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TAGnotes Wed 31 Aug 2005 Vol 6 Number 5 Issue 458

The Auction Guild Notes Wed 31 Aug 2005
VOTE (Venues Other Than ebaY) SITES

TAG apologizes for the long hiatus in issuing TAGnotes. We have been
involved in several projects both TAG and non-TAG related, and in some
cases have suffered some setbacks, delays and distractions, that made it
too difficult to get an issue of TAGnotes out. Though we still have no
resolution to some of these projects, we hope we are on the right road,
and can only try harder to get TAGnotes out on a more regular basis.

Also, since the last issue in May (in truth our last 'real' issue was in
April, as the ones sent in May were both Special Editions), we have
gained many subscribers. We welcome them, but also would like to advise
those new to TAGnotes, that though there is much plain factual
information in TAGnotes, it is also filled with our editorial take on
every event (usually prefaced by something such as TAG believes or TAG
feels) and biased negatively against ebaY. After six years of dealing
with ebaY, we firmly believe that ebaY, the company, does more harm than
good in the online auction and trading industry (OAI/OTI). The industry
will only achieve its true potential, when ebaY loses its dominant
position, and becomes just one of many players, places, and methods, to
buy and sell online. Meg and Pierre like to claim the world marketplace
as their invention and creation, but it is the internet and the online
auction and trading community that is the true miracle, allowing this
worldwide marketplace to exist and thrive, in spite of ebaY. ebaY, the
company, is only one part of the OAI/OTI, and a bad citizen at that.   

Nancy's Collectibles. Your source for small antique,
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Looking for reliable image hosting? Check TAG's image hosting
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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.
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10,100 subscribers

On 5 September 2005 ebaY will celebrate its 10 anniversary for its US
site (and incidentally it is the 6th anniversary of TAGnotes). TAG
predicts ebaY will conduct several promotions during the month of
September with a free or 10 cent listing day. We think ebaY will do a
promotion of some sort or another, every week of September.

Pink Quote of the Day I - Meg Whitman during her interview with CNBC for
the documentary The ebaY Effect, when questioned about the lack of
customer service said, "I think we have a tremendously dedicated group
of customer service reps around the world. That said I hear the same
things you do. I think we have more to do there. I think our customer
support can be more effective and we can become more accessible than we
have been. "

TAG continues to hear from ebaY's customers and see proof that customer
service at ebaY is and has always been completely worthless. Despite
years and years of promises to improve communication and customer
service, no improvement has ever been made. In the past ebaY used the
rational that they were too big to provide customer support, and ebaY is
now using the new line that they are good but have more to do to
improve. Both are just lines of propaganda without basis or meaning, to
cover up the complete lack of customer service. When TAG was asked
about customer service at ebaY for the same documentary, we talked about
how ebaY has used excuses why they couldn't provide customer service and
why they hide their phone numbers, and we used the example of the charge
card companies who when they detect irregular use of your charge card,
actually call you to make sure the charges are legitimate. We recently
came across some Visa statistics that point up the difference in size of
the companies, with Visa making ebaY look like chump change. Each year,
U.S.based financial institutions rely on Visa's processing system,
VisaNet, to facilitate $1.3 trillion in transactions with virtually 100
percent reliability. Worldwide, cardholders in over 150 countries carry
more than 1 billion Visa-branded cards, accepted at nearly 22 million
locations, accounting for $3 trillion in annual transaction volume. Now
that is some transaction volume, yet they still have the capability to
provide individualized personal support with toll free numbers to solve
problems. Wake up ebaY, it is time you stopped using excuses and
started providing the support customers have been paying for, and not
receiving, for years.

Pink Quote of the Day II- Courteous and Respectful Posting is Expected
of All Participants posted by cla-@ebay.com on 11 Jul 05 at 17:36 PT -
TAG has this PQODII posted on the TAGlog, as it is a long diatribe by
ebaY and an equally long rant by TAG in response.

Board Quote of the Day 1 - on the reoccurrence of problems thought
solved in the past,
lose_the_report_button_dot_com posted on 2 Aug at 09:54:04 PT, "Torcho,
no bugs ever go away. They are just hidden (temporarily) by a patch
until someone else UNHIDES them with another patch. Ebay has no
employees actually paid to FIX errors. Just keep overlaying more garbage
on top of the bad code they already have. If it were my site, I would
be developing a whole new software offline, and then format the servers
and start over one day."

BQOD 2 - on the promotion to upgrade and "Get 50% Off Featured Stores
in September" and in light of where ebaY went with their gallery price
increase, etvideo1ataol said on 2 Aug at 20:33:57 PT, ".... Once
everybody upgrades, eBay will complain that it is not special anymore
and raise the fees to discourage members from upgrading."

BQOD 3 - on how ebaY has lost its focus oas3 said on 3 Aug at 21:22:30
PT, "... I think ebay has just gotten so big and getting hit everyday
with a new super venture they have kind of lost sight of the bread and
butter business we'd all love to eat steak and eggs, but always must
take care of the bread and butter stuff to help through the hard times."

BQOD 4 - on 3 Aug at 21:25:39 PT bobclay posted, "It will be
interesting to see how the multi hundred million dollar expenditures in
China will hurt other markets. I guess someone [at ebaY] knows what
they're doing, but it is not real apparent to the casual onlooker."

BQOD 5 - and some excellent advice from an experienced and successful
seller, oas3, on 6 Aug at 22:47:50 PT, "...the gallery picture is a
great debate. I've found that after a 1000 listings your page surfers
drop due to the amount of pages they have to scroll. Your items found by
search and price seems to be the driving factor. I had some items
listed that the search only brought up store items and there were 5
sellers of the like item, 4 had gallery and I didn't, my price was just
a little lower than the others, mine all sold and theirs are still
listed. If you list 10,000 items without gallery that's a savings of
100.00 a month which would allow you to list 15,000 instead of the

BQOD 6 - and more excellent advice from the same seller, posted by oas3
on 19 Aug at 19:56:17 PT, "... nothing is going to really do alot of
moving in the auction format for four more weeks. School shopping will
be finished, the weather will cool down and it will get darker sooner,
people will get bored and move indoors and do some shopping on the
internet. It's kind of like fishing, you do a ton of chumming get them
to feeding and then drop in the good bait with the hooks and start bring
them onboard.."

ebaY Motors is holding a 1 day Pro Pack Sale for all vehicle listings on
1 Thu 1 Sep 2005 at 00:00:01 PDT (12:00 AM plus one second) and ends
that same Thu 1 Sep 2005 at 23:59:59 PDT (11:59 PM plus 59 seconds).
The Pro Pack upgrade includes a combination of Bold, Border, Highlight
and Featured Plus

ebaY will charge $14.98 for the Pro Pack upgrade on Auction-style and
Fixed Price ebaY Motors vehicle listings on the US ebaY Motors site.
ebaY Motors vehicles include Passenger Vehicles, Motorcycles,
Powersports, and Other Vehicles as listed on www.ebaymotors.com. This
promotion will not apply to non-vehicles listings, or for International,
Live Auction, Professional Services, and Store Inventory listings.
Listings on www.ebay.com are also not eligible for this promotion.   
ebaY will charge all other fees (transaction service fees, PayPal fees
and all other optional listing upgrade fees). A description of optional
listing upgrade fees may be found at -

ebaY Pulse is a page where ebaY shows what it says are the top searches,
stores with the largest number of listings and most watched items.   

ebaY will soon show the shipping costs for each listing automatically on
all search results and listings pages (you currently have to choose to
have these displayed). This will be a disadvantage for sellers who offer
multiple shipping options as only the highest priced option will show.

On 22 Aug, ebaY announced that they were going to once again make it
ebaY legal for a seller to cross promote other sellers. Using a new
ebaY cross promotion connections feature, sellers can use links through
ebaY's system to cross promote their items. These cross promotions show
up when a buyer bids or makes a purchase, and follow the sellers own
cross promotions.   Buyers will see up to 5 items from connected sellers
and can have up to 10 active and pending connections at one time.

Why any seller would want to do this, TAG finds a mystery. At least, in
the past, when sellers were allowed to have links to other seller's
lists of items for sale in their listings, sellers could form selling
groups or clubs and hold promotions all the people in the group would
participate in. This program does not make that type of program easy to
implement, though a very clever selling group could work out a title
format that would make such promotions possible.

ebaY is adding the ability for a seller to lower their reserve price,
even after bids have been placed. Changes can be made by using the
"Revise Your Item" process as long as 12 hours or more remain in the
listing. The reserve can be reduced downwards to a minimum of one bid
increment above the listing's current price. Once the reserve price has
been lowered, ebaY will send current bidders a notice about the change,
via email, My ebaY, and on the item page.

If this new reserve price is lower than the high bidder's proxy bid,
the proxy bid will also be reduced to one increment below the new bid
price (meaning they'd have to bid again to meet the Reserve price). This
will prevent buyers from unexpectedly becoming the winning bidder on an
item where their previous bid didn't meet the reserve price.

For example, if a listing starts at $1 with a reserve of $100, and the
first bidder bids $75. The current price would stay at $1 since the bid
didn't meet the reserve. If the seller then reduces the reserve amount
to $50, the bidder's proxy bid will be reduced to one bid increment
below $50, so they wouldn't become the winning bidder unless they place
another bid.

There is no indication from ebaY that the charge to the seller for the
reserve fee will decrease with the decrease in reserve.

After raising the fees to use ebaY stores, ebaY is now trying to make
them more attractive to sellers. Some changes ebaY is making:
Sellers will be able to make changes to stores inventory listings in
bulk, edit and apply changes to as many listings as desired. ebaY is
expediting the ability to change the format of listings from store to
auction or fixed price, or from those to store format.   In addition
ebaY has added a format column to My ebaY where store sellers can keep
track of the listing format for each item.

ebaY filed in June with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to
double the number of its authorized common shares to 3.58 billion.

After 10 years ebaY now has a fraud investigation team, and has
information posted on how law enforcement can contact them for
assistance and records for investigations that relate to either the eBay
marketplace or PayPal financial transactions

ebaY also now has a brag page on how they have helped law enforcement to
catch crooks. TAG is glad to see that after 10 years ebaY is finally
doing something about crime facilitated by their site, better very late
than never.   It is interesting how ebaY employees are claiming all the
credit when the likelihood is that ebaY users were the ones providing
the initial clues.

All sellers who offer PayPal as a payment option on their ebaY listings
must now accept all forms of PayPal payment. This includes payments made
via PayPal account balances, bank accounts, or credit cards, regardless
of whether sellers display the PayPal logo with credit card icons, or
have a personal,premier or merchant account. Those with personal
accounts will be required to upgrade their account if someone wants to
pay them with a charge card. The seller can't mention PayPal in their
description or include their own links, unles they are willing to accept
all forms of payment. What sellers can do, is say in their description
that the potential buyer can email them with questions about the item,
shipping alternatives and payment alternatives and include their email
address/link in the listing description, and if emailed give the buyer
the option to send a non credit card payment via PayPal.

Google is working on an online payment system, and check, money order
and BidPay will work until then.

ebaY has added a want it now feature to their site. The idea, stolen no
doubt from sites such as iOffer.Com (with much more sophisticated
features than ebaY has), allows buyers to list an item they are looking
for, and sellers to view those items and provide the item, whilst ebaY
gets their cut.   With fewer than 182,000 listings, this feature started
in Dec 04, does not appear to be generating any great interest. This
despite the fact that William Cobb, the president of ebaY North America,
is claiming a 50% sales rate using this feature (as opposed to ebaY 's
35-40% sell through rate on the rest of the site). A seller responds to
a wanted item by posting a listing, and the seller's fees are the same
as those charged for regular listings.    

ebaY is constantly putting out lots of statistics, but as with all ebaY
statistics, TAG finds them suspect. ebaY currently claims it has 157
million registered users worldwide, 82 million international users and
75 million U.S. users. Of course to arrive at these absurd numbers,
ebaY counts every user ID ever registered on their site, and each user
ID is counted as an individual user, despite the fact that the average
ebaY user has approx 3 user IDs. In addition, approximately 10% of
ebaY's alleged registered users are dead, and even in cases where ebaY
knows about the fact that the user ID belongs to a dead person, ebaY
keeps the account active.      

ebaY is also claiming that 724,000 Americans (up from their alleged
number of 430,000 in 2004) earn primary or secondary incomes by selling
on ebaY. Without seeing more details on how these sellers define
primary and/or secondary income, this could include almost anyone who
sells on ebaY. Of course ebaY knows exactly how much every single
seller grosses on ebaY, and they could publish this real information (in
a non individually identifiable manner), but it would so throw over the
fantasy ebaY creates as the facade they present to stock holders and
potential stock holders, they keep this information top secret.


Another ebaY program is going belly up. ebaY is ending their ebaY
Anything Points program on the U.S. eBay site. The program officially
ends on 28 Feb 2006. Point holders will still be able to use accumulated
points until 31 Aug 2006 (all points that have not been used by August
31, 2006 will become invalid).

The ebaY Anything Points program will remain in effect on eBay Canada.

Sellers can no longer offer ebaY Anything Points as an incentive on new
listings (listings already offering eBay Anything Points on this date
will continue to do so). On 30 Sep 2005, ebaY will remove ebaY Anything
Points from any listings still offering them.

ebaY is putting in a data center in Phoenix. ebaY purchased a
four-story, 141,000-square-foot building at 4010 N. Third St. from Cole
Phoenix Telecom for $16.3 million.

ebaY continues to play Ostrich when it comes to anti-fraud protection.
The suggestion in this article is for ebaY to use two factor
authentication which ebaY says is unnecessary, and claims that the fraud
on their site is insignificant. Since ebaY wont even take the simple
step of requiring a secure password (combo of letters and numbers etc),
it is easy to believe they would not use a more complex system. In
addition, ebaY manipulates fraud to their advantage, and earns profits
outright on deadbeat bidders.

A couple of articles about fraud on ebaY and what users can do to
protect themselves. The information is useful overall, but suggests
doing things like downloading the ebaY toolbar (so filled with spyware
and scumware it can't get past programs that protect users from such
garbage) that users should avoid.

Scammers keep finding holes in ebaY's coding that allows them to steal
info from users. The following articles show in detail how this is
done. Unfortunately ebaY's coding is so bad, these hacker thieves keep
managing to find new holes when ebaY plugs ones that are publicized.

In April, ebaY settled a lawsuit brought against them by shareholders,
due to kickbacks given to officers and directors of ebaY by Goldman
Sachs, between 1999 and 2001. As part of the settlement, the defendants
claim that none of the allegations are true. $3.4 million was paid by
ebaY Chairman Pierre Omidyar, ebaY CEO Meg Whitman, former ebaY vice
president Jeffrey Skoll, and Goldman Sachs. The net proceeds of the fund
will be provided to ebaY. ebaY said is was going to give half of the net
proceeds to the charities Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern California and
Appleseed. The settlement is chump change to these people, not even a
slap on the wrist.

Want to put a seller out of business on ebaY? This seems to be a new
scam perpetrated by ebaY users (and facilitated by ebaY's system) who
either don't like or are a competitor of a seller they want to
eliminate. The scheme involves registering some fake buyer IDs and then
bidding on a specific sellers auctions to make it look as if they are
shilling the items. Keep this up for a while and then report the
shilling pattern to ebaY to get the targeted seller suspended. Since
ebaY does not really do research on such things, they shut the seller
down. With ebaY not having a formalized appeal process, the seller is
out in the cold and the scammers can go about business as usual with one
less seller annoying them. ebaY facilitates this by not doing anything
about verifying buyer Ids in even the most basic way. For years TAG has
proposed the most simple solution that would help prevent these kind of
frauds and also cut way down on deadbeat bidders, and finally give
sellers a fair solution when deadbeats mess up an auction. That
solution is to have every registered ID on ebaY, fund their account.
Even if it means just depositing $10. in their account (no charge card
required) then using those funds as necessary, to refund the listing and
final value fees to sellers if the buyer backs out on a deal. A simple
solution to a many faceted problem.

ebaY now has a Polish auction site. As with many of ebaY's
international sites, particularly new ones, there are no charges to list
and sell on ebaY Poland. Sellers using PayPal do pay the PayPal fees,
though according to the PayPal site users in Poland can only send money,
not receive it.

ebaY India, a site with free basic listing fees (has fees for listing in
service and real estate categories, and low fees for listing using ebaY
International, and final value fees) spends twice as much on a
percentage basis on marketing initiatives as ebaY.Com Worldwide.
""Marketing expenses constituted 10 per cent of our gross merchandise
volume," director (category management and marketing) Gautam Thakar
said." ebaY bought Baazee.com in July 2004.
ebaY India fees - http://pages.ebay.in/help/account/fees.html

For all the hype and press releases ebaY has made about ebaY India, the
site in really tiny compared to the US or Germany (and this from a
country with the second largest population in the world of 1.08 billion,
and a huge technology base). In a Silicon India article, talking as if
it was a great thing, the article said that there are 378 ebaY India
sellers using the international function of the ebaY India site, with 16
items selling an hour and a total of 3500 items for sale to
international buyers. In addition, ebaY India claims a total 1 million
registered users (which we all know means user Ids not individuals). In
the scheme of things this site is tiny and being subsidized by those
really carrying the ebaY burden.

The article also talked about ebaY using India to outsource services and
support, which TAG sees as potential to make the worst customer service
provider in the industry, even worse.


ebaY is also spending their customers hard earned dollars, by the
hundreds of millions in China. They have started construction of a 200
million US dollars headquarters in China in Shanghai's Pudong district.
The 30,000 square meter facility is slated for completion in 2007 and
will be ebaY's largest non-US operation. ebaY has also started a PayPal
payment service in China, though the PayPal Worldwide site only reflects
a very limited PayPal presence.


Effective 29 Sep 05 ebaY is raising fees on ebaY UK and Ireland on sale
of multiple items and use of the Buy It Now feature.

ebaY UK has changed the max fee on multiple item dutch auctions and
fixed price listings from 2 GBP to 3 GBP. They have also increased the
fee for adding Buy It Now from 6 pence to a fee ranging from 5 pence to
25 pence depending on the starting price of the listing.

ebaY Ireland has changed the max fee on multiple item dutch auctions and
fixed price listings from 3 Euro to 4.50 Euro. They have also increased
the fee for adding Buy It Now from .10 Euro to a fee ranging from .10
Euro to .30 Euro depending on the starting price of the listing.

For details of the fee changes on ebaY.co.uk go to -

For details of the fee changes on ebaY.ie go to -

The new fees on ebaY.co.uk and ebaY.ie will become effective as of
00:00:01 (one second after midnight GMT +1) on September 29th, 2005.
Listings that begin after midnight on September 29th, 2005, will be
charged the new fees, regardless of when they were created (for example,
through a listing tool such as Turbo Lister or through the Sell Your
Item form using the scheduled listings feature).

Overstock is continuing to pursue auction markets. They are working
with AbleAuctions.com and its subsidiary, Unlimited Closeouts Inc, in a
six month test to target high-volume resellers, with a co-branded
auction. The co-brand is called OverstockUnlimitedCloseouts.com and
will be used for liquidation of merchandise and sources of supply
through Unlimited Closeouts' business as a reseller platform that sells
bank and trustee inventories, as well as distressed merchandise, in bulk
volumes. The lots on the co-branded site are in pallets and blocks of
merchandise that include 2,000 to 5,000 units per lot, though case lots
are also available at somewhat higher prices. The customer target for
the co-branded site is volume resellers and retail chains, though with
case lots almost any seller can take advantage of this source for items
to sell.


Yahoo Auctions has eliminated fees on its site. TAG thinks they are
throwing in the towel on the US market, and changing their auction focus
to places where they have a chance to succeed, such as Asia, and China
in particular. A shame Yahoo was too arrogant and stupid to work with
the community and use the advantage they were handed in 1999/2000 in the
US market by the Million Auction March.   

Yahoo has formed a long-term strategic partnership with Alibaba,
including their site Taobao, the largest online auction player in China.
As part of the deal Alibaba will take over Yahoo China and Yahoo will
invest another $1 billion in cash. In exchange, Yahoo will take a 40
percent equity stake in Alibaba and have 35 percent of all voting
shares. The deal is valued at $4 billion US. The deal combines
Alibaba's domestic and international business-to-business online
marketplaces, online auction company Taobao, and Internet payment
service AliPay, with Yahoo's namesake Chinese portal, search properties,
and majority stake in auction joint-venture 1pai.

TAG is endlessly baffled by the never ending influx of new auction and
trading sites, each one with no or inconsequential innovations to
differentiate them from the other hundreds of sites, lacking sellers and
buyers and the ability to attract either. If all these folks with the
desire to have a site would join together, pool their assets and ideas
and come up with something different and better, then they might have a
chance to break into the market. As they stand, the only sites with the
slightest chance of making any progress are small niche sites that cater
to a particular audience without the patience to sort through all the
garbage on ebaY's bloated and inefficient site. It is time to think
different folks - come up with a new idea, invent new technology, form a
member owned cooperative, do something that makes your site unique and
interesting, instead of wasting your time, money and energy on just
another auction site doomed to failure.

eDibz.com - new site with all the expected features universal to the

Iron Planet. Com - Looking to sell heavy equipment online? Try
www.ironplanet.com, a North American auction company of heavy equipment
that has conducted successful sales.

GoShopGirl - Niche site aimed at women shoppers, fixed price, auctions,

GovDeals.Com - several municipalities are now using this site to sell
various surplus and confiscated items.

GunBroker.Com - Another site for selling guns, ammo and related items.

Lab equipment, Medical equipment and supplies, analytical instruments
58% of closing/sold items have 1 or 2 bids with an occasional item with
multiple bids
Fees are at -

Sports Only Auction.com - new site for sports related items only. No
fees of any kind until the site has 3,000 users, and then no listing or
selling fees, but a flat 20 cent final value fee. Users can link to
their website or other sites they sell on if they are for sport related
items. List an item on the site and get entered for a $25. drawing
conducted every other week. Get one entry per listing.

Sony Online Entertainment is fighting back against the secondary games
market by starting an official auction site of their own called Station
Exchange. The site will facilitate EverQuest II subscribers in buying
and selling the rights to use characters, items and money in a
player-to-player auction setting.

VGA Auctions - UK auction site for video games and related items. No
listing fees, but end of auction fees, upgrade fees and swap fees.
that requires verification for all buyers and sellers.
Oztion.com.au - Australian auction site

TradeMe.Co.NZ - dominates New Zealand online auction and classifieds

Some other New Zealand sites -
OneWay.Co.NZ - http://www.oneway.co.nz/
AuctionNZ - http://www.auctionnz.co.nz/
BidOn.Co.NZ - http://www.bidon.co.nz/


Bid-Alot.Com - auction site that requires PayPal usage and verification
(TAG does not recommend usage of PayPal, and the need to use safety
measures if you feel you must use it). Verified sellers receive a $15.
credit towards their seller fees. Listing is free, sellers pay final
value fees and listing upgrade fees.

BidChaser.Com - Auctions, stores, service directory, classifieds. free
listing, sellers pay final value fee on sold items.

Blujay.Com - classified site with free listing, free stores, free image

ePier.Com - auction site with free listing, sellers pay final value fee.

iOffer.Com - negotiation and wanted items site. No charge to list, free
stores, seller pays final value fee. This site is a perennial favorite,
and one we get lots of positive emails about from sellers.

OnlineAuctions.Com - auction site, $8. per month flat fee, links to
website allowed.

Tradera.Com - Swedish auction site, free to list and sell. Has an
English translation site.

WhaBam.Com - new auction and wanted items site with fixed fee scale at
different sales levels. Currently has a 6 month free platinum (top
level) trial subscription (coupon code EN006).

Free and informative guide on how a small business can get and/or
improve their online business. Ignore the information about PayPal (TAG
does not recommend using PayPal), and for domain hosting GoDaddy.Com is
a much better value rather than those listed in the guide, but the rest
of the info might be useful.

ChannelAdvisor.Com now includes services compatible with Froogle, Yahoo
Shopping, Shopping.com and other VOTE sites. Merchants using the
ChannelAdvisor suite can set up an "e-store" and enable comparison
shopping at numerous sites. The new release also includes promotions for
repeat buyers and support for value-added tax collection in Europe as
well as taxes in Australia. TAG has heard complaints from Channel
Advisor's charter members that the company is reneging on their

Aspyr Media has a MAC OSX ebaY selling manager tool called iSale
retailing for approx $40.. This can be used to create and edit online
auctions and is integrated with iPhoto, iSight, and iDisk. Users can
prepare auctions offline and send to ebaY when next connected to the
internet. It also has an overview of the current status of running and
finished auctions. It is compatible with ebaY USA, Canada, Australia,
France, Germany, UK, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium (French/Dutch),
Italy, Netherlands and Spain.

Lots of articles on phishing, pharming and other fraud, including
preventing fraud perpetrated against merchants, the most vulnerable
group - all worth reading.   As one article said "These merchants take a
triple hit when there's fraud: They lose their product, they lose their
shipping fee and they pay a chargeback fee," he said. "With online
fraud, merchants are the true victims, not the consumers, because
[consumers] only need to call their bank and they are credited their
loss." The more you know the less likely it is you will fall into the
scammer's traps

Five ways merchants can protect themselves against fraud

Article on identity theft well worth reading

Anti phishing site - has in depth info phishing and pharming, another
must read.

Article on pharming -

How your Identity Information is bought and sold by Corporation and
other businesses of all sizes. This on top of the massive reports all
summer of misplaced consumer files and security breaches involving
ChoicePoint, Lexis-Nexus, Bank of America and Wachovia.

Interesting article on click fraud

PC World report on how Banks are sacrificing security for customer
convenience in changing PIN numbers on their card.

No more anonymous domain name holders in the US. New laws and
regulations now require that owners of domain names may not be
anonymous. These rules target online fraud by forcing owners of web
site domain names to identify themselves, when they register the
domains, and the domain seller to have the information publicly
available. The federal government says online anonymity is an obstacle
to law enforcement, and allowed fake escrow sites and other scam sites
to hide behind the anonymity.

Verified by Visa, is a program whereby card users add an additional
password for when they use their credit card online. This helps protect
Visa card numbers against unauthorized use, and appears a simple added
layer of security that provides little inconvenience to merchant or

Technologies are being developed in conjunction with Visa to verify
online usage of Visa charge cards, so that merchants can more safely
accept Visa cards online. Merchants are the most vulnerable victims of
online fraudulent use of charge cards. For more information contact
your bank or view the option online at Visa.
Visa 3-D Secure Services     

It is becoming possible that State agencies are going to require
licensing for people and organizations that sell at auction online, and
even more likely that those who sell for others online will be required
to get licensed and bonded. Tennessee and Louisiana are already
requiring auctioneering licenses for those selling for others online,
and States such as California, Ohio, Illinois and Florida and dozens of
others, are also looking at or have started to require licenses.

It is the responsibility of the person selling online to contact their
State agency and see if a license is required, as ignorance will not
protect against culpability. For those selling for others on
consignment, particularly those with visibility (running a consignment
drop off store, or registered as a consignment seller on sites such as
ebaY), this should be a priority concern. TAG has compiled some contact
info for sellers to research licensing requirements at -

TAG can see there being a need for licensing, or at a minimum bonding,
for consignment shops. These shops can be easily used for fencing
stolen goods, with or without the shops knowledge. They also put people
who consign merchandise at great risk for loss, with no recourse. Since
these consignment businesses are rarely a viable model, they go out of
business all the time, leaving the person who consigned the item without
their item, or their money.

Article on Ohio licensing requirements -

Article on Louisiana licensing -

Article titled Do You Need an Auction License for eBay?


A Nielsen report on US internet usage shows that internet usage has
leveled off and probably wont increase until some type of innovation
causes new growth. The report said, "There are many opportunities ahead
for companies online, but if they just continue to do what they're doing
today, they're only going to move sideways."

The report found that those living in the US spend an average of 14
hours online each month, which is close to the worldwide average. Those
living in Hong Kong surf the longest out of the 12 countries looked at,
averaging nearly 22 hours. On the lower end, Italians on average log
eight hours online during the month. The year over year growth for
internet usage in various countries, US -2%, Germany 4%, UK 8%, France
19% Hong Kong 25% no stats were available on China.

Interesting Usage Ratings, ranking and time on site

Eliot Spitzer, New York state's attorney general, is targeting pop-up
ads with a lawsuit against one of the biggest US producers of adware,
Intermix Media, a Los Angeles-based internet marketing company.   His
suit is directed against the practice of planting software on consumers'
computers without their knowledge, allowing the company to deliver
pop-up ads or hijacking internet users' attention to its own sites.
Adware, scumware and spyware are a wide spread problem on the internet,
doing everything from delivering unwanted ads to monitoring a computer
user's behavior and stealing information.      

According to a Visa USA SpendTrak Report, the weeks prior to Mother's
Day are the second-busiest shopping season of the year, and Visa's
ecommerce volume from 2003 to 2004 increased 45%.

Have any information for us? email us at
TAG Subscribers often contribute information reported on in
TAGnotes. Visit their auctions or websites.
Not just a venue
email us - tag@theauctionguild.com

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