eBay Problems Affecting Millions

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May 27, 2005 for approx. one hour from 6:25 PDT eBay users experienced sluggish performance and intermittent errors when attempting to sign-in.

Early on May 9, 2005 eBay’s bid and item servers began to have problems. We have been seeing "Page Not Responding" errors when browsing eBay’s various sites manually. We are continuing to monitor their site but there have been several posting on eBay’s System Announcement Board and a later situation update. eBay’s reliance on server farms was exposed after a simple power outage at a principle hosting facility in the S.F. Bay (an earthquake-prone) Area.

Mar 22, 2005 eBay users started receiving errors from eBay’s login servers. Over the past 24 hours there have been a few other cases were this has happened as well. Currently around ten percent of bids are being missed due to this problem. Users bidding manually on eBay might notice either page errors or random pages when trying to place a bid. This problem might be impacting new sign ups as well. At this time, almost all bidding is failing, even if you are trying to bid manually.

NOTE: At 6:10 PM CT eBay announced that users might be having problems browsing their website. For more information, please see eBay’s System Announcement Board.

LATE FEB 2005 saw major eBay server problems resulting in bidders and sniper services being unable to place bids, resulting in lower ending prices for affected sellers.

SEVERAL REPORTS OF regular auctions being closed as BINs (Buy It Now), when that wasn’t offered by the seller, have been reported beginning late June 2004. These occurred with regular and store listings - apparently a new eBay bug in the listing database is responsible. Details of unauthorized BINs here xxx. eBay billing glitches continue well into July 2004

NUMEROUS REPORTS ARE coming in (late May 2004) about US and international eBay problems with the new My eBay 2.0 interface which is heavily (over)reliant on javascript. Most of these problems relate to old eBay cookies - deleting them may resolve several of the latest "My eBay" problems.

UNITED KINGDOM SELLERS are extremely unhappy with a decision by eBay UK (May 2004) to change in the default category and search listings on eBay.co.uk to "Newly Listed" which has resulted in many UK auctions receiving few if any bids (or views) in their final day/hours. A few English eBay sellers scathingly suggested that it was probably coincidental, and nothing to do with the newly-implemented practise of soon-to-end listing being shunted to the back to make way for new listings. Previously on eBay UK the scheme was reversed so that interest in auction items peak at their end, and those items ending soonest to be given priority. eBay support staff member Henry suggested that a fix would be forthcoming within a few days to a week at the outside, since the database changes needed to be outsourced. Various threads can be found here: *** Browse Default Issues: Update ***, WE " THE UNDERSIGNED" STRONGLY OBJECT TO THE BROWSER CHANGES., and EBAY, what day will the browse sort order be returned to "ending soonest" by default ?.

OTHER ONGOING CRITICAL eBay problems include a serious security breach in which users' names and email addresses are exposed to third parties via cookie elements have been unencrypted, particularly "db_fullname" and "db_email" which can be called through the ReadCookie() function. All postings alerting eBay users to this serious security loophole have been deleted on eBay Technical Issues Discussion Board without warning, but can be found detailed on other forums such as Vendio and AuctionBytes. This may be related to California’s recent legislation which makes it mandatory for California-based corporations, or those with affected customers located in California to notify customers of any security problems which may have compromised individual’s privacy. Fuller details of this flaw can be found documented on baconbuttie’s excellent javascripts for eBay website.

UPDATED EBAY GLITCH as of late April/early May 2004 is causing incomplete page loading of auctions listings mainly affecting internet Explorer browser (all versions/platforms). Problem is related to heavy usage of javascript in the new redesigned page format - multiple calls to different ebay servers are timing out resulting in incomplete page loading - and empty white space at bottom of webpage below the standard ebay headers. Problem can be partly resolved by toggling javascript off in IE (or other browser’s) preferences. eBay tech support hadn’t a clue and suggested it might be spyware or virus (their standard reply to any suggestion that it might be a problem on eBay’s side), but this thread on Slow Loading Pages - eBay Problems confirms that it affect Netscape/Mozilla browsers as well. The root cause of this latest eBay problem seems to be over reliance on javascript to generate eBay pages. As many user’s browsers have javascript disabled to prevent pop-ups and other page hijacking schemes, this new reliance for javascript has the potential to affect the security of millions of eBay users.

LATEST EBAY PROBLEM (glitch #146509 in an ongoing series circa March 2004) affects bidders - they cannot place bids on seller’s auctions and get a pop-up message saying "you need to ask seller for permission to bid first" or "Seller doesn’t ship to your country" even if you are in the same country or geographical area. Several well known Power Sellers (volume sellers) on eBay have confirmed that this is due to an eBay database update which has screwed up some data fields. This likely necessitated a restoration of eBay data from backups.

SEVERAL MAJOR EBAY sellers announced they were cancelling their eBay auction listings (as of mid Nov. 2003) and suspended all further listings on eBay until such time as ebay’s ongoing technical problems affecting Seller’s account limits were fixed. (In our experience it took a week of emailing to get our eBay Seller account working again.) A large class of Sellers have been affected by this latest problem (intermittent thru late march 2004) which prevents registered eBay Sellers from listing or relisting items once their account owing balance exceeds US $25.00/UK £15.00. This was initially thought possibly a move by eBay management to have Sellers prepay listing and FV fees in advance, but was discounted as unlikely as it has not been announced in advance. If this latest eBay glitch continues for much longer it may affect their revenue in two of the busiest sales months of the year, which may have an impact on eBay’s stock price. Senior eBay management could not be reached for comment.

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