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TAGnotes Fri 21 Mar 2003 Vol 5 Number 5 Issue 444

The Auction Guild Notes Fri 21 Mar 2003
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This issue brought to you by the preceding ads, supporting TAG
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TAG's advertising rates are at -

TAG does not endorse the companies or products advertised         
6900 subscribers

Please do not be fooled by fake emails that look as if they come
from ebaY or PayPal. No matter how authentic a message looks
NEVER EVER go directly to an account that has sensitive
information (including passwords) through a link in an email. If
you want to check your account, go to the website DIRECTLY
through your normal links and log in on what you know is the
authentic site. Also, please note that there is no such program
as the 'orange fidelity star' on ebaY. This is a scam.

If you need assistance in opening headers on an email, use this
info page -

OK, not a fortune, maybe a living! The only way to make a fortune
on ebaY is to be an insider acquiring stock through stock options
at a few dollars a share and selling it off as fast as the law
allows. But to make a living USING ebaY follow this plan we
recently observed a savvy sellers using. It is even 'ebaY Legal',
though they are sure to not be happy about it. Of course this is
not a universal solution, but it is a direction we feel every seller
should consider.

Step 1 - Set up a website that has an associated mailing list, or
club that customers can join. Make sure you use Meta Tags and
send in a request to Froogle so that you are indexed by them.
Data feed form to get you site on Froogle -
If you sell a range of products in diverse categories, set up these
customer lists/clubs to conform to the interests of your buyers.
TAG can even provide the names of reasonable priced, talented
and savvy web designers if you email us.

Step 2 - Put a few teaser auctions on ebaY every week (you can
also do this on Yahoo, Amazon and any other sites you like)
showing a range of items you sell, priced competitively. Make
sure your email address is available in your auctions and
encourage questions.

Step 3 - Put up an ebaY 'about me' page and describe what you
sell and include a link to your website. Have an email link on
your 'about me' page also.

Step 4 - EVERYTIME a potential buyer contacts you, no matter
what it is about, answer quickly, provide the info they are looking
for, and then tell them about your mailing list/club. If they sign
up, this makes the potential buyer your customer, not ebaY's.
Here is an example of what your email could look like -
Hi Jane,
The shipping cost to your location will be $10 for UPS ground.

We have more selections of xyz on our website.

If you are interested, sign up for an online account and I will add
you into our special ebaY price club where you can enjoy the
same prices without the hassle of an auction. And for those who
enjoy the auction format, we can keep you posted when items
you are interested in come up for sale. We also offer special
bonuses, shipping discounts and other benefits to our club

Thank you for your interest.

Jimmie Joe
Internet Sales Manager
Your Company Name
FROOGLE - the shoppers search engine
To search Froogle go to - http://froogle.google.com/froogle
Advanced Froogle Search -

* * * * * * * * * *
ebaY - Please Check These Pages for COMPLETE ebaY
OUTAGE Details

ebaY Outages Details 1 - 31 Jan 2003 -
ebaY Outages Details 1 - 28 Feb 2003 -
ebaY Outages Details 1 - 18 Mar 2003 -

* * * * * * * * * *
Once again, there are too many ebaY outages and problems to
list here in TAGnotes. The full details of ebaY's Mar outages can
be found on the TAG website at -

ebaY had widespread problems including crashes and
problems that blocked the ability of buyer to find, view and/or bid
on auctions on 2, 6, 7, 9, 12, 15, 17 and 18 March.

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 - Just a short time after ebaY promised
they would no longer request users click through from email
links to access info from legitimate ebaY emails, ebaY had one
of their contract companies send such an email. Not only did the email
require a click through, but it requested a user ID and
password, AND an ActiveX download to access the "survey" this
company was doing for ebaY. Given that this email did
everything ebaY said it would NOT do in a legitimate email,
board posters felt confident in declaring this to be another scam
email, as it fit the pattern of such emails. That is until on 10 Mar
at 18:34:23 PT ebaY marketing VP mc-@ebay.com said, "...
Hello everyone. The survey received from eBay that links to a
Vividence website -- see 15:10:15 PST -- is indeed from eBay. It
is a usability test invitation that does require a clickthrough to
another site. It does *not*, however, require any form of
password entry or disclosure of private information of any kind.
The download tool is an applet that serves the survey
instrument. It is not a permanent file and only exists on your
browser while the survey is taking place. It is much like the
add-in that are downloaded temporarily when you use an online
chat or play a game online. The survey invitation and the survey
tool itself are in line with our policy on email to users: "eBay will
not request private / personal data (password, credit card/bank
numbers, and so on) in an email." There may be clickable links
in survey, marketing or site emails, however they do not take you
to pages where you are asked for password, cc numbers, etc.
Thanks and sorry for the confusion."

Despite what McD said, this did violate the promise made (see
TAGnotes 6 Mar, issue 443) that ebaY would no longer use links
in emails, but direct users to go to ebaY. Another user pointed
out to McD that he was mistaken, and that the link tool took users
directly to a web page that asked for User ID and Password.
Additionally this company, Vividence, is not on ebaY's approved
company list and uses a site redirect. ebaY once again provided
the scammers just what they need to successfully steal
identities from ebaY users, a 'legitimate' email with all the
criteria of a scam email. The survey was at -

PQOD II - On 18 Mar ebaY admitted via email that they were
having intermittent problems with their clocks causing auctions
to close, open, and close again in the last few minutes of an
auction ending. For example, the clock would say 21 seconds
left, then on refresh jump back to 27 seconds. On occasion it
would show a winner and the auction closed and then on refresh
show two more bids. Damien W. M. from ebaY Technical
Support said, "We are aware that some members are
experiencing this unfortunate issue. Fortunately, through
working with our partners, we were able to find the root cause of
this issue and are working diligently to resolve it." Of course
ebaY made no posting on the announcement board about this
problem, following their lies of omission policy. TAG also
wonders who the "partners" referred to are.

PQOD III - in an ebaY article about Randy Wigginton, part of the
ebaY fix it team, the article said, "Wigginton is part of a special
group within the Product Development organization called
"SWAT". The "SWAT Team" is a group of dedicated
programmers and engineers that is focused on identifying and
resolving issues that are happening on the site in real time. "We
have a lot of tools that help us evaluate what's going on during a
crisis," he explains. "From those, we try to give advice as to how
to fix the issue as quickly as possible. We're also available to
help resolve it. "Ever seen an old western - where all of a
sudden the cavalry rides in? That's what we do."" Did TAG miss
something? This CANNOT be the same site we monitor day in
and day out! For example, see our bit in this issue on the little 9
month glitch that allows ebaY to steal double listing fees from
sellers when they relist an item or uses the list similar feature.

Board Quote of the Day I - On the subject of the outrageous
reserve auction fee increase, on Thu 6 Mar at 20:55 PT Kevin_T
said, 'Ebay needs to look at their reserve auction policy and
decide whether they wish to just close the option entirely, rework
the policy so that it does not create such a heavy handed penalty
to legitimate users of reserve auctions or whether they really do
want to just lower the quality and average final value of items on
Ebay for the sake of a quicker sell through (in which case expect
some very attractive deals on BIN and fixed price listings over the
next few months as they try to discourage reserved auctions and
by default the auction process on Ebay). They are interfering with
a formula that has worked to the extent of giving Ebay a virtual
monopoly in this industry, and this will likely interfere (although
maybe to a very small amount in many cases but gradually
increasing) with the household incomes of small users who rely
on the Ebay auction process for their primary income. One
problem is that a slow turn off of buyers will not be directly
noticeable by most sellers until the point that selling on Ebay
becomes unviable, and at that point it will just be put down to
being the end of a fad by most observers. The Ebay auction
system, and it's ability to give tiny businesses access to
international markets was much more than a fad, Ebay instead
appears to be inadvertently strangling the life out of a very viable
business opportunity, partially through poor management and a
failure to understand the auction process and partially through
an overpriced stock market demanding returns that reflect the
share price. This does not encourage confidence for smaller
users who can look at the bigger picture."

BQOD II - Again on the subject of reserve fees and ebaY's
obvious shift of focus to fixed price format, redeer said on Fri 21
Feb at 13:04 PT, "I agree with what others have said about eBay
attempting to force sellers to go with the fixed price format. ebay
didn't understand how an auction worked in the early days, and
at this point they not only don't understand how auctions work,
they don't care. I'm sure some of you recall when eBay decided
that all reserve auctions had to be started at 25% of the reserve
amount, but after a large outcry from the "community" they
decided to scrap that idea. If eBay wasn't such a fickle market &
everything closed at a reasonable amount, reserves wouldn't be
necessary. Unfortunately as most seasoned sellers on eBay
know, prices can fluctuate dramatically from one week to the next
depending on who's looking for what on any given week, and for
many items reserve auctions are indeed necessary.   I seldom
use reserves, and when I do they are usually met early on, but I
can certainly understand why someone listing a Tiffany Lamp
worth $15-20 K would decide that starting it at $100 & letting it rip
with no reserve might not be such a good idea. Also, as most
seasoned sellers of high end items know (as well as people
who have spent years in RL auction houses) no auctioneer in
his right mind will take an item worth $15-20 K & start the
bidding at $15 K. It just doesn't work that way. People want to
believe that they "might" get a bargain, and the more bidders you
get on an item the better the chances are of the fair market value
of the item being reached.   I understand that not all buyers
understand the concept of starting low & working your way up to
the fair market value, but it's a format that has been used for
thousands of years for the simple reason being ...... because it
works. Do some sellers who use reserves abuse the system, of
course they do, but as posted earlier in this thread there were far
better ways to address these problems other than the option
eBay decided on." and "Bidding on eBay IS like gambling, and
it's what brings buyers back time & time again. The BIN feature
is useful for "some" items & for "some" buyers but it's the auction
format that creates the real excitement. People love to gamble,
people love to bid, people love to take chances, and it get the
blood pumping in the final minutes of an auction for both seller &
bidders. This is what made eBay, not clicking a Pay Now button
the moment you see something. eBay seems determined to
take the FUN out of their site & turn it into one large shopping
mall with fixed prices, the very thing that the founders of this site
found to be a "humdrum" experience."
View his auctions at   http://snurl.com/108f

BQOD III - marginally*marginal said on 5 Mar at 16:48:06 PT, "I
don't mind eBay making money, as long as they don't actively
GET IN THE WAY of me making money. But, no. They just HAVE
to put their oar in and muck with the system, turning a simple
enterprise into some abomination that does NOTHING to help
me sell stuff, and EVERYTHING to slow me down."

BQOD IV - in a discussion about the reserve fee increase
marginally*marginal said on 8 Mar at 08:29:51 PT, "No, it just
means large ticket items will disappear off eBay. Which will
make more room for the schlock floggers and marginals to
move in with their snake oil, pyramid schemes, catalog cons,
and get rich quick scam CDs. It's what's called "pre-populating
the front-loaded low-end marginalized market experience" in
mba-eze." View his museum quality Militaria at -

BQOD V - in a discussion about why ebaY would replace the
simple, easy to use, effective Mister Lister with the always
broken, bloated kludge Turbo Lister, etvi-@aol.com said on
12 Mar at 20:07:15 PT, "... Reasons for retiring ML. 1. ML listings
are stored on Ebay, TL listings are stored on YOUR computer. 2.
ML allows you to list and ignore all the high fee features Ebay
wants you to use. TL forced you to consider them. 3. ML allowed
you to travel and start your auctions anywhere you are. TL
charges you 10 cents per listing so you can start your auctions
while away from home. 4. ML was for the benefit of Ebay
members. TL is for the benefit of EBAY."

On 19 Mar, users noted that their was information on the header
of the code of the auction listing form that looks as if ebaY is
going to introduce a shipping calculator to the item pages. This
was found in the headers = SendShippingCalcParams.js . This
makes it appear that ebaY will add yet another page to the SYI2.0
form or possibly a section in the shipping area to

ebaY has added Real Estate & Timeshares to the discussion
boards -   http://forums.ebay.com/db0/forum.jsp?forum=136

In a few weeks, ebaY is adding an optional feature to allegedly
help sellers find a category for their item listing. Suggested
categories will give sellers a list of suggested categories by
entering keywords that describe their item on the category page
of SYI2.0.

ebaY has temporarily removed the "paid" status feature from
their Selling Manager program. They are working on further
integration of PayPal into ebaY.   Over the coming weeks, buyers
will see the "Pay Now" button change to "Paid" status once
payment through PayPal has been made. The status will appear
in various places, including My ebaY, Selling Manager and the
item listing.

ebaY has changed the "create a seller's account" pages.

Despite never ending seller protest, ebaY will discontinue Mister
Lister starting in May. Mister Lister Composer will continue to be
supported through early May, while the Mister Lister Reviewer
will continue to be supported through mid-to-late May. After that
point, members will no longer be able to submit listings through
Mister Lister.

It looks as if ebaY is offering FREE registration to ebaY Live in
Orlando, to some or all Half.Com sellers. Email says, "To
register for eBay Live!, click here"
To take advantage of our offer of free registration to eBay Live!,
be sure to use the promotional code "FOBS" when registering."

ebaY continues to add the seller information box a few
categories at a time. There continue to be integration problems
with this change and the box appears and disappears on
auctions as ebaY works through their kludged coding. TAG sees
the feedback percentages as one more thing that would make it
less likely for buyers to check feedback, to their loss. It
primarily appears to be a way to hide ebaY corporate sellers terrible
feedback, as most folks assume that anything over 90% is like getting an
A in school - without realizing that such a feedback rating is bad
enough that the seller should not even be allowed to sell on ebaY. This
percentage rating also hides the fact that a seller with lots of
feedback, could have nothing but negatives for the most recent
feedbacks, and it would not show in the percentage. If ebaY were
actually doing this to help buyers, they would show the numbers Pos/Neg.

SYI2.0 has a bug, bordering on fraud. If a seller lists a similar
item (in order to retain their listing format) and cuts back from
two categories to one, the item will still list in two categories.
It is very difficult to change this and sellers are caught paying double
fees because of this glitch. This has been going on since July, and
though ebaY knows about it, it appears they are not fixing it. This
also happens on relists.

ebaY has created an untenable situation with their obscene
reserve fee increase of 1% on the US site and 3% on the AU site.
To make it harder for sellers to protect their auctions ebaY is
now threatening sellers that if they end their no reserve auctions
early, they will be suspended from ebaY. ebaY was very unclear
in their post as to exactly what they were going to do. They said, "
We are updating our Fee Circumvention and Reserve Price
Violations policies to clarify that chronic use of ending listings
early when there are bids - and there is less than 12 hours left in
the listing -is not permitted." which makes it sound as if seller's
can't end their auctions in the last 12 hours - though this is not
true according to the user agreement. Their use of the word
"chronic" also raises many questions, as it is much too open to
interpretation and the mood of the person making the decision.
ebaY is very capricious, with their decisions not based on
reason, fairness or justice.

ebaY then says, "There are legitimate reasons to end a listing,
even with bids, and the policies do not prevent sellers from
ending an item early. This change only clarifies our position on
abuse of the capability."
*Reserve Price Violations:
*Listing Techniques that Circumvent eBay's Fee Structure:

PayPal is holding a developer and merchant conference called
PayPal Connect at the Marriott San Francisco, on 8, 9 May 03.
The conference begins on 8 May 8 at 08:00 PT and ends 9 May
at 14:00 PT. Cost is $400. if you register prior to 1 May and $500.
after 1 May. http://www.mollyguard.com/event/4649908

ebaY Motors was looking for a Senior Marketing Manager /
Product Development hire. It was interesting that nowhere in the
job requirements was there any mention of the words
"automotive" "car" or "motors", but the listing did mention that it
was important for the candidate to possess a sense of humor.
No wonder Motors makes its users want to tear their hair out.

Another company is attempting to have shops where folks can
drop off stuff to sell on ebaY. All previous efforts at this have
pretty much failed. With a sell through on ebaY that TAG
estimates at approx 30%, it is little wonder. A company would
need to charge 50% to make this worthwhile, yet it remains a
questionable venture even then. The company, AuctionDrop is
located at Located at 1125-B Industrial Road in San Carlos,
California www.auctiondrop.com

Recommended First is popping up all over the ebaY site. It
resides on your computer and is scumware. For more
information go to -   
or - http://www.doxdesk.com/parasite/SubSearch.html

Recommended Firsts can be removed by AdAware

and Spybot - http://spybot.eon.net.au/

A free downloadable tool to sort negative feedback, available for
windows based machines-

On 5 Mar ebaY UK made changes to the clothing and
accessories categories that caused a furor amongst sellers in
those categories. The changes were in the middle of a work day
without prior notice, and caused sellers items to be arbitrarily
placed in completely unrelated categories and sellers to lose
money when buyers could not find the seller's items. After
several days of the sellers raising these issues with ebaY in
every forum and medium they could access, ebaY UK backed
down a little and posted the following on 7 Mar:

"We are making this announcement in response to the feedback
we have received since amending the Clothing & Accessories
category on Wednesday this week."

"We are aware that the changes made to the Clothing and
Accessories categories have caused significant inconvenience
to a number of buyers and sellers. We would like to apologise to
everyone who has been adversely affected."

"From feedback we have received on the Discussion Boards and
via email, we believe there are four major criticisms of the new
Clothing and Accessories category:

1)My item for sale is now in the wrong category!
The considerable changes that have been made mean that
some items that were listed before the changes now appear in
categories that are unrelated or inappropriate. We realise that
this could have considerable impact on the trading success of
those involved and regret that due to technological constraints
that this was necessary.

What we will do:
We will refund all Listing Fees (Basic and Enhancements) for
UK Clothing and Accessories listings that ended between
06:00am GMT 05/03/2003 and 06:00am 07/03/2003 GMT. To
apply for a refund please email your registered email
address/User ID and the item numbers of the affected listings to
ukbil-@ebay.com. Please title your email "Clothing Category
Refund Request". Please allow 21 days for the refunds to be
processed and applied."

ebaY also claimed they had carefully consulted "top sellers" and
incorporated suggestions from months of feedback from ebaY
buyers and sellers, but that it was clear that more could have
been done to communicate the changes to users in advance.
(TAG wonders if it was the same 9 of 10 users that find SYI2.0
superior to SYI1.0?) ebaY also said the new category structure
would remain despite user problems with it. In addition the
removal of Designer brands from the category list made it hard
for buyers to browse by Designer brand and would be replaced
by a new Designer Page allowing buyers to browse using
brandnames.   Well TAG says that at least ebaY UK gave refunds
to some sellers, but for the most part this was another case of
"We are ebaY, you are not, so sod off".

ebaY Australia is running 1 cent galley image special through
11:59:59pm AEDST Wed 26 Mar 03.

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 - Amazon posted on 14 Mar at
16:25 that they were going to do maintenance that would cause
some third party systems to be down between 24:00 and 02:10
PT on Sat 15 Mar. During that time, seller tools, third-party
platforms, and Amazon Payments will be inaccessible. Buyers
may initiate Amazon Marketplace purchases during this time by
placing them in their Shopping Cart, and will be able to check out
after the maintenance is complete. Amazon posted that the
maintenance was complete on 15 Mar at 01:48 PT.

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 stores are offering a free 30 day trial period. Yahoo Store
merchants pay $49.95/month for hosting, $0.10 per item per
month, 0.5% transaction fee on all transactions, and 3.5%
revenue share on transactions that originate on the Yahoo!
Network. http://store.yahoo.com/

Yahoo auction counts as of 16 Mar
Antiques & Art   17143
Automotive 1656
Books & Comics 15144
Clothing & Accessories 18260
Coins, Paper Money & Stamps 21589
Collectibles 15857
Computers 5450
Electronics & Cameras 2924
Food & Beverage 611
Home & Garden 9022
Jewelry & Watches 23306
Movies & TV 8279
Music 7435
Sports & Outdoors 3083
Sports Cards & Memorabilia 44785
Toys, Games & Hobbies 25800
Video Games 2520
Other 4210
Total - 227,074

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)
As of 13Feb03 Yahoo had 220,763 (-61435)
As of 16Feb03 Yahoo had 227,074 (+6311)

Yahoo Auction counts brought to you by

Ongoing Issues -
Yahoo Contact Information

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

* * * * * * * * * *
ThatAuctionSite - another new auction site, has 10 cent listing
fees, no commission, free pic hosting. 94 listings.

And a more established UK site to check out, the no fee -
eBid - with approx 72,000 listings with 1 GBP no reserve
auctions every evening from 4-7 PM UK time.

* * * * * * * * * *
The USPS might be asking for a rate increase 2 year early.
Postal officials are moving ahead with preparations to boost
rates in late 2004.
Source Rick Brooks Wall Street Journal 4 Mar 03

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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