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TAGnotes Sun 28 Jul 2002 Vol 4 Number 41 Issue 423

The Auction Guild Notes Sun 28 Jul 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. TAG
does not endorse the companies or products advertised
The TAGnotes archive is available in a searchable format at     
Read the TAG editorial and call to action about why you should
be concerned about the ebaY buyout of PayPal and what you can
do about it at - http://sitepreview.bigstep.com/generic93.html

We strongly suggest that every PayPal customer concerned with
this buyout, contact the Department Of Justice Antitrust Division,
and other relevant agencies, and express your concerns. Dept Of
Justice - http://www.usdoj.gov/atr/contact/emailatr.htm
Write to - antit-@usdoj.gov
Federal Trade Commission - http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/antitrust.htm

An astute TAG subscriber suggested that sending a letter to the
authorities would be even more effective than emails, and also
provided a sample letter that would suit the purpose. The letter
and the addresses to send it to follow the editorial on the
website. Remember to also contact your Congressional
Representative and Senator. Please pass the link to this
editorial on to all you know that might be concerned, and post it
on the chat boards you frequent. Just a few thousand letters
would get this issue addressed at the highest levels of
government. http://sitepreview.bigstep.com/generic93.html

ebaY - Users continue to report they are not getting their ebaY
email notices in a timely manner or not at all.   On 21 Jul at
07:35:49 PT Web TV users reported problems accessing the
site. Help and search pages were inaccessible. At 07:44:13 PT
users reported search via item specifics was not working.   At
12:55:31 PT users continued to report problems with My ebaY
and the sold and unsold items sections. Items were still not
properly showing in the correct section, unsold items not
appearing in the unsold section and sold items moving to the
unsold section. At 17:31:44 PT ebaY posted that the ability to
make a one time payment using a credit card was down from
16:20 PT to 16:55 PT. At 18:16:48 PT more users posted
problems with My ebaY.   Users trying to access My ebaY with
Web TV, received input error messages and could not access
pages.   At 19:05:03 PT users noted that search was not
working. At 20:18:16 PT users reported that personal offer was
not working.

On 22 Jul at 10:07:49 PT users reported being unable to list due
to problems with ebaY iPix images.

On 23 Jul at 00:20:03 PT users reported problems with search
not working. Four searches for the same item would return four
different results. At times search would return error messages.
At 11:02:35 PT users reported winning auctions were still
appearing on the "unsold item" page. At 15:44:48 PT ebaY
announced that they were decreasing search functions for
Macintosh users who utilize AOL. Search result pages will only
show 25 instead of 50 items. ebaY says this change is due to
"resource constraints", and that they are working to return the
default to 50 items as soon as possible.   ebaY users have been
waiting 3 years to have completed search returned to 90 days,
also temporarily limited due to "resource constraints". At his
point ebaY users would probably be content with 30 to 45 days of
completed search. At 18:28:04 PT ebaY users reported that cgi5
was down, preventing listing. At 20:12:16 PT, users reported
problems sending collections via Mister Lister. This appeared to
be working again at 20:22:33 PT. At 23:45:10 PT users reported
they were not able to save searches to My ebaY.

On 24 Jul at 16:33:19 PT users reported problems accessing My
ebaY pages. One seller also reported that the double charge
made against their direct pay account for sellers fees, had still
not been paid back by ebaY, despite several promises to correct
their accounting error.

On 25 Jul ebaY affiliates reported that ebaY has reversed many
of their affiliate earnings. This appears to be something ebaY
does on a regular basis, so ebaY affiliates should monitor their
accounts and challenge ebaY on reversals. ebaY's excuse was
that the leads were not "qualified", but the only qualification in
the ebaY terms are that the person must make a bid within 30 days, and
these leads were not 30 days old.

On 26 Jul ebaY took the site and ebaY Billpoint payments down
for maintenance from 01:00 PT until 03:00 PT. At 03:30:37 PT,
ebaY posted that the ability to view or change an ebaY account
was down from 03:00 PT to 03:28 PT. The ability to apply a
payment was down from 03:00 PT to 03:35 PT.   At 10:40:48 PT,
users reported that search was not working. Secondary levels of
categories were not searchable. At 15:49:42 PT, a seller
reported a problem with the new fixed price option. A customer
trying to buy one item kept getting told they were buying 14,
despite the fact that the seller only had two of the item listed.
At 20:49:03 PT users reported sold items were still appearing in
the unsold items section of My ebaY.

On 27 Jul at 13:34:39 PT, users continued to report problems
with second level category search. At 13:59:18 PT, users
reported problems with their ebaY account. Information was
missing from accounts, and would not accept information to
correct the missing entries. At 15:17:49 PT, users reported item
number search was not working. At 16:11:03 PT users received
errors on SYI2.0, getting a message that said, "Not the seller.
Must be the original seller to relist an item or list a similar
item." despite that the correct seller was trying to access the item.
At 18:04:21 PT Maeve@ebaY posted an acknowledgement of the search
problems, the first indication that ebaY would actually make a public
admission there was a problem. At 19:37:51 PT buyers posted about
glitches that prevented them from bidding. One buyer kept receiving,
"We were unable to process your request" every time they attempted to
bid. At 20:16:13 PT ebaY finally posted on the SAB that there is a
problem with search. ebaY claimed that, "Not all members or categories
appear to be affected, and the issue appears to be intermittent." but
user reports indicated the problem was widespread. A 20:54:14 PT users
reported receiving " page can not be displayed" messages when trying to
access their accounts. At 21:22:18 PT users posted that they could not
list a regular auction item. At 23:21:06 PT ebaY removed their first
post at 20:16:13 PT, and reported that , "Some users are reporting that
results from the search box within a category are not displaying all
items consistently. This issue does not affect all items or categories.
The items are accessible from the main Search page or the Home Page. "
TAG sees this as ebaY's attempt to distance themselves from the
requirement to automatically provide refunds. TAG recommends that all
affected sellers should request refunds for all items they feel were
negatively impacted by this 38+ hour outage of at least part of the ebaY
search functions.

On 28 Jul at 08:42:32 PT users continued to report search not
working. Listings had also not been indexed since 16:46 PT on
27 Jul in several categories.   At 09:08:55 PT ebaY revised their
search outage post for the third time. ebaY still held that items
were accessible from the main search page or the home page,
though users reported contrary results. ebaY said it might take
an additional 12-24 hours for all items to appear normally in Title
Search, and longer for all items to appear normally in
Description Search. The search problem was in its 48th hour. At
13:33:25 PT users were still reporting widespread search
problems. A 14:44:27 PT users reported they listed fixed price
items ant the listings had not indexed 18 hours later.   At
16:44:30 PT users reported receiving end of auction notices 4
days after the end of the auction. At 20:25:17 PT users reported
they were having so many problems with relisting that it had
become almost impossible to use the ebaY forms to relist

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 I - In a conversations about closing ebaY
accounts, and ebaY saying that if an account is willfully closed by
a user that email address may never be used again to open an
ebaY account, Katy@ebaY on 19 Jul at 0900 PT said, "... you
would need to write to support for a definitive answer to this but I
can tell you that there are some pretty good reasons for the rule.
One is that it is assumed that the same individual still has the
address and once the account is closed by request and ALL the
history and information removed, we would have no way of
assessing the individual's previous track record on the site.
Thus, allowing the same individual to simply re-register would
also allow them to wipe out a history of fraud complaints, NPBs
and other violations. Something we don't want to do, and I'm
sure you don't want us to do either. ... Katy" ebaY should know
since this is exactly what they have been trying to do with
Billpoint, disassociate the name from their failed and fraudulent
payment system, by calling it "ebaY Payments". Well that ploy
failed, and though they cannot spare any money for a real
customer support system or an efficient search system, they
managed to dig up 1.5 Bil to buy themselves out from under the
disgrace of Billpoint. Why ebaY thinks they can run PayPal any
better than they ran Billpoint remains a mystery.   The real
justification for the expenditure must be the monopolistic one,
that by buying out PayPal they eliminate anyone who could fight
the draconian payment system they are planning to put in place
once they get PayPal in their hands.

PQOD II - An established ebaY UK seller updated some of their
contact information only to discover that ebaY UK was no longer
recognizing that they were sellers, and requiring charge card and
banking info in order to resume selling. This seller contacted
ebaY to find out what the problem was, and received this
response. "Hi Xxxxxxxx, ... I have taken a look at your account and
noted you changed your contact details on XXth June. I placed
an announcement on the UK Announcement Board which
explained the reasons some members were experiencing this.
The announcement can be found here:
In essence we identified a database error resulting in any seller
altering contact details to be presented with the "Create a Sellers
Account" page when trying to access the sell page. The fix was
due to take place this week. I have since (only just) updated a
follow up announcement which explains that the fix has taken
place, however this will only effect future account changes. Any
seller that altered account details while the database error
was in place will have to go through seller verification.
I appreciate the situation you are in, eBay Payments also
accepts a debit card if you do not have a credit card. I hope this
clarifies the situation for you, Regards, Bev eBay UK
Community and Support Development Manager e-mail:
be-@ebay.com www.ebay.co.uk." TAG finds it fascinating that
ebaY screws up, admits their screw up, bit still wont correct their
mistake and expects the seller to give up an established contract
with ebaY, because ebaY refuses to do the right thing. This
problem has been going on since 4 July. It appears that ebaY
feels sufficiently confident of their market supremacy in the UK
that they no longer need to compete for market share, or provide
customer service to retain users.

Board Post of the Day I- in an ongoing conversation about
unaddressed ebaY problems, and ebaY lies, bllamb on 21 Jul
at 14:00:50 PT said, "Since ebay's last sign-in "enhancement"
there is not a day goes by that I don't have to sign-in at least 30
times... One of the biggest ebay lies ever told was the sigh-in
enhancement was so you would only have to sign-in once a
day....Or was the biggest lie that "SYI 2.0 is faster" Or was it
"Ebay was down for 2 mins when we all knew it was down for 45
mins" or was it "9 out of 10 users prefer SYI 2.0.... Or was it the
"Pez dispeser one"....Geez... I could go on forever......I Love an
honest company......

BPOD II - As ebaY continues to implement its fascist model of
community control, it continues to try to keep information that
shows ebaY in a negative light off their boards. With the closing
of the Stamp Chat, malolo said at 17:08:59 PT on 25 Jul, "NEW
week Ebay pulled the Stamps discussion board claiming
duplication of topics and posters. This was after claiming about
one month ago lack of use. Stamp Chat people have found many
more chatrooms used less than Stamp Discussion. One of the
major concerns of the Stamp Collectors is the huge number of
altered and misdescribed "stamps" offered on Ebay, and we are
certain Ebay pulled the plug on the Stamps Discussion because
it was making them all too aware of the fraud being conducted by
some sellers..........There was always great difficulty in reporting
to Safe Harbor, and they always claimed no expertise in Stamps.
We provided expertise, so they pull the plug......Now in an
incredible turn around, Ebay actually had a "Report" button on the
Discussion Threads so the "community" can report, get this, not
fraudulent auctions, but threads that break Ebay rules!!!!! ..... The
RULES are obviously more important than researching fraud,
and I guess a community of snitches is easier to develop than
expertise in stamps....Roger"

ebaY has added a reporting button to their threaded discussion
boards, so that ebaY users can easily turn in their fellow users to
ebaY for alleged violations of ebaY's posting rules. These
draconian censorship rules, now with expedited enforcement by
ebaY's informants, attempt to prevent ebaY users from exposing
fraud on ebaY, keep users from providing information to other
users about non ebaY products and prevent ebaY's worst
problems from reaching the public eye. For more info about this
snitch button go to -

ebaY held a chat about this subject called "eBay Workshop:
Reporting Board Usage Policy Violations" on 25 Jul at -

During the chat, ebaY said this tool was requested by ebaY's
users, their standard way of placing responsibility for their fascist
and other distasteful actions on anyone but themselves. Using
ebaY reasoning, one gathers the "community" also requested
higher fees, a 30 mil dollar jet for Meg, the much vilified SYI2.0,
the poorly functioning search engine, and the lack of customer
service. Claire@ebaY, at 16:25 PT on 25 Jul post #69 of 402,
explained the tattletale button and said, "..... This feautre is
simply intended to handle the same kinds of violations of the
Board Usage Policy that members have previously reported by
email. This system streamlines that so that there can be a much
faster response than before. No post will be removed (or poster
affected) where there are not violations of the Board Usage
Policy, so people cannot use this as a means of "getting back at"
others. If people attempt to do so, and report too many posts that
do not violate any rules, they themselves will commmit a
violation in doing so. the Board Moderators are additional paid
staff, not members from the board community. They aren't exactly
"pinks" because they won't be posting (Pinks are technically any
eBay staff member who posts to the boards), but will be focused
on the moderation side of things. :-)".

TAG wonders how ebaY can justify wasting resources on this.   
With certain categories on the ebaY site overflowing with
scammers fooling folks into sending Western Union wire
transfers for merchandise that does not exist, why would ebaY
spend money on programming a tool and hiring personnel to
enforce board posting rules, rather than expediting the removal
of the scammers? We know that ebaY makes money (or
appears to make money, as it would be surprising if the
scammers paid ebaY any of the fees owed, but ebaY can still
show them as receivables) on scammers and shills, but their
reputation suffers because of it. TAG guesses that reputation is
only of concern to companies with long term plans, not the
insiders of ebaY, putting on a false front so they can cash out on
ebaY stock and make the most amount of money in the shortest
amount of time, and ride the crest of the wave as long as they

As one ebaY user said about the tattletale link,
civp-@aol.com on 26 Jul at 09:19:13 PT, "eBay's new
feature..."rat on your neighbor with our new handy dandy *Turbo
Rat* button" is hilarious. While Meg is shoveling out
wheelbarrows of *our community loves us* crap to the stock
analysts, she has her troops doing everything humanly possible
to turn members against members. eBay, your new feature
SUCKS. More of the same old garbage that has gone on since
Meg took over. Pathetic Meg, absolutely pathetic :("

ebaY has purchased for Meg, a top of the line Jet, for 30 mil.
This, after claiming, "...the old Sell Your Item form will eventually
be removed due to the cost of maintaining two forms." ebaY
could not afford to offer their paying customers the option and
maintain their old listing form, therefore forcing their sellers to
use the cumbersome slow 5 page SYI2.0, but see no problem in
purchasing and maintaining a Jet. For an article on the
purchase go to -   http://news.com.com/2100-1017-945670.html

The new fixed price only feature is now live on ebaY, taking ebaY
firmly away from its successful auction roots. The new fixed price
format is only available through SYI2.0, and is not supported by
the old listing forms. Fixed priced items will show up in auction
search along with auction items, and auction items with a Buy It
Now (BIN) option. ebaY has renamed this search "All Items",
though store items are not included. On all items search, both
the auction and BIN price appear for auction items with BINs.
Unfortunately, since ebaY's flawed search system never reflects
real time activity on the site, the auction BIN price will continue
to show, even if the item is no longer available for BIN.   In addition
fixed price items will also continue to show as available, even if they
have been purchased and are no longer available. In TAG's opinion, this
will be a never ending irritant to buyers.     

ebaY is changing the way the SYI2.0 form presents options
when the seller exceeds their seller's spending limits for ebaY
Billpoint payments. Previously on the SYI2.0 form, if a seller
entered a starting price or BIN price over their ebaY Billpoint
payments limit, they received an error message and could not
proceed. The seller would have to lower their starting or BIN
price, or turn off the ebaY Billpoint payments option. With this
change, if the seller enters a starting price, BIN or reserve price
that is over their ebaY Billpoint payments trading limit, ebaY will
allow them to continue to the payment and shipping page. On
the payment and shipping page, the seller will get the option to
go back to lower their price, or continue to list with ebaY Billpoint
payments turned off. ebaY will also now show the seller their
trading limit, something that they used to keep secret.   limit for
their convenience. ebaY will also begin to check reserve prices
set by sellers against their ebaY Payments trading limits, to
avoid discrepancies.

TAG strongly recommends that sellers do NOT offer ebaY
Billpoint payments and this would prevent any such problems
from occurring in the first place.

For those who haven't looked at them in a while, find the listing
fees page at -

As previously announced, ebaY is moving their ID verify to
Verisign. Both Equifax Secure and Verisign will appear on the
site until Verisign completely replaces Equifax in late summer.   
To get verified go to -
For more information on ID Verify go to -

ebaY is holding a Trust & Safety Choice Policy Overview
workshop on Mon 29 Jul from 13:00 PT to 15:00 PT. The
subjects are the 'choice' policy and guidelines, and ebaY's
reasons behind them.   

ebaY is holding a Trading Assistants (TA) workshop on Tue 30
Jul from 15:00 PT to 17:00 PT. Walt Duflock from ebaY
marketing, will discuss the TA program. TAG hopes he
addresses some of the regulatory requirements, along with Fed
and State Tax challenges for folks who are participating as TA's.

ebaY is more strictly enforcing the prohibitions on listings of
items related to law enforcement. Sellers are reminded that
ebaY will not allow items such as sirens or emergency lighting
with red, blue, or green lenses to be listed on the site.
Find info on infringing, prohibited or questionable items at -

In a puzzling move, ebaY is adding a message space on the
SYI2.0 and My ebaY pages. ebaY will put the new messaging
box on the Choose Selling Format page of SYI2.0, and the
Selling tab of My ebaY. Information about site changes ebaY
deems as important, new policies and new features will be
posted in this box. TAG wonders why they did not just add a link
to the SAB with an "alert" to warn users to check the SAB for the
new info.

ebaY is changing some category specific discussion boards.
They have renamed the Science thread and it is now Science &
Mystery. ebaY is closing the Stamps board and though they
claim it is due to lack of community participation, the reason,
according to Stamps board participants, appears to be ebaY
does not want fraud in the Stamp area to be revealed by those
board participants.

Can't contact a buyer? Try this trick. Add a note to the item
description on the closed auction telling the buyer you can't
reach them and to email you. Use this link to add to your
description after the auction ends.

ebaY insider and major stockholder firm Goldman Sachs is
facing Lawsuits -

A Motley Fool article on ebaY stock option expensing, recently
showed that the dilution from options yielded a fair value
estimate 25-30% lower than what would've resulted without the
impact of options.   ebaY issued 750,000 options to Meg in 2001.
The total number of options issued to employees and directors
for 2001 was 19.55 million just shy of 7% of total shares
outstanding. Motley Fool advises that for companies with
annual options grants of 4% or higher, the P/E or P/FCF ratio
should be adjusted up by 25% to make it comparable to the
valuation multiple of a company that's not massively diluting its
shares each year. Motley Fool considered ebaY on the high end
of option issuance

An email address harvesting scheme recently observed using
the ebaY email system to watch out for - email harvester sends
an email to the seller that reads, "Hi, can you please send more
information? Thanks for your help." The address is often

Ongoing Issues and Information
See the TAG website for miscellaneous ebaY info at -

You pay ebaY for services, if you don't get them 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

* * * * *
Amazon Auctions, zShops and Marketplace - Here is the info to
participate in Amazon Web Services program - follow these 3
1. Download the developer's kit
2. Apply for a developer's token
3. Write your application.

Click on the following link for more information about Web
Services -   http://www.amazon.com/webservices
Article about the subject -   

Amazon has recorded two losing quarters after their only
profitable quarter in 4th Qtr last year.   
Amazon also announced that by the beginning of 2003 it would
start counting as expenses all stock-based awards granted after
that point. Though companies can exclude the cost of stock
options from their earnings reports, such exclusions allow
companies to distort their actual financial performance. Amazon
is among the first technology companies to adopt the accounting
change. TAG thinks this is well done, as once again someone
leads where ebaY may only follow.

On 24 Jul at 12:43 PT Amazon posted that there was a problem
with Amazon Payments transactions not processing to
completion. All orders were queued for processing when fixed it.
No action was necessary on the part of sellers or buyers. At
23:28 PT Amazon announced they had fixed the problem.

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

* * * * *
Yahoo Auction/Warehouse/Classifieds (YA) -
Yahoo is filtering email and changing words in the email you
send -

Yahoo Japan charges a 10 yen (85 cents) listing fee per item,
charges a three percent final value fee and a monthly
membership fee of 280 yen.

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)
As of 28Jun02 Yahoo Auctions had 291,421(-17676)

Yahoo Auction counts brought to you by

Yahoo contact Information

* * * * *
PayPal has signed a deal with Stamps.Com, though financial
details were not revealed. They hope to have ready in time for
the holiday season, a feature that will allow sellers to calculate
the exact amount of postage required and print a shipping label
with the buyer's information. Another feature will allow sellers to
verify delivery of their shipments online

Users reported access problems with PayPal on 21 Jul. PayPal
icons on auctions were not working either, and users could not
access their accounts. Users also reported that PayPal had
double charged their accounts. PayPal sent emails to affected
users that charges made between 21 and 24 Jul had been
double charged on charge cards. PayPal agreed to cover any
fees incurred due to their error. http://www.paypal.com

* * * * *
uBid by adding listing fees to their site effective 18 Jul, without
advance notice, or direcly notifying their sellers, caught some
sellers with unexpected bills.   Not only has uBid done a poor job
of informing users of their addition of fees, but many pages on
their site still indicated listing was free as of 25 Jul. TAG has
screenshots of those pages if you need them for evidence.
Calls to uBid did yield full refunds to those sellers caught by this

uBid Contact Info - Denise Mancini, Manager, Public Relation,
773-272-4562 deni-@ubid.com
uBid 8550 W. Bryn Mawr Chicago, IL 60631 US
Mr. Jason MacLean V.P. of Operations (847) 860-5000 (773)

* * * * *
Canada Post info can be found at -

* * * * *
USPS link to order free priority shipping material

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