Please visit the eBay Announcements
Board for updates on recent and upcoming changes, major system issues,
and other important eBay news.", but there were still no announcements
on the ebaY SAB. At 13:25:49 PT users posted that cgi6 had also crashed.
At 13:28:47 PT users noted that seller lists and My ebaY were down,
and that users could not sign in either. At 13:30:42 PT ebaY posted
that some ebaY functions, such as Seller and Bidder Lists and some
portions of My ebaY, were down. Users posted at 13:35:50 PT that the
ebaY SAB post failed to note that in addition to My ebaY, Bidder and
Seller lists, which all reside on cgi6, revise was down as was all of
cgi5.   At 13:42:14 PT users continued to report that sign in was not
working properly, and coming in from international ebaY sites was not
working either. Posting on the boards would take over 12 attempts. At
13:46:36 PT cgi5 came back online, and at 13:50:36 PT My ebaY was back
online.   By 13:55:00 PT all features were back but continued to work
very slowly. At 14:10:08 PT ebaY posted that some ebaY functions, such
as Seller and Bidder Lists and some portions of My ebaY, were down from
13:17 PT to 13:43 PT. As usual, ebaY did not report the times and extent
of the outage as reported by the people who use the site. Users
continued to report the site as very slow until 14:14:56 PT.

On 25 Feb at 07:58:52 PT users reported access to ebaY slow. At
08:19:22 PT users reported that revise your item was not working and the
site was slow. At 14:40:17 PT users started to report that their paid
for "Featured Auction" had disappeared, along with the entire "featured"
section in search. Dozens of frustrated posters noted their featured
item, and featured in category auctions were no longer appearing in a
featured auction section. This continued until ebaY posted at 18:16:06
PT that they had changed the Featured section so that it no longer
exists in its past format. Users reported hits to featured items
dropping drastically. Since the change to this feature was unannounced
and completely changes the nature of the feature, sellers who paid for
this feature should request a refund for all featured items at

ebaY ongoing problems -

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

Insider Stock Sales, continue unabated -

ebaY is changing the User Agreement. Announced at 12:12:08 PT on 25 Feb
02 ebaY is changing their user agreement and privacy policy. For changes
to User Agreement go to-
To see the revised User Agreement go to -
For more information go to -
ebaY has also changed the Privacy Policy. For more info go to
To see the revised Privacy Policy go to -

This agreement is effective on 19 Apr 02 at 00:00 PT for all users
registered prior to 19 Mar 02. It is effective for all new users who
register on or after 19 Mar 02. If you do not wish to accept the revised
User Agreement once it is effective (on April 19th, 2002), you can
cancel your ebaY registration by emailing decl-@ebay.com. If you have
any current listings when you do this, these will continue normally.
However, you will not be able to access any service or feature that
requires you to enter a password once your cancellation request is

User Agreement In detail -
ebaY has erroneously numbered the User agreement sections, we notified
them of the error. The numbers here are correct as the new agreement is
presented, and should reflect ebaY's when they fix their typos.

First paragraph is changed to include Half.Com and ebaY stores. What was
one paragraph is now said in four paragraphs, but primarily says the
same thing.
1. Membership Eligibility - Added is - . "If you are a minor, you can
use this service only in conjunction with your parents or guardians."
And "If you are registering as a business entity, you represent that you
have the authority to bind the entity to this Agreement." No other

2. Fees and Services - No Change

3. ebaY is a Venue (was ebaY is Only a Venue)
3.1 eBay is not an Auctioneer. (added) otherwise says the same thing
3.2 NEW - Fixed Price Marketplace. Talks about Half.com, a venue that
allows users to find and purchase items from other users at a fixed
price. Specific terms and conditions at
3.3 NEW - Identity Verification. Basically says the same thing as the
old para 3.2 Safe Trading.
3.4 Release - same as old Release para 3.3
3.5 Information Control same as old Information Control 3.4

4. Bidding and Buying is same as old section with the addition of "or
when the seller does not confirm your purchase in the Half.com area of
our services" to show when a bid is not binding on the buyer.

5. Listing and Selling
5.1 Listing Description - added "Except for our fixed price format" to
the part about multiple items.
5.2 Binding Bids - no change
5.3 Fraud - no change
5.4 VeRO - no change other than revised privacy policy at
5.5 Manipulation - no change

6. Your Information
6.1 Definition - no change
6.2 Resticted Activities (was Restrictions) - added to your information
"and your activities on the site shall not:" no other changes, clause
that allows linking to websites etc still exists though ebaY claims this
is a violation of their user agreement.
6.3 License - no change - ebaY's FAQ specifically states this is so
ebaY can host your information on the site and does not allow ebaY to
sell this information, which would make it difficult for ebaY to sell
specific closed auction information. This clause is the one to watch
for a change that would allow that sale. ebaY can sell that completed
auction info in aggregate under the current agreement.

7. Access and Interference - no change - the ebaY faq specifically
allows the discussion of ebaY on other websites and chat boards and says
this clause is only aimed at prohibiting the copying of listing
descriptions and images without permission of the seller who owns them.

8. Feedback
8.1 Integrity - new title - changed "you will be suspended" and "you
will be unable to list or bid" to "you may be suspended" and "you may be
unable to list or bid"
8.2 Export same as old 8.1 - no change
8.3 Import same as old 8.2 - added "(non-eBay operated)" to cover
Half.Com. no other change.

9. Breach - changed to add "remove your item listings" and added "may
cause financial loss". So it now reads, " Without limiting other
remedies, we may immediately remove your item listings, warn our
community of your actions, issue a warning, temporarily suspend,
indefinitely suspend or terminate your membership and refuse to provide
our services to you if: (a) you breach this Agreement or the documents
it incorporates by reference; (b) we are unable to verify or
authenticate any information you provide to us; or (c) we believe that
your actions may cause financial loss or legal liability for you, our
users or us." This adds a whole new dimension to violations, and could
provide the justification for ebaY to suspend ANY user who criticizes
ebaY in an auction or on the ebaY boards. This could also allow ebaY to
claim a breach for an auction that offers a third party payment service
in competition with ebaY, and that covers a wide area. ebaY needs to
specifically clarify EXACTLY what they are trying to cover with this
clause as they have in the past with section 7.

10. Privacy - changed. This now reads, "We do not sell or rent your
personal information to third parties for marketing purposes without
your consent and we only use your information as described in the
Privacy Policy. We view protection of users' privacy as a very important
community principle. We understand clearly that you and your information
is one of our most important assets. We store and process your
information on computers located in the United States that are protected
by physical as well as technological security devices. We use third
parties to verify and certify our privacy principles. Our current
Privacy Policy is available (at
http://pages.ebay.com/help/community/png-priv.html). If you object to
your Information being transferred or used in this way please do not use
our services. " Unfortunately ebaY has their own definition of what
"sell or rent" means different from common understanding.

11. No Warranty - changed to read "WE, OUR SUBSIDIARIES, EMPLOYEES AND
PURPOSE AND NON-INFRINGEMENT. Some states do not allow the disclaimer of
implied warranties, so the foregoing disclaimer may not apply to you.
This warranty gives you specific legal rights and you may also have
other legal rights that vary from state to state." Basically the same
but expanded to cover more bases.

12. Liability Limit - added " subsidiaries, employees" to expand
coverage, no other changes.

13. Indemnity - no change

14. Legal Compliance - no change

15. No Agency - no change

16. Notices - no change

17. Arbitration - no change

18. Additional Terms - this has changed and now reads -
"The following policies are incorporated into this Agreement by
reference and provide additional terms and conditions related to
specific services offered on our site:
Privacy Policy: http://pages.ebay.com/help/community/png-priv.html,
Outage Policy: http://pages.ebay.com/help/community/png-extn.html,
Board Usage Policy: http://pages.ebay.com/help/community/png-board.html,

Non-Binding Bid Policy:
Listing Policy: http://pages.ebay.com/help/community/png-list.html,
Half.com Policy:
SafeHarbor Policy:
Prohibited, Questionable & Infringing Item Policy:
Real Estate Policy:
and the Non-Paying Bidder Policy:

Each of these policies may be changed from time to time and are
effective immediately after we post the changes on our site, except for
the Privacy Policy for which we will provide you with thirty days prior
notice. In addition, when using particular services on our site, you
agree that you are subject to any posted policies or rules applicable to
services you use through our site, which may be posted from time to
time. All such posted policies or rules are hereby incorporated by
reference into this Agreement."

This allows ebaY to change any of these policies at any time without
prior notice, privacy policy accepted. This also allows ebaY to post a
policy anywhere at anytime, even on a scrolling board, and it is
automatically incorporated in the user agreement, without any notice.
This is beyond unreasonable.

19. General - no change, even though the section numbers will need to be
changed to reflect the corrected section numbers

20. Disclosures - no change

TAG has a copy of the old User Agreement archived 13 Feb 02 for record,
in forethought of the inferred upcoming changes due to the partial
merger of Half.Com. If you would like a copy of the old agreement email
ta-@theauctionguild.com . The way this agreement is now written,
sections 9 and 18 allow ebaY to do anything they want at any time
without any notice, therefore making this User Agreement worthless. An
agreement is supposed to be between two parties, and it is now
completely one sided. ebaY only allows one party to this agreement,
themselves. TAG hopes ebaY provides specific clarification of clauses 9
and 18 limited what is now so broad it obviates this as a contract and
takes it to the level of farce. ebaY HAS provided limiting clarification
in the past and we hope they do so in this case also. We will tackle the
Privacy Agreement in the next issue.

ebaY has added an advanced search tab to the search page. You can still
use the old search page by going to

On 22 Feb ebaY posted at 17:08:04 PT an emphasis on the policy on
posting items related to 11 Sep 2001. ebaY does not certain items
associated with the World Trade Center and Pentagon that violate crime
scene and offensive item policies. These policies prohibit the sale of
any item from an actual crime scene, including images or photos taken at
the scene by individuals without authorization to do so for resale. In
addition, their intellectual property policies prohibit the sale of
unauthorized reproductions of images or audio recordings. ebaY says
they are going to continue to strictly enforce their policies when it
comes to listings associated with the 11 Sep tragedy. ebaY relies
primarily on user reports to police these items as they do not police
their own site.
For more information about our Prohibited and Offensive items policies
go to -

ebaY Live Chat Help system is going into a trial run starting 25 Feb,
and running for eight weeks.   The test will provide live access to ebaY
Customer Support representatives via a chat tool between 06:00 PT and
20:00 PT seven days a week. This is an early beta test and ebaY will
limit access to only a few thousand users per in order to gauge its
effectiveness. During the test you may or may not see a link, and it
might be there on one page view and not the next. The only access
during the test is through one of the ads or links. ebaY will test the
chat tool's overall value versus its cost and the appropriateness of the
service for different segments ebaY users to determine whether and how
to offer the service.

ebaY has completely changed their search features, sorting and ability
to find items. In addition, these changes have obliterated the Featured
Items in search and listings. This expensive special feature was
displayed at the top of each search page, with featured items appearing
first. Now buyers would need to specifically search for "featured
items" with a link to featured items only available in certain places,
such as the Browse page. Not even advanced search has a capability to
search for featured items. In effect ebaY has emasculated the Featured
Items special feature, and since ebaY did this without notice, all users
who paid for this feature on their currently running auctions should
request refunds from -

ebaY has made several other changes in search. They have added the Buy
It Now Tab and Advanced Search Tab to the Search page. Advanced search
allows you to opt for search including item numbers and also search all
English language auctions. As TAG predicted, ebaY has added a link to
and advertising for Half.Com on the auction search results page, forcing
auction sellers to subsidize advertising for Half.Com. ebaY also
advertises "related items" even though there is no relationship with the
search, so it is pure advertising space of no use to the searcher. In
addition there is a tab for search stores, and completed auctions,
though with only a 10 day completed search span, it is next to useless.
Going going gone also appears to be a victim of this revamping of

ebaY is holding a convention they are calling ebaY Live. This will be
held from Fri 21 Jun through Sun 23 Jun, at the Anaheim Convention
Center in Anaheim, CA. There will be keynote addresses from Meg and
Pierre. Booths will feature ebaY partners and ebaY business units, ebaY
University and open. Early Bird is $25 for all three days until 24
March. Regular admission begins 25 March and is $45. Admission does not
include accommodations or travel costs. Registration is on a first
come, first serve basis.
For more information and to register, go to

SAN JOSE, Calif. & TAIPEI, Taiwan--(BUSINESS WIRE)--25 Feb 2002
ebaY is once again attempting to buy itself into the Asian market. ebaY
is buying Taiwan based NeoCom, owner of uBid.com.tw and Bid.com.tw, for
9.5 million dollars in cash plus an amount, based on working capital
adjustments, to be determined at the time the acquisition is closed.

ebaY France is charging listing fees starting 7 Mar 02.

Another caution for ebaY Technical Assistant program. TAG wonders if
folks realize that the TA database provides an online and easily
accessible list of users selling commercially. This list is readily
available to both the State Tax agencies and the IRS. Because the users
are selling for a commission, they ARE businesses - not just someone
selling a few "garage sale" items (as so many "claim" and no one can
tell different). This is a self proclaimed list, and TAG hopes all the
TA's have their state sales tax paid, businesses registered and IRS
forms filed. In those states that require licenses and fees for selling
for others - particularly at auction - TAG strongly recommends seller
who register for TA, investigate all the legal issues involved with
selling for others.   The fines for violations are usually NOT cheap.

Ongoing Issues and Information
Break the ebaY monopoly!   Provide ebaY the incentive 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'.

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

ebaY Billpoint payments problems, some solutions, and why you
should not have a Billpoint account can be found on the TAG
website at http://www.auctionguild.com/generic.html?pid=63

Is ebaY an Enron waiting to happen? Editorial on the TAG
website at http://www.auctionguild.com/generic81.html
ebaY is not a profitable company and here is why - they are in the
same circumstance as the other companies mentioned in this
article -
Do you have information you feel the Securities and Exchange Commission
should investigate? File a report at

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.
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)
* * * * *
Yahoo Auction/Warehouse/Classifieds

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.

Yahoo Auctions has added a Wanted Board at -

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 23Jan02 Yahoo Auctions had 313,102 listings on their site
As of 25Jan02 Yahoo Auctions had 620,132 listings on their site
As of 8Feb02 Yahoo Auctions had 333,846 listings on their site
As of 21Feb02 Yahoo Auctions had 329,387 listings on their site
* * * * *
Amazon Auctions, zShops and Marketplace -announced on 22 Feb at 17:05 PT
Amazon has moved the URL for Amazon provided images, which sellers use
on their listings. Sellers who refer to the Amazon image URL rather
than to a saved copy on their local domain need to update relevant links
to the new URLs, viewable on the following page:

On 23 Feb at 11:42 PT Amazon announced maintenance, that made approx
1/4th of Amazon.com Marketplace items unavailable from Sat at 22:00 PT
to 2300 PT Sat 23 Feb 23until 11:00pm Pacific time Saturday, February
23rd. Seller tools, including account records were down, and Seller
uploads were not accepted during this time.   

Ongoing Issues -
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
* * * * *
Auction and Trading Sites to take a look at -
http:// www.thefrugalcook.com
* * * * *
Online Auction Users Association
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Have any information for us? email us at
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