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TAGnotes Sun 23 Jun 2002 Vol 4 Number 36 Issue 418

The Auction Guild Notes Sun 23 Jun 2002
Browning CB Radio Manuals, Parts, 776 Microphones, Info,
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     * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
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The TAGnotes archive is available in a searchable format at     
More info about TAG is on our website at
You can find contact info for several sites and services there,
along with editorials, and image hosting directory and other info.
Will there be a Free Listing Day in June on ebaY US ?
Next best guess is 25 or 27 June, with 27 June being the more likely
date, though the penny gallery day (see below) may be the poor
substitute that obviates the FLD. TAG WILL send a special edition via
email to every subscriber as soon as we find out about the FLD, if there
is one. ebaY usually gives notice a few hours before the FLD starts.
If they don't do one in June, probably the next likely date would be
around 19 September - unless they get a severe listing drop due to the
implementation of SYI2.0, or some other problem occurs causing a drop in
their stock price. Just a reminder - If ebaY does do a free listing
day, plan on using your own image hosting service as ebaY's iPix picture
services tends to crash early, and prevents or slows down listing to a
ebaY on 20 Jun at 15:10:27 PT users reported very slow page loads, with
many pages timing out prior to opening. Some users reported at 15:12:24
PT that the slowness started at around 12:00 PT.

ebaY forgot to post the maintenance notice on the SAB, but did post the
reminder on the ebaY main page. ebaY was down for maintenance on Fri 21
Jun from 01:00 PT to 03:00 PT. Ironically, the reminder on the main
page recommended checking the SAB for details, which said nothing. On
21 Jun at 12:26:05 PT ebaY posted that sellers using AOL image hosting
reported intermittent availability problems. There have been image
hosting and site access problems between ebaY and AOL for many months -
with both sites blaming each other for the problem, and neither site
working together to resolve the issues.
AOL is aware of the issue. At 14:09:27 PT some users reported that the
back button was not working going from search pages to items and back.

On 22 Jun at 10:05:52 PT Checkout problems were preventing sellers from
listing items, and would not accept shipping information. At 12:59:51
PT users were prevented from changing their Checkout options, and
Checkout was still not accepting input. On 22 Jun at 17:04:53 PT ebaY
announced problems with ebaY Live auctions caused the cancellation of TW
Conroy's Live Auction scheduled for 15:00 PT. The auction was
rescheduled.   At 17:06:38 PT they also announced the reschedule of the
second half of the Charlton Hall Galleries auction. At 20:03:05 PT,
users reported that for the previous 30 minutes ebaY iPix images were
not loading, though this appeared to be regional and sporadic. At
20:17:28 PT users reported the site slow with sporadic My ebaY pages

The site continued to be stable during this period, with only the
ongoing un-addressed problems causing difficulties for users. TAG
wonders if keeping all those ebaY employees busy with ebaY Live, along
with the concern for negative publicity on site performance marring the
ebaY Live public relations event, results in good site performance.

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 - The entire ebaY Live "Power Panel"

TAG heard a prevaracation a minute, and (or maybe it was a second) and
that was after the questions were screened and "selected" to eliminate
any hard ball ones. An interesting comment by Meg about ebaY Japan
sounds to TAG as if ebaY is in negotiations with Yahoo to buy the Yahoo
Japan site (which would no doubt include the remainder of the Yahoo
Auction sites.). More seller verification is coming but nothing to
verify buyers, so TAG predicts you can expect an ever increasing number
of deadbeats. ebaY is considering providing metrics to sellers from the
"ebaY data warehouse". They also talked about expanding completed
auctions access... for a fee. ebaY is getting ready to test a mirrored
site for catastrophe backup (for example an earthquake). Maynard Webb
claimed getting 2 million listings a day, which is double what Newsweek,
reported in their "unprecedented access" articles two weeks ago. It
appears that ebaY has not addressed the problems with Checkout and the
new postal rates by zone. According to what was said by Meg and Maynard
Webb they are scrambling to get something in place in time for the
change. Since the news of the postal increase has been available for an
extended period of time, why did ebaY wait to the last minute to address
it?   By the way, if you are going to listen to Meg's keynote address,
you might want to take your Dramamine first.

Board Quote of the Day - On 20 Jun at 07:35:16 PT in a conversation
about keeping a business viable in the OAI/OTI, vanity-fair-prints said,
"... all you have to do is move on, get your own web site ( or three )
promote it till it is in the top 10 of every search engine, make links
to similar product sites, form your own collectors club, get involved in
the pay per click programs, open your own auction site and use eBay to
help promote what you have created. It takes about three years but if
you spotted the direction eBay was going in three years ago you are now
on top of things !" TAG feels this is good advice for anyone who wants
a future in the online auction and trading industry.

ebaY is holding a "buy a gallery image for a penny" day. Sellers can
save 24 cents on each gallery image they use. This will take place on
Wed 26 Jun between 00:00:01 PT (12:00 AM plus one second on June 26,
2002) and 23:59:59 PT 26 Jun (11:59 PM plus 59 seconds). The gallery
fee for regular auction style listings, ebaY Motors - non vehicles
listings, Real Estate listings, and Store Fixed Price listings (less
than or equal to 30 day) will be $0.01 on the U.S. site (www.ebay.com).
When you list your item and use the gallery option, you will
automatically get gallery for just a penny. TAG cautions that Gallery
has been a very frustrating feature, as it can take 4-8 hours for images
to index, and images appear and disappear on items.

ebaY Health Insurance for Power Sellers   - ebaY says it is working with
Physicians Mutual to provide health insurance to ebaY power sellers in
October. ebaY did not provide any details as it appears they do not yet
know how they will do this - but that did not stop ebaY from making the
announcement. This sounds to TAG like a typical ebaY implementation, an
idea, but no plan and no beta testing.   We fault ebaY for not releasing
a details sheet with the announcement - and if they do not have the
details worked out, they should have kept quiet about it until they did.
TAG would hate to see ebaY experiment on their sellers with this
program, as they have with almost everything ever launched on their site
- half finished, untested products, insufficiently thought through
programs, to the great detriment of the sellers.

On principle TAG does not think this is something companies such as ebaY
should offer. We think it would be much more appropriate for a
professional organization such as the Online Auction Users Association
to offer things like insurance. Health insurance should not be
contingent on power seller status - something that is just too insecure.
It does not take a large stretch of imagination to see how a
debilitating health problem could quickly make a seller, power seller
ineligible. What then happens to their health insurance? It is to be
hoped that all these problems are being considered and dealt with by
ebaY, but past history would not lead TAG to believe this is so. If the
best reason for this insurance is that ebaY can offer Physicians Mutual
a large enough "group" to make it a feasible proposition, and if ebaY is
not contributing, then ebaY should offer it to all ebaY users, not just
power sellers.

It looks as if ebaY is trying to get the Better Business Bureau to work
with them on removing the long standing "unsatisfactory" rating for
Billpoint. The BBB site now reads "The Bureau's report on this company
is being updated and no report is available at this time. If you wish
you may contact us again in the future to see if an updated report is
available." Changed from the long standing "Based on BBB files, this
company has an unsatisfactory record with the Bureau. Specifically, our
records show a pattern of non-response to consumer complaints brought to
its attention by the Bureau."

Half.Com is still rated "unsatisfactory". "Based on BBB files, this
company has an unsatisfactory record with the Bureau. Specifically, our
records show a pattern of non-response to consumer complaints brought to
its attention by the Bureau."

To file a BBB complaint online, on Billpoint, ebaY or Half.Com go to -

Half.Com has adjusted their postal rates
These rates will go in effect at Midnight (ET) June 29th.

Shipping Charges
Media Mail
Games, Movies, CD's & Paperback books   $2.45 per item
Hardcover Books   $3.20 per book

Expedited Mail (Formerly Priority Mail)
Games, Movies, CD's & Paperback books    $4.99 per item
Hardcover Books    $5.45 per book

Seller reimbursement rates are at -

None of these rate changes appear to adequately cover the new expedited
mail postage rates by zone changes.

ebaY is revamping their power seller program in Oct. They are dropping
the bronze level to $1,000 to 3,000 of gross sales a month; silver 3 to
10,000; gold 10-25,000; platinum 25 to 150,000; titanium $150,000 and
up. Power sellers will now get free stationary and business cards,
discounted subscription service, free ebaY University access and other
unannounced perks, in addition to the aforementioned health insurance.
Titanium sellers will get a Fat Cat executive retreat thrown in. ebaY
store users will get more cross promotion opportunities.

Other bits of info picked up in the keynote address and elsewhere during
ebaY live -
*ebaY claims 24/7 "reach" but ebaY does not provide 24/7 service. Meg
still claims a 99.9% up time - another ebaY myth that never did and
still does not exist.
*At it's maximum peak times ebaY claims it gets 1600 listings a minute -
no figure was given for the "average" listing per minute rate.
*ebaY currently has a total of 2800 employees worldwide
*ebaY has (did Meg misspeak, is this possible?) 18,000 categories.
*ebaY claims 33% worldwide use BIN,
*ebaY claims there are 25,000 stores
*ebaY claims 34% use Checkout
*According to Meg, most users prefer set price to auctions
*ebaY will have a page for sellers so they have more info on holiday
marketing at - ebayholiday.com
*Meg claims that ebaY is a level playing field for all its users.
Unfortunately the users know better.
*Meg claims that she and ebaY are committed to doing the right thing for
the "community". TAG could write a book (and yes we are thinking of it)
just using the user stories of abuse, harassment, arrogant non concern,
careless and indifferent destructiveness, and malicious mischief
perpetrated by ebaY on users.
*Meg admits that ebaY was built by its users (wonder if she will pay the
580 mil owed by ebaY to the pre IPO users on whose backs the site was

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/

Want to use your website address in your ebaY User ID? Here is
a workaround. Put a name or word first and then include your
web address in parenthesis. So in TAG's case we could register
this ID - tag(www.theauctionguild.com). This will work and
circumvent ebaY's rules. You might even be able to put your
email address in the parenthesis.

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) -
YA is holding a 99 cent no reserve summer showcase. The Summer Sale
Showcase features items starting at $.99 with no reserve price. The
showcase will run until 5 Jul, and costs sellers an additional 15 cents
a day.

According to CNET's Rumor Mill, Fast Search & Transfer, based in Oslo,
Norway, is rumored to be in talks with Yahoo to replace their Google
based search engine. Google's contract with Yahoo expires in June.
Yahoo tried to buy Google back in May

On the US -
As of 19Apr02 Yahoo Auctions had 329,060 (-40,688)
As of 7May02 Yahoo Auctions had 316,720 (-12,340)
As of 24May02 Yahoo Auctions had 314,105 (-2615)
As of 14Jun02 Yahoo Auctions had 309,097 (-5008)

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 21 Jun at 22:41 PT Amazon announced that a delay kept some new
auctions from going live.   No update was posted. Amazon said sellers
would not have to take action to correct the problem.

Amazon Marketplace shipping rates and credits for Tools purchases will
change beginning June 28, 2002.
The new seller credits are:
Standard               Expedited
$4.79+ $0.32/lb        $7.19 + $0.48/lb

The rates for buyers are:
Standard              Expedited
$5.99 + $0.40/lb       $8.99 + $0.60

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

* * * * *
Andale.Com is adding some services in the next few months. They are
adding an auction tracking service costing $2.95 a month, that will give
data on average selling price of an item and the number of units sold
over a particular period of time. Andale is also adding an upgrade to
their sellers report that will total merchants' costs and provide an
analysis on how they can improve sales or cut costs. Andale says it will
include this service in the $19.95 per month service. This might be
useful if it works. For example, sellers will be able to use the
reports feature to determine whether listing items in bold or paying to
feature their auctions on ebaY are cost effective. For an article on all
the details go to -

* * * * *
PayPal and UPS has a page of details on how the system will work at -
Once packages are processed sellers can drop packages off at any UPS
Drop-off Center http://www.ups.com/using/services/locate/locate.html
or call UPS at 1-800-PICK-UPS to arrange a pick up. Pick up must be
arranged at least one day in advance. Sellers will only be charged the
UPS price. There are no additional fees to use PayPal Shipping.
Seller protection on packages up to $500 in value
US packages only

* * * * *
According to Neilsen/Net Ratings, 241.4 million people around the world
were online in the past year. users are going online 18 times a month
as compared to 16 times a month last year and spending 9 hours 17
minutes online, up from 8 hours15 minutes.
Source CBSMW Frank Barnako's Internet Daily

* * * * *
The most successful retailers online are catalog merchants. Retailers
with real stores or only Web outlets, as a group, posted losses. In a
survey of more than 100 sellers, including brick-and-mortar operators,
cataloguers and e-merchants, 56 percent reported they were profitable,
according to Shop.org (http://www.shop.org/). The group's
annual study was conducted by the Boston Consulting Group with
assistance from Forrester Research.

Sales online totaled $51.3 billion in 2001, a 21 percent rise, the
research said. Leading categories were computer hardware and software
(17.9 percent), followed by books, event tickets, music and video,
travel, toys, and consumer electronics.

Small sellers might want to consider expanding to catalogs, which can be
used in conjunction with their online auction and trading site sales,
and their websites. Google and Amazon both offer facilities to put
catalogs online. It might even be an idea for the creation of a site
for person to person sellers, where the site puts together a catalog of
a certain range of items from their site, and uses both online and US
mail resources to distribute the catalog with sales linked back to the
online site.

Source CBSMW Frank Barnako's Internet Daily

* * * * *
USPS rate change at the end of June will require zone charts, to figure
out your postage. Here is an excellent tool to develop a chart for your
use -

* * * * *
Opera.Com Browser is now available in Version 6.03. You do
not need to download the version with Java if you already have
the old version with java.

PLEASE NOTE: Many long links we post in TAGnotes must be
copy/pasted into your browsers URL/Address box in pieces, with
no extra spaces, to get them to work due to HTML limitations
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