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TAGnotes Mon 13 Mar 2002 Vol 4 Number 19 Issue 401

The Auction Guild Notes Wed 13 Mar 2002
Quality, variety & great deals, shop the experienced EMPORIUM
auction sellers http://www.lynnet.com/~jmm/emporium.html
     * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
HP C30 Digital Camera Complete Starts at $1.98 No Reserve
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Help launch nomoreebay.com Work to form a group to unite
against Ebay chargebacks and join in a possible class action.
Keep the email coming! bing-@sympatico.ca
Come build nomoreebay.com with us.
     * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
This issue brought to you by the preceding subscriber ads,
supporting TAG through their advertising dollars. Please support
them, by clicking on their links and buying their products.
Subscribers ads $5.00 - Commercial rates available via email.
4700 subscribers.
TAG does not endorse the companies or products advertised
***** Please remember we are moving TAGnotes from Topica to Yahoo
Groups. You will get a message from Yahoo Groups saying you were added,
and then within a day, a message from Topica saying GoodBye from
TAGnotes. Please IGNORE all the messages, you should continue to
receive TAGnotes. We apologize for the inconvenience. We hope to
finish the move by the end of March, and are currently approximately 70%
complete. ******
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 image hosting directory and other info.
TAG RESEARCH PROJECT. We have received 387 responses! We are trying to
get as close to 10% of our subscriber base as possible so 470 responses
would be ideal, but since it is a moving target as close as we can get
would be great. We are still collecting information, and will continue
to do so, and update as we go. Please send the number of User ID's you
have on ebaY, active or inactive to ta-@theauctionguild.com. 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!
TAG is in the March issue of INC Magazine. Though we don't usually
make note of articles that mention TAG we were particularly happy with
the result of this one. The net result was balanced and straight
forward, providing good info and advice for the INC business audience
and for anyone using online auctions.
Is ebaY Paying for Shill Bidders, Deadbeats. Site Hits and Inflated User
ID Numbers?
Editorial -

Thanks to a link provided by an alert TAGnotes subscriber a couple of
days ago, (11 Mar) it has come to TAG's attention that ebaY is
participating in several programs where they fund "points" for
registrations and bids on ebaY auctions. Though no start date was
available, it appears from the posts on the boards that this program has
been in place for a few months. the earliest post we found about it so
far was 25 Jan 2002.

There is a whole online world, where point collectors participate in a
variety of promotion programs funded by advertisers and sellers of
products, whereby the point collector garners points for various
activities on the net. The point collector can then redeem the points
for web certificates with which they can 'purchase' merchandise.
Some of these sites are -

What ebaY does is pay these point sites so the point site will reward
points in exchange for the point sites users going to ebaY, to register
and place bids. These bidders do not need to buy anything or follow
through on their bid if they win. They garner the points for just
registering and bidding. Wonder why your deadbeat bidders have
increased? Here is one answer!

In addition, chat on the point site boards seems to indicate that many
users register multiple times and post hundreds of bids for the sole
purpose of getting points. There are even strategies discussed on how
to bid without having to buy. These point gatherers are very involved
in their pursuit of points, and on one site we found a chart comparing
the points available for ebaY bids from point site to point site. We
have posted this chart along with some of the program details on the TAG
website in the expanded editorial "ebaY Pays For Deadbeats".    In
addition we have a list of additional point sites, point site program
details and excerpts from the chat boards at these sites.

At first glance this points for bids (PFB) program seems to be a good
thing. What seller would object to more bids on their items? We all
know that items with bids bring even more bids. And if a buyer comes to
ebaY, aren't they likely to stay and become a regular buyer at ebaY?
Unfortunately, this program will very likely not result in these
desirable ends.

The folks who are involved in point collection, couponing and refunding
(PCCR) are a breed unto themselves - much like the online auction
community. This PCCR industry was well developed prior to the popular
advent of the internet, and the internet just provided a new niche for
them. They are disinterested bidders, going to ebaY seeking points for
redemption, not for finding and buying items. The way the program is
set up, it encourages this bid for points desire, not a bid for and buy
items one.

ebaY has this set up to profit ebaY almost exclusively, with a seller
receiving a benefit almost by accident or as an afterthought, if at all.
The first problem is the most obvious one, that of deadbeat bidders.
With a deadbeat buyer, ebaY can probably recoup their entire cost of the
PFB program, as only a percentage of sellers bother to go through the
complex deadbeat bidder program to get their final value fee back. In
addition, ebaY gets another listing fee from the seller, as deadbeat
items are not eligible for a free relist if sold the second time around.
It is unfortunate that ebaY makes gains from deadbeat bidders, and
sellers lose profits from deadbeats. ebaY could have made this program
reward points for buying an item on ebaY, rather than points for just
bidding. That would directly benefit the seller, and bring a different
kind of PCCR person to ebaY, one who might be involved in the PFB
programs, but is also looking to purchase items on ebaY.

ebaY also gains advantages by inflated registration numbers. PCCR
participants register on ebaY to get the points. They can register again
and again and get points each time. These accounts are very likely to
become inactive and ebaY never removes an inactive account. ebaY also
gets more hits on the site from the PCCR folks, though hits from
disinterested bidders benefits only ebaY, as it makes their statistics
look better. ebaY can report deadbeat sales every time the item sells,
as there appears to be no deduction of deadbeat sales from ebaY's gross
sales figures in their SEC filings. ebaY has designed a program that
appears to be paid for by sellers but only benefits ebaY's ability to
sell advertising, and inflate their numbers in order to keep their
inflated stock price up. The very fact that this program has been kept
a secret from ebaY's users is sufficient reason for all sellers on the
site to question ebaY's motivation.
For more info go to - http://www.auctionguild.com/generic85.html
ebaY - On 12 Feb at 21:00:29 PT users reported reoccurring problems with
search. This appeared to be affecting only certain categories.

On 13 Mar at 02:59:34 PT users reported the clear form button was not
working on the listing form.   At 12:25:12 PT ebaY posted that the
ability to register as a new ebaY user or update account information was
down from 12:10 PT to 12:20 PT.   At 19:17:54 PT Web TV users reported
problems with category search. Users were not able to scroll to the
bottom of the page in order to advance to the next page.

On 14 Mar ebaY took their system down for maintenance from 01:00 PT
until 03:00 PT. ebaY Billpoint payments system was also down during
this time frame.

Throughout this time frame, overall the site was stable, though users
posted on all the ebaY boards that the missing search features,
particularly the 'new' item icon, continued to cause problems with
searching effectively. Complaints continue to abound about the problem
with search, where clicking back on a item takes you to the top of the
search result page rather than back to your point of departure. Along
with the chronic ongoing problems, and the limited to the point of
uselessness 10 day completed search, buyers continued to complain.

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
Fraud thread on the ebaY threaded boards. The gist of which is change
your ebaY password on a regular basis and make it a difficult one -

ebaY is moving boats and aviation categories to ebaY Motors. If you
have input email to vehi-@ebay.com. Boats and watercraft are moving
to other vehicles -
AIRCRAFT is moving to other vehicles -
Fees are going up to match the other vehicle fees on ebaY Motors at -
The listing fee is $40.00.
Aviation, boats and watercraft part and accessories are moving to part
and accessories on Motors at -
Canoes, Kayaks and Inflatable Boats Categories are now in sporting
goods, water sports at -
You can move your item to another category by going to -

One ebaY Motors Seller's Auction Voice can be read at -

ebaY is putting a 99 cent minimum bid in place for all items sold on a
dutch auction. This goes into effect "next week", but ebaY did not say
exactly when.

ebaY Billpoint payments system has added a seller protection plan to
their payment system. This plan protects sellers against chargebacks
when certain rules are followed.
the guidelines and eligibility requirements can be found at -
ebaY Billpoint payment fees can be found at -

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'.

If users want those icons returned they need to email ebaY about them
and let ebaY know, and it would also not hurt to post dissatisfaction
about the search changes on the petition to change search back to a
useable format 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

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

ebaY old search page by going to

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 http://www.sec.gov/complaint.shtml

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. Recent changes
in the search engine have drastically inflated the numbers and the
number of items listed in a category no longer matches the actual search
result. ebaY is trying to hide the fact that their listing numbers have
been virtually flat since Oct 2000, though the alleged numbers of
registered users on the site has increased by huge multiples.
To see the trends on ebaY go to the MedVed site to view their long term

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 (YA) - Announced on 13 Mar that they
are changing the YA billing cycle to coincide with Yahoo’s fiscal
calendar. The current billing cycle will end on the third Friday of the
month, 15 Mar 02 . YA will charge your credit card for any outstanding
fees at that time. Starting next month the YA billing cycle will end on
the second Friday of every month, so next month it will be on 12 Apr 02.
As usual your credit card will be charged on the following Monday 15 Apr
Questions? Contact YA Customer Care at auctions-@yahoo-inc.com
or check your Billing Summary at

Sellers report that YA has improved the listing page by adding better
html support with font size, type, and color now supported on auctions.

From 13 Mar to 15 Mar, buyers and sellers can use Yahoo! PayDirect
http://paydirect.yahoo.com for free.

Yahoo is running what they are calling the biggest sale in internet
history promotion. Auctions have a $1.00 no reserve auction showcase as
part of the promotion on the front page of Yahoo -prime real estate.
The sale ends 15 Mar.

YA bidders sweepstakes runs until 20 Jun. For details go

Yahoo auction counts as of 13 Mar 02
Antiques & Art   62584
Automotive 13715
Books & Comics 39710
Clothing & Accessories 32521
Coins, Paper Money & Stamps 65535
Collectibles 54318
Computers 16825
Electronics & Cameras 10835
Home & Garden 35245
Jewelry & Watches 56603
Movies & TV 18941
Music 19684
Sports & Outdoors 8854
Sports Cards & Memorabilia 113703
Toys, Games & Hobbies 66590
Video Games 4634
Other 15500
Total auctions 635797

Users have been reporting reoccurring intermittent problems with
auctions appearing and disappearing from seller's lists.   This problem
has been noted on three different occasions in the last month, and can
hinder a seller's ability to manage their auctions. This may also
affect a bidders ability to find auctions since it affects the seller's
list, and also appears to affect the ability to find an intermittently
missing auction from any search.   Yahoo has consistently failed to post
about this problem on their announcement board, and has also failed to
let users know if it will be permanently fixed and when.

TAG has also received many complaints about the lack of customer service
on Yahoo Auctions, and TAG feels this continues to be a major stumbling
block for the real advancement of YA. Coupled with YA's draconian
policy on international sellers and their failure to educate their
buyers on how to avoid obvious fraud, YA will continue to remain far
back in the pack of competing online auction and trading sites.

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
As of 9Mar02 Yahoo Auctions had 342,322 listings on their site
As of 13Mar02 Yahoo Auctions had 635,797 listings on their site
* * * * *
Amazon Auctions, zShops and Marketplace
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
* * * * *
PayPal has now had a lawsuit filed against it for freezing accounts and
making it hard for customers to contact them and resolve disputes.
Article at -
* * * * *
Online Auction Users Association
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