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TAGnotes Fri 22 Mar 2002 Vol 4 Number 21 Issue 403

The Auction Guild Notes Fri 22 Mar 2002
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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.
4800 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 few days, a message from Topica saying GoodBye from TAGnotes.
Please IGNORE all the messages. We apologize for the inconvenience. We
hope to finish the move by the end of March, and are currently
approximately 80% 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 451 responses! We are aiming for
10% of our subscriber base, so 480 responses would be ideal, but since
it is a moving target as close as we can get would be great. If you
want to add your info 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! Preliminary result - 3% of active ebaY accounts are
ebaY- on 18 Mar at 22:24:13 PT users reported the site very slow with
pages timing out before downloading..

On 19 Mar at 09:13:24 PT Users reported that hen they entered snipe bids
in the last few seconds of an auction, they were getting a message that
read, "Cannot proceed This auction ended on Mar-19-02at 08:56:28 PST by
Buy It Now, and bidding is closed for this item." This was happening
even on items not offering BIN. Because if this glitch the final snipe
bid was NOT accepted, resulting in lower final prices for the seller.   
At 09:18:59 PT users reported network errors when accessing pages
across the ebaY system. At 15:09:28 PT users reported search problems,
with commonly available items returning a "no results" on search.
Usually accessing the item 3 times would finally get the search function
to return a result indicating some servers not working. At 18:50:30 PT
users again reported reset by peer errors, and at 19:04:57 PT pages were
extremely slow in downloading and in taking bids. Search returns were
also very slow

On 20 Mar at 07:09:00 PT a user reported hearing from
timesen-@ebay.com that ebaY was "aware that snipers are getting the
'Buy it Now' message on some auctions and are working on a permanent
solution to the error message. " ebaY also said that this problem was
only happening in cases where the bid would not have been accepted
anyway due to the expired time on the auction, but users reported
otherwise. At 07:24:34 PT users reported cgi3 stalling causing page
time outs. At 10:02:21 PT ebaY posted that users were getting error
messages when trying to use the feedback system. ebaY said this is
going to be a reoccurring problem throughout the time it takes them to
merge Half.com feedback system with ebaY's. At 12:27:55 PT users
reported renewed problems with search returning no results for items
that are commonly available in quantity on ebaY. At 17:49:12 PT ebaY
picture services iPix was down and users could not view images on
auctions or upload new ones. At 18:48:03 PT ebaY reported the problem
fixed. All sellers who had auctions using ebaY picture services who
feel they were impacted by the hour long outage, should ask for refunds
of all their fees, listing, image hosting and final value.

On 21 Mar at 01:04:04 PT ebaY reported that several functions were down,
including the feedback system and About Me pages. These problems lasted
from 00:04 PT to 00:32 PT. The ability to link to international sites
from the ebaY home page was also down. At 01:08 PT users reported cgi 6
and cgi ebaY were both down. At 10:18:03 PT ebaY again posted about
problems with the feedback system due to the merger of the Half.com and
ebaY feedback system. ebaY said, " Over the next few days, the updating
of feedback ratings may not be in sync with the comments left for
members. The individual comments will still appear immediately, and can
be viewed in the Feedback Forum; only the updating of the Feedback
rating could be delayed." ebaY also said that starting Friday, Half.com
users may not be able to leave feedback, and that this problem may last
for the several days it takes to merge the two systems. TAG also heard
from an ebaY insider that the disappearance of the NARU designation from
feedback profiles was also a glitch, and TAG theorizes that it might
also be related to this feedback system merger, since so many problems
are being created by the merger. We were advised that the black
helicopters are still parked on the helipad.

ebaY took the site down for maintenance at 01:00 PT on Fri 22 Mar. ebaY
Billpoint payments was also down. the site was back at 03:02. At
07:35:19 PT users reported problems with logging into Half.com. At
08:30:33 PT users reported receiving "Network Error Unable to read URL
from host cgi3.ebay.com.au: Connection reset by peer" messages. At
09:00:45 PT users reported problems with the revise category feature.
Sellers trying to change categories on their items received input error
messages, "There was an error in your input. Please go back and ensure
that all fields are properly filled in." At 16:25:46 PT users posted
problems with Mister Lister incorrectly calculating listing fees.   
Users reported problem with feedback throughout the day, but these were
expected due to ebaY's warnings.

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
TAG has been hearing from an increasing number of subscribers that there
are problems with the ebaY Fraud Protection Program, and receiving claim

In one case, that appears to be typical of the stories we have been
reading about and hearing, the buyer purchased a "designer" item in Aug
2001, that, when received, turned out to be fake. The buyer attempted
to get the seller to refund, and kept trying until Oct 2001. On 1 Oct
the buyer filed a complaint, ebaY found the claim legitimate and said
they would issue a check. The complaint was actually paid, dozens of
emails and phone calls later, on 8 March. The complete details are on
the website in an editorial titled "ebaY Paying Fraud Claims?"

In addition to this being an inordinate amount of time for a buyer to
wait for a payment, the part of this whole thing that really interested
us was something ebaY said in one of the response emails to the buyer.
ebaY said, ""Please keep in mind, eBay offer the Fraud Protection
Program free to all of its members. Members do not pay for this
protection nor do they have to sign up for anything in order to be
protected." It is really interesting that ebaY can make such a
statement about the program being free, as if you have no right to
expect service. As we all know, this program is paid for by sellers,
with their fees, just as they pay for the lights being on at ebaY, the
servers being up, Meg Whitman's salary, etc. ebaY has an inflated and
stable stock price, because sellers pay fees, day in and day out. This
program, as all others, is not free. It is also interesting that the
only "fraud protection" now mentioned on the ebaY home page is in the
logo for ebaY Billpoint Payments, which now says "full purchase
protection". There is a link on the site map under Buyer Tools, and the
only main toolbar button that has a link is the "services" one. If you
run a search for buyer protection under help, you get two links to the
fraud insurance program, and there is also a link on the rules and
safety page
A couple of other threads on this subject are on ebaY's boards at -
ebaY program is at - http://pages.ebay.com/help/community/insurance.html
ebaY posted on 19 Mar that they were going to make some "minor
clarifications" of their User Agreement and Privacy Policy. The new
policy is effective on 19 Apr 02 at 00:00 PT for all users registered
prior to 19 Mar 02. It is effective immediately for all new users who
register on or after 19 Mar 02. One very important change was that of a
major change to the Privacy Policy Section 11 - the "Conflict of Terms"
paragraph. ebaY also corrected the Privacy Appendix to make it clear
that they do not give out street addresses to advertisers.

TAG could not see any changes in the users agreement between what was
posted 1 Mar 02 and the current revision. Unfortunately ebaY did not
take the opportunity to renumber the sections of the user agreement,
leaving the agreement incorrectly numbered.   Most troubling in the user
agreement, and still remaining are sections 9 and 18 that allow ebaY to
do anything they want at any time without any notice. ebaY could easily
clarify these in a FAQ as they have many other troubling clauses,
limiting and clarifying just how the clauses would apply. Because these
sections remain, what is on the ebaY site is no longer an agreement,
because there is only one party who has to follow the rules, and that is
the user. ebaY does not have to perform in any way, and can arbitrarily
change the rules at any time and without any notice. To see TAG's
detail review of the user agreement go to -
To view the user agreement FAQ go to -   
To see the revised User Agreement, go to -

The Privacy Policy change is important as can be seen in a comparison of
these two paragraphs. The first one is what ebaY had in the Privacy
Policy of 1 Mar 02, the 2nd one is the one they are changing it to.
This is well done on ebaY's part and changes the entire tone of the
document. (caps are ebaY's) But problems remain.
11. Conflict of Terms.
11. Conflict of Terms.
It is our goal to make our privacy practices easy to understand. We have
created easy-to-read summaries, privacy principles, a privacy chart and,
are working on privacy enhancing technology to help summarize our full
privacy policy. If you have questions about any part of this summary or
if you would like more detailed information, we encourage you to review
our full privacy policy.
Policy http://pages.ebay.com/help/basics/pprevision2-faq.html

Unfortunately ebaY did not provide clarification of this statement,
"Further, we may send out notices to other community members regarding
your actions on our site." ebaY needs to tell users the conditions under
which this information would be shared
To see the revised Privacy Policy, go to

Read the Privacy Central Page
Read the cookie page.
And when you start getting LOTS of email through the ebaY system from
places like TAG, and folks wanting to know if you would like to sign up
for their mailing list, or hear about their products, blame it on the
ebaY policy that clearly spells out that this is ebaY LEGAL -   
After endless complaints and criticism, ebaY has finally returned the
"new" icon to the search listings. Thanks ebaY for giving your users
back something you took away. It was a much missed tool, and it appears
that everyone is happy to have it back. If you are not yet seeing the
new icon in your searches, it might not be completely rolled out on the
whole site yet.
Pink Quote Of the Day, from the ebaY MAB on 19 Mar 02 at 10:49:57 PT
when posting about the minimum opening bid for Dutch auctions,
"Effective today, all Dutch (multiple item) listings must have an
opening bid of at least 99 cents. These changes are being implemented to
address community concerns regarding the use of these listings to
solicit Feedback, and to address concerns we have about the use of these
listings to avoid fees. Regards, eBay." TAG would be very interested
in seeing the thousands of requests to ebaY to make the Dutch auctions
start at 99 cents. There is something really perverted about ebaY using
as an excuse "community concerns" to charge sellers more money. If ebaY
listened to "community concerns" they would take the thread on search to
heart currently with 1731 posts. It is bad enough when ebaY does things
because they are ebaY, the rest of us are not - so sod off, but when
they try to hide their greed motivated profit moves behind a screen of
"community" it is repulsive and reprehensible.
ebaY's partial merger of Half.com will make some changes.
*Single User ID on both sites, registration, contact information, and
some preference settings will be the same on Half.com and ebaY.
*One Feedback System - Half.com will adopt the ebaY feedback system.
This will be gradual and problematical causing several days of glitches
and problems.
*Increased Item Promotion - ebaY will cross-promoted items on each site,
exploiting the auction sellers as they pay listing fees not paid by
those using Half.com.
For more info go to http://pages.ebay.com/community/news/half.html
ebaY is changing the search on ebaY Motors by adding a Search Results by
Category function this week. ebaY is more closely aligning the
appearance of search on both sites. ebaY is also doing away with the
thumbnail images of features items that appeared at the top of Motors
category pages but instead are displaying featured items in the top
position of the page they normally appear on.
Vehicles categories in ebaY Motors will have -
- "Show vehicles with warranties" displays all vehicles with either an
Existing Warranty or Free Limited Warranty -
http://pages.ebay.com/ebaymotors/services/warranty.html   (Passenger
Vehicles only)
- "Items accepting Secure Pay" displays only vehicles accepting Secure
Pay from Escrow.com.    
For more about how Search Results by Category works, go to -
ebaY has added areas to purchase travel at
through Priceline.com, National Leisure Group.
Reminder, all Dutch (multiple item) listings must have an opening bid of
at least 99 cents.
ebaY has been making some changes to the sell your item 2.0 form. In an
attempt to clear up some confusion and actually get the form to work,
ebaY has changed the shipping options. There will now be a single
"buyer pays for all shipping costs" option.
*On SYI 2.0, if a seller selects "Buyer pays for all shipping costs" in
combination with selecting "I will provide my shipping costs later",
ebaY will display "Buyer pays for all shipping costs" on the auction
Item page.
*On SYI 2.0, if a seller selects "Buyer pays for all shipping costs" in
combination with selecting "I know my shipping costs and will provide
them now" ebaY will display "Buyer pays for all shipping costs, which
are provided in the Payment Details section below".
*On the current SYI form, ebaY is changing the option for "Buyer pays
actual shipping" to "Buyer pays all shipping".
*ebaY has not changed the other options for "Who pays for shipping" on
the current SYI form, including "Buyer pays fixed shipping" and "See
Item Description
To access the SYI 2.0 go to
To learn more about Sell Your Item 2.0 go to -
To provide input on the new form please email us at
ebaY has added a "Related Stores" section to the category listings
ebaY has signed an agreement with Digibid and announced it in a press
release. SANDY HOOK, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 18, 2002--Digibid is
an auction management system for companies that sell entertainment
technology equipment.   
The ebaY bid for points fiasco continues. Some users have put up a
petition at - http://www.petitiononline.com/3bays3ll/
Read TAG editorial at http://www.auctionguild.com/generic85.html
For those who could not believe that ebaY would promulgate such an
obviously corruptible plan, TAG heard from a points for bid site owner
who said, "We, personally, had to obtain special permission from ebay in
order to offer this to our members." So it is obvious that ebaY itself
knows about, supports and promotes these corrupt PFBs. It is a

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'.

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? 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) - Users reported on 22 Mar that
listings were once again doing their appear and disappear act from
sellers pages. Still no indication from YA as to what is causing this
problem and if they can or will fix it.

Ongoing Issues -
In contrast to ebaY's 15 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 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 635797 listings on their site
* * * * *
Amazon Auctions, zShops and Marketplace
On 20 Mar at 14:01 PT Amazon announced that Marketplace and zShops
sellers were having problems viewing, opening and closed listings, due
to the previously announced maintenance. Buyers can still purchase
items. Buyers will also be able to purchase newly created listings
added during maintenance. Sellers should not re-list items that are
not visible in Open or Closed listings in the Seller Account.

At 18:32 PT, Amazon posted that Pro Merchant subscribers may view and
modify their open Marketplace listings that are not displaying, (as a
result of maintenance) by using fulfillment and listings reports.
Additionally, Pro Merchant subscribers may generate order fulfillment
reports, sold listings report and cancelled listings report.

To access your open listings reports, click on the "seller account"
link, from within the Seller Account page, click on "Download
fulfillment and listings reports"--this will take you to the “Reports”
page. Next, click on ".”--this will take you to the “Generate Reports
Now” page. From here, scroll down to the “Open Listings Report” and
select the option, “Yes, include data for all listings currently open.”
Then click on the "preview” button. This will bring you to a page that
summarizes your report requests. Next, click "Generate Report Now".
The report will generate within an hour, but could take slightly longer.
Once your report has been generated, you will receive an e-mail

When you receive your confirmation email, go to the "seller account"
link and click on "Download fulfillment and listings reports”. Next,
click on "Pick up generated reports." You will find your reports under
"Open Listings Report". Finally, click on the file you wish to view. The
file will be downloaded to your computer. You may now open/view the file
using a spreadsheet program, such as Excel.

Pro Merchant subscribers without existing spreadsheets will need to open
Excel first, and format all cells to be “text only” before importing the
listings report. Sellers who have not assigned Stock Keeping Unit (SKU)
numbers to their inventory will need to do so before uploading. SKUs
can be any alpha-numeric entry, but the SKUs need to be unique for each
listing. For this reason, many sellers use the Listing ID for their
SKUs when re-loading. Pro Merchant subscribers who wish to modify a
file; make all necessary changes, then save the file as text tab
delimited and finally upload the modified file via the Inventory Loader.

At 17:25 PT on 22 Mar Amazon posted that the maintenance project was
still negatively affecting the display of Open, Closed and Sold listings
in the Seller Account as well as in display of Marketplace listings in
zShops storefronts. Amazon will post daily updates until the maintenance
is complete and full functionality is restored.

On 22 Mar, Sellers reported that Amazon is crediting their Pro Merchant
Accounts in the amount of $10.00 for the inconveniences caused by the
extended maintenance.

Auction sellers reported on 22 Mar that they were once again finding
dozens of duplicate items in their auction listings. Some items showing
up were items long since sold. This has been a chronic ongoing problem
with Amazon Auctions.

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 users reported on 20 Mar at 11:14:04 PT that PayPal debit cards
were not working and were not being accepted at the bank or at stores.

PayPal has an interesting post on their board at -
When PayPal account holders leave funds in their buyer and seller
accounts, PayPal deposits those funds in FDIC banks. Because the banks
PayPal uses are FDIC, then all the funds PayPal places in those accounts
are insured for loss up to a total of $100,000 per users, if one of
these FDIC banks goes bankrupt. Do not be misled here, PayPal is not
FDIC insured or regulated, and if PayPal goes belly up, all your money
may well be lost. TAG has always recommended that you only leave as
much money in your PayPal account as you can afford to lose.
* * * * *
Online Auction Users Association
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