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TAGnotes Thu 9 May 2002 Vol 4 Number 28 Issue 410

The Auction Guild Notes Thu 9 May 2002
Quality, variety & great deals, shop the experienced EMPORIUM
auction sellers http://www.lynnet.com/~jmm/emporium.html
     * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Finished jewelry, jewelry making supplies, metaphysical, and
more. ebaY Id: rgmall, URL: http://www.rgshop.com Enjoy!!!
     * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
What $ells on eBay? Don't waste $$$ on items that don't sell.
Get 100+pages of eBay info only $4.95 Email julia-@aol.com
     * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
$Buck98 Event 14May Bidding starts at $1.98 with No Reserve.
Don't miss it! http://members.ebay.com/aboutme/$buck98/
     * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
This issue brought to you by the preceding subscriber ads,
supporting TAG through their advertising dollars.
TAG does not endorse the companies or products advertised
ebaY - On 30 Apr 10:41:39 PT users reported receiving error
messages while trying to access ebaY pages. The ebaY store
pages were the most problematical. Users reported problems
using ebaY picture services iPix, throughout the day.

ebaY posted on 1 May at 22:41:33 PT that users were having
problems using Account Status to view or change their account
from 22:08 PT to 22:21 PT.

On 2 May at 12:43:47 PT users reported ebay.com and ebaY
Germany both very slow. At 12:53:23 PT users reported that the
site font changes were changing again making the site
unusable. At 14:21:10 PT the site was not recognizing
established sellers, saying they had to register as a seller. At
19:12:42 PT users reported the font size was again doing its
Alice in Wonderland act. 19:08:12 PT users reported ebaY email
system problems, and could not send email using the ebaY
system. At 20:03:26 PT users reported problems accessing
cgi5 preventing their ability to list items. At 20:35:29 PT users
posted that images were disappearing from listings and that
cgi5 was still acting up intermittently. At 21:15:05 PT users
reported page reloads very slow.

ebaY took both the ebaY system and ebaY Billpoint payments
down for maintenance on Fri 3 May from 01:00 PT until 03:00 PT.
On 3 May at 22:15:49 PT WebTV users reported they could no
longer relist items on ebaY.

On 4 May at 00:09:31 PT ebaY seller assistant program users
reported a problem viewing the detail section when trying to list.
At 07:33:18 PT search was not working, returning messages
saying, "Web Site Not Responding The web site you have
requested may be experiencing technical difficulties due to a
busy or broken server. Please try again by clicking the Reload
icon on your navigation bar or, if that doesn't work, you may want
to return to the site at a later time. 502 Connection Failed". At
11:04:12 PT users could not access the collectible categories,
receiving the 502 connection failed message.

On 5 May at 05:41:39 PT users reported that advanced search
was not working. At 06:00:57 PT ebaY reported that the ability to
view or change Account Status was unavailable from 03:45 PT to
05:45 PT, both in My ebaY and elsewhere on the site. At 08:46:19
PT sellers reported being unable to list items. At 08:55:46 PT
users were having problems accessing all the pages.ebay.com
locations on the site, including the ebaY home page and site
map. the ability to access the listing form was back at 09:19:59
PT. At 09:30:32 PT users reported an inability to access the sell
and community pages. At 10:04:47 PT the ebaY system was not
recognizing established sellers. At 10:34:19 PT sellers reported
problems with sending Mister Lister collections. At 11:32:32 PT
users reported ebaY intermittently down, with no access to
certain pages. When trying to access sellers lists, receiving
'page cannot be displayed' messages. Buyers reported
problems with bidding. At 11:40:22 PT buyers continued to
report problems with bidding and sellers lists and the feedback
system were also inaccessible. At 12:18:10 PT
sellers received email from ebaY, telling them that, "The Mister
Lister service is currently unavailable. Please try sending in your
collection at a later time". Unfortunately some of these
messages were not for the seller receiving them, but for another
seller. At 15:29:44 PT completed auction results in categories,
after 1 May, were not showing.

On 6 May at 08:15:08 PT users received network error
messages when trying to access cgi3, affecting the chat boards
and the ability to log in. At 13:27:08 PT Mister Lister on the UK
site was returning error messages in German. At 15:32 PT
users reported problems across the site with search. At
15:35:57 PT the ability to browse by category disappeared from
the site, with category searches turning up blank pages.   At
15:44:54 PT the category search problems continued. At
16:01:20 PT book marked searches were no longer accessible.
At 16:09:58 PT ebaY reported that users were having intermittent
difficulty viewing listings by category. They claimed the ability to
search by keyword was not affected. At 16:24:16 PT users
reported that keyword search was very slow. At 16:52:47 PT
ebaY reported that category search was down from 15:32 PT to
16:40 PT. At 17:17:54 PT users reported Mister Lister was
working again. Users continued to report problems with category
search until 17:43:02 PT. At 18:15:58 PT users reported sign in
not holding. ebaY posted at 21:58:53 PT that the ability to
register as a new seller or pay an account balance with a credit
card was down. At 22:37:28 PT ebaY reported that the ability to
register as a new seller, register anonymously or pay an account
balance with a credit card was down from 21:30 PT to 22:30 PT.

On 7 May at 11:20:33 PT users again reported that sellers lists
were down. Problems continued until 12:02:13 PT as ebaY once
again did a live implementation of a new feature costing sellers
unknown dollars in wasted fees, as buyers could not use the
seller's lists to find items. TAG wonders if the outages of the
previous few days, were "accidental" as ebaY said, or if they
were ebaY induced, by ebaY experimenting with changing code
whilst the site was live. If the latter is again the true reason,
then ebaY is committing fraud, blatantly lying, and stealing fees from
their sellers, when they know they are causing problems with service.
Since ebaY is the only site on the internet that does a weekly downtime
for maintenance, why don't they do their feature implementations then?
At a minimum they should inform sellers in advance that they will be
jerking the code around on the site on certain dates and give the seller
the option of taking the risk of listing during what is sure to be an
unstable period. At 16:29:42 PT users reported network errors when
trying to bid. At 16:33:33 PT My ebaY was turning up garbled entries.
At 16:38:22 PT ebaY posted that listing and viewing items in
Photography, Electronics, Pottery, Stamps, Coins, Dolls, Dollhouses,
Tickets and Travel, were down from 16:25 PT to 16:36 PT.

On 8 May at 20:41:24 PT users reported gallery was not working
properly. Gallery images were not indexing.

On 9 May at 12:04:31 PT, ebaY posted that the ability to browse
and search lots in ebaY Live Auctions catalogs at
www.ebayliveauctions.com was down. ebaY said these items
were still searchable through the main ebaY search. At 14:50:30
PT users reported that images were not downloading fully
blocking the ability to view items and bid. At 14:54:05 PT sellers
reported the image problem was also preventing them from
listing as the SYI froze at the add picture block. At 16:54:14 PT
ebaY announced that the ability to view images previously
uploaded with ebaY picture services iPIX, was down from 16:42
PT to 16:52 PT. ebaY claimed that the ability to upload images
with ebaY pic services was unaffected, but users reported
otherwise. At 17:15:36 PT users reported general slowness on
the site.

ebaY will take their system down for maintenance on Fri 10 May
from 01:00 PT until 03:00 PT. The threaded boards will also be
down for maintenance from 01:00 PT to 04:00 PT.

TAG STRONGLY recommends that, if a seller feels that any of
the ebaY outages and glitches appears to have negatively
impacted the sale of any of their auctions or listings of any type,
request refunds. Don't pay for service if you don't receive it.

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 - TAG often thinks ebaY has lost touch with
reality, but now we are convinced. On 09 May at 14:33:28 PT
ebaY announced, "Over the next few weeks, we will be testing a
new kind of marketing placement from the Home Page. Some
visitors to the eBay Home Page will be presented with a popup
message when they leave the site from the Home Page
featuring links to merchandise or services on eBay or on other
sites. These popups will not be visible to all users at all times.
Additionally, these popups will be "frequency capped" to limit the
number of times per day any one user will see them.

We believe that, when properly used, this tool can help retain
users who are flowing from eBay’s Home Page out to the
Internet. The primary goal is to offer compelling reasons for
buyers to return to eBay to bid and buy the items listed by the
community of Sellers. We will evaluate this new tool to determine
its effect on buyer behavior and will use the information that we
gather from this test to create better merchandising programs in
the future. Regards, eBay".   ebaY is going to start testing one of
the most obnoxious marketing tools extant, and claims it is to
keep users on ebaY. Does ebaY think this obnoxious tool will
help retain users who are leaving ebaY's home page following
the ads and links ebaY places on their home page to take users
away from ebaY? Is this making any sense yet? Unbelievable,
even for ebaY!

Board Post of the Day - when discussion turned to the new
Burger King Banner ads on ebaY pages, Snyderstr said on 5
May at 16:00:41 PT, "The Burger King ads on Search pages are
part of a reciprocity arrangement with eBay: Burger King provides
coders and management material, and eBay provides banner
ads to compensate them." There was later discussion that it
was the burger flippers who wrote ebaY code, and the "do you
want fries with that" personnel who were providing customer

ebaY has signed an agreement with Verisign to provide seller
authentication services. There are no details as to what this will
cost, or who will be required to participate. At least VeriSign is a
more reliable company with a better reputation than Equifax, so it
is an improvement. TAG feels that if sellers are required to
undergo such scrutiny, then buyers should also be subjected to
the same, as sellers are equally at risk of fraud as buyers. This
system is still flawed, as it does not protect against false
information, as long as the information is real, or against identity
theft, something ebaY is very prone to and that has been
happening with increased frequency on ebaY. Articles on the
subject -

TIAS.Com reported that ebaY sales continue to drop for antiques
& collectibles. Data is based on the sale of 23,000 antiques and
collectibles sold by TIAS and AntiqueArts merchants on ebaY.

From Jan - May of 2002 the average ticket price of an item sold
on ebaY by a TIAS dealer was $41.80. This is down from $50.49
for Jan - May of 2001, which was down from $83.52 for Jan - May
of 2000.

From Jan - May of 2001 35.7% of items listed on ebaY by TIAS
dealers were sold on ebaY. From Jan - May of 2002 38.4% of
items listed on ebaY by TIAS dealers
were sold on ebaY.

The average price for antiques and collectibles sold on eBay has
dropped by 17%, but 2.7% more of the items that are listed on
eBay are selling.

Sellers who use ebaY's picture services iPix, will need to
download a new ActiveX control. It appears that user MUST use
this download if they want to use ebaY pic services. TAG does
NOT recommend sellers use ebaY iPix as there are better, more
reliable and less expensive image hosting services available to
ebaY users. None of these services require an ActiveX
download, which is like giving ebaY a key to your computer,
besides opening a door through which viruses may enter (as
HAS happened in the past, when ebaY pic services infected
users with the Nimda virus).   For reliable image hosting
services, go to the TAG directory at -

If you feel you must use this service -
When prompted to download the latest Active X control from the
sell your item form -

Netscape users will be prompted by a Java Applet download. To
accept the download, click "grant" and "Remember this
decision". If you do not click "Remember this decision", you will
be prompted with this Security message the first time you visit
the Picture Services page after launching a new Netscape

Internet Explorer users will be prompted by an Active X
download. To accept the download, click "yes" to begin

In most cases, this download will take approximately five
minutes or less. Exact download times will depend on individual
connection speed.

Do you have an opinion about the ebaY sell your item 2.0 form?
jerry@ebay is running a sell your item 2.0 survey "May I have a
moment of your time please, and take your pulse on the Sell
Your Item 2.0 form?"
at -

As previously reported in TAGnotes, Collecting Channel is now
teaming up with ebaY for their "Ask the Appraiser" item valuation.
Though they call this an "appraisal" it is not an appraisal in the
legal sense, and cannot be used for insurance, inheritance or
other "legal" purposes. It is an opinion of what the appraiser
thinks your item is worth.
ebaY users do not receive any break on the price, and pay the
same fee of $19.95 per item, as they do by going directly to the
Collecting Channel (CC) website at -

CC says they will have your valuation back in 3 business days. If
you want a less expensive alternative, you can use
http://WhatsItWorthToYou.com/ a site that offers the same
service, but charges $9.95 per item. In TAG's opinion the BEST
solution is to search completed items on Yahoo Auctions,
Amazon Auctions and ebaY auctions, along with sites such as
http://www.kovels.com or the myriad of sites that have selling
prices on your item and figure out a value yourself. That is what
these "appraisal" services do. Think of it as paying yourself $10
to $20 per item to do it yourself. Of course the easiest way to find
the market value of an item is to list it at a low starting price at
an analog or online auction, and see what it brings!

For the code of ethics and report writing standards of the
Association of Online Appraisers go to -

An interesting article on online appraisals, in reaction to the
agreement between ebaY and   TAG is glad to see that Terry
Kovel agrees with TAG's opinion that " Kovel said collectors can
get just as good an indication of an item's value by visiting
http://www.kovels.com for free, or consulting other price guides --
which is what appraisers do anyway."

ebaY is now using MediaPlex to serve their advertising and other
ad related tracking. According to the MediaPlex website, their
digital ad service incorporates "all types of digital messages,
including banner ads, sponsorships, fixed-text links, and rich
media advertising. Digital messages are served onto web
pages, cell phones, PDAs, and two-way pagers. Digital
messages are also embedded in customer acquisition and
CRM emails. The CRM email market provides technology
solutions for marketers wanting to build retention and increase
loyalty with their existing client base. CRM email can help
achieve these goals through regularly scheduled email
newsletters, email promotional offers, and event-triggered
messages such as order confirmations sent to their
permission-based client lists." In other words, they track you,
SPAM you and plant cookies, null gifs and web beacons on you.

ebaY has changed the view seller's other items and seller
search pages. This page now shows all of a seller's items,
including Buy It Now, and is available from "View Seller's Other
Items" links on various pages, as well as the Seller Search tab
in Search.

The new page is the default page and is similar to the current
search and listings display, and has gallery images and the
ability to sort. The page will be defaulted to "ending soonest",
even for store buy it now items. You may set the default to the
view you prefer. The new page is missing the high bidders user
ID, and the item number. If you want to view seller's items
without the images, and with the item number and high bidder,
click on the link on the upper right hand side of the page "view
text only format". Users can bookmark this page.

TAG finds the color scheme horrible, and at best a Yahoo
Auctions copycat. We don't like that the page always defaults to
the page with images and that it can't be permanently set to the
viewers choice. We feel it is little more than a scheme to get the
sellers to use Gallery and Buy it Now, and would not be
surprised to see fees for those services increasing, if sellers
feel pressured enough to use them more. Remember that TAG
has been reporting ongoing intermittent problems with gallery
images disappearing for over a year. ebaY has once again
figured out how to get two clicks in the place of one, so they can
continue to distort their site statistics. Of even more concern,
ebaY has time and again said that the seller's page is the most
viewed page on ebaY. Therefore TAG theorizes that sellers can
expect advertising banners and other margin advertising, links
etc on the sides of the pages, much like the current search
pages. The sellers will once again get to PAY ebaY to take their
buyers away.

ebaY is changing Checkout again. The shipping address will
now default to either the last shipping address used or the
user's registration address. ebaY will provide a link to "Change
Shipping Address", which will display all of the addresses that
the user has saved. Users may also view this page every time
they use Checkout, by clicking on the "Save this page every time I
go through Checkout" option.

Users will be able to change certain information in Checkout if
you paid with one of the "other" methods: check, money order,
other credit cards, other online payments or other. Users using
one of these payment methods will be able to change the
payment method and, in cases where the seller has chosen to
allow the option, the total amount. Both buyer and seller will
receive an email confirming the change.

ebaY is also planning on changing the Submit Payment and
Total Requested pages

ebaY is changing the category selector on Sell Your Item 2.0.
Unfortunately, ebaY says it will require the use of Java. ebaY
claims it will be faster, and that all categories will be on one
page. If this selector is not on SYI 2.0, ebaY has a link on the
"Select Subcategory" page to "Try the enhanced, easier category
selector". This link is located just below the category selection
boxes and will only appear for browsers where the new category
selector is available. ebaY will default you to this category

ebaY is making this available for Internet Explorer versions 5.0
and 5.5 for Windows. Browsers without Java applet support will
continue to use the existing category selectors. ebaY will
eventually remove the old sell your item form, no matter what
sellers want. Currently, this new category selector is only
available on the U.S. site, but ebaY will add it to our International
sites in the coming weeks.

ebaY has also added some links to the SYI2.0 system so sellers
can start new listings from My eBay and View Item pages. Both
will now include links to sell a similar item for all active listings
or to relist for all closed listings. For sellers that allow Java
Script on ebaY (a TAG "not recommended"), sellers may now
preview their description from a link on the Title & Description

To make Sell Your Item 2.0 your default listing option and use it
now, go to -
For more info about Sell Your Item 2.0, go to -
To provide input on the new form, email ebaY at

ebaY is changing ebaY travel. Sellers will be required to pay for
a seller verification by SquareTrade program in order to sell on
ebaY travel. Sellers who sell Airline Tickets, Cruises, Lodging,
and Vacation Packages must be participate. Details on the
program – including FAQs and a registration form are at -
All sellers who wish to continue selling Airline Tickets, Cruises,
Lodging and Vacation Packages must be members of this
program by 3 June 2002.
Ongoing Issues and Information
See the TAG website for miscellaneous ebaY info at -

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/

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

* * * * *
Yahoo Auction/Warehouse/Classifieds (YA) -
Has a bidders sweepstakes through 20 June 2002. YA buyers
get sweepstakes entry each time the buyer is rated positively by
a seller in connection with the buyer's purchase of an item on
Yahoo! Auctions. Buyers can receive 5 entries per day. Sellers,
remember to give your buyers feedback so they don't miss out
on their contest entries!

As of 24Mar02 Yahoo Auctions had 369,748 listings on their site
As of 19Apr02 Yahoo Auctions had 329,060 (-40,688)
As of 7May02 Yahoo Auctions had 316,720 (-12,340)
Yahoo Auction counts brought to you by
Ongoing Issues -
YA allows links to your website in your auctions. Their policy for
links in auctions is at -

How to get help on Yahoo and Yahoo Auctions
Yahoo Help Central - http://help.yahoo.com/
Yahoo Auction Online Help Pages -
Contact YA for help -
Auction Abuse help -
Copyright infringement Help -

Yahoo contact Information

* * * * *
Amazon Auctions, zShops and Marketplace -
On 30 Apr at 18:18 PT Amazon reported that during the
afternoon of Mon 29 Apr
sellers received "Sold--Ship Now!" e-mail containing code
templates rather than specific buyer information. Amazon
claimed to have fixed the problem, but for those affected
transactions, sellers will need to verify address and payment
information using the online Seller Account.

On 2 May at 12:18 PT Amazon announced that they were going to
launch the latest Marketplace changes within 24 hours. At 22:07
PT Amazon posted that with the launch of upcoming Marketplace
changes, order fulfillment reports for 30 and 60 day time periods
will be unavailable until Sat 4 May.   All other reports options will
be available.

On 3 May at 03:52 PT, Amazon announced that the scheduled
marketplace changes were now live on the site.   At 20:18 PT
Amazon posted that they has added new payment condition
types to the Order Fulfillment Report. The new payment condition
types are in the “payments-status” column of the Order
Fulfillment Report. The new payment condition types are:
*paid ship now: (seller notification to ship order - replaces
disbursement sent)
*cancelled relist: (transaction cancelled - replaces cancelled and
payment rejected)
*hold awaiting payment: (pending payment processing- replaces
payment declined and payment indeterminate review)

On 7 May at 19:29 PT Amazon noted that the Order Fulfillment
Report, accessible through “Seller Tools” was temporarily
changed, so that only country abbreviations are displayed. They
will reinstate the original format with the full country name, but
until then provided a chart with country abbreviations and the
related country name. For the full country list go to -

On 9 May at 17:29 PT Amazon announced that telephone support
for Auctions, zShops and Marketplace sellers will be unavailable
until 08:15 PT on Fri 10 May.
Amazon appears to be doing better than expected financially. It
is also showing strength in it's international markets of Britain,
France, Germany and Japan. For the full article go to -   
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
* * * * *
Sellyouritem.com (SYI) - announced that in conjunction with the
site's celebration of its first year of operation in May, advertising
has been placed with the newsletters, CoolSiteOfTheDay.com,
Celebrity Gossip, and Opportunity. In addition, a birthday theme
was selected by the SYI Club99 participants, and will begin 18
May. Anyone wishing to participate in the SYI Club99 events
should email Clu-@SellYourItem.com with their seller id.   
Check the Community Lounge for more details.

In the last 30 days 909 auctions were sold for prices ranging
from $.10 to $100, with an average price of $2.42 for all items
sold in that period. This represents a 4.4 percent sell through
rate based on total listings for that period of time. Of that
number, 6.4 percent had more than one bid.

Currently the site stats shows 1.4 percent of active auctions have
bids. BuyNow! bidsare not reflected in active totals since they
end immediately; but are included in the percent sold figures
indicated above.

Sales of sports cards still lead category sales, but there have
been increases in sales of food items, toys, and handmade
items, as well as paper and monetary collectible items. Other
categories with sales included music, audio and video
recordings, vintage collectibles, boat parts, jewelry, craft
supplies, and books. In addition, there were many one of a kind
items included among the categories with sales.

The Animal Fair Media's "Paws for Style" auctions benefiting The
Humane Society of New York currently being hosted on site are
scheduled to end on May 10 and there are still some good
bargains available.

Support at SYI requests that members submit their comments
and suggestions for enhancements they would like to see at the
site to sugges-@sellyouritem.com. Category requests
should go to categ-@sellyouritem.com. Any questions
about the site should be directed to supp-@sellyouritem.com.

SellYourItem report by Karen Morgan
* * * * *
PayPal appears to have resolved their problems with
MasterCard. A PayPal rep said that MC is not going to restrict
Paypal in any way. MC may ask PayPal to make modifications,
but they would have to do this with any card carrier that requests
a change.

One commentator still believes PayPal and ebaY will merge -
But New York Times reporter Saul Hansell, said in an article
about ebaY on 5 May that "And last month it [ebaY] tried to buy
PayPal, which was valued at over $1 billion in its recent public
offering, but talks broke down."   PayPal reps had no comment
about possible takeovers or purchases beyond it being

A PayPal rep identified steps sellers can take to avoid he security
problems reported by Wired -
a) review their orders, which they should be doing anyways.
b) utilize IPN, which does require more technical knowledge than
Web Accept to use. IPN allows for matching values (price listed
vs. price paid). The programmer sets these values. they can set
the transaction not to process unless values match (such as
price listed=29.95, price paid=29.95...anything less would cause
a failure)
c) The main risk was to those selling digital goods. Some
solutions can be found under the DEVELOPER section of the
PayPal site.

* * * * *
Infopia has joined with the Altura Network to bring Infopia
seller's access to the Altura Marketplaces. Altura focuses on
sites including AOL, Yahoo!, Quixtar, CBSSportsline and Amazon
as well as their flagship mall, CatalogCity.com, to provide
consumers with fixed-price product offerings. Infopia's
Marketplace Manager network focuses on auctions and similar
buying and selling communities including ebaY, uBid, Amazon
Auctions, Yahoo Auctions, sell.com and ePier.
Have any information for us? email us at
TAG Subscribers often contribute information reported on in
TAGnotes. Visit their auctions or websites.
TAGassist Contributors



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