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TAGnotes Mon 14 Oct 2002 Vol 4 Number 50 Issue 432

The Auction Guild Notes Mon 14 Oct 2002 PART III
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ebaY Continues to Build Walls How ebaY is going to shut down all third party services that don't buy into ebaY's API Editorial

In the last few weeks TAG has observed an increasing number of reports of users who try to log in and are given a message that they need to enter their user ID, password and a random four digit code supplied on the screen. Using an on screen code such as this random four digit one, is an automated way for a site to insure that the person logging in is a human and not a robot or other program. TAG believes that ebaY is testing this so that ebaY users will have to log in to the site directly, which will prevent a third party service provider from logging in on the users behalf to post auctions, relist auctions, download management information or perform any other function requiring a users password.

Those third party service providers who sell or give users downloadable programs, can probably write scripts to add in this third element on log in. Online programs will not be able to get around this as easily, and will have to figure out a way for the seller to log in live, so the program can then take over to do its stuff. This will probably have the biggest impact on sniping programs and auction schedulers. Those who have bought into the ebaY API will have another gateway in, so will be able to bypass this new form of log in.

ebaY will use the excuse that they are doing this to make their site more secure for users, particularly to stop identity thieves from using alphabet software to hack out user passwords. If this was true, ebaY would program the log in so that a user could give ebaY a list of trusted service providers who would be able to log in without needing the four digit code security. TAG is sure ebaY will not do this and will instead seize the opportunity to limit users options for third party service providers.

ebaY - ebaY and ebaY Billpoint payments were down for maintenance from approx 01:05:11 PT until 03:25:52 PT on Fri, 11 Oct. At 01:33:35 PT ebaY posted that the threaded discussion boards, were down from 23:58 PT to 00:54 PT. At 04:36:28 PT users reported auction items were coming up blank. At 04:57:06 PT ebaY announced that the ability to view items in ebaY Motors was down from 03:00 PT to 04:30 PT. At 07:33:26 PT buyers received "Website Not Responding" messages whilst trying to bid on items. At 08:09:12 PT sellers reported problems trying to use the listing scheduling feature . Users received script error when entering the start date. At 08:42:10 PT WebTV users reported they could no longer access most of the features on ebaY except for the home page. All searches (basic and advanced) could not be accessed unless re-starting from the home page. Error message received read "javascript disabled on your browser". At 09:25:30 PT users who paid 10 cents for the scheduling service had their ads start immediately instead of when the seller scheduled it. TAG strongly recommends NOT using any ebaY feature and definitely not using one within 30 days of launch since ebaY does not beta test features before launching them. At 14:07:19 PT users reported that indexing items into search was running over 20 hours behind. At 15:45:36 PT more users reported that listing items using the scheduling feature did not work, though they were charged the 10 cent fee. The items listed immediately not when the seller wanted them launched on the following day. At 16:24 PDT users reported the threaded boards were down returning "page cannot be displayed" messages.

On 12 Oct at 08:55:39 PT users reported that, the new schedule an auction feature wan not working. Instead of launching when the seller set the auction for, the auction posted immediately. Emails to ebaY netted a response that ebaY was aware of the problem, but ebaY posted nothing on the SAB. At 13:06:12 PT sellers trying to use ebaY's new feature to schedule an auction received script errors. and could not get the feature to work. At 14:18:09 PT sellers trying to subscribe to ebaY seller assistant, received 'no response' messages. At 16:08:23 PT sellers reported their gallery images were not showing. At 17:17:28 PT a seller posted a message from the PayPal site that "The PayPal site will be going down for maintenance tonight. The site will be unavailable from 11:00 PM to 12:30 AM Pacific Time. Thank you for your patience". At 22:03:10 PT users reported that, there was a problem with corrupted information on the 'second chance' feature. At 22:56:25 PT buyers reported receiving favorites search notices from ebaY for items that were already closed, with start dates of 5 Oct. At 23:07:49 PT more buyers reported that the favorite search notices they were receiving from ebaY were so old all the auctions had ended.

On 13 Oct at 07:13:37 PT sellers reported the new scheduling feature was not working. The option started the auction immediately, rather than waiting until the time scheduled. At 08:07:19 PT more sellers posted with the same problem. At 13:22:55 PT sellers continued to report the failure of the new scheduling feature. At 13:35:22 PT users noted that after being broken for 3 weeks, basic search was working once again and no longer required users to have javascript enabled. At 18:23:57 PT, there were widespread reports of problems with sign in. Established users could not sign in, and were required to input a four digit code provided on the screen in order to sign in, though even that sign in would not hold. At 17:13:58 PT some users reported that zip codes were not showing on their closed auctions. Some of the auctions had closed two hours previous. Another seller reported having the same problem in the past, but that the zips did eventually show up. At 17:23:45 PT users reported problems getting TurboLister to upload auctions. The update of TL appeared to be causing the program to hang up. Other users reported that TL causes their computer to freeze every time they open the program. At 18:47:34 PT users again reported the problem with sign in requiring a 4 digit code posted on the screen. At 21:21:45 PT sellers continued to report the new scheduling feature not working.

On 14 Oct at 07:13:12 PT ebaY users reported the site was down. Users received page cannot be displayed messages. At 07:13:50 PT users reported search down, seller search down and cgi3 down making board access and log in difficult. At 07:18:33 PT users reported search and bookmarked searches down. Sellers reported their items listed in their stores, were not showing up. At 07:31:59 PT users reported getting error messages whilst trying to upload items with Mister Lister. The site was back at 07:35:16 PT. At 07:37:58 PT ebaY posted that the ability to access certain pages in My ebaY was down from 07:11 PT to 07:29 PT. In addition, some users reported problems with bidder and seller search. At 07:53:28 PT sellers reported that items they listed to start later disappeared from their pending items after the crash. At 08:54:03 PT more sellers reported the scheduling feature was not working for new listings but was working for relists. At 09:43:42 PT sellers continued to report the scheduling feature was not working, listing the item immediately instead of at the future date requested. At 10:39:26 PT users received "page cannot be displayed" messages when trying to access ebaY. At 10:40:13 PT users received cgi 3 errors preventing board listing and sign in. At 10:55:15 PT the reports of scheduling feature problems continued, with reports posted again at 13:42:50 PT, 12:17:25 PT, 12:20:13 PT and 15:08:34 PT, and continued throughout the day. Since ebaY has not posted about these problems on the SAB, or emailed sellers about this problem, or automatically refunded the scheduling fee, TAG wonders how much money ebaY is stealing from sellers who do not get the scheduling they paid for. If you used this feature and it did not work, contact ebaY and request a refund. At 19:03:22 PT a user reported that ebaY had crossed two account with similar email addresses, giving a new user the account of the established user, and wiping the established user off the system.

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 - On 14 Oct at 15:19:40 PT ebaY posted on their Marketing Announcement Board, "Community Development is pleased to invite you to attend the following workshop: Building sales through Customer Service." TAG is overwhelmed by the idea that the company that changed the term customer service to customer servitude, could host such a workshop. This is the company that encouraged buyers to call and visit sellers - phone numbers etc provided by ebaY- yet hides their own phone numbers and suspends customers who post them on ebaY's boards. This is the company that removed all their email addresses so customers could not even contact this online company via email. This is the company who steals money from their customers - see the latest relist fiasco, and now the schedule auctions fiasco. This is the company with several divisions with consistent 'unsatisfactory' ratings from the Better Business Bureau. This is the company that threatens and suspends those who reveal fraud and warn other users about it. This is the company who labeled the customers who built the company as marginal and their wares as clutter, and their feedback ratings as inadequate protection for buyers. This is the company that can even think of hosting such a workshop? ebaY's customers, the sellers, are supposed to attend lectures on how to provide customer service, but ebaY is exempt, not only from attending such workshops but from having to provide even the most basic level of customer service? ebaY, the hypocrisy is sickening! Now, if it was a workshop on neo-fascist methods of community control, it might make sense.

Board Quote of the Day I - in talking about Turbo Lister manuals2go.com said on 10 Oct at 14:25:10 PT, said, "Where's the "Turbo" in Turbo Lister??? I downloaded it weeks ago and imported all of my ML collections. I just now sent up items using it for the first time.....12 minutes to move items into the upload list.... 8 minutes to calculate fees.... 11 minutes to upload listings to ebay.... total time 31 minutes!!! .. Using Mister lister it took about 3-5 seconds to upload a collection of 100 items... about 30-40 seconds to start the listings... Total time - under 1 minute!!!"

BQOD II - Posted by bllamb on 14 Oct at 10:14:40 PT, "10 Things you will never hear ebay say.......1. Ebay will not be adding any new fees for the next 12 months..... 2. After listening to our sellers, we have come to the conclusion that SYI 2.0 Sucks.... 3. The Ebay system is now Bug Free...... 4. Just give us a phone call....... 5. Due to popular demand, We will be keeping Mister Lister...... 6. Ebay will not be making any changes to Paypal...... 7. We will be closing all international sites to concentrate on the US main site..... 8. No New features will be introduced till we fix what we already have...... 9. Any fees incurred due to a Deadbeat bidder will be refunded...... 10. Free listing day for the USA.."

BQOD III - in a conversation about search problems marginally*marginal said on 14 Oct at 16:54:16 PT, "And Search has been broken for about a year -- about the time those Norwegians got their fingers into it. Why eBay doesn't hire a decent company that specializes in search algorithms is beyond me. Google can search 2 *billion* webpages in a matter of seconds, and eBay has trouble with just a couple million items."

To keep using the OLD one page listing forms use these links and download these to your desktop. We do not know but believe that you will be able to continue using these forms even after ebaY removes all links to these forms from ebaY at the end of the year. Also see instructions on how to do this on the TAG website at - List on ebaY the Old way -


Old Listing Page Links - http://pages.ebay.com/sell/index_old.html

Categories and listing all on one page - http://snurl.com/6vp

If you have HTML skills, you can go on and modify the code on any of these forms to customize them for your own use.

ebaY briefly posted and then removed an announcement from the MAB about a change to the search engine. It appears that despite the fact that we are rapidly moving into the busy holiday shopping season, ebaY is again changing a major site function, the already broken search engine. Unfortunately this does not appear to be a change for the better but only an additional layer of clicks and another page for advertising. The announcement was made on 11 Oct at 14:25:28 PT, and addressed Keyword Search. It said, "To give members one-click access to the breadth and depth of the items available on eBay, we're testing a new idea: Keyword Searches.

By typing in a broad keyword such as "wedding", you will be taken to a special page that shows a number of related searches on eBay. You will not only be able to see the wide range of wedding items available, but will be able to find the detailed search you are looking for more quickly and easily. We believe this will make it easier to find the items that they want." It went on to give a list of test keywords, *dvd *wedding *vintage *disney *art *furniture *hawaii *florida

ebaY users are still waiting for Michael Dearing VP to fulfill his promise made on the DNF board on 9 Sep, when asked to not make any changes to the site during the fourth quarter during the busiest season of the year for buyers and sellers. "Posted by mcd@ebay.com on Sep-09-02 at 19:41:26 PDT
marginally*marginal, I will get back to you with a date for when we will stop releasing new user-facing features before Holiday. I understand your point and we are working on that right now. (And no, we will not simply cram more into the rollouts preceding that date ;)."

ebaY is adding another for fee service called ebaY Selling Manager. ebaY Selling Manager is an online sales management tool for ebaY listings and transactions. Sellers can access this tool from the selling tab in My ebaY. It will cost $4.99 per month with a 30 day free trial.

Seller manager will have the ability to -
*Customize email templates
*View a snapshot of pending, active, and sold listings
*Track bidding and sales through payment, shipping and feedback
*Print labels and invoices.
*Relist items in bulk

For more info - http://pages.ebay.com/selling_manager
Send input to sellingmanager@ebay.com.

This program will allow ebaY to eliminate the Seller's Assistant Basic program in the spring of 2003.

Starting in mid-November, vehicles sellers on ebaY Motors will have the option to lower the reserve or Buy It Now price of their vehicle once during the listing cycle, even if the item has already received bids. This option will be available only on ebaY Motors and only on vehicles within the Passenger Vehicles (#6001), Motorcycles (#6024), and Other Vehicles (#6038) categories on ebaY Motors. The View Item page will indicate "Price Lowered" at the top of the page. All active bidders on the vehicle will receive an email indicating the Seller has lowered the price. The High Bidder may receive a special email message if the new lower price is below their high proxy bid.
For more info go to -

ebaY has started to integrate PayPal into the ebaY.com. This will take a few months. The first changes ebaY will make are -
*Choice of PayPal as a payment option on the Sell Your Item form (ebaY will put your PayPal email addy in the EOA and on Checkout)
*Replace the current Billpoint info with PayPal info
*The ability to sort by listings that offer PayPal as a payment choice.

ebaY will hold a live chat on the integration of PayPal with Matt Bannick, Alex Kazim & Amy Rowe, on Wed 16 Oct from 17:00 PT to 18:00 PT.

Matt Bannick is Senior VP of Global Online Payments at ebaY. He took over PayPal the day the deal was signed from CEO Peter Thiel who resigned that day. Alex Kazim is the VP of ebaY Payments. Amy Rowe is the Executive VP of product at PayPal. acquisition. http://pages.ebay.com/event/paypal/index.html

TAG suggest PayPal users join the conversation and ask what will happen to their sensitive business information that ebaY now has access to, along with all the other questions TAG raised in our editorial at - http://www.auctionguild.com/generic93.html Unfortunately ebaY does not allow TAG to participate in any of these events.

On Wed 17 Oct at 17:00 PT to 19:00 PT, ebaY will host a workshop on Customer Service. Marsha Collier, author of "Starting an eBay Business for Dummies®" and "eBay for Dummies®," is holding a series of three workshops entitled "Your eBay Business". This workshop will cover various ways to communicate with buyers (and what buyers can expect from sellers) to build a brand on ebaY. TAG suggest that users join the workshop and wherever relevant ask why ebaY does not provide that customer service.

Ongoing Issues and Information
See the TAG website for miscellaneous ebaY info at - http://www.auctionguild.com/generic91.html

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

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Amazon , zShops and Marketplace - users have been reporting ongoing problems with the Amazon z-shop storefronts not updating at all. One user reported that items added to a new z-Shop category never appeared and instead caused the store to crash. The store now shows no open items even though it contains 1500 active open listings. This problem prevents items from showing in the proper categories forcing potential buyers to sift through all the items in a shop rather than having the ability to view just those in the desired category.

On 13 Oct users reported more problems with Amazon Auctions/Z-shops. Sellers have not been able to do bulk uploads, and the site has taken up to 15 hrs to update existing listings.

Amazon live telephone customer service 16 hours a day Auction/zShops/Marketplace have no customer support on weekends.
Toll-free in U.S. and Canada: (800)201-7575
Auction Pro phone number 1-877-251-0696
NEW! Amazon Contact Info Page on TAG website -

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Yahoo Auction/Warehouse/Classifieds (YA) - In an email to Used Goods sellers (formerly Warehouse) Yahoo has announced that they are eliminating person to person sales in this area effective 00:01 PT 16 Oct 2002. Used Goods will now only be available for product listings exclusively from Yahoo Shopping merchants.
€ Buyers will be able to purchase your items until 12:01 a.m. on 16 Oct.
€ You will be able to confirm new purchases until two days after orders are placed.
€ You will be able to access the "My Used Goods" page for the next few months to track your purchases and sales. Please note: Buyers may still contact you with fulfillment questions or problems over the next 60 days.
€ You will be paid for all your sales according to the existing schedule.

Person to Person sellers who want to continue to use Yahoo can sell utilizing Yahoo Stores, Yahoo Auctions or Yahoo Classifieds.
Email questions to - shopping-used@yahoo-inc.com.

Yahoo Auction Fees for those who have not looked in a while -

Antiques & Art 21529
Automotive 3904
Books & Comics 13942
Clothing & Accessories 21548
Coins, Paper Money & Stamps 39426
Collectibles 17761
Computers 6844
Electronics & Cameras 3349
Food & Beverage 552
Home & Garden 10999
Jewelry & Watches 20487
Movies & TV 9960
Music 8346
Sports & Outdoors 3840
Sports Cards & Memorabilia 47746
Toys, Games & Hobbies 30621
Video Games 2104
Other 5065
Total auctions on October 15, 2002: 268,023

As of 19Apr02 Yahoo had 329,060 (-40,688)
As of 7May02 Yahoo had 316,720 (-12,340)
As of 24May02 Yahoo had 314,105 (-2615)
As of 14Jun02 Yahoo had 309,097 (-5008)
As of 28Jun02 Yahoo had 291,421(-17676)
As of 6Aug02 Yahoo had 261,084 (-30337)
As of 23Aug02 Yahoo had 269,875 (+8791)
As of 15Sep02 Yahoo had 265,155 (-4720)
As of 19Sep02 Yahoo had 448,829 (+183,674)
As of 15Oct02 Yahoo had 268,023 (-180,806)
Yahoo Auction counts brought to you by
Ongoing Issues -

Yahoo Contact Information

Yahoo Customer Support form

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iOffer.Com has launched a new free downloadable tool that looks as if it will allow sellers to have their cake and eat it too. The tool, called Mr.Grabber, is designed to import your ebaY listings (auctions and fixed price) from ebaY to iOffer. On auction items, the item will be listed on iOffer as a "make an offer" listing. This way the seller can have an auction active on ebaY and also have a "make an offer" listing on iOffer. If the seller sells the item on ebaY, they just remove the item from iOffer, as they have to agree to a sale before anything sells there. If the seller makes an acceptable deal at iOffer, they can end the auction early, or predicate the sale on iOffer contingent on the auction ending on ebaY. Since there is no listing fee on iOffer, this will cost the seller nothing.

If it works as advertised, this tool appears to have lots of potential for warehousing and moving items around for sale on the net, in addition to selling directly on iOffer. It is also supposed to have other features, such as allowing sellers to import their feedback numbers from ebaY, and dynamically update that number. Since this program is downloaded on the seller's computer, it is the seller who controls when and if it is used, and since it is the seller using a program to access his or her own information, it is also (currently) ebaY legal.

ebaY would probably argue that sellers have agreed not to use their ebaY feedback elsewhere, but most users justifiably feel that they earned the feedback independently of ebaY, and therefore their hard earned reputations belong to them and no one else. TAG's guess is that a court of law would see it the same way, especially as ebaY's user agreement is so one sided as to be no real agreement, and therefore ripe for challenge anyway. In addition, the media storm that would be generated by ebaY suspending users for using their hard earned reputations elsewhere on the net, would not only alienate more sellers, but would be a net sum loss to ebaY. TAG surmises that this is why ebaY has made no attempt to enforce the feedback issue in the past, as most other sites allow users to import their ebaY or other auction and trading site feedback, if the seller desires.

Mr. Grabber is available for download at -
Unfortunately, it is only available in its current form for Windows based operating systems and for use on ebaY. TAG was told that iOffer was working on MAC versions, and maybe even a tool for WebTV, along with making it compatible with other selling sites such as Ubid, Yahoo, Half, and Amazon. This tool could make iOffer the ideal place for sellers to use as the hub of all their online selling. When partnered with iOffer's unique searchable profile page, and iOffer's flexibility about linking, iOffer could well become a very viable framework for online auction and trading industry sellers.

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Browser statistics. Global Browser Usage Share as of 8/26/02: Microsoft 95.97% Netscape 3.39% Other Browsers (Opera, WebTV, AOL, etc.) .64%. That's as of last month, based on web hits gathered from 125,000 websites worldwide. Netscape has dropped over 60% of its market share in the last year, and it is still falling fast. The current opinion of those that track this sort of stuff is that MSIE will eventually be 98% of the market, with Netscape and Opera fighting over the last 2%. The story is here:
http://www.statmarket.com/cgi-bin/sm.cgi?sm&feature&week_st at
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Sites with free or low fee auction scheduling
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Hate POP UP/UNDER ads - here is how you can do something about it. These are the companies that use the most popups -write to them and tell them you are boycotting their products until they stop. X10, the Web camera - more than a billion pop-up impressions from Jan to Jul 2002, which was nearly 50 percent more than online travel company Orbitz, the next biggest user. The top 10 users of pop-up advertisements during that time period were Providian, Cendant, Cassava Enterprises, Dell, Bonzi Software, Morgan Stanley, Columbia Article about pop ups -
There are also many programs that squash popups/unders etc
Try AdAvertSubtract
The Mozilla browser also has that option as does the Opera browser.
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