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TAGnotes Tue 4 Feb 2003 Vol 5 Number 2 Issue 441

The Auction Guild Notes Tue 4 Feb 2003
SELLERS: AuctionHawk announces new pricing plans!

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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 ad rates - http://www.auctionguild.com/generic99.html

TAG does not endorse the companies or products advertised         
FROOGLE - Merchant Information -

* * * * * * * * * *
ebaY COMPLETE Outage Details 1 - 31 Jan 2003 -

16 Jan - Users had cgi 3 problems. The site crashed from
13:09:05 PT to 13:22:49 PT. ebaY crashed again at 16:31:30 PT
and had intermittent problems until 18:39.

17 Jan - Users reported search engine problems and 400 error
messages in the morning. Problems started again at 19:11 with
404 errors.

18 Jan - Sellers reported problems with gallery images not
showing. They also reported problems with Turbo Lister. There
were search and bidding problems from 18:27 on until 19:30.
More search problems arose at 21:16.

19 Jan - The day started with the ongoing Turbo Lister
problems. Buyers had problems paying with PayPal, which did
not recognize closed auctions as valid. Sellers had gallery
image problems from 19:03 on.

20 Jan - Title search indexing was over 24 hours behind, which
got to be 34 hours behind before ebaY addressed it.

21 Jan - The site was stable.

22 Jan - Turbo Lister presented more problems for sellers. The
ebaY spyware toolbar was not working. The latest version of
Sellers Assistant Pro (SAP) was not working.

23 Jan - Turbo Lister was not working again (or is that still).
SAP was not working. ebaY iPix was down. SYI2.0 was
intermittently not working.

24 Jan - The site was down for search and bidding from 03:00
PT and 03:18 PT. Some categories were intermittently down
throughout the morning. Stores listings were not showing up in
Store search. Users started to receive invalid board messages
whilst trying to access the chat boards, the start of a week long

25 Jan - Users reported problems with the ebaY spyware toolbar
and the chat boards.

26 Jan - The site had major problems all day including a 5 hour
outage where buyers could not search or bid. All systems were
down at some point during the day ranging from sign in to listing.
ebaY lied about the outages, particularly those that should have
triggered auction extensions and automatic refunds of all fees.

27 Jan - The invalid board problems continued for the fourth day.   
Sellers had problems listing with Sellers Assistant. Ask seller a
question emails were delayed upwards of 5 hours.

28 Jan - Sellers Assistant was still causing listing problems
and selling manager also caused problems. Turbo Lister and
My ebaY problems also showed up through the day.   

29 Jan - Buyers had My ebaY problems through the day.
Subsequent search results pages were not opening returning
error messages. SAP was not working for listing.

30 Jan - Users reported the site very slow. . Subsequent search
results pages were not opening returning 404 errors. Category
search was also broken. Sellers could not list using Turbo

31 Jan - ebaY's free counters were not working. Turbo Lister
was not working. SAP was not working and neither was Mister

Full details of ebaY's January outages can be found on the TAG
website at - http://www.auctionguild.com/generic103.html

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 an article about how ebaY was
unaffected by the worm causing disruptions across the internet,
ebaY's view was that it was, ""Just another normal day at eBay,"
said company spokesman Kevin Pursglove, who said the Web
slowdown had not affected its online auctions. " On the 25th
ebaY only had its usual outages and problems, but Kevin was
prophetic of the 5 hour outage that occurred on the 26th. "Just
another normal day at eBay"

PQOD II - an ebaY user brought a suit against ebaY over libelous
negative feedback and then dropped ebaY from the suit when
ebaY backed down and removed the negative feedback. "Chris
Donlay, a spokesman for eBay, confirmed that the negative
feedback had been taken down, but said that decision had
"nothing to do with the lawsuit." "We realised the contact information
for the seller was not correct and that is one of the circumstances in
which we will consider removing the feedback," Donlay said. The action
does not mean the company is changing its policy, he said. "Our policy
stands," he said." TAG wonders how ebaY let itself get caught in this
precedent setting move, but thanks Mr Donlay for providing us all with a
couple of more justifications to get such feedback removed and the
precedent for doing so.

Board Quote of the Day I - ebaY in a nutshell, posted by
marginally*marginal on 17 Jan at 07:38:50 PT, " ... You haven't
been paying attention. The *SOLE* purpose of eBay is to make
money for the people holding stock options until they can be
cashed out. Period. Everything else is a stall tactic designed to
keep the stock price from crashing."

BQOD II - And on the subject of SYI2.0, posted by
marginally*marginal on 23 Jan at 15:30:04 PT, "SYI 2.0 sucks so
bad that Steven Hawking is having to rewrite his formulae for
black hole theory to account for the spatial distortion created in
San Jose, and "SYI 2.0 sucks so bad that Hoover had to declare
Chapter 11 because they couldn't compete" and "SYI 2.0 doesn't
suck NEARLY as bad as REVISE Your Item 2.0 sucks. It takes
*15* (yes, Virginia, *fifteen*) PAGES to change (ready?) just the
category, price, and title. For *ONE* item." and on 20 Jan on the
same subject said, ". God HELP you if you are listing an item
after not being active for any period of time. If you have to LOGIN
again, *POOFIES* not only does it *FORGET* what you *JUST*
told it, it forgets what it *knew* before you told it what was
different. These coders at eBay have such a severe case of
rectocranial insertion, they are going to need eBay Health
Insurance to get a navelostomy just so they can see what they're
doing." View his website at - http://www.snyderstreasures.net/

BQOD III - Posted by *max-headroom* on 27 Jan at 07:48:41 PT,
"Hope they get it fixed soon. Started Friday and today is Monday.
Of course, they have worked tirelessly for the last several days,
without a cappuccino break, in order to resolve the issue that
only 1 of 10 users might be experiencing on an intermittent
basis. They have determined that the 1 out of 10 users are
people they don't like, so they really wish we would all just go
away and leave them alone."

BQOD IV - And on the removal of the Completed Items tab,
marginally*marginal said on 28 Jan at 18:45:30 PT, " ... eBay hid
it for your safety and convenience at the request of many of the
members of the eBay Community that wanted Completed
Search to be as hard as possible to locate. 9 out of 10 eBay
users never use Completed Search, so it's been moved to the
Advanced tab where they don't have to look at it. Thank you for
your concern and your understanding. Have a nice day." and " By
hiding the Completed Search, eBay is able to artificially inflate
the number of page hits, which makes their traffic appear more
robust than it really is. These page hit metrics are then used to
market eBay as a viable platform for SPAM advertisers. As you
may be aware, eBay's advertising revenues have declined 60%
(to put it in eBayese terms, "advertising revenues increased in a
negative direction") this past year from last year. That means that
eBay has to increase the number of SPAM ads by 60% to make
up for the losses. In order to do that, they need to serve up more
pages. Of course, the concept that SPAM and Banner Ads simply
do NOT work isn't likely to percolate through to the minds of the
marketing wonks whose paychecks are dependent on SPAM
and obnoxious unsolicited advertising being served up as much
as possible. Oh, well."
View his website at - http://www.snyderstreasures.net/

ebaY has removed the completed search and Item Number
search tabs from their search pages. To search for an item
number, just insert the number into ANY search box or you can
use this link - Search by Item Number -

Completed search is now an option in the advanced search tab
but can also been found at this link - Completed Search -

You can also use old search, which has all the old options -

Auctiva Mister Poster (Mister Lister substitute) tool in Beta 3 now
ready for download at - http://snurl.com/plw

ebaY held another "secret" invitation only conference in mid
January, for top ebaY sellers in conjunction with the Consumer
Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The big event was ebaY's all day
seminar at the Bellagio Hotel for ebaY's tops electronics sellers.
There were approx 200 sellers and approx 70 ebaY personnel.
Top ebaY feedback holder onece-@aol.com very
generously shared the information she gleaned at the
conference with the ebaY using community.   This information
follows -
It appears that ebaY will be making changes to help with
Deadbeat Bidders (non paying bidder - NPB) in the next few
months.   New bidders will be limited in the bidding they can do
based on their feedback numbers. TAG has seen some
evidence based on posts from buyers on the site, that ebaY is at
least testing this system, though they have not announced it.   '0'
feedback users will only be able to bid on 10 items.
'-1' feedback users can only bid on 1 item. Once they pay for the
items and receive positive feedback, they will go back up to '0'
and be able to bid on 10 items. A post on ebaY on 27 Jan,
showed this program in operation when a bidder with a -1 rating
received a message that they had reached their buying limit and
could not bid again until their feedback score increased and their
account had been reviewed.

TAG sees this as an excellent though small first step on ebaY's
part to address deadbeat and malicious bidding. It will at least
slow down a certain percentage of these types of bidders for a
short time (until they earn one positive feedback). Unfortunately,
ebaY also appears to have left the impression that they will never
address the issue of deadbeat bidders leaving retaliatory
feedback for uncompleted auctions.

ebaY will allow third party service providers who are part of the
ebaY API to 'scrape' (a new ebaYism for gathering information)
the ebaY database to garner the info needed for bulk filing of
NPBs and FVF refunds. Currently very few sellers file for these
refunds because it is not cost effective to do so.
ebaY is convinced that 'Free Shipping' programs are very
successful. TAG would not doubt that ebaY would feel this way
since the shipping is NEVER free, but gets added to the starting
price of an item, therefore allowing ebaY to collect higher listing
fees and get paid fees on the shipping cost, something they
can't do now.

ebaY is also pushing the offering of their Warranty programs.
This is another cash generator for ebaY as they earn a kickback
on every warranty sold through their partner NEWcorp.com.
Larger sellers would be much better off directly arranging
warranty contracts through companies providing such services,
rather than through ebaY, as the seller will get the entire
kickback from the warranty company rather than just the small
percentage ebaY is giving sellers after ebaY gets their share.

ebaY is planning on enlarging both these programs and making
them discriminators on their site through search and
promotions.   There is an implication that those who do not ship
for free are overcharging, and those who do not offer warranties
cannot be trusted.
ebaY will continue to push use of those third party service
providers who have bought into the ebaY API.   These
companies are now called PSP's by ebaY, Preferred Service
Providers. TAG has seen many signs of ebaY manipulating their
system in unnecessary ways, to knock out services provided by
non API paying third parties. From the sound of things, TAG
postulates this sabotage will continue and increase. Fortunately
the programmers appear much more intelligent and capable
than ebaY, and can program circles around all ebaY's attempts
at sabotage.
Mister Lister will soon receive the axe. This has already been
announced on the ebaY Germany site with it being unavailable at
the end of April. Turbo Lister is available on disc, but given its
endless need to update, TAG does not see that as being helpful.
ebaY does not talk about large and small sellers but about
power sellers and non power sellers. ebaY is more focused on
those sellers who list items every day, rather than those who list
in spurts, seasonally or once in a while. The feeling was that
those sellers who always have items listed and always have a
presence, do better than those who let their listings lapse, both
for ebaY's bottom line and for the seller's.
Some other interesting bits and pieces of information -

- There is still no timeframe for integrating PayPal into Half.com
- Meg Whitman travels with bodyguards
- ebaY has no plans to reduce fees, ever
- More time and money will be used to improve and coordinate
ebaY stores
- ebaY personnel are fairly oblivious to the existence of long time
ebaY sellers such as
parrothead88, omaha and papier11.
- ebaY is going to expand the second chance offer. Sellers will
be able to contact both the 2nd and 3rd place bidders with official
offers to sell.   ebaY will also shorten the required response time
from 3 days to 1 day.
- There was very little ethnic diversity in the ebaY staff present at
the conference. There was also very little diversity in the 200 top
electronic sellers present.
- There appeared to be little or no interaction between ebaY
employees and PayPal employees. The ebaY employees
seemed to be generally in their 30s, the PayPal employees in
their 20's.
- ebaY is considering allowing more than 10 listings of the same
item to cater to large sellers.
- PayPal is trying to get the USPS to integrate into the PayPal
system similar to what they are currently doing with UPS.
- Checkout was a failure and the push to PSP's seen as the way
for ebaY to get a more checkout like way to complete auctions.
- ebaY is working on a promotion to get users to upgrade to DSL
/ Broadband fast internet connections.

To read onece-@aol.com comments, go to -

Over the next few weeks, ebaY will be adding a Seller
"scorecard" with additional seller information to the seller's
auction listing page. This will include -
*The seller's information including User ID, Feedback rating,
Feedback star and any applicable icons, such as the power
seller icon
*A line restating the seller's Feedback rating, and showing the
percentage of unique positive Feedback reviews that seller has
*A more prominent link directing members to read the seller's
Feedback reviews
*The seller's date of registration with eBay, and their country of
*Links to 'View seller's other items' and 'Ask seller a question',
as well as a link entitled 'Safe Trading Tips'.

Unfortunately, TAG's check of the safe trading tips shows they do
little to protect buyers or give them specific information (or links
to specific information) that would actually be of value. Instead,
they give buyers a false sense of security and take them around
in circles, if they actually try to find just how they are to be
protected and from what!

ebaY posted their Fourth Quarter message from Meg and link to
their SEC reports - http://snurl.com/pmo

ebaY has changed their online help system. Reach the help
center by clicking on help in the navigation bar on any ebaY
page. With the addition of search, the system is now usable.

ebaY acted quickly to emphasize that they would not permit
material from the Columbia Space Shuttle to be listed on ebaY.
In addition, ebaY said they would cooperate fully with law
enforcement agencies requesting information about users
attempting to list illegal items.

ebaY posted about their item revision policy. All changes must
be made from the Revise Your Item 2.0 form and this form will
restrict the types of changes that can be made. For more info go
to - http://pages.ebay.com/help/sell/edit_listing.html

After bringing their association with AutoTrader to an early end,
ebaY has now bought "certain assets" of Texas-based
CARad.com. ebaY has also signed a deal with Kelley Blue
Book's kbb.com.   

ebaY has added an ebaY business site at
If you create a listing in one of the ebaY categories that appear
on www.ebaybusiness.com, buyers can find those items
through normal ebaY core search.

As part of this revision ebaY has changed business related
categories -
Metalworking - ebaY has moved all 'Consumables' categories
(Cutting Tools, Grinding Wheels, Sanding Supplies, Saw
Blades) into 'Tooling and Accessories'. ebaY has added a new
'Tool and Work Holders' category and will include Chucks, CNC,
Collets, and Holders - all of which were in the 'Tooling and
Accessories' category.

Test and Measurement - ebaY has added a new category called
'Data Acquisition, Recorders' includes Data Acquisition Systems
and Recorders/Plotters. Another new category called 'Parts,
Accessories, Manuals' includes a new category, 'Attenuators',
and also includes other categories which were at the top level
within Test and Measurement, including Amplifiers, Controllers,
Counters, Timers, Filters, Manuals, Books, Probes, Sensors,
and Waveguides.

Agriculture - ebaY combined 'Farm Supplies' and 'Livestock
Supplies' into one category called 'Farm and Livestock Supplies'
and added brand-name categories under 'Repair, Operations

Electronic Components - ebaY made the biggest changes in this
area and top level categories now include:
*'Assemblies, EM Devices' [Batteries, Power Supplies; Fans,
Heatsinks; Industrial Automation; Input Devices; Motors; PCB's;
Sensors, Controls; Switches; Relays]
*'Interconnects, Wire, Cable' [Cable; Connectors, Sockets; Wire]
*'Semiconductors, Actives' [Analog Semiconductors; Diodes;
ICs, Processors; LCDs, Displays; LEDs; Transistors]
*'Passive Components' [Capacitors; Crystal, Oscillators; Fuses,
Circuit Protection; Inductors Coils]
*'Tubes, Acoustics'
*'Wholesale Lots

ebaY has added four new industry categories, which will initially
fall under the 'Other Industries' section of the site. The new
industries include 'Food and Beverage Production', 'Gov't
Equipment, Public Safety', Mining, Forestry', 'Oil & Gas', Power &
Utilities'. They also added 'Raw Material, Scrap' category within
'Plastics and Rubber'. and Musical Instruments to the Wholesale

TAG finds ebaY's push into Wholesale interesting, as ebaY will
earn listing and final value fees on the items sold as a
wholesale lot, and then earn listing and final value fees if and
when those items are sold at retail on the site.

ebaY is planning on making changes to the Transportation
category within Collectibles. Transportation would be separated
into the following categories:
*'Boats, Planes, Trains' which would consist of the Aviation;
Boats, Ships; Buses, Taxi Cabs; Maps, Atlases; Railroadiana;
and Subway categories that are currently found in

*'Cars, Trucks & Motorcycles' which would consist of Car
Advertising that is currently found under Advertising and Car
Memorabilia, Motorcycles and Trucks categories which are
currently found under Transportation.

Category numbers would not change and no categories would
be eliminated

ebaY is planning on making changes to the Collectibles
Historical Memorabilia Category. Historical Memorabilia would
be separated into the following categories:
*'Politics, Fairs, Schools' which would consist of Amusement
Parks; Circuses, Carnivals; Fairs, Expositions; Flags; Politics;
Royal Memorabilia; Schools; Space Programs - all of which are
currently found under Historical Memorabilia.
*'Firefighting, Police, Rescue' which would consist of Firefighting
and Police, which are currently found under Historical
Memorabilia and a new category, called 'Rescue, Emergency,
*'Fraternal Groups, Scouts' which would consist of Boy Scouts;
Elks; Fraternity; Girl Scouts, Girl Guides; Jaycees; Lions;
Masonic; Moose; Odd Fellows; Salvation Army; Sorority; Trade
Union; Veterans' Groups.

Additional categories will also be created below these
categories. Category numbers would not change and no
categories would be eliminated

ebaY has signed a deal with Gigex to have a download link from
ebaY's video game page for video game previews, teasers and
demos. http://pages.ebay.com/catindex/catvideogames.html

In a scary move, ebaY announced "Monthly" category updates.
TAG fears this means ebaY will increase the rate of category
changes, changes that continue to make the site less user
friendly, making items harder to find for buyers and harder to list
for sellers.

ebaY has changed -
-BOOKS adding categories to Mystery & Thrillers, in both Audio
and Fiction works
-COLLECTIBLES changed Advertising, Animals, Disneyana, and
Militaria categories
-CONSUMER ELECTRONICS added category for Cellular phone
-DOLLS & BEARS added brand names
-HOME & GARDEN added common household items
-SPORTS added hunting, camping and fishing categories and
updated Archery, Snow Skiing, Snow Boarding and other sports
-TOYS & HOBBIES added new yarn categories and changed
Action Figures and Diecast Vehicles
-EVERYTHING ELSE added to face care, hair care, makeup and
weight management program categories

For the fifth time or so ebaY has once again announced that it
will attempt to put together a TV show, this time scheduled to air
in the second half of 2003. ebaY Inc. and Sony Pictures
Television plan to run the ebaY inspired TV show.

ReturnBuy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on 21 Jan. TAG has
been hearing rumors since the end of December that ReturnBuy,
a company that sells on ebaY and is partially owned by ebaY,
was going into Chapter 11. Credit holders reported receiving
"settlement before bankruptcy faxes" on 24 Dec, and large staff
cuts were reported on 30 Dec. ReturnBuy is being purchased by
Jabil Circuit, a St. Petersburg, Florida company that provides
design, manufacturing, repair and warranty services worldwide
for electronics companies such as Cisco Systems and
Hewlett-Packard. Another great ebaY success story.
http://snurl.com/pqk       http://snurl.com/ps9       

Today Sotheby's announced they are discontinuing their
relationship for online only auctions through ebaY.   Sotheby's
plans to end the venture in May, but will maintain its
Sothebys.com web site on ebaY, and continue allowing online
bidding on some live Sotheby's auctions using the Live Auctions
technology. It will cost Sotheby's 2 to 3 million dollars to end
the deal.    http://news.com.com/2100-1017-983355.html

Former ebaY partner AutoTrader.Com has signed an agreement
with Online Auction Patent holder Tom Woolston to license his
patents on their new Car auction site . Chip Perry, CEO of
AutoTrader.com, declined to say how much the company paid to
license MercExchange's patents. But noting that the privately
held company had some $100 million in revenue last year, Perry
said the upfront payment made to MercExchange was
significant.   MercEchange's law suit against ebaY is scheduled
to come to trial in April.

PayPal and Buyer Chargebacks - buyers who use a charge card
to fund a PayPal purchase ARE given full charge back coverage
by their charge card company EXCEPT for Discover Card and
American Express. Discover and American Express will not
allow the buyer to do a charge back against PayPal. PayPal
does threaten to shut down the account of any buyer who uses
their charge back rights under their charge card agreement, but
then makes it almost impossible for the buyer to go through the
whole PayPal process and still have time to do a charge back as
a last resort. This is another very good reason to not keep a
balance in a PayPal account, because PayPal will fund a
purchase through the account balance first before allowing
charge card use, and will also try to collect charge backs if there
is a balance in the buyers account. In addition, TAG has always
recommended that PayPal users have a bank account separate
from their normal bank accounts exclusively for use with online
trading. This is further confirmation of the need for that separate
account.    Related article -

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 - reported on 16 Jan at 08:15
PT that uploading via the Inventory Loader and the ability to
generate and pick up reports was resulting in error messages.
This did not affect the ability to list items individually.

On 23 Jan at 05:29 PT, Amazon posted that they had fixed the
inventory loader problem from 16 Jan.   At 13:53 PT Amazon
posted that sellers were having problems with a portion of their
listings appearing online and available for sale, but not
appearing in the "Open Listings" section of their Seller Account.
This issue impacted listing display and editing, but did not
prevent buyers from purchasing open items.

Sellers using the Book Loader, Inventory Loader, or Bulk Loader,
and needing to make edits or close listings, were recommended
to update through a new upload.

Amazon Contact Info Page on TAG website -

* * * * * * * * * *
Yahoo Auction/Stores/Classifieds (YA) -
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)
As of 6Jan03 Yahoo had 218,717 (-44124)
As of 1Feb03 Yahoo had 282,198 (+63481)

Yahoo Auction counts brought to you by
Yahoo Contact Information

* * * * * * * * * *
On 9 Jan Grab A Bargain announced that effective 27 Dec Grab A
Bargain and Carnaby had ended their relationship. Shortly
thereafter Carnaby disappeared from the internet with no notice
provided to their users. Phone numbers no longer worked and
email messages bounced back.   

* * * * * * * * * *
Auctiondiner announced they would no longer provide image
hosting services. They would only host images used on their
Bidway.com listings.

* * * * * * * * * *
C2it payment services are no longer free. C2it is charging a fee
for each domestic send cash transaction. Domestic Get Cash
and Transfer Cash transactions will remain free. Domestic
Send Cash Transaction Pricing is now 2.0% of the transaction
amount for each domestic send with a minimum fee of $0.30.
International Transactions cost a $10 flat fee.
Have any information for us? email us at
TAG Subscribers often contribute information reported on in
TAGnotes. Visit their auctions or websites.
TAGassist Contributors


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