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TAGnotes Thu 1 Aug 2002 Vol 4 Number 42 Issue 424

The Auction Guild Notes Thu 1 Aug 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.
BUY an advertisement and help us continue our work!!!
5700 subscribers.
TAG does not endorse the companies or products advertised
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, an image hosting directory and other info.
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://www.auctionguild.com/generic93.html
(The link in the last issue was incorrect; this is the correct link -
our apologies)

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

For a sample letter and addresses to mail the letter to go to -
In addition a TAG subscriber suggested that FAXing the letter
might be even more effective. Now all we need is someone to
find TAG the FAX numbers.
Is ebaY STEALING your Relist fees? See section below marked
- ebaY Glitch?

ebaY - Complaints about My ebaY and SYI2.0 continue on the
ebaY boards and across the OAI/OTI. So far ebaY has done
nothing to fix the problems with My ebaY such as the reserve
price missing from sold items, the 'items I have sold' no longer
showing the number of bids, or the sold items appearing in the
unsold section. There are also endless and ongoing My ebaY
glitches that ebaY acknowledges in email to users who
complain, but makes no posts on the SAB. As usual, ebaY is
trying to hide their problems, is committing lies of omission, and
since ebaY has made My ebaY a critical feature, sellers should
request refunds for all items they feel were negatively affected by
the ongoing problems with My ebaY.

If ebaY were listening to their community, as they constantly say
they do, they would scrap SYI2.0, though a compromise would
be to support the option of a one page listing form.   SYI2.0 is
nothing more than a marketing tool for ebaY services, and does
nothing to serve ebaY's customers - sellers or buyers. Even
ebaY cheerleaders are posting their frustration over this
inefficient, too long and glitchy listing form and want to see
sellers given the option of using the old listing form or a
comparable simple one page listing form.

On 29 Jul at 05:54:06 PT, users continued to report ongoing
problems with search. The search problems were widespread,
affected category, title and title/description search. Users could
not get results when they used the "exact phrase" criteria even
when an actual auction title was used for the search. At 05:40:12
PT ebaY posted that items listed between approximately 18:30
PT on Sat 27 Jul, and 07:00 PT on Sun 28 Jul, would show in
Title search much later than normal (normal is approx 4 hours).
ebaY claimed that not all items were affected, but users reported
widespread problems. At 11:32:43 PT sellers reported an
outage of cgi5 for a few minutes, blocking listing. At 14:32:22 PT
ebaY reported that users were having problems with items
appearing in search. According to ebaY, "Some results from the
search box within a category were not displaying all items
consistently. The items affected were accessible from the main
Search page or the Home Page." User results were different,
and sellers reported that search had become so non functional
that they had seen a severe drop in item hits, bids and sales
over the last few days. ebaY claimed that as of their posting, title
search was working, but title/description search would take
24-36 hours to update. At 14:51:40 PT users again noted that
they were not receiving end of auction (EOA) emails from ebaY,
and had not received a notice in over 14 hours despite many
items ending during that period. Sellers also noted that My ebaY
is worthless since it is inaccurate and incomplete. At 18:11:17
PT users again reported sold items in the unsold section of My
ebaY. At 19:31:59 PT sellers reported the lack of EOA's had
stretched to 24 hours.

On 30 Jul at 07:43:54 PT sellers reported successfully ended
auctions were showing in the unsold section of My ebaY, an
ongoing chronic problem. Those items showing in the wrong My
ebaY section were also the ones for which the sellers did not
receive EOA's. At 10:10:13 PT users reported problems with
ebaY's vulgarity filter preventing board posts from going through.
Users continued to report search was non functional, and
sellers again noted the severe drops in item hits, bids and
sales. At 12:05:01 PT users reported problems with cgi3 errors
preventing access to the boards and log in. In addition the site
was very slow. At 12:18:20 PT ebaY posted that the chat board
vulgarity filter was filtering excessively but they had fixed it. At
13:50:54 PT users continued to report not getting EOA's and
listing confirmations. At 16:08:33 PT ebaY posted that their
stores merchandising manager was not working. ebaY
identified the problems as, broken and distorted gallery images
in the merchandising placements; merchandising items are
showing up in the wrong order in the panel (for example, backup
merchandise is showing up rather than primary); and featured
and anchor store sellers are not automatically being opted in for
View Item page merchandising placements.

On 31 Jul at 07:37:59PT buyers reported problems with their My
ebaY watch pages not allowing them to add items. Though My
ebaY is supposed to allow 30 watches, many users have not be
able to add that many. My ebaY tells them they have 30 items in
watch, when they actually have a much smaller number of items
listed. At 15:40:49 PT and 18:54:44 PT buyers continued to
reported problems with their My ebaY watch pages not allowing
them to add items. At 20:13:04 PT users trying to view auctions,
received "We were unable to process your request. We are sorry,
but we were unable to process your request. Please check the
eBay Announcement Board for updates on recent and upcoming
changes, major system issues, and other important eBay news.
Regards, eBay". At 20:15:10 PT users reported problems
continued whilst viewing auctions.

On 1 Aug at 02:11 PT users reported getting "Can't satisfy your
request" messages when trying to access specific book marked
auctions.   The proper page would open on refresh. Other new
messages appearing on ebaY were, "Virtual Host or Web
Application Not Found. The web group virtualhost_core/ has not
been defined.   IBM WebSphere Application Server". At 05:19:51
PT users reported site access was very slow.   At 21:37:06 PT
users reported sign in was not working, and on trying to relist,
putting sellers in an endless loop resulting in ebaY saying the
person trying to relist was not the seller of the item, despite the
fact that the relister was the original seller. Sellers have also
noted that their Checkout preferences have been reset in My
ebaY to accept Checkout. TAG advises all users to check their
preference settings as it appears ebaY has been tampering with
them again.

ebaY will take their system down for maintenance on Fri 2 Aug
from 01:00 PT until 03:00 PT. Both ebaY.Com and ebaY Billpoint
Payments will be down.

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 - An ebaY seller reported to ebaY that
someone was spamming sellers trying to harvest email
addresses. The spammer/harvester was
white_pet-@interestedinyou.com Though the
spammer fit the @interestedinyou.com ongoing pattern, ebaY
responded with -
"Subj:    Re: A member is abusing the Email Forwarding System
(EFS) xxxxxxx #US RD2 US (KMMxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx)
Date:   7/30/02 7:xx:xx AM Central Daylight Time
From:   rsweb-@ebay.com (eBay Customer Support)
Reply-to: rsweb-@ebay.com (eBay Customer Support)
To xxxx-@aol.com (Xxxx Xxxxxx)
Hello, It was good of you to write to eBay and I thank you for
providing us with the details about this situation regarding
white_petra_n_287. We are concerned about violations on the
site and have thoroughly investigated your report. In accordance
with our site policies, we have found that there is not enough
evidence to show that a violation has taken place. We
understand your concern about this situation, and can reopen
the investigation if any additional information can be provided. As
you may know, we are unable to provide specific information
regarding the result of our investigation to third party members.
Please understand that this is for the protection of all eBay
users. .............. I'm glad for the opportunity to help you and
wish you a pleasant week. Regards, Molly Fitzgerald eBay SafeHarbor
Investigations Team".   TAG wonders what " thoroughly investigated"
means at ebaY and if this is the level of
investigation, there is something drastically wrong at "safe
harbor". ebaY eventually did NARU white_petra_n_287, but TAG
hopes they did more and blocked the @interestedinyou.com
domain completely, along with pursuing the owner of said
domain. ebaY in case you haven't figured it out, the domain is
registered on the TuCows registry.

ebaY Glitch? Or is ebaY stealing relisting fees in order to
FORCE sellers into using SYI2.0? It now appears that ebaY is
charging sellers who use the old listing form, for relists, even if
the item sells on the second go round. This happens when a
seller lists using the old one page ebaY listing form, and relists
their item. It appears that sellers are charged the relist fee, if
they use the new or the old form to relist. The only way to get a
relist refund is to just use SYI2.0 for the entire listing. TAG
recommends sellers do not relist on ebaY. If you needed the
incentive, now is the time to relist on another site such as
sellyouritem.com, ioffer.com, popula.com or carnaby.com.

This is fee for a relist is a violation to the user agreement, in
that ebaY does not specify which listing form you must use in order to
get a relist refund if the item sells. ebaY would have to change their
user agreement to specify when a relist refund was
available to sellers, as right now they are in violation of that

Some sellers report that if they use third party software to do their
auctions, sometimes the relist is refunded and sometimes not.
Sellers are strongly recommended to track their relists and
check their accounts to make sure they are receiving the proper
credits and contact ebaY if they aren't. ebaY Contact Info -

ebaY marketing VP Michael Dearing - mc-@ebay.com,
announced on 30 Jul at 21:19:06 PT that ebaY is working on
providing sellers with statistics from ebaY's database. Michael
said, "We are going to start with a seller-specific beta program
for eBay Stores in mid-August or thereabouts. That's further away
than we wanted it to be, however building and automating the
reports so they can be done for lots of sellers has taken a while
longer than we thought it would. Also, we are going to release
aggregate updates on feature effectiveness and hot categories
... starting immediately."

Amazon leads the way on reporting stock options as expenses,
will ebaY follow? In this article on this subject, there is a chart
that shows the values of company stock with and without options
expensed.    http://news.com.com/2100-1017-947092.html

ebaY is having problems with accounts payable. Various
problems have emerged, one of which is the inability to verify
charge cards even though the card is legitimate. Not only are
they having difficulties with their verification system, but also
causing multiple charges against the cards they are checking. It
also appears that these account problems are mounting and
that ebaY is becoming backlogged. In a surprising
communication when queried about these problems and after
sending a FAX with the information ebaY requested, ebaY said,
"We have been receiving a high volume of faxes, and are working
through them as fast as we can. Please keep as we clearly
stated in our previous email, that any faxed information can take
up to 10 days. We also indicated that it may take longer (up to
30), as all faxes and mail are answered manually and can take
longer depending on the quantity we have. I would encourage
you to continue to be patient, and you will be hearing back from
our Accounts Department soon." Thirty days to verify an account
so ebaY can take a sellers money? TAG is beginning to wonder
if ebaY is starting to melt down. Usually if there is one thing they
keep focused on and running smoothly, it is their billing
department, and their ability to take money from sellers. This is
the fourth month they appear to be having billing problems, and if
they need 30 days to do a simple task such as verifying a charge
card, they must be in deep difficulties.

The email address harvesting on ebaY scheme appears to be in
full swing. Alleged buyers send email through the ebaY email
system that have a message that says, "Hi, can you please send
more information? Thanks for your help." The address is often
"something"@interrestedinyou.com. If you respond to these
emails, plan on getting a new email address as yours will be
sold to the Spam lists.

There is an excellent article about auction fraud on MSNBC by
Bob Sullivan, well worth reading. The article concludes with,
"The fact that the scams are easy to spot is what frustrates
vigilantes like Barringer, who had spent nearly every day last
week sending voluminous notice of current scams to an eBay
executive assistant he’d talked to on the phone recently. By
Monday, the executive assistant had heard enough. “Please
send all of these complaints to our webform,” an e-mail reply
came. “No further messages will be responded to.” “I
guess [he’s] tired of getting this rubbed in his face,” Barringer
said. “The fact that eBay refuses to do anything about it borders on

Want to file a fraud complaint against an ebaY user even if you
are not going to file for an insurance claim? Here are some
conditions where ebaY will accept a complain -
You sent the seller payment and:
*You did not receive any or all of the items.
*You received the item, but the item is significantly different than
the item description.
*You received the item, but the item is counterfeit.
Use the form at -
If the Fraud Reporting Form is not appropriate for your situation,
try -

ebaY has changed its collectible categories again. ebaY will
make Barware, Bottles, Clocks, Fantasy, Lamps & Lighting,
Linens & Textiles, Pens, Postcards, and Radios more
prominent. ebaY will also merge all of the Art items from Art,
Animation & Photo Images into the main Art category under Art &
Antiques. To see a preview of the changes go to -
Send suggestions to collec-@ebay.com

ebaY has also changed - Computers and moving Multimedia
Projectors and Fax/Print/Copy Combos from the Office Products
area of Business & Industrial; Music with changes to music
memorabilia; and Photo & Optics where they have moved
binoculars and telescopes from Everything Else, and
Camcorders from Consumer Electronics. ebaY expanded the
categories in the Darkroom area, organized Digital Cameras by
Megapixels, and expended Filters and Lenses

After giving up on its failed Billpoint venture, ebaY is now
throwing in the towel on Butterfields. ebaY just sold Buterfields
to Bonham Auctions for a fraction of its $215 to 260 (depending
on the source you read) million purchase price tag.
TAG finds it interesting that the news media don't talk about
ebaY's mismanagement of Butterfields and Billpoint and gloss
over these failures.

In April Northwestern University honored ebaY's Mary Lou Song,
a graduate of its Medill School of Journalism, with an alumni
Merit Award for "high achievement in a profession or field of
endeavor." Evanston, Ill.-based Medill stresses ethics and
honesty, but obviously not too scrupulously. The admission that
Ms Song, a board of visitors member of Medill, had fabricated the
ebaY Pez story to attract press attention, did not seem to phase
the folks who made the award to Ms Song, and the award will
stand.    Read article at -   

Fashion Expert Phillip Bloch's has a new article about fashion
trends and how to find them on ebaY. Some highlights for
August include: tortoise-shell sunglasses, flower-powered straw
bags, turquoise jewelry, and a list of August's must-haves.

Meg put an announcement on the MAB that the next ebaY Live
event will be in Orlando, Florida in late June of 2003. Since this
is the second Disney co-location, TAG wonders if Disney is
footing a percentage of the bill.

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

* * * * *
Amazon Auctions, zShops and Marketplace users have started
an Amazon sellers chat board on Yahoo Groups at -

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 Inc has redesigned their home page -

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
Ongoing Issues -

Yahoo contact Information

* * * * *
uBid.com - One of TAG's subscribers informed us that uBid did
send some sellers notices about the addition of listing fees.
They sent an email on 11 Jul, but unfortunately not to all users of
their site. Subject: Information Regarding CX Selling Fees --
Please Read

So far uBid is refunding listing fees charged in the first couple of
weeks, for sellers who were caught unawares by the pricing
changes. Unfortunately they have not yet updated the pages on
their site to reflect the fact that they now charge listing fees, and
sellers can still see misinformation such as this on their pages.
TAG copied this off the uBid board at 23:59.59 PT on Thursday 1
Aug 02 -   "What is the Consumer Exchange?   The Consumer
Exchange allows uBid users to become both buyers and sellers!
For a limited time, there are no listing fees for Consumer
Exchange auctions!"

uBid needs to get their pages updated to reflect the reality of their
listing fees.

* * * * *
iOffer.Com is an online trading site based on one on one selling
and buying with direct negotiation between the buyer and seller.
A seller can list items for sale at a fixed price or on a "make an
offer" basis. Buyers can negotiate with the seller on the price
and terms of the sale. Negotiations are available for view by all
other potential buyers and sellers. Buyers can list items they
want to buy on the site, and then sellers can notify them if they
have the item, and negotiate with the buyer on price and terms.
Sellers can request email notices when wanted items are
posted in their area of interest. If the seller has an item they
think the buyer is interested in, the seller posts a message to the
buyer and the buyer receives an email notice. To view how the
system works you can take a quick tour at -

iOffer wants all transactions to take place on the site and does
not want buyers or sellers to contact each other by email or
directly in any way until a transaction is completed. TAG does
not think this is a good idea, as many questions are better asked
and answered in private.   There is also no way for iOffer to
control this direct contact, so they need to establish an incentive
for sellers and to complete transactions through iOffer rather
than force the issue via rules and policing.

One of the primary problems TAG has with iOffer's system, is
that buyers need to rely on iOffer to protect them from scammers,
something a buyer can much better detect via email than through
communication on iOffer offer/counteroffer postings. iOffer sees
their system, with all messages open to view, as being inherent
in fraud prevention, but TAG does not necessarily agree.   iOffer
actively uses software programs (Carnivore) to detect fraudulent
sellers and then follow up on those sellers they suspect, to
confirm the sellers legitimacy. TAG is concerned about the
ability of the site to scale this as they grow. iOffer also has a
Community Watch board at
So users can alert each other about problems.

Users can build a Personal profile, and include their buying and
collecting interests in that profile.   Sellers can search those
profiles to find a buyer who might be interested in their wares.
Buyers can search by personal profile, to find sellers in their
area of interest.   http://www.ioffer.com/profile.do

The site can also be searched to see all current and past offers
and sales. There are many very interesting features on this site,
well worth the time to discover. These tools are different than
those on auction sites and can be valuable to help buyers and
sellers find each other and conclude a sale.

So far, TAG has heard from users that the customer service at
iOffer is excellent. TAG has been assured by iOffer that all their
services have been designed to scale with growth, including
their commitment and ability to provide top quality customer
service and support.

iOffer has a Pioneer Program. This is for users with a high
degree of expertise with online selling. Participant will assist
iOffer in building the community. Pioneer members will not pay
final value fees through Dec 2002, and will be eligible for top of
category placement.   

There are no listing fees on iOffer, only Final Value Fees.
Wanted ads are free for the buyer. Image hosting is available for
free for items listed on the site.
Up to $4.99 $0.50
$5.00-$9.99 $0.75
$10.00-$24.99 $1.25
$25.00-$99.99 5% of the total transaction amount
$100.00-$1499.99 $5+2.5% of the transaction amount over
$1500.00 and over $40.00+1.5% of the transaction amount over
For all fees go to -

There are 26,128 items listed for sale on iOffer.Com, and 1,347
Wanted ads.
* * * * *

C2it.Com - c2it might develop as a payment alternative, but
users have run into problems that c2it appears to be
disinterested in resolving. Some of these are minor, some are
more critical, but all reflect a low motivation to make a
competitive move into the third party payment service space.

The c2it logo is not in compliance with ebaY's restrictions (88 X
33 pixels max). c2it has been informed of this but there appears
to be no urgency on their part to fix this. We have also heard
from users that they are not getting their referral fees.

Of more concern, TAG still has not been able to resolve the
issues with our registration. We have tried on a couple of
different occasions and have still not been able to register an
account. This despite quick friendly service on the part of c2it.
Everytime something goes kaflooey in the registration process, it
entails calling back 24 to 48 hours later.   Because it is taking us
so long to get started, we are concerned that new folks coming
online will give up in frustration. Another problem is that c2it
does not consistently send cash waiting notices. With the c2it
system, the money does not automatically go into your account,
you have to go to the site and claim it. So, the notices from c2it
that you have money to claim are very important.

While trying to resolve problems today, the CS rep informed us
that the c2it side of CitiBank is NOT FDIC insured. TAG will
check into that further, as the site information seems to indicate
otherwise, and it is the only legitimate justification for requiring
a social security number.


* * * * *
PayPal - TAG has had some requests from subscribers for the
addresses of the PayPal opposition sites, so we figured we
would provide them again.

* * * * *
Federal and state law enforcement authorities have cracked
down on 19 Internet-based scams that they say collectively
bilked consumers out of millions of dollars. Included were
work-at home schemes, auction fraud, unwanted junk e-mail,
securities fraud and other schemes. These were targeted by a
nationwide effort that involved state attorneys general, local law
enforcement authorities, and a number of federal agencies.

Prosecutors used a nationwide database of consumer
complaints to track down perpetrators. A separate database of
15 million junk Spam e-mails submitted by consumers was also
used. Reporting DOES help, and we always encourage all TAG
subscribers to report all cases no matter how small, as a
cumulative effect might bring a perpetrator to justice, even if one
small incidence does not.

Forward Spam to uc-@ftc.gov,

For the full story go to -

* * * * *

The OAUA is once again putting out monthly newsletters. If you
do not receive them, go to the OAUA site to view them and
contact membership services to find out why you are not getting
notifications.   An issue is due out now.   The last copy of the
newsletter can be found via this link

The next annual meeting of the OAUA is 5 Sep 2002. OAUA has
6 director seats up for election and there will be a change of
Officers who will be appointed by the new Board of Directors.
Info is at -

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Have any information for us? email us at
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TAGnotes. Visit their auctions or websites.
TAGassist Contributors






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