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TAGnotes Thu 12 Dec 2002 Vol 4 Number 56 Issue 438

The Auction Guild Notes Thu 12 Dec 2002
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This issue brought to you by the preceding ads, supporting TAG
through their advertising dollars. Please support them, by
clicking on or copy/pasting their links and buying their products.
TAG's advertising rates are at -

TAG does not endorse the companies or products advertised         
6100 subscribers

ebaY Outages 1 - 30 Nov 2002 -

ebaY Outages Details Dec 2002 -

1 Dec - PayPal sending auction invoices to under bidders
instead of high bidder. Turbo Lister not working.

2 Dec - ebaY email system not working. Auctions intermittently
inaccessible. Revise auctions down.

3 Dec - ebaY UK disappeared from the internet from 10:30 GMT
to 12:40 GMT, due to a "Detagging" issue. Detagging usually
occurs when a site does not pay for their domain, or asks a
registry to close the site. On the US site, title search down from
05:00 PT to 06:55 PT. From 20:01:12 PT to 22:33:45 PT users
reported problems accessing auctions, search down, My ebaY
down, and open auctions showing as closed.

4 Dec -Starting at 01:49:28 PT users reported auctions not
available, and intermittent problems accessing auctions through
08:05:17 PT. Problems with sellers lists, late PayPal invoice
emails, ebaY toolbar and Andale counters.

5 Dec - Search problems and cgi 6 problems. Site fairly stable.

6 Dec - Search problems intermittent throughout the day.

7 Dec - Site Stable

8 Dec - Site crashes and outages starting 11:11:10 PT, items
not available, My ebaY down, problems continued through
11:48:48 PT. Crashes started again at 16:08:02 PT, items not
available, My ebaY not working; sign in not working, problems
posting on chat boards, feedback forum down, thru 17:19:50 PT.

9 Dec - At 04:48:40 PT search not working properly. At
19:16:53, PayPal was down. Reports of 404 and 405 error
messages through 22:11:27 PT.

10 Dec - Netscape users lost all navigation bars at the top of
ebaY pages. Intermittent crashes throughout the day.

11 Dec - 06:23:22 PT search returning garbled results with
mixed categories. At 07:51:02 PT auctions were showing up
with changed ending times, with some showing as ended
though they had hours left to run. This lasted for a short time,
corrected and then happened again, across the site, at 08:34:26
PT. The seller's pages showed auctions with arbitrary ending
times in arbitrary order. Auctions would close, cause PayPal to
send an invoice, open again and close again sending a second
invoice to a different buyer. Some buyers receive duplicate
invoices. Auctions were disappearing from search, then
reappearing then disappearing again. Auction ending times kept
changing. These problems lasted until 13:53:17 PT. There
were problems later in the day with listing.

12 Dec - 07:30:48 PT more search problems. 10:13:37 PT
closed and sold auctions showing up in items for sale, though
not relisted. 14:39:22 PT PayPal payment notices were not
being sent, again.   Buyers reported bidding problems, and other
bidders reported open auctions would not accept bids as they
reported closed.

ebaY is taking the entire PayPal system down for maintenance
from 23:00 PT on 12 Dec to 02:30 on 13 Dec.   ebaY.Com will be
down from maintenance from 01:00 PT to 03:00 PT on Fri13Dec.

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 reference to the catastrophic loss
suffered by a long time online auction book seller, board poster
and all around great person, Idobooks, mc-@ebay.com said on
6 Dec at 09:32:35 PT, "Prayers and thoughts of many here are
with Idobooks. Redbird, please let me know if we can do
anything to help the auctions or the donations effort. I know folks
on my team here are going to make contributions today." TAG
thanks McD and the 43 ebaY employees that passed their
contributions along thru McD, for their generosity and for caring.

Pink Quote of the Day II - In a CNN article on email scams that
use fake ebaY email formats and sites to steal identities, Chris
Donlay, a spokesman for ebaY, said "To date, few people have
contacted us with complaints,".   ebaY once again doing what
ebaY does best - LIE. ebaY has received thousands of emails
about these scams.   TAG has the email trail showing where in
one case at least, ebaY left a SCAM site up from at least 9 - 11
Dec, though the site had been up since 29 Nov and reported
numerous times. TAG wonders why ebaY would not act on such
reports immediately.   If ebaY lets some of these sites stay up,
does ebaY have a cover for incidents where their own site is
hacked for info, or in cases where an ebaY employee might be
selling account info?   Employees of other companies have
stolen and sold information, what makes ebaY immune from
employee fraud? TAG sees account hijacking on ebaY reaching
epidemic proportions, what IS going on at ebaY?

Board Quote of the Day I - When asked if there was a way to
send book inventory to Idobooks after his catastrophic loss,
dustpickers said on 6 Dec at 10:42:10 PT, "If you want to send
the books to us we will make sure he gets them. Email us at
mar-@usachoice.net and will give you a mailing address."
TAG encourages those who might be able to help rebuild a book
inventory for Idobooks, to email dustpickers for details.

Board Quote of the Day II - Posted by manuals2go.com on 1
Dec at 07:53:18 PT, "....Just finished doing End-of-month for
November... Compared to October...Ebay sales DOWN 22%....
Website sales UP 16%.....Compared to last November... Ebay
DOWN 37%... Website Sales UP 36%.....So it tain't the economy"
and when asked why he continues to sell on ebaY, said, " ... I
think I'll stick it out with Ebay just so I'll [have] something to
complain about now & then. With the latest drop Ebay is now
about 12% of my total sales." TAG encourages ALL online
sellers to develop their own website.
View his Camera related items at - http://www.manuals2go.com/

Board Quote of the Day III - In a conversation about why ebaY
does not fix things that are broken, and breaks things that are
fixed, marginally*marginal said on 2 Dec at 07:50:43 PT, "The
Prime Directive of eBay (as a corporation) is to drive revenues
and increase income from fees. This causes the realized value
of stock to rise, which makes the owners of the majority of the
stock wealthier. It's not a coincidence that they are the ones
running the company. As long as that is the case, then seller and
buyer concerns are not an issue. Just stock price."

Board Quote of the Day IV - and on the same subject again...
sele-@cafebueno.com said on 4 Dec at 16:08:04 PT, " ...Got to
sympathize with you, but I have a different view of ePop's
mission. It is, rather, to make scads of dough for the Kickback
Queen who runs the place, and the other assorted insiders. You,
I, and the other 50 million registered users are but the means to
this end, and we are important to them only to the extent that our
activities contribute to the lining of their pockets. They respond to
their customers only when their own money is at stake. Sort of
like keeping Nellie content so you can milk her. The
giggle-wink-tee-hee pinktrons they send around are but paid
farmhands trying calm down the cows so they won't kick over the
milk bucket."

Board Quote of the Day V -In a conversation about why sales are
so bad, marginally*marginal said on 8 Dec at 15:11:58 PT,
""When I signed up here, times were good. Sales were high, life
was good. Now it sucks." When I signed up, there were *maybe*
5 million registered users, less than a million auctions running a
day, lots of bids, and plenty of sales. Today, there are *maybe*
10 times as many registered users, 10 times as many auctions,
and less than 10% of the bids I used to get, and fewer sales. *I*
haven't changed anything in those years (except that MOST of the
stuff I was selling perfectly legally is now against eBay rules to
sell), but still and all, with 10 times more users, you'd THINK
there would be 10 times more bidding. And those other 9 million
auctions a day do NOT sell what I sell, generally, so THAT isn't it.
What is it then? What has changed in the past 5 years? What
has gotten more and more difficult, cumbersome, and
incomprehensible over the years? What has become so
complex and aggravating that my former eBay customers call me
up on the phone and ask "Do you have..." and I say, "Sure, it's on
eBay..." and they say, "Too much hassle...." and I say, "Gee..."

*** WARNING *** Several of TAG's subscribers have reported
that after our warning in the last issue of TAGnotes, the
subscribers checked their ebaY preference setting and found
that ebaY HAD changed them. If you have not yet done so check
your preference settings found in My ebaY.

In the last issue of TAGnotes we wrote about the planned
changes at ebaY where starting Jan 2003, ebaY will expand item
specifics on the US site. The plan is to have half the categories
on the US site carrying item specifics by the end of 2003. ebaY
will change their category structure to facilitate their item
specific integration, so once again ebaY will change their
system, not to improve sales for sellers and not based on
customer input or desires, but to gain further control over the
auction listing content, and force use of SYI2.0.

Item Specifics are a part of the current listing system in a limited
number of categories. Currently item specifics are required
and/or available in the Tickets, Art, Real Estate and other
categories. When you list items in those categories you fill out a
section at the beginning of the listing form that contains
information contained in drop down menus, such as Type, Age,
Subject, Dominant Color, largest Dimension, Country/Region.
Choices of "other" in the drop down menu, allows you to fill in a
box on the next screen. The item specifics appear in a box at the
top of the listing under the title box. ebaY says you should use
item specifics because it will make your listing visible on more
search pages, special item page placement and inclusion in
product finder search results.   The Item Specifics feature is only
available on SYI2.0.

For more info on Item Specifics, check these pages -
Product Finder Sample - http://snurl.com/ggz

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) filed federal
civil lawsuits against people in eight states on Tuesday
accusing them of copyright infringement for trying to sell
hundreds of pirated DVDs over online auction sites such as
ebaY.   This is the first time the MPAA has gone after online
auction and trading industry sellers. The suits were filed against
people in 8 states. ebaY was not named in the lawsuits. The
MPAA urged online shoppers to call its hotline at
1-800-NO-COPYS if they suspect pirated movies are being sold.
Articles at -   http://snurl.com/gev     http://snurl.com/geu

More fraud with ebaY as the fence -

Despite ebaY's promises to have a quiet time on the site from 10
Nov to 31 Dec, ebaY announced they were going to continue
making changes to the site. This time the changes will be in the
fonts on the ebaY portions of the item listing page, changing the
font Arial. ebaY is also changing the Help content on the sellers
listing page. In place of the "Top Questions From This Page"
area at the bottom of the page, ebaY will introduce links to the
Help system.

ebaY is changing the ebaY Motors Sell Your Item form, adding a
description builder, that allows the Seller to format the item text
(such as typeface, font color, and font size) in the vehicle
description, without using HTML. Sellers can still have HTML
formatted descriptions.

Description builder is available for all Motors categories vehicles
- Parts & Accessories, Passenger Vehicles, Motorcycles, Other
Vehicles, and Everything Else and is free and optional to use.
The standard description form is still available and
recommended for those using their own HTML text.

ebaY is also adding an ebaY iPIX images Vehicle Pack, that
allows up to 12 photos to be included in a vehicle listing - all
Supersize - for $2.00. Vehicle Pack is available for all vehicles -
Passenger Vehicles, Motorcycles, and Other Vehicles.

ebaY has launched a new feature to revise your items on ebaY
Motors. When you revise an item, you are taken to a review and
submit page that allows the seller to jump directly to the sections
they wish to revise. ebaY will only display revisable areas.

The real goal of this change is to further promote ebaY extra (and
in TAG's view overpriced and worthless) additional features, so
they can be added on revision if they were not in the original
listing. A change such as this usually should ring the alarm
bells and raise the red flag and TAG warns sellers to carefully
check to make sure ebaY does not opt them in for a special
features the seller does not want. It has been an ebaY practice
to default sellers in for features even when the seller does not
select them.   Sellers will also be able add pictures to their active
listings using ebaY iPix Picture Services. For more info about
Revise Your Item 2.0 go to -

ebaY continues to go forward with their plan to make the one
page Sell Your Item 1.0 form obsolete in early January 2003. No
amount of customer protest has swayed ebaY, despite the lies
ebaY constantly spouts about listening to their "community". All
the versions of the old list, relist and revise forms that
corresponded with the old Sell Your Item form will also be

ebaY started sending out warning emails to SYI 1.0 users on 12
Dec. This started a flood of posts on the OAI/OTI chat boards
complaining about SYI2.0.

TAG hopes this move by ebaY will encourage sellers to try other
more user friendly sites such as sellyouritem.com, carnaby.com
and ioffer.com, and also look into some of the niche sites.

In what looks like some good news, Auctiva is working on a
Mister Lister substitute they are calling Mrs. Lister. This program
is supposed to look and function in a manner very much like the
current Mister Lister. To view and download the beta program,
get details and participate in product development, go to -   

The ebaY Selling Manager, the replacement for ebaY's Seller
Basic, is now available for purchase. This tool provides online
sales management, but does not upload listings to ebaY. To
upload auctions, users will now have to use the SYI 2.0 form or
Turbo Lister.

ebaY is offering a free 30-Day trial. After the trial period, ebaY
will charge a monthly subscription fee of $4.99. To sign up go to
- http://snurl.com/gfd

Seller Manager allows you 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 go to - http://snurl.com/gh0
To send input to ebaY, email to selling-@ebay.com.

Seller's Assistant Basic will continue to be available and
supported until Spring of 2003. Starting in early Jan ebaY will
offer the capability to import Seller's Assistant Basic collection
files into ebaY Turbo Lister..

ebaY has changed the emails they send. ebaY has changed the
outbid notice, bid confirmation and listing confirmation emails.

A recent Wall Street Journal report said that ebaY paid eCorp
$114 million for its 50% stake in ebaY Australia. Source - Wall
Street Journal article by Helen Ubels, Dow Jones Newswires

The Rockboss Report - ebaY is TRACKING YOU and sharing the

There are now three ebaY permitted bugs in place on the
bidding results page if the auction item does not have a
"Buy-It-Now" button. There are four web bugs if it does carry a
"BIN" button.

The bugs log your unique ebaY user ID number and the number
of the auctions you have just bid on. This appears to be in direct
violation of the ebaY user and privacy agreement - see
http://pages.ebay.com/help/community/png-priv.html#4 - that
only allows ebaY's third party accomplices to gather information
in the aggregate and NOT personally related to an individual.

If ebaY's third party accomplices were simply aggregating data
on types of items that receive the most bidding activity, there
would be no need to associate any item with a particular ebaY
user ID number.   

Here are a couple screen shots showing where the bugs are

For example the web bugs themselves read: img
**thisISitemNUMBERyouJUSTbidON**" width="1" height="1"

This clearly shows ebaY giving your unique user ID number and
related purchasing information to Mediaplex, one of the largest
commercial SPAMMER companies on the internet.

Online Sellers Losing Sales To Fraud - Online retailers in the
United States are expected to lose nearly $500 million to fraud or
dubious would-be buyers this holiday shopping season. An
online survey of 25 e-merchants led technology research firm
Gartner Inc. (IT) to estimate $160 million will be lost to fraud and
about $315 million will be lost through sales that the retailers
will reject as suspicious. E-tailers say they need more help from
credit-card companies to verify customers' identities. Source
CBS MarketWatch Frank Barnako - http://snurl.com/gf6

PayPal and the Money Back Guarantee -

PayPal has started a program for select sellers, allowing their
buyers to receive a money back, satisfaction guarantee on all
purchases of less than $1000, made from approved sellers.
Sellers that are selected by PayPal for this program, are
automatically opted IN for the program. In most cases, the seller
is notified, but not in all cases. Sellers need to monitor their
PayPal account, and if they don't want to participate can opt OUT
from the Guarantee Preferences in the seller profile by logging in
at https://www.paypal.com/PROFILE. Log into your PayPal
account, Click on Profile in the main toolbar, under "selling
preferences" Click on "Guarantee preferences" and uncheck the
box and save it.

When paying for physical goods weighing less that 70 lbs and
costing less than $1,000, buyers will see an option to purchase
PayPal's Money Back Guarantee on the PayPal payment page.
Under the Guarantee, PayPal will reimburse the buyer for the
amount of the transaction when the buyer is not satisfied with the
purchase and returns the goods to PayPal. Buyers can file a
reimbursement request on the PayPal website within 30 days of
payment. Seller accounts are not debited if a MBG claim is filed
(the claim is between PayPal and the buyer when filed).

Goods lost or damaged while in transit are not covered by this
program. In addition, sellers will not be held responsible for
goods returned to PayPal. Sellers MUST have delivery
confirmation on every sale, in order to be covered by the PayPal
seller protection policy. Sellers need to keep these delivery
confirmations on record indefinitely. Remember, you can get
FREE delivery confirmation from the USPS by using their website
or downloadable program.

The cost of the MBG will be automatically displayed to your
buyers at the time of payment. The cost is calculated based on
the cost of the item being purchased. If a buyer purchases this
guarantee, they will have 30 days to report dissatisfaction due to
goods that are defective, incorrect, or no longer wanted by the
buyer. If the buyer's report is in good order, the buyer will be
reimbursed for the total amount of the transaction less
guarantee fees. If the seller does not have delivery confirmation
proof of shipping, the seller will have the sale deducted from
their account.

For more information, go to - http://snurl.com/gh2

ebaY, in a long predicted move, is ending their partnership with
AutoTrader.com on 1 Jan 03, six months early. TAG predicts
ebaY Motors will take up the new title of ebaY Transportation, a
domain they have owned since Jan 02. AutoTrader.com claims
classified listings of vehicles from 40,000 dealers and 250,000
individuals, has plans to start its own auction business,

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

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 , zShops and Marketplace - On 2 Dec at 10:17 PT
Amazon posted that sellers were reporting that a portion of their
sold listings were not appearing as "Sold" in the Seller Account
area of the web site. Also, some currently open listings
appeared as "Closed." This was a display issue only. Open
listings remained searchable and purchasable.

On 3 Dec at 08:00 PT, Amazon announced that payments
transactions were taking longer than usual to complete
processing. Amazon recommended that sellers not ship until
the completed status appears in Seller Account information, or
until the "Sold--Ship Now!" e-mail was received.

On 11 Dec at 11:05 PT some Amazon payment transactions
were again taking longer than
usual to complete processing. Amazon recommended that
sellers not ship until the completed status appears in Seller
Account information, or until the "Sold--Ship Now!" e-mail was

Amazon has made changes to the single listing process. They
have increased the allowed maximum length for condition
description on selected conditions, and expanded it to 200
characters for all condition types. Amazon has added pricing
information so it now appears directly on the page. ZIP Codes
are now prepopulated on the form for recognized sellers. List an
item at - http://snurl.com/gfh

Amazon is conducting their annual post-holiday clearance event
starting 26 Dec and running through 11 Jan 03. Amazon will
conduct a marketing blitz just after the holidays.

To receive Amazons newsletter go to -

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 -

* * * * * * * * * *
Yahoo Auction/Stores/Classifieds (YA)
Yahoo Auctions is holding a 99 cent no reserve showcase
through 24 Jan. There are 566 items currently listed.

After a two month hiatus, Yahoo has posted another newsletter
on their site -    http://snurl.com/ggx

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)
As of 7Nov02 Yahoo had 258,791 (-9232)
As of 28Nov02 Yahoo had 262,841 (+4050)

Yahoo Auction counts brought to you by
Ongoing Issues -
Yahoo Contact Information

Yahoo Customer Support form
email - auctions--@yahoo-inc.com

* * * * * * * * * *
Sellyouritem.com - The staff at SYI.Com have joined together to
make a contribution to the Fire Fund for Idobooks.   Idobooks
had hundreds of items listed at SYI.Com, all lost in the fire that
destroyed everything he owned.

During the month of November, Sellyouritem.com ran a
promotion for jewelry sellers to celebrate National Jewelry
Month. There will be future promotions designed to bring
attention to popular categories. Sellers participating in the
promotions have received free onsite advertising and credits towards
their Final Value Fees.

Community members decided to change the monthly SYI 99
events to begin the last Saturday of each month. These events
include items listed at 99 cents with no reserve.
For details on upcoming promotions, go to -

In the last 30 days, 690 auctions were sold for prices ranging
from $.10 to $2,500.00, with an average price of $7.66 for all
items sold in that period. This represents a 2.4 percent sell
through rate based on total listings for that period of time.
Currently the site stats show 1 percent of active auctions have
bids, with 5 percent of those multiple bids. BuyNow! bids are not
reflected in active totals since they end immediately; but are
included in the percent sold figures indicated above.

Report provided by Karen Morgan
Morgan-Meadowsong Farm: http://www.hrtc.net/~mkmorgan/

* * * * * * * * * *
Carnaby,com - Sellers are holding a 99 cent sale that will run
through 24 Dec. Everything in the sale starts at 99 cents with no
reserve. There is a link on Carnaby's homepage, to the 99 cent
listing promotion. Currently 250 items listed. http://snurl.com/gfp

* * * * * * * * * *
Ruby Lane.Com has decided to cease offering hidden counters
for Amazon and Yahoo. Jim at RubyLane said on 3 Dec,
"Because there are so few users of these two sites, it is not
feasible for us to continue to support the customized viewing
feature for them. If it was possible to support them, we would,
but it just doesn't make any sense." Ruby Lane will continue to
make visible counters available for these sites.

* * * * * * * * * *
Don't forget there are many places to SHOP even if you don't
want to list there. This is a buyers paradise, where there is often
no competition to buy great items at very reasonable prices.   
Here is a sampling to try -
*Antique-Photo -
Stereoviews and other vintage photos and equipment
*Bargain and Haggle - http://www.bargainandhaggle.com Wide
variety for those who love to haggle on price.
*Bidville - http://www.bidville.com Lots of books on tape and
CDs at good prices
*EggBid - http://www.eggbid.com THE place on the net to buy
those 3 French hens and the Partridge for the pear tree.
*ePier - http://www.epier.com Check out some of their vintage
clothing items
*InterShopZone -
http://www.InterShopZone.com/General/Barter.htm For
something a little different, a barter site
*JustBeads - http://www.justbeads.com/ For the craft person on
your holiday list
*Just Glass - http://www.justglass.com/ Some stunning art
glass - a feast for the eyes if not the pocketbook. Worth a visit
Mission Fish - http://www.missionfish.com/index.msp For those
who like to spend their money where the funds go to non profits
Old and Sold - http://www.oldandsold.com/cgi-bin/auction.cgi
Some great items in an easy to use format - some great cast
iron listings
*Playle's - http://www.playle.com/browse.html for the postcard of
your dreams and other ephemera and paper collectible.
Postcards make great nostalgia items!

* * * * * * * * * *
USPS has FREE Delivery Confirmation. Just download this
program -
or print the DC from their website at -
Have any information for us? email us at
TAGassist Contributors Visit their auctions or websites.

http:// www.boogiebobsrecords.com



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