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TAGnotes Mon 4 Apr 2005 Vol 6 Number 4 Issue 457

The Auction Guild Notes Mon 4 Apr 2005

VOTE (Venues Other Than ebaY) SITES
Bidchaser.com, in an effort to help eBay sellers upset over the most
in a number of fee increases by the company, has created an attractive
package for “orphaned” sellers who are tired of constant changes in
their profit margins. The GEARup program offers existing online sellers
opportunity to make a profit, make a difference and have a blast! Visit

http://bidchaser.com/Gearup/main.php to register today!

Nancy's Collectibles
Your source for small antique, vintage, & limited edition collectibles

For professional, affordable web site design, development,
& low cost web hosting: http://www.tjbailey.com/

Looking for reliable image hosting? Check TAG's image hosting
directory at - http://www.auctionguild.com/generic80.html
     * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

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 -

The complete TAGnotes archive can be found at -
Visit The Auction Guild Web Log at -

TAG does not endorse the companies or products advertised
9500 subscribers   

Pink Quote of the Day I – On a question about the price increases,
mc-@ebay.com posted on 6 Mar at 12:50:16 PT, “… On pricing, we aren't
doing it for revenue. The amount of revenue we will raise will be
immaterial because people will / are changing their behavior. Adopting
gallery less frequently, closing stores that don't have enough sales
volume to make economic sense, paring their inventories back, balancing
better between auctions and store inventory, etc. It's the behavior
change that we needed, not the revenue as you rightly point out.” ebaY
convinces sellers that certain extras are basic necessities, make search
so slow that a thumbnail image becomes a real requirement for buyers on
dial up, and then prices these items out of the reach of the entire
middle class of sellers. Is this what ebaY considers community support?
Sounds more like manipulation and bait and switch.

PQOD II – In one of the most incredible answers as to why indexing of
newly listed items is slow mc-@ebay.com said on 6 Mar at 21:25:01 PT,
“We are working on bunch of these issues. One thing we have struggled
with, however, is controlling the flow of bad guy listed items onto the
site. As you know we put a lot of resources into trust and safety and we
want to be careful not to let bad items show up too fast. The good news
is that even though we are cautious about letting everything hit the
site super-fast, we still have much better indexing times today than in
the past.” The absurdity of this is incredible. Since there is no
abatement of scam listings, ebaY openly acknowledges that they don’t
monitor listings, and plenty of sellers report their legit listings show
up hours or days after listing, this is trying to make a flaw look like
a good feature with a vengeance. And the day ebaY puts lots of
resources into trust and safety, the sun will rise in the west.

PQOD III – Meg Whitman justifying why she uses sellers like lab rats
and makes changes at the sellers expense said, "This is a completely new
business, so there's only so much analysis you can do," she says. "It's
better to put something out there and see the reaction and fix it on the
fly. You could spend six months getting it perfect in the lab or six
days in the lab, and we're better off spending six days, putting it out
there, getting feedback and then evolving it. You can't predict what's
going to happen," Whitman continues. "It's another way of saying
'perfect' is the enemy of 'good enough.' " Of course when the changes
cause problems, it is the sellers that pay the price not Ms Whitman or
ebaY. ebaY continues to charge their ever increasing fees, whether
sellers get the service they paid for or not. Quotes from -

Board Quote of the Day 1 –From a Motley Fool article by Seth Jayson on 7
Feb 05 named Feet of Clay at eBay?, “Yesterday, eBay released a
statement from President Bill Cobb that promised some old-school
customer service. Next in line, a partial retrenchment in fees aimed at
calming the storm. Apparently, boycotting eBay isn't exactly the same as
boycotting air, as my Foolish colleague Rick Munarriz pointed out last
month. True, the firm's moat is impressive, but that doesn't mean it can
afford to do whatever it wants. I remember selling gear online before
eBay, and I can certainly imagine going without.”
http://tinyurl.com/5qz42 TAG has always said there are plenty of
options for selling online. ebaY is NOT the end all and be all of the
online auction and trading industry, and it is the sellers who have the
power to change the industry. One of these days the sellers will
finally wake up and realize that when they decide to move in force (3
million listings) the buyers will follow.

BQOD 2 - After attending the ebaY Voices conference, manuals2go.com said
on 14 Feb 05 at 09:54:28 PT, “Let me just say that the food was great
but we were served a LOT of baloney and it wasn't in the sandwiches.”

BQOD 3 - In a discussion about changes ebaY made to My ebaY that caused
problems for sellers, it was discovered that ebaY had once again cleared
the sellers selected preferences. Since ebaY had cleared the
preferences johnd70 on 22 Mar at 06:44:14 PT warned, “Better check
your wallet too...its possible eBay cleared that out! :-(

BQOD 4 – And in further response to the latest dysfunctional changes and
forced preference changes, twopainters said on 22 Mar at 06:58:35 PT, “
Another fix is to not use My eBay at all, which is becoming my fix of

In a CNET article Meg Whitman cited ebaY research showing that 430,000
users depend on ebaY for some or all of their livelihoods. Is this ebaY
finally admitting the TRUE number of sellers on their site?

ebaY started phone support for all store sellers on 1 Apr with service
from 6:00am to 6:00pm Pacific Time, Monday through Friday.

ebaY will credit $15.95 to any seller who has a store open during the
month of April. Sellers will not receive this credit until May.

In the next few months ebaY will include Selling Manager functions with
all basic store subscriptions.

Chris Tsakalakis is the senior director of ebaY stores

TAG has heard from many sellers that more of their ebaY sales come from
Google searches than from ebaY’s search engine. If this is the case
then why are sellers wasting their time and profits on ebaY? These
searches should be taking buyers directly to the sellers website, not
through ebaY where ebaY takes an ever increasing share of the pie, while
providing fewer services, fewer buyers and more hassles.

At a recent sellers conference of a small group of ebaY sellers called
The Professional ebaY Sellers Association (PESA), the most universal
theme was that sellers were achieving better sales at higher average
selling prices with lower overhead costs when they sold from their
websites as opposed to selling on ebaY. When ebaY is best utilized, it
is as a tool to build customer bases for the seller’s website. There
are many interesting comments in this thread about ebaY.

On the same note, another company using ebaY as a tool was recently
featured in an Internet Retailer article. The seller found that items
on ebaY had lower margins than what sold on his site. In the article
the seller said, “For us, eBay is paid advertising,” he says. “It’s a
way of letting people know you’re there and allowing them to make a
purchase from a vendor they didn’t know before. I have a 20,000-person
mailing list that was acquired through sales on eBay,”

Sellers are also having success selling on VOTE sites, with lower costs
than selling on ebaY. Read the article at -

Of course TAG readers have been hearing this message from us for 6
years. Build a website, use it as a hub for all your sales and list on
many sites including ebaY. Use ebaY as a tool, don’t let ebaY use you.

ebaY has appointed John Donahoe from Bain & Co. as president of ebaY's
business unit, reporting directly to Meg Whitman. Bill Cobb, president
of the company's North American operations, and Matt Bannick, president
of international operations, will report to Donahoe. Jeff Jordan in
charge of ebaY's PayPal unit. ebaY is paying Donahoe $672,000. per
year, plus 2 million dollar retention bonus at the 3 year mark, and also
giving him 1million shares of stock options (currently worth approx 82
mil) Meg appears to be setting the groundwork to groom her replacement.

Article about how ebaY is trying to expand PayPal usage beyond ebaY.   
TAG sincerely hopes that another (or several other) companies come up
with better online payment solutions that are governed by banking
regulations.   TAG thinks it is unwise for sellers to use PayPal on
their websites or the VOTE sites they use, as using PayPal gives ebaY
all their financial information, which more easily allows ebaY to
manipulate those sellers.

Seller sues ebaY in small claims court, and has so far won 2 out of 3
cases, though with very small settlements. It does demonstrate how a
seller can approach ebaY to get those refunds ebaY is refuses to give.
Of course ebaY, in retaliation, has banned the seller from their site.

After backdooring Craig’s List and buying a 25% share of their stock
that was not sufficiently protected by the CraigsList.Com owners, and
after buying several internationals classified sites, ebaY has opened a
classified site of its own named Kijiji.Com. As of now listings are
free, but ebaY is famous for putting other sites out of business, buying
the ones they can’t compete with, and if they can develop a critical
mass, start charging ever increasing fees. There is no reason to
believe ebaY wont repeat itself in the classified business, if they can
actually make it work, a feat ebaY has yet to accomplish with any
business they have branched out into. Articles -

ebaY is desperate to have their numbers look good for their next
quarterly report. It appears that ebaY is trying all kinds of things to
make the façade look good, including almost weekly promotions. ebaY
stock has dropped 57% from its high for the last 52 weeks and 35% since
their fourth quarter earning report.

One of the ways ebaY is propping up their numbers, is by further
inflating their already inflated listing numbers. Every listing that a
seller places in two categories shows up in ebaY’s totals twice, and
costs the seller twice as much. ebaY is now arbitrarily adding a second
category for free, to seller’s listings. ebaY claims this is a test of
second categories, but since second categories have been around for a
long time, it is curious that they have decided to test it at this
point. Why can’t they just analyze the data available to them from all
the sales using and not using second categories on closed listings?

A seller will see a small notation at the top of their item page if a
second category was added. ebaY has promised that no seller will be
charged for this second category, and the second category that ebaY adds
will not show up on relist.

ebaY has completed the conversion of their India site from Baazee.com to
ebaY In. There have been no further reports on the status of the site
manager’s legal problems with the Indian legal system over the
accusations of allowing illegal porn to be sold on the site.

ebaY has a bug that allows phishing scammers to exploit ebaY’s site
links to make the redirect scams look legitimate. This was reported to
ebaY but as usual ebaY was very slow to act. Read the story at -   

The situation with ebaY live auctions appears to be getting worse.
Users report that ebaY has waived listing fees for some of the sites
that post their catalog of items for sale on the ebaY live site.
Reports from users imply that there are special deals made between ebaY
and some auctioneers. If this is true, it puts the level playing field
ebaY always claims, into doubt once more.

To make matters much worse, when questioned about shill bidding from the
auctioneer’s auction house, which ebaY allows on the ebaY live site,
ebaY said that buyers are protected by State auctioneer licensing
agencies. The way the bidding works is that bids from the auctioneer’s
location are shown on the ebaY live site the same whether they come from
“the floor” at the auctioneer’s location or from the auctioneer
themselves in the name of “protecting the seller’s reserve”. Reports
from reliable resources attending live auctions, that are also running
the auction on the ebaY live site at the auctioneer’s location, is that
the floor bidding happens even when there aren’t any bidders present to
bid from the floor. As one user said, “it's a very scaring sight
watching ebay bidders bidding against no one except the house. I've been
in the house at 5 different ebay live auction houses and watched how it
works. Once when I questioned the auctioneer about an item there was no
one in house bidding after $200.00 and I was watching the monitor of the
fellow dealing in the ebay bids and there was no one bidding except one
person why were they pushed to over $500.00? He replied, ‘don't worry
about it’, and the next time I went back they had a screen up so you
couldn't see the monitor.”

The reliable source also said, “I deal with about 70 different
auctioneers and I'm sorry to say there is only one that is stone cold
solid honest. The rest are honest to a degree, but whenever there is
money involved it has a tendency to bring on the worst in people. If you
were a auctioneer and were getting ready to sell a item you knew was
worth $3000.00 and the bidding began and stopped at $300.00 would you
bang that hammer down and say sold or would you pretend you had another
bidder and maybe push the item up to $1000.00 remember the more it sells
for the more you make.”

So once again TAG wants ALL buyers to be warned that caveat emptor –
buyer beware – applies to an even greater degree to ebaY live auctions.
Sellers should also think twice about becoming involved in the ebaY live
part of the site, as it is rapidly developing a very sleazy reputation,
and ebaY has no plans to do anything to change that perception or
protect buyers in any way, leaving it to the States to monitor the

Don’t forget to express your opinion of Meg Whitman on the Forbes site.
For the last 11 months Meg has had the distinction of being the lowest
rated CEO on the Forbes opinion poll, with an all time low approval
rating of 2% for the month of March.

ebaY has become so code bloated, filled with bad coding, cookies, gifs,
banners, tracking software, double click, mediaplex, scumware, spyware
etc, that an ever increasing number of buyers can’t access the site.
WebTV users have been just about chased off of ebaY altogether due to
the slowness, bloat and all the Java and ActiveX coding (page loads of 5
minutes are not unknown). Users on dial up (49% of the active online
user population are on dial up according to Neilson/NetRatings) complain
that the site has become so slow, and bogs down so badly, that they can
no longer bear to use the site, and are shopping elsewhere. Even
broadband users complain the site is the slowest on the net.

To see what we mean use this tool to analyze how large files are and
what the problems in the coding are    

Links to workarounds can be found at –

The work arounds help, but how many users know about them? New users
who don’t know about the work arounds, find the site so slow they don’t
come back. With so many active internet users on dial up, ebaY is
choking off half the potential buyers with their unnecessary bloat.

TAG also feels ebaY can’t justify all the advertising on the ebaY site.
The norm is that free sites have advertising, and paid for sites don’t.
ebaY is getting their fees and chasing away potential customers with
their advertising bloat, denying sellers the full value for their fees.
Maybe the time has come for ebaY to look at where their real interest
lies. If the advertising revenue is worth more than the potential
business they are driving away, it might be time to do away with listing
fees. Or ebaY can just keep doing whatever it pleases, and watch the
continuing erosion of growth, site usage, profitability and their stock

Ongoing thread about the problems on ebaY at –

First time users of ebaY's online postage service who print USPS®
Priority or Express Mail labels (postage costs still apply) starting Tue
5 April 5 at 00:00:01 PT (12:00 AM plus one second) and continue through
Sat 9 Apr until 23:59:59 (11:59 PM plus 59 seconds) will get $1.00 back.
The credit will not appear until May 2005.
To receive your credit, you must first register for the promotion by
going to   

ebaY UK is holding a 5 pence insertion fee promotion for listings 99
pence and under, on Tue 5 April between 00:00:01AM and 23:59:59PM (BST).
Included are listing with auction-style, auction-with-BIN or BIN only
(Fixed Price) formats. ebaY will charge sellers listing using auction
with BIN the listing upgrade fee for BIN at 6 pence per listing.

Excluded are items listed in the automotive (ebaY Motors, cars, classic
cars, motorcycles or other vehicles) and property (Real Estate)
categories, multiple item auction format listings (also known as Dutch
Auctions), identical listings that do not comply with the duplicate
listings policy, shops inventory format listings, any item listed on 5
Apr but scheduled to start after the promotion has finished.

ebaY will charge all other selling fees including but not limited to,
normal insertion fees for all other start prices, final value fees,
optional reserve price fees and all listing upgrade fees such as "bold"
or "highlight".


ebaY AU is holding a free listing day for auction items starting at 99
cents or less, on
Thu 7 Apr from 00:00:01am to 23:59:59pm AEST. The promotional rate does
not apply to listings revised during the promotional period. Auctions
in vehicles and Real Estate are not included, nor are store listings,
fixed price listings and dutch (multi item).

If you add Buy It Now to your 99c Auction ebaY will charge the usual 10c
for utilising the Buy It Now listing upgrade. All other fees and
listing upgrades still apply.

Yahoo has been fighting a free speech battle to allow nazi memorabilia
to be sold on its US site. A five year old lawsuit was brought against
Yahoo to prevent the sale of any Nazi-related items on any Internet site
viewable in France. Yahoo removed the items from its Yahoo France site,
but a ruling in France said that was not enough, and had the French
courts levying fines against Yahoo of more than $13,000 per day starting
in February 2001. If the ruling stands, Yahoo will owe the French courts
a fine that so far totals 5 million dollars.

The U.S. District Court ruled against Yahoo and said that if Yahoo sold
items on a site that could be accessed internationally, they would face
the risk of violating laws of other countries and be subject to more
lawsuits. But in August, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the
District Court’s decision, saying the District Court had no authority to
hear the case, and giving Yahoo another chance. The 9th Circuit also
said it will rehear some arguments in the case with both sides appearing
in front of an 11-judge panel in the next few months. Complete article
at -

A group of 572 defrauded buyers are going ahead with their lawsuit
against Yahoo Japan. The case is in the Nagoya District Court, and the
group is asking for 115.6 million yen (one million dollars) in damages.
Article at - http://tinyurl.com/6dr9o

Approx 145,000 listings. 4% of the total items on the site show bidding
activity, but there is no way to determine sell through rate because
there is no completed item search.

TAG has been hearing from subscribers that Overstock may not be
interested in having listings in every category. One example appears to
be their disinterest in the automotive categories, as they have not been
responsive to overtures made by ebaY Motors sellers who would very much
appreciate the development of an alternative to ebaY.

Overstock is now offering volume discounts to sellers based on the total
number of active listings the seller has at the time they post an item.
Volume discounts apply to both Listing Fees and Closing Fees.
100 – 199 2%
200 – 499 3%
500 – 999 5%
1000 and up 7%

• If you already have 100 active auctions, then a 2% discount is applied
to the fees on active auctions 101 - 200.
• If you already have 200 active auctions, then a 3% discount is applied
to the fees on active auctions 201 - 500.
• If you already have 500 active auctions, then a 5% discount is applied
to the fees on active auctions 501 - 1000.
• If you already have 1000 active auctions, then a 7% discount is
applied to the fees on active auctions 1001+.

Club O members get an additional 5% discount after the volume discount
is applied. Club O Gold members get an additional 10% discount after
the volume discount is applied.


Amazon announced that on 30 April they were implementing changes to
their “Sold, Ship Now” e-mail messages. Their plan was to remove buyer
contact info from the email, allegedly in the name of privacy, forcing
the seller to go into their seller account on Amazon to retrieve the
shipping information.

Sellers expressed their anger with this change, as many seller’s systems
were set up to utilize the emailed information. This was going to cause
sellers, particularly higher volume sellers, a loss in productivity.
Amazon backed down on the decision, said they would review seller input
and come up with a different answer, but still felt they had to make
changes in the information they sent sellers.

.Pro Merchant account holders can get an Order Fulfillment Report that
includes specific transaction information, such as the buyer’s shipping
address, the title, SKU, and listing ID for the item sold, and pricing
information for each sale.

To request an Order Fulfillment Report, go to your Seller Account
(www.amazon.com/seller-account) and click on “Generate and download
listing and fulfillment reports.” On the next page, click the link to
“Generate reports now,” and sign in. The resulting page will allow you
to request an Order Fulfillment Report for the last 15, 30, or 60 days.

Pro Merchants also have the option to request automated fulfillment
reports once every 24 hours, or more frequently at -

If not a Pro Merchant, you can locate transaction information in the
Manage Your Orders section of your Seller Account. Click on "View your
recent Marketplace orders" to view orders from the last 7 days, and
click "Search your Marketplace orders" to locate older transactions.
Once you locate the order you would like to view, click on the order ID
number. The next page has transaction information, such as the buyer’s
shipping address, as well as a link to print a packing slip. More
information about the Manage Your Orders section of your account is
available at -

Some suggestions received from subscribers, in alphabetic order –

AquaBid.com - Aquarium live fish and equipment site, tank and pond
plants etc. Currently no listing or final value fees. The site has
lots of activity and an approx 48% sell through rate.

AutoCastle is a reverse auction service where car buyers may request to
purchase any car then dealers compete for the lowest car sale price.
Sellers use the sell my car service, which is open to private car
sellers and auto dealers and cost $2.95 per contact.

Bid-alot.com – small general merchandise site with approx 8500 listings,
80% of the listings in the jewelry category by one seller.
Unfortunately requires a PayPal account to use the site, which means
ebaY can track all your sales and buyers. No sign of sales.

Bidchaser – Small general merchandise auction and store site with approx
4200 listings, wide variety of items, not much sign of bidding activity.

Bid-It – Small general merchandise site, with a few hundred listings and
not much activity. No listing fees, final value fees on successful
items. Fees are at –

BlueJay – General merchandise fixed price site with approx 12,000
listings. Currently no listing or final value fees.

ePremio – New bilingual site in English and Spanish, a few dozen
listings, currently no fees. Has auction and classified listings.

Gemm.Com – Fixed price music and music memorabilia site, also videos,
books and other collectibles. Has been in business since 1995. Has
shopping cart and ability to accept charge cards using Gemm’s system, or
seller can get payment directly. Offers backend services you can use on
your own website. Also pays 5% on sales referred from your website to
Gemm.Com. There are no listing fees, Gemm charges a final value fees
(site says 3% to 15%, but how they figure this is unclear), which can be
collected, from the seller or buyer at the seller’s option. They offer
lots of services when you sign up for a sellers account including free
websites, free domain name registration, free email address, newsletter
facilities, banner ad exchanges, 5% affiliate program, etc.
International buyers and sellers are welcome. Sellers report their
sales on this site are approaching their sales on ebaY.   TAG thinks
this one looks really good, especially for those in the music industry.

Prizewise.com – In a different approach, this is an online raffle site.
Buyers purchase coupons from Prizewise, which earns them tickets, or
writes in for a free ticket (paying postage both ways), and can then use
these tickets to win raffled items. The seller can set the price, gets
paid $1. per ticket, can set a minimum price (up to 150% of fair market
value) they will let their item go at, pays a final value fee to the
site (17%), and $15.up front to become a seller. Item is raffled and
the raffle winner gets the item. 1% of seller’s fees go to charity. How
the site works at - http://www.prizewise.com/huh.asp

Trade Me – New Zealand general merchandise auction site. Approx 350,000
listings, bidding activity visible in all categories. Listing and final
value fees can be found at –

It looks as if Microsoft is doing something right, and for the good of
all. Microsoft has filed lawsuits against phishers, spammers and
scammers. At least they are making some effort to find a way to track
the scammers down and set legal precedent for future law decisions.
Article at - http://tinyurl.com/4zyqu

Article on how sellers should protect themselves from credit card fraud.


Top 10 scams – good article, from UK but applies to everyone

Fraud's Many Helpers -Very interesting article on how major corporate
fraud is supported by and possible, only with the collusion of a number
of subordinates working in the corporate structure. The article poses
queries, theories and conclusions as to how and why this collusion
happens and says, “Why would highly motivated workers take part in
schemes that jeopardized their careers, their marriages, their standing
in the community, and call into question their most basic ethics? …
Some are jittery, some are tearful, some are headstrong as they take the
stand to recount the inner workings of plots designed to meet ambitious
Wall Street earnings targets, keep stock prices climbing and trigger the
payment of tens of millions of dollars in bonuses and other rewards.   …
The words and actions of a surprising number of these subordinates
suggest that in many of the companies where fraud began to flourish,
workers vowed loyalty not to ethical business practices or even to the
company, but to the charismatic leaders who came to personify their
businesses. Typically, both company and founder assumed a
larger-than-life presence in the community.   …For other corporate
underlings, the motive for participating in fraud appears to be less
intimidation and greed than a heartfelt, if misguided, loyalty to their

TAG can’t help but picture ebaY and their employees framed in these same
arguments. Maybe articles such as this one, combined with the
successful prosecutions of the bosses and subordinates of the
corporations who have already been caught in fraudulent activity, will
act as a prophylaxis to prevent the same situation from happening at
ebaY and other companies, even though many of the conditions appear

Time Warner Inc. is paying $300 million to settle fraud charges by the
Securities and Exchange Commission for lying about online advertising
revenues and the number of its Internet subscribers.   
Since ebaY has made a practice of grossly inflating their user numbers,
TAG wonders if this SEC case will set the precedent and take a look at
ebaY’s figures.

Identity theft article by Michelle Singletary from the Washington Post.
Identity fraud remains the top complaint reported to the Federal Trade
Commission, accounting for 39 percent of the 635,173 consumer fraud
complaints filed with the agency.

Within the last 12 months, 9.3 million American adults were victims of
identity fraud, according to a report by the Better Business Bureau and
Javelin Strategy & Research.
Computer crimes accounted for 11.6 percent of all known-cause identity
fraud in 2004. Most happened when friends, family members or work
associates stole personal information and used it for fraud.

The Better Business Bureau and Javelin have developed an Identity Safety
Quiz.   Take the quiz at http://www.idsafety.net
Once you take the quiz you can get tips on how to protect yourself.
Complete article at -

And while some information for ID theft is being stolen from your desk,
companies such as ChoicePoint are selling it to scammers without
checking the bona fides of their customers first, and LexisNexis is
having security breaches where info is stolen.

ChoicePoint appears to be one of the worst of these information
gatherers and has had problems before the most current extensive one.
In 2002 ChoicePoint sold confidential information about at least 7,000
people and possibly many more, resulting in approx 1 million in losses.
The current loss involved ChoicePoint selling confidential information
on 145,000 Americans to identity thieves.   http://tinyurl.com/6usfw
More ChoicePoint articles – http://tinyurl.com/48dou

Reed Elsevier Plc, which owns the LexisNexis databases reported
fraudulent access to personal information on 32,000 U.S. citizens.   
There were at least four incidents at its Seisint unit, when ``third
parties'' stole customers' identification and passwords.”

Equifax has created a toolbar that displays a visual safety rating for
visited webpages and gives and alert before you enter a page that's on a
list of known scammers or has characteristics commonly associated with
fraudulent websites. The toolbar also has a built-in Google search box
and a pop-up blocker. TAG has not heard if this toolbar is loaded with
spyware as so many toolbars are.

Several years ago some of the States tried to pass laws that would
require people who sold online at auction to become licensed auctioneers
in their State. Much lobbying on the part of online sellers, online
auction and trading organizations and sites, etc., convinced the States
that this was not the direction they wanted to take.

This situation has come up again with the passage of an Ohio law that
requires any but casual online sellers to become licensed auctioneers.
Though this might end up not applying to those who sell their own
merchandise, it is starting to look more likely that those running
online auction sites, and those running drop off consignment shops to
sell at online auction sites, might be required to get State auctioneer
licenses. This requirement could also be applied to selling assistants
on sites such as ebaY, where individuals sell merchandise at auction for
others. Many other States are considering similar bills.

In the case of the drop off shops, this might not be a bad idea, as the
people dropping off merchandise to sell have little recourse or leverage
when the store they used goes out of business (and these stores are
going in and out of business every day – it is NOT a successful business
model except under certain very limited circumstances, and due to the
very low overhead to start such a shop, way too easy to get into) and
the person loses their merchandise and their money. Maybe forcing
auctioneer licensing will limit these drop off shops and better protect
consumers who use them.

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