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TAGnotes Mon 11 Aug 2003 Vol 5 Number 10 Issue 449

The Auction Guild Notes Mon 11 Aug 2003
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This issue brought to you by the preceding ads, supporting TAG
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clicking on or copy/pasting their links and buying their products.
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The complete TAGnotes archive can be found at -

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7500 subscribers   
ebaY - Please Check These Pages for COMPLETE ebaY
OUTAGE Details

ebaY Outages Details 1 - 31 May 2003 -
ebaY Outage Details 1 - 30 Jun 2003
ebaY Outage Details 1 - 10 Jul 2003

* * * * * * * * * *
As always, there are too many ebaY outages and problems to
list here in TAGnotes. ebaY has had major outages almost
every day since the new item page was launched on 7Jul.   
Sellers should request refunds of all listing and final value fees if
they feel their auctions were negatively impacted by these
endless, ebaY induced outages. The full details of ebaY's
outages can be found on the TAG website

TO REQUEST REFUNDS from ebaY go to
or use the ebaY Billing link at http://snurl.com/86w
Don't take NO for an answer, keep requesting until you get the

Pink Quote of the Day I - Classic ebaY - "eBay internal
communication - Talking at desks- Please read Sent: Thursday,
June 19, 2003 10:30 AM To: DL-eBaySJC-all-R [SJC = San Jose CA ed.]
Subject: eBay internal communication - Talking at desks- Please read
It has come to my attention that several employees are talking at
their desks during scheduled work hours. I must convey the
importance of NOT talking at your desk, or to your desk partner.
Talking greatly decreases work productivity, and company
morale. If you need to talk to someone, please schedule a meeting room
where you can talk, or use the break rooms. If you are caught talking at
your desk, you will be escorted into a meeting room and questioned as to
why you are talking, and if it is relevant to your job. If not, you may
be subjected to disciplinary actions. We want you to work hard at eBay,
and enjoy your work. Please contact management if you have any
questions. Thank you, Jody Rivers Safeharbor Manager."
So TAG wants to know, is customer service so bad because the
CS folks spend too much time talking or is it because their work
environment is so unfriendly?

PQOD II - INCREDIBLE, just when we though we had heard it all
- "eBay internal communication - Do Not Disclose The Live Chat
Feature To Members To: DL-eBaySJC-all-R Subject: eBay
internal communication - Do Not Disclose The Live Chat Feature
To Members Please do not disclose the location of the "Live
Chat" feature to our members. Quality control has seen several
instances of representatives emailing the link in their response
to the member. There are only a limited number of "Live Chat"
representatives to handle the growing volume. Until we can add
additional representatives, please direct the member to the web
based email form so that they can email in their question. If the
member would like to know what is the best way to contact us,
please tell them to email their questions and concerns to the
appropriate department so that they can receive a response.
Also, do not give the location of the "Live Chat" feature to a
member over the telephone. If you have any questions, please
email your supervisor. Thank you, SLC [SLC = Salt Lake City
ed.] eBay Management"
This once again reinforces TAG's theory that whatever ebaY
does is a facade for the media and their stockholders.   This
gives the appearance that they are legitimate, keeping their stock
price at its unjustified nosebleed levels, but the substance is
definitely missing.

PQOD III - Hold on to your ideas - on 9 Jul 03 an ebaY rep
responded to an ebaY user saying -   "Our product development
team is working to read, discuss, and process the input that we
get from our members. We are currently going through many
changes as we learn more about the emerging phenomenon
known as eBay, and we are engaging in projects to improve and
expand our service (As well as to address the incredible variety
of entirely new issues that are coming up every day). Ideas,
constructive criticism and other input from people who can see
eBay from different perspectives are extremely valuable.
However, there is one formality we would like to clarify. In order to
avoid any possible misunderstanding, we must advise you that
any comments or materials you have submitted or may submit to
us, including questions, technical or creative suggestions or
ideas, are considered to be non-confidential and
non-proprietary."   Word to the wise, if you send any ideas to
ebaY make sure you have taken the proper steps to retain your
intellectual rights before you send them, and make it clear to
ebaY that you have done so and expect them to respect those

PQOD IV - In a discussion about the new item page,
ken-@ebay.com said on 15 Jul at 11:09 PT, "The item number
was placed on the same line as the listing title so that the
Seller's Description could move farther up the page. Right now
it's higher than it was on the old Item Page, which we know
works better because sellers can see the top of your description
and know that they should read more. We placed the bid buttons
at the top of the page because buyers told us that they expect to
see a purchase button on an item page. As you know, virtually all
e-commerce sites have the buy button up top, and buyers --
especially new ones -- have come to expect that option. In
testing, none of the testees accidentally bid or failed to read the
description. But we will be keeping a close eye on NPB rates to
make sure nothing bad is happening. -Kenny" This design is
valid for a retail site with new items only, not for a site that
sells used merchandise, antiques and collectibles, or at auction.

PQOD V - Who's lying now? Or are we just talking about a major
change, that negatively affected millions of dollars of seller
income, based on statistically insignificant responses?
ken-@ebay.com said on 10 Jul at 17:21 PT, " . . . From January
through April, we tested the new Item Page with over 4500 active
eBay users who were selected at random and contacted via
e-mail. The group was a mix of buyers, sellers and new users.
The feedback was highly positive from buyers, who are the target
audience for the page. Sellers, who tend to be more experienced
users, had some great feedback." and then on 11 Jul
mc-@ebay.com said on 11 Jul at 20:35:49 PT, "The first
component of the tests was to invite several million users to
compare the page design to the original in an online, dynamic
prototype that actually allowed searching, bidding and detailed
capture of user's clicks and feedback. Some of you may recall a
survey invitation that went out a few months ago that caused
some folks concern because it came from a third party called
Vividence. (Vividence was the company that eBay hired to
conduct the survey.) The results of the test found that among
sellers, buyers and newbies, the new design was easier to read,
more clearly laid out and was overall preferred by a significant

PQOD VI - Admission of live beta testing? ka-@ebay.com said
on 15 Jul at 11:28 PT, " We know that you need to see a new
feature in action before you can give us your full evaluation. That
is why we are here, to listen to what you have to say to review for
future enhancements. That, combined with our own testing and
statistical analysis, are the best input we can have. But please
remember that we have to try to please users of varying
experience and skill. . . Katy" Is Katy saying they made this "new
feature" live before they tested it? This appears to be an
admission that ebaY beta tests live on the site, at the sellers
expense - a premium over the service the seller already pays for.
Sounds like fraud to TAG.

PQOD VII - Lies, lies and more lies - ka-@ebay.com said on 15
Jul at 12:09 PT, "Thank you to everyone for coming in today.
Those of you who have been here a while know that we do listen
and make changes. You also know that just as you can't please
all of your buyers or sellers, we are challenged in the same way,
but your input is extremely important to us and it is our hope to
hold more of these discussions both before and after changes
are made. So thank you again for making the effort to be here
today. Katy" Actually those of us who have been on ebaY even
longer than Katy, know that ebaY gives users lip service and
ignores their input. The facade of "listening" is the sum total of
"community participation" that ebaY brags all over the world
about. So far, they are winning the game, as their stockholders
continue to believe the facade is real, allowing their insiders to
cash out billions of dollars in stock options every year.

PQOD VIII - Are these people delusional or do they really believe
their own lies? In a conversation about the snitch button on the
boards, cla-@ebay.com said on 31 Jul at 15:43:14 PT, ". . .
eBay, too allows people to voice their opinions, VERY freely. You
will notice, if you watch carefully, that complaints about eBay
remain on the boards, even extremely vehement ones. :-) The
Report Button is *about* "self-policing" and has actually
improved the environment on eBay boards, and has
substantially reduced the number of post removals, warnings or
other actions, compared to before we had it. In addition, before
the Report Button, only "regulars" on any board knew how to
report violations to eBay. Now, things are more even keeled,
because reporting is equally available to all, as it should be. . .
Clair". TAG is sure that every fascist believes that under their
methods, things run much more equitably, more smoothly, and
in a greatly improved environment. To have "substantially
reduced the number of post removals, warnings or other
actions" ebaY has banned users who have no violations other
than vehemently expressed opinions.

Board Post of the Day I - On the issue of ebaY's Double-Click
spyware partner, rocknrev said on 2 Jul 03 at 12:37:48 PT, "Too
bad eBay has chosen Double-Click to enhance its advertising to
members using keywords on eBay. Double-Click is another
corporate leech that uses your personal information to invade
your privacy. I guess the listing fees are not enough to cover
expenses, eh?" View his website at -

BPOD II - On the new item page lolitaluna said on 7 Jul 03 at
10:33:09 PT, "As a recent graduate who majored in GUI website
design, I have to say the new eBay layout/design for auction
listings is possibly the worst GUI design I've ever seen. It's
horrendous in terms of navigation, content layout, and intuitive
controls. I'd never get away with submitting some like this to my
university or professors. Also, you can't go from having one pretty
much consistent layout/design for nearly 4 years to a drastically
different one (especially one as terrible as this) and expect
people to keep bidding on auctions the way they used to. As both
a buyer and seller, just looking at the new auction pages
instantly makes me close the browser and leave eBay. This is
going to be terrible for business :("

BPOD III - Posted by etvi-@aol.com on 8 Jul 03 at 05:53:29
PT, ". . . Radio talkshow host Clark Howard really ripped the
eBay/Paypal combination as a gateway to fraud. Called the
Paypal contract a NO SERVICE contract. Recommended than
neither buyers or sellers should use Paypal on high value
items." View his links at -

BPOD IV - And when ebaY announced they would have a 'brown
bag lunch' to 'discuss' the new item page, on 9 Jul 03
PsychicSam said, "A "brown bag lunch" is where the sellers who
are so poor their bologna doesn't even HAVE a first name .....get
to listen to overpaid execs eating Beluga caviar explain to them
how the sellers are just going to have to suck it up and pay more
money for less service..... "

BPOD V - In a post that just about says it all, ballard_prints said
on 11 Jul 03 at 15:17:42 PT, "The reason eBay became
successful was the original premise to give buyers and sellers a
place to conduct transactions that was SIMPLE and FUN. Bit by
bit, eBay moves farther and farther from that premise. Layer upon
layer of categories making items almost impossible to browse -
compounded by offering what is unquestionably the most
pathetic excuse for a search engine ever devised for the net.
eBay has turned what was once an elegant one page listing
form into five pages filled with unnecessary garbage in a
desperate attempt to peddle add-on features that have little or no
value, despite the phony statistics eBay throws up without ever
offering any support of their veracity. We know that is true,
because eBay constantly has to offer one cent firesale prices on
those features to try to get sellers to use them. Site navigation
has become so corrupted that it sends both experienced and
new users scurrying for the exits. eBay needs to move back
towards what made it successful in the first place - simplicity
and friendliness to the users. Their real focus should be on
improving site security (a major, major problem) to protect its
users and improve site stability. EVERYONE knows that eBay's
professed 99.9% up-time claims are blatant lies. As far as eBay
is concerned, if only one user in the entire world can get to the
site, then the site is considered up and running satisfactorily. We
all know that is pure hogwash. Improvements to both the site
security and stability would be transparent to the users if
handled correctly. The recent changes to the item page is just
the latest example of how far eBay is out of touch with their
users. The fact that eBay has an absolute monopoly has allowed
them to make mistake after mistake after mistake without being
punished in the marketplace. That same monopoly power has
allowed them to assume a most arrogant attitude towards their
customers' wishes. As we know, monopolies don't last forever -
they never do. Bit by bit eBay is sowing the seeds for their
decline - the arrogance they display will surely come back to
haunt them." The only thing they left out was the fact that ebaY
does not care about their future in the marketplace, their
customers, or their stockholders, only about making a handful of
insiders into multi billionaires in the shortest amount of time
possible. View ballard_prints items at - http://snurl.com/20zz

BPOD VI - Posted by worldclasswhiner on 22 Jul 03 at 13:02:28
PT, ". . . none of ebay's features are Mac-compatible, but they
aren't compatible with PCs either!"

BPOD VII - After claire@ebay's visit 007 said on 31 Jul 03 at
17:18:20 PT, "The last thing anyone needs including EBay is a
pink coming in here getting pushy and huffy and arrogant quoting
policy about anything at all. ESPECIALLY when their site is acting
crappy and flaky and inconsistent and the natives are restless
from pure frustration. Ebay should send their employees to a
couple of psych classes to learn how to cope under times of
stress. One thing you don't do is shove your chest into someone
else's when they are stressed and angry with perfectly good
reason to be that way. This is why they lost touch with the people.
They come in at the worst times. When we get frustrated or when
they want to cram some insane idea down our throats."

On 7 Jul 03 ebaY put their new item page on the ebaY US site,
which was met with the furor of their users. As always, ebaY
made the page live without testing, and after ignoring the
thousands of comments sent by their customers on the preview
page.   ebaY says they will make changes to the page early next

Some of the problems with the new page include -

A new bid and Buy It Now buttons added to the top of the page.
These buttons take users to a separate page where they can
enter a bid and/or a quantity without ever reading the description
or terms of service. In other words, ebaY has made it possible
and more probable that a buyer will sign a legal contract - a bid -
without even reading the contract.   This will probably increase
deadbeat bidders, which is to ebaY's advantage as they get to
collect fees on listings and relistings, items that did not sell, and
force the sellers to jump through hoops to get their fvfs back. A
bid box still appears at the bottom of the item page.   There are
also codes written by programmers who can program circles
around ebaY that will disable the bid button at the top of the
page. Get the disable button code and other useful codes at this
site -

Another major problem with the page is the statement that
'Shipping costs will be specified later' for those sellers that don't
want to use ebaY's flawed checkout. This is an invalid statement
as the majority of sellers specify their shipping information in the
description box.

With the forms of payment, including the places the seller will
ship to, no longer visible at the top of the auction, bidders will
bid on items without realizing the sellers terms. This is another
major flaw that must be corrected.

The photo at the top of the page has to be input via iPix. Since
the iPix system is so poor most sellers avoid it, using their own
hosting or third party services. ebaY says they will eventually
modify this to allow other than iPix images in this block.

Sellers will only be able to influence how the description box
appears. ebaY has taken away control for most of the rest of the
page - unless the seller has better programming skills than
ebaY.   ebaY is also no longer allowing HTML in the location

Since the page has been launched, revise and relist has only
been working intermittently. There needs to be a link to the
description and terms. The sellers name should be in bold and
the title should be centered. Reserve Price Not Met needs to be
in red until the reserve is met. The Hello XXX should be
removed, as it appears to be a security hole. The page needs a
leave feedback link. ebaY says they will make a printable format.

If you want to send ebaY a suggestion, go to their support form -
suggestions is the last pick in the list -   

ebaY claims that their users wanted this change, but the boards
had thousands and thousands of posts not supportive of these
changes. ebaY says they will be making some changes in the
future to the item page -
*Modifying the item title bar so the item number will print out fully
when printing in portrait mode.
*Adding Second Chance Offer information to the status section
when a seller is looking at their own item.
*Correcting a problem with the bid history link that prevents the
bid history from being accessed when a bid retraction results in
no active bids on an item.
*Allow self-hosted images in the upcoming months.
* Add the Start Time back to the top of the page.
* Add some shipping info closer to the top of the page, especially
counties where the seller will ship to.

The following are links to threads about the change - compiled by
LDGifts - http://snurl.com/2134
What do you think of the listing page format?
Constructive thread about what I don't like about new look
New Format: No longer fun for this buyer to browse!
The New Format reminds me of "New Coke"...
Thanks eBay, but ... you could have listened first.
hey eBay! you forgot something
new listing format
*^*%&^$*-where is the gallery picture?????
New Header input needed! :)
New format is awful, no way to pay for buy-it-now?
Like the new Page Format? Wait till ebay charges for that 1 Ipix
photo !!
New Format Blows
ending listings early and blocking bidders with new format
New Format
Not being able to see Buyers feedback sucks in new format for
sellers change it ebay
New format? Love it or hate it?
New Format Doesn't Work on Older Versions OF NETSCAPE
Did anyone else have to go out and purchase Glasses to read
this small print?
Where is winning bidder's feedback info on completed items
Item numbers no longer print
I Will Not List New Items Now
Is anyone else's item page too wiiiiiide? Or know how to fix it?
Buyer Info missing from ended BIN auction
Cancelled Bid/Bid History/New Layout
Serious problem w/new page format..ie: relisting
Listing diverts
Easy money = nothing to do!
I got a question for ebay on the new look
I like the new format
Is in my imagination or...

ebaY is going to force all users to change their email address
User IDs to a non-email address User ID. TAG theorizes that
this will eventually be followed by ebaY no longer allowing
sellers and buyers to exchange email addresses or having them
on the site. This will destroy the identity recognition of long
established ebaY users who have built up their businesses and
identities since ebaY started. With one stroke, ebaY is negatively
impacting the businesses of their longest established sellers.
Inactive users who have not had any buying or selling activity in
the last 12 months, who have an email address as their User ID
will be assigned a non-email User ID automatically, starting the
week of 11 Aug 2003. All other users who still do not have a
non-email User ID will be automatically assigned a non-email
User ID by Jan 2004. ebaY is once again using the blatant lie of
"security" as the excuse for this change - and they will do the
same when the time comes that they disallow users to have
their email address in their auctions or item listing pages. To
change your User ID go to -

Tech Savvy ebaY users posted that due to the new ebaY page
format, it is now easy for programmers to write a javascrip that
enables sellers to "see" every ebaY user that views their auction
and record those that click on the watch item feature. This is
enabled by the new item page where users are identified at the
top of the page.

PayPal had added a feature that allows sellers to block a sender
from sending payment via a credit card. This reads -"Block
Payments funded by: Credit card when the sender has a bank
account " and PayPal has opted all seller in for this option.
Check your PayPal settings and make sure they are set to your
PayPal preferences.

ebaY has changed their policy for revising items. Sellers will no
longer be able to change the category of their item if there are
any bids on the item, and/or there are less than 12 hours
remaining in the listing. In addition sellers may not change the
item description under the same circumstances.

ebaY has added more participants to their Anything Points
program. The program now includes Netflix, Premier Health,
Lending Tree, and McAfee as partners. In a move that makes it
appear that ebaY is not having much success with this program,
ebaY is now going to let sellers pay their ebaY bill with ebaY
Anything Points.
For more info go to -

It appears that ebaY Live in Orlando was...dead. The event with
the largest attendance, the key note address, has approximately
2,000 present. Approximately 3/4s of the seats were filled - and
given that ebaY claimed 10,000 registered (the large majority of
those registrations were free - many including hotel and airfare)
it was a very small turn out. Classes were only partially filled.
There were few participants sitting at the tables in the free food
court areas, and no lines at the various exhibitors' booths
(approx 50 exhibitors).   The event also received little press
coverage, and did not even make the Orlando papers - overall
making it a non-event.

Some items of concern that came up are -
ebaY/PayPal is planning some kind of major change for PayPal
scheduled to be fielded sometime on November, just in time to
once again ruin the holiday selling season.

ebaY will not add additional characters to the listing title, no
matter that it is one of the most requested 'new' features wanted
by sellers.

The majority of ebaY employees users met, had been with ebaY
less than a year. They did not know who Michael Dearing or
other key ebaY staff were. They were very unfamiliar with much
of what was going on at ebaY and totally unaware of user

ebaY continues to roll out Item Specifics Features across the
site. The newest areas to get item specifics were in Music and
Pottery & Glass. Item Specifics are now available in the Tickets,
Travel, Real Estate, Art, Wristwatches, Clothing, Shoes &
Accessories, Pottery & Glass, Music and Movies categories.

ebaY is now providing monthly seller reports for all store sellers.
These have only been available to Anchor and Featured Stores
but will now go to all Store sellers.


* * * * * * * * * *
Microsoft and MSN.COM have now instituted a dictate that
Hotmail email accounts must be accessed a minimum of once
a month. Users of Hotmail email account must log-on at least
once every 30 days, or their account will be cancelled.

* * * * * * * * * *
The Online Auction Users Association (OAUA) recently held a
vote as to whether they should continue to exist or dissolve the
organization.    The membership voted to continue the
organization and will hold their Annual Membership Meeting on 4
Sep 2003, at 5PM Pacific Time. Bylaws call for the President to
preside over the meeting, and for a report by the President and
the Treasurer.

There are seven seats available on the Board of Directors. The
terms on these seats are as follows: three seats for three years
each, two seats for two years each, two seats for one year each.
Nominations are being accepted now. If you are interested in
serving the OAUA in this capacity, please enter your name for
nomination as soon as possible by emailing
secre-@auctionusers.org . Include your first and last name
and your OAUA Member ID. You may also include a short
statement of no more than 250 words and a photo (.jpg format
please) if desired. All Nominees must be members in good
standing of OAUA.

You can read about the duties of a director in the OAUA bylaws
under ARTICLE III -Board of Directors at -

The election will be held over 6 days beginning at 12:01 PM
(noon) Pacific Daylight Time on August 28, 2003 and ending at
12:00 PM (noon) Pacific Daylight Time on September 2, 2003.
Voting will take place online at the OAUA website. Members of
record on 13 Aug 2003 and before will be eligible to vote.

Have any information for us? email us at
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