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TAGnotes Sat 10 Aug 2002 Vol 4 Number 43 Issue 425

The Auction Guild Notes Sat 10 Aug 2002
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CALL TO ACTION - there are many reasons you should object to
the buyout of PayPal by ebaY.   The US regulatory agencies are
reviewing this acquisition NOW and will rule on this soon,
probably by 19 August. If you are to have any say about this, you
must write to the Dept of Justice and Federal Trade Commission
before that date. To read TAG's objections to the buyout go to -

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
email - antit-@usdoj.gov
Federal Trade Commission - http://www.ftc.gov/ftc/antitrust.htm

For a sample letter and addresses to mail a letter go to -

A couple of articles in the Wall Street Journal and The Dow
Jones Newswire, commented on the buyout. During the 30-day
waiting period required under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, antitrust
authorities can object to a transaction by issuing a formal
second request for information on the deal. The waiting period,
which allows the Federal Trade Commission and the antitrust
division of the U.S. Dept of Justice to examine antitrust issues,
could end earlier or the FTC could extend it with a request for
more information. Representatives of the companies have met
with DOJ officials to discuss the rationale behind the merger and
answer questions about the deal, the filing said. The companies
said in the filing that they submitted antitrust filings to Brazilian
authorities 26 Jul and to German authorities 1 Aug.

Another interesting bit of information that was revealed in all
these filings was that as of 19 Jun 2002, PayPal had submitted
information and documentary material to the Justice Department
and FTC alleging that some of ebaY's business practices were
anticompetitive and harmful to PayPal.

Please 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 -

ebaY - On 2 Aug at 03:45:16 PT ebaY posted that users were
unable to access My ebaY from 03:00 PT to 03:34 PT. At
05:31:19 PT users reported that item pages were not opening.
At 06:16:10 PT ebaY posted that ebaY stores were down 04:52
PT to 05:50 PT. Attempts to reach Stores through the Stores Hub
Page returned an error message. At 10:46:41 PT users
reported, that they were still not getting credit for relists. At
11:42:56 PT users reported images were not showing up on
auctions. At 11:59:17 PT, other users reported not being able to
open listings or view images. These problems appeared to be
intermittent.   At 11:45:35 PT ebaY reported that the stores
merchandising manager, broken for many days was finally
working again. At 12:12:49 PT users reported being unable to
upload images using SYI2.0 to list with. Users were receiving
error message "PWACTIVEXIMGETL.DLL". At 12:28 PT users
reported problems with ebaY Billpoint payments. Sellers could
not send invoices and got caught in endless sign in loops, and
were then told their password was wrong, despite entering
correct information.

On 3 Aug at 08:48:28 PT sellers continued to report they were not
getting relist credits. At 10:11:44 PT sellers reported the 31 Jul
version of Mister Lister was not posting shipping information on
store listings.   At 18:45:50 PT ebaY posted that the ability to pay
on an ebaY account with a credit card, or add a credit card to an
ebaY account, was down from 18:29 PT to 18:43 PT.   At
19:38:54 PT users continued to report that relisting with the old
listing form resulted in the seller not receiving the relist credit.
At 21:51:20 PT sellers reported the My ebaY selling tab was not

On 4 Aug at 01:34:27 PT ebaY posted that users could not pay
on an account via a credit card, nor add a credit card to the
system from 00:04 PT to 00:16 PT.   At 11:07:58 PT users ebaY
posted that search was not working properly and that a search
with more than one keyword or one that includes keywords to
exclude, were returning results more slowly than normal from
10:20 PT to 10:50 PT. At 11:45:59 PT ebaY reported that SYI2.0
was down from 11:33 PT to 11:37 PT. At 13:51:02 PT ebaY
again reported "complex" search problems from 13:25 PT to
13:40 PT.   At 14:32:40 PT relist credits were still missing on
qualified relists. At 16:46:34 PT sellers reported problems with
Mister Lister. These problems were noted again at 19:05:10 PT
with errors on image URLs.   At 19:23:18 PT the ebaY site
crashed, the site was back up at 19:48:04 PT.

On 5 Aug at 10:50:23 PT users reported both search and the
ability to search by item number was down.   Attempts to access
item pages returned a message that said, "Web Site Not
Responding". At 10:51:12 PT more users posted about
widespread search and item access problems. At 11:04:18 PT
ebaY posted that there were problems accessing item pages
from 10:42 PT to 10:52 PT. At 18:17:01 PT the site went down
and came back up at 19:16:20 PT.   At 20:36:21 PT ebaY
reported that users were having problems signing in to certain
ebaY functions or accessing item pages. According to ebaY
these issues were intermittent and did not affect all members,
though users reported a widespread crash. ebaY claims the
ability to sign in was down from 18:15 PT to 19:03 PT, and the
ability to view item pages was down from approximately 18:28
PT to 19:03 PT.   This is opposed to the report of a 59 minute
outage by the folks who actually use the site.

On 6 Aug at 08:59:10 PT users reported that search was down.   
At 09:00:38 PT users reported receiving messages saying
"Can't search without a key word". These were widespread
problems reported consistently across the site, but occurring on
the more commonly accessed search pages. There were some
search blocks working, such as that on the ebaY home page, but
the main search access points, such as the search tab on
normal and advanced search were not working. At 09:41:57 PT
users continued to report these search problems. At 09:52:55
PT ebaY posted that the title search tab from the search page
was down and pointing to an error page. ebaY claimed this was
the only part of search broken and that users could still search
by title through the home page, category pages, and basic
search box, as usual contradicting much of their users
experience. ebaY said the problem was fixed at 09:45 PT.   At
10:19:18 PT log in was not working properly with the system no
longer recognizing established sellers. At 12:45:58 PT sellers
reported problems accessing their store.   At 15:25:10 PT sellers
reported their ID verify icon was missing.

On 7 Aug at 00:22:21 PT ebaY posted that listing was down from
00:04 PT to 00:13 PT. At 08:11:59 PT users reported the PayPal
'Pay Now' button doesn't work on fixed price items.   At 10:30:31
PT sellers were still reporting not receiving the relist credits they
are entitled to IAW the ebaY user agreement. At 13:13:12 PT
sellers reported that those with ebaY ads on their websites were
having problems with page hang-ups due to ebaY revising their
ads.   At 14:55:44 PT ebaY reported that sellers could not pay
their ebaY account with a credit card or add a credit card to their
account from 14:29 PT to 14:45 PT.   At 18:38:15 PT ebaY
reported that sellers could not pay their ebaY account with a
credit card or add a credit card to their account from 17:28 PT to
17:47 PT.

On 8 Aug there were widespread reports of pop up ads
appearing with greater frequency across the ebaY site.
Advertising pop ups were appearing on ebaY co-branded sites,
but users also reported big brother pop ups. These pop ups
inflict messages on users such as reminding sellers to pay their
overdue bill, when the seller goes to relist an item.

On Fri 9 Aug ebaY took the ebaY system, and ebaY Billpoint
payments down from 01:00 PT until 03:00 PT, and the ebaY
discussion, help and category discussion boards down from
01:00 PT to 04:00 PT. At 04:32:39 PT ebaY reported that users
could not access their accounts from 03:55 PT to 04:19 PT.   At
05:16:52 PT sellers reported that when relisting, the box for
accepting other (other meaning other than Billpoint) online
payment services is not checked, even when the "Other" box was
checked for the original listing. Sellers are cautioned to carefully
check their relists to make sure the settings are correct on relist
as ebaY appears to be resetting these options. At 06:24:29 PT
users reported the ebaY discussion, help and category
discussion boards were still down.   At 08:36:17 PT users
reported "502 Connection Failed This Web page could not be
opened. There may be too many people accessing this page or
the page may be unavailable. Please try again later." messages
when trying to access ebaY. At 08:37:29 PT users reported they
could no longer open items to bid on and were receiving,
"Everything Else items are currently unavailable" even when
trying to access items not in the everything else categories. At
08:43:00 PT buyers reported search was down, and at 08:43:20
PT more users reported problems with being able to view
listings, in the open or closed item sections. At 08:43:43 PT
reports of no access to auctions continued, all methods of
getting to items were not working. At 08:46:26 PT users
continued to get messages that all items in the
Everything Else category were unavailable, even if the item
sought was not in the Everything Else category. At 08:47:42 PT
auctions started to disappear from sellers lists and show as no
longer available. These reports were widespread. At 08:51:31
PT all the problems continued unabated with no reports
appearing on the ebaY SAB. At 08:52:33 PT, more 502
connection failure messages were reported by buyers trying to
access item pages. The problems cleared up at 08:52:41 PT.   
At 09:03:29 PT ebaY posted that the ability to view and list items
in the following categories was unavailable from 08:35 PT to
08:47 PT: Business & Industrial, Everything Else, Real Estate,
Toys and Hobbies, ignoring the across the board problems with
all access reported by users. At 10:01:50 PT ebaY
acknowledged the discussion boards were down from 09:34 PT
to 9:56 PT, leaving the earlier outage unmentioned. At 15:59:44
PT users of the ebaY spyware toolbar noted they were having
problems with it as they could not delete items from the Watch
Alert or Bid Alert list manually. At Aug 20:44:53 PT users reported
the ebaY SYI2.0 region setting was not working.

On 10 Aug at 06:22:56 PT users reported completed search was
down. It appeared the completed search was working form
some search links but not others. The completed items search
on the search results pages under 'show' tab was not working,
nor was completed items tab from advanced search. If you
searched for an item using advanced search and then
requested completed, that appeared one of the only ways to
access completeds. At 07:22:52 PT users reported getting
system status unavailable messages when trying to search for
items. At 07:47:32 PT completed search from the advanced
search page results ceased to function. At 07:55:30 PT users
reported completed search was working sporadically with a one
word search not working but a two or more word search working

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

Board Post of the Day I - In a conversation about why ebaY can't
get their site fixed, and folks said it was due to being too busy
fixing up the ebaY jet, sele-@cafebueno.com said on 5 Aug at
07:35:19 PT, "If they get their plane maintenance people from the
same place they get their technical staff, it will be "See ya Meg."

BPODII - In a discussion about ebaY providing the motivation to
move sales to a website of one's own toscar said on 10 Aug at
22:15:13 PT, "Ebay has, of course, already referred to marginal
sellers who cluttered up this site...........I think of EBAY as a
very MARGINAL "COMPANY".....they do NOT covet USER/SELLER
loyalty.........no matter what propaganda they release." Well it
seems to TAG, that hits the nail on the head.

Billpoint's failure has gathered some comment in the main
stream media. A couple of articles can be viewed at -

ebaY had might need to seek another partner to do its
verifications as it appears the VeriSign is heading downhill fast.
TAG was a long time user of Network Solutions (NetSol)
services, starting when NETSOL was the only option available.
We gladly paid the high charges for domain registration even
though many low cost alternatives rapidly developed, because
service was excellent, always available and the customer service
folks would do whatever they could to fix your problem
immediately if not sooner. VeriSign bought NetSol out and
things started to deteriorate fast.    TAG moved all our domains to
a lower cost alternative where we get better service than we now
get at VeriSign (GoDaddy.Com) and it appears to be a good
move on our part.

In the latest problems, VeriSign is now facing an FTC
investigation for their deceptive marketing practices. An
important question is whether VeriSign obtained information on
the outside customers they tried to trick into signing with
VeriSign, illicitly. In June, VeriSign agreed to obey a court order
to stop mailing out "domain name expiration notices" to
customers of its rivals. Go Daddy sued VeriSign in and said that
VeriSign had mailed notices to unwitting customers in an effort
to fool them into transferring accounts. Two other competitors,
BulkRegister.com and InterCosmos Media Group, have sued the
company separately. Moreover, VeriSign, based in Mountain
View, Calif., has been named in several class-action lawsuits. In
all of the suits, VeriSign has been accused of mailing marketing
material that misleads its rivals' customers into believing their
domain name is about to expire. The letter warned that the
customers' registration would lapse unless VeriSign received a
$29 payment by15May02. The fine print of the letter revealed that
the customer was actually authorizing transfer of the domain to

VeriSign is also struggling financially, and could face damage to
its reputation over the inquiry. The company's website slogan is
"The Value of Trust." It is a shame they don't appear to be living
up to their own standard. Source

ebaY Continues to Commit FRAUD -
The ebaY glitch where, conveniently for ebaY, it appears ebaY is
forcing sellers to use SYI2.0 in order to recoup their relist fees
continues. If you list or relist using the old listing form, ebaY is
charging for relists in direct violation of the user agreement. 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.

In order to get a refund, ebaY is requiring sellers to track their
relists and send ebaY the old listing and new listing numbers,
which ones sold request the refund for those eligible.   
On 2 Aug ebaY acknowledged this problem in their threaded
boards but did not post anything about it on the announcement
board. On 2 Aug at 12:15 PT Katy@ebaY posted,"... thank you
for your report. I believe there may be a problem and I have
passed it along to engineering to be checked and resolved.
Regards, Katy eBay Community Development" and on 3 Aug at
21:52," ... I'm sorry I didn't get back to you earlier but I did
immediately inform engineering and they have been able to
duplicate the problem. A full resolution is expected early next
week. In the meantime, please know that this affects only those
still using the old listing form and switching to SYI 2 will solve
the problem for you." On 4 Aug at 23:30 PT Daphne@ebaY posted, " As
Katy said, the fix is on its way early this week. I noticed some people
are wondering about credit. Yes, we will issue a credit! :) Please
write to request the credit using the webform:
and select these topics:
1) My Seller Account
2) Other Account Questions (continue)
3) I have tried instant help and still want to contact support.
Please be sure to include the item number, and a brief
explanation.Thanks for your patience. Daphne eBay Community
Development". TAG wonders how ebaY defines "early" since
this problem was promised a fix soon after 2 Aug and as of 10
Aug it had not been fixed. ebaY, this is called FRAUD and
STEALING, and the fact that you have made no effort to inform
your sellers of this problem, proves intent on your part. This is
backed up by the fact that you are requiring sellers to do all the
leg work on this in order to receive a refund, a direct violation of
your user agreement which provides for automatic refunds on
relists when the item sells on the relist. Class action law suit
anyone? These relists could amount to more than $72,000 a
day in fraudulently obtained revenue on ebaY's part.

A thread on the subject is at -
ebaY Contact Info -

Report this fraud to the Better Business Bureau and the Federal
Trade Commission -
And also file a complaint with the FTC

ebaY File its Q10 on 6 Aug 02
There are several lawsuits filed against ebaY (click on Part II
Item 1) where we found a very interesting paragraph about a
copyright infringement case against ebaY coming to trial on 12
November 2002.

ebaY and National Geographic are running a sweepstakes until
29 Aug. Users must register and are opted in to get ads from
National Geographic unless you uncheck the box. You can enter
daily at -   http://www.ebaypromo.com/index.cfm?src=1

ebaY is running a survey on "usability". It appears to be aimed at
checking up on Checkout without actually asking how folks feel
about Checkout.   Questions were along the lines of - How long
has the seller been selling on ebaY? Does the seller charge a
fixed postal rate or actual shipping? How helpful would it be to
have the buyers zip code to calculate postage. ebaY is running
this survey through Insight Express and has carefully controlled
who gets the survey. For those with questions email -

ebaY has added an ebaY Motors discussion board at -

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 - On 5 Aug at 18:49
PT Amazon posted that some listings created within the last 24
hours were not displaying in Seller Account pages. This was a
display issue only; listings were visible and purchasable to
buyers. Amazon said they would fix it as soon as possible, and
that no action was required on the part of sellers. At 22:47 PT
Amazon announced that due to maintenance, seller uploads
using the Inventory Loader and Book Loader were accepted, but
queued, from approximately 19:30 PT on Mon 5 Aug until about
02:30 PT on Tue 6 Aug. Uploaded listings were processed and
updated once maintenance was complete.

On 8 Aug at 15:46 PT Amazon reported that sellers reported that
Marketplace information in Seller Account "Open" pages were
not displaying details. This was a Seller Account display issue
only, and all open listings were still purchasable.   Amazon
promised to fix this as soon as possible.

The Canadian Booksellers Association, and Indigo Books &
Music, filed an application for judicial review with the Canadian
Federal Court, asking the court to declare that Amazon is subject
to the Investment Canada Act and the government’s book policy.
They feel Amazon is using their agreement with Canada Post to
"circumvent the act and to permit (Amazon) to implement a
massive onslaught into this Canadian cultural industry. Canada
Post is promoting Amazon throughout Canada.""

On 16 Jul Amazon.com launched its first version of Amazon.com
Web Services. This was designed for developers of websites
and third-party software providers to allow for the building of
applications and tools to incorporate features of Amazon.com
site into their Web sites.   Amazon.com Web Services, amongst
other things, lets sellers search and retrieve limited item listing
information, such as Amazon.com's retail price, and the price of
the lowest Marketplace offerings listed by condition type.

Amazon said the first release was focused on their associates
developer community, but they hope the release will encourage
and support developers and third-party applications that
responsibly use Amazon.com's Marketplace systems. Amazon
has also added a Web Services discussion board.

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) - QXL and Yahoo
have signed a deal for joint sites in Sweden, Norway and
Denmark. See below.

Auction Counts -
Antiques & Art   20644
Automotive 2322
Books & Comics 15806
Clothing & Accessories 19649
Coins, Paper Money & Stamps 35800
Collectibles 19452
Computers 6927
Electronics & Cameras 3103
Food & Beverage (new category) 660
Home & Garden 9631
Jewelry & Watches 18537
Movies & TV 11259
Music 7886
Sports & Outdoors 4172
Sports Cards & Memorabilia 48336
Toys, Games & Hobbies 29060
Video Games 2188
Other 5652
Total 261,084

Auction Counts provided by

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)
As of 6Aug02 Yahoo Auctions had 261,084 (-30337)
Yahoo Auction counts brought to you by

Ongoing Issues -
Yahoo contact Information

* * * * *
QXL - and Yahoo, in one of the most positive moves made by
both companies in a long time, will launch co-branded auction
sites in Sweden, Norway and Denmark. The companies plan to
launch the sites this quarter. QXL and Yahoo will share revenue
generated from advertising sold on the sites, but they did not
disclose other financial details of the deal. The new Denmark
site will replace the auction site Yahoo currently operates in the
country, the only auction site it has remaining in Europe. Yahoo's
Danish auction users will have to register for the new site, but
will be able to transfer their feedback ratings.

* * * * *
eSnipe.com, the online sniping tool, is launching eSnipe 3.0 on
1 Sep 2002.   This new version will include -
*Outbid notification -- eSnipe will check at a scheduled time to
see if the buyer has been outbid. If so, eSnipe will notify the user
via email for a chance to update the snipe.
*Bid groupings -- a feature primarily created for commodity item
buyers. Once the bidder's item has been won, all other bids in
the group are cancelled automatically
*Sharing bid points among multiple accounts -- power users
who have several user IDs will now be able to use their
purchased bid points across their accounts.
*Novice and expert modes -- eSnipe will have both beginner and
advanced settings. Once power users activate the advanced
mode it will give them the ability to fine tune their eSnipe tools.
*Changes in customer support from e-mail based to a
Web-based model. They are also adding tutorials
*Changes to the site appearance and navigation tools
*eSnipe 3.0 will have several news areas, account balance tabs
and deleted auction tabs


* * * * *
PayPal has plans to build a 115,200 square-foot customer
service and operations building for 1200 employees, in La Vista,
Nebraska, just outside of Omaha. PayPal expects construction to
be completed in early 2003. The company did not say how much
it is spending on the new facility.

The Dow Jones Newswire posted information about the probes
into PayPal's online gambling links.   PayPal Inc received two
federal grand jury subpoenas dated 24 Jul seeking documents
related to its online-gambling activities.   According to the
company's 10-Q released Tuesday by the Securities and
Exchange Commission, the subpoenas were issued at the
request of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri.
PayPal is also answering subpoenas from the NY State Atty


* * * * *
PictureAt.com regrets that they are shutting down their site in mid
August. In an email to TAG, the owners said they are being
forced to this due to the changes ebaY made to the listing form
in going from a single to a multi paged form.   For the last 4
years they have used the old form to automate the listing
process using customer pictures and generating backup
pictures that were all included into a nice little auction package
for their users. With the new form they will no longer be able to
provide this level of auction support, so have decided to pull the
plug before ebaY kills them off in an uncontrolled way.

In what TAG sees as the ideal of ethical and responsible
behavior, PictureAt is refunding all customers pre-payments and
will continue to serve currently uploaded pictures at the
PictureAt.Com address for at least 2 months to give their users
time to move them. DeadZoom.com has agreed to supply all of
PictureAt's current users with an account and a free month of
service on the DeadZoom image hosting site. PictureAt will
continue to operate the PennyThings.Com site, which mainly
serves the WebTV community with email uploaded pictures for
ebaY auctions.

TAG applauds this considerate handling of a sad situation and
wishes the folks at PictureAt.Com and PennyThings.Com the
best of luck. Folks who act in such an honest, open and ethical
way will always be welcomed in the online auction and trading
industry. We hope other companies read this and reflect on their
own behavior in dealing with their customers and follow the
honorable example being set by these folks.


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