Saturday, 6 January 2007

Super Bad

The company chosen to design the funeral programme for the Godfather of Soul, James Brown, is now selling reprints on eBay. In a written statement, the printer said "If the last thing they are going to get from [James Brown] is a program I thought they should get an authentic program and not a copy. Ebay is such an accessible medium that allows people all over the world to access the program if they want a copy."

A representative of the funeral home who hired the printers said that he had not authorised the sales, and was waiting to hear from the Brown family on what action they wanted taken.

eBay has numerous copies of the programmes from Brown's three memorial services for sale.


Or maybe they're bad photos of tat?

William Boling is an artist who builds typological works that examine ephemeral artifacts and situations in the vernacular landscape.

He collects photos from eBay auctions. [Possibly not safe for work.]

The vast majority of these images are confected for the purposes of the sell and will be erased. ... A scholarly literature replete with postmodern analysis is beginning to form around the phenomenon of this new space and its new photography. The traditional indexicality of the still print is shifting with web based photography and nowhere is this seen more vividly than on eBay. ... This collection is a kind of sampler that gestures toward – as my postmodern friends might have it — a hermeneutics of the opening phases of new photography in the virtual social space we call eBay. Or as I’ve come to see it, this collection is a digital reliquary for an evanescent photography.

Call me old-fashioned, but I'd say that some things deserve to disappear.


Catching phish

Michael Sutton's analysis of Google's list of suspected phishing sites makes interesting reading, with some shockingly simple tricks still apparently fooling web users.

eBay and Paypal remain top of the phishers' hit lists, with 47% of URLs listed aimed at either one or other site: looking at my inbox, this isn't particularly surprising.

What is jaw-droppingly incredible is that Yahoo apparently host Yahoo-phishing sites. Why anyone would put any sort of personal information into a Geocities site is quite beyond me, but as simple subdomains ("") seem to work for the phishers, it's fair to assume that people are still not checking even the basic details as they click on these links.

As Sutton himself says,

Based on all of the sites that I looked at, the majority of phishing scams are less sophisticated than I had predicted. This is however somewhat concerning as simple attacks must still be working and attackers have not been forced to upgrade their skills in order to make a profit.

Via The Reg. via Techspot.

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All you need is Skype

web site love heartWith Valentine's Day not so very far away, Skype want to hear from you if video calling has kept you and your loved one together. If you'd like to be part of a cheesy romantic Valentine's promotion, send them an email (not a Skype text then?!).

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Friday, 5 January 2007

TalQer bout Skype costs

Currently in the UK SkypeOut calls to UK landline numbers (starting 01 or 02) are free for six months for users that spent £10 on credit prior to 31st December. However they still have to pay for calls to non-geographic numbers and mobiles. For anyone that missed the promotion the rate is £0.014 per minute - significantly cheaper than BT rates at £0.03 per minute.

TalQer now offers an alternative tarriff (TalqOut) with a plug in for Skype and a rate of €0.012 (approx £0.008) per minute to 22 countries! The TalQer Skype plug in gives up to 53% savings for European users (because they're not based in Europe they don't charge VAT which Skype does).

Talqer is the service which allows Google Talk users to dial out and now offers an alternative to SkypeOut. With Skype due to release a new disruptive (innovative?) pricing strategy on the 18th January (which will include a connection charge of €0 – €0.039 per call) many people may look at TalQer as an alternative.

TalQer can provide a dial in number so that people can call you (TalqIn), voicemail, call forwarding and integration with browsers and email clients to make telephone numbers clickable. TalQer goes one step further then Skype with the ability to highlight any telephone number in any application and click an icon in the Windows System tray to dial the number.

You can choose whether you to integrate TalQer with Skype and/or Google Talk or use it as a stand alone application. TalQer is not associated with either Skype or Google Talk but gives an alternative means of calling to traditional telephone networks (and yes you can pay with PayPal).


eBay gives other sites a good handbagging

Online auction sellers fall generally into one of two camps: those who like eBay, and those who hate Feebay with a passion. Those of us in the first camp - and I'm happy to stand up and be counted here - sometimes make the observation that we go where the buyers are, and the buyers are all still on eBay. The response to that is generally that we don't know what we're talking about.

Now Trevor Ginn, head of Auctioning4U, has given us some real listings to look at, and interesting looking they certainly are:

Over the last few months have sold many Harpers & Queen Brown Cowhide Briefcase Joyanatura so we decided to try idential listing on other auction sites. Over the period of the trial we have sold 17 for an average price of £27 (ranging from £12.50 to £63) on eBay. Data for the other sites is as follows:
  • CQout: No Bid, 15 viewers
  • eBid: No Bid, 6 viewers
  • QXL: 1 Bid at 99p, 102 viewers
  • Tazbar: No Bid, No Data
Admittedly, it's one product, but really, how conclusive can you get?

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Sellathon acquired by Auctiva in first major merger of 2007

Auctionbytes reports that Auctiva has acquired Sellathon. Sellathon products were previously available as a third party add on to Auctivas tools.

Adaptations are already being made to Sellathon with an auto-insert being promised rather than sellers having to insert the HTML code themselves. This is one change we'd suggest that you do NOT use. Auto-inserts are not the most reliable and sellers should retain control of their auction code to ensure stability.

Past problems have included the Squaretrade auto-insert changing £ signs on UK auctions to $ signs. PayPal auto-inserted logo allows buyers to pay for an auction without winning it - not a problem if you have plenty of stock but for unique items an off eBay sale with an on eBay buyer paying legitimately at a later date causes real problems. Andale had an issue where all their images were replaced with "Thanks for looking" images covering entire auctions (see below). We'd strongly recommend inserting any code you want yourself.

andale insert mess

If you're tempted to test Auctiva's products bear in mind if you sign up for auto-inserts of features like Auctiva Store it will insert it in all your auctions automatically. There is no roll back, once it's in, it's in until the auctions finish, you're much better off inserting the code manually.

Sellathon has traditionally provided fantastic data regarding how users access a sellers auctions including what keywords buyers searched for, what category they browsed, how they sorted their search results, if they're watching your auction, if they're planning a snipe, how much time they spent on your auction, the best time of day to sell and all in real time.

Similar data is available from eBay Market Research, but this is historical and for the site as a whole. A hit counter in conjunction with Traffic Reports (Omniture) give you some indication, but Sellathon is the Rolls Royce of auction tracking software.

Auctiva have traditionally given most of their products away for free. In practice many sellers have preferred to pay for reliable solutions such as Vendio and Sellathon - you get what you pay for - so it will be interesting to see how this acquisition affects products of choice.


Phlash, argh!

As anti-phishing technology gets better, scammers are working to stay one step ahead. Many current phish detection tools rely on spotting form elements in the page's HTML code that require passwords, credit card numbers and so on. Crooks have therefore turned to Flash, which can replicate entire webpages undetected by such tools. Examples of this technique, inevitably known as "Phlash", have already been seen spoofing Paypal's site.

We can't say it often enough: don't click links in emails. If you're worried about a message you may have received from eBay or from Paypal, sign in to your account via the browser address bar *only*. If they have something they need to tell you, it will be there on the genuine site.


Cornish posties push the envelope

The envelope had only a map with an arrow pointing to northern CornwallAnyone who's ever had a problem with a Royal Mail delivery (that's all of us, then) may be comforted to know that they can sometimes work miracles. A Christmas card sent to Cornwall, with only a vague map of its destination instead of an address, actually got delivered. Amazingly, the card, sent with with no street name, town or postcode, arrived with its intended recipient nine days later after a postal worker recognised the name of the addressee.


Happy snappy

How to build your own light box and infinity board: improve your eBay photos for almost no expenditure, with the added bonus that you need an empty beer box.

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Thursday, 4 January 2007

Star buys

Film buffs can find a double helping of unique memorabilia on eBay this week. Freddy Krueger's fedora, as worn mainly by a stunt double, can be yours for just US$10k. I'll take two.

If Freddie's too scary for you, how about a life-size Sylvester Stallone complete with Apollo Creed shorts, at a much more reasonable US$2750.

Interestingly both items are listed as Buy It Nows: this kind of high-profile collectible is the traditional stronghold of the Auction format, and indeed, seems made for it. Are we now seeing the very last death throes of the eBay Auction listing?


Carrots are good for you

This was going to be a comment on Scott Wingo's post about eBay fee changes and the upcoming eCommerce forum. It got a bit too long for someone else's comments: in general, when a comment is longer than the post you're commenting on, it's probably time to stop!

I'll go out on a limb and guess that with the "stick" of the fee increases, we will see a "carrot". I'd guess it will be in the form of some seller's reward program that is geared towards giving growing sellers a break on their fees in the form of some PayPal $, etc.

I really hope you're right with this, because we are long overdue a carrot.

It's not about the pennies here and there on the fees: any seller worth their salt should be able to deal with a 5c increase without much pain. It's the bigger message that these increases give: give us more and more and more and more of your turnover, and if you don't like it, go away because there are a thousand more wannabe sellers queuing up behind you. It sometimes feels like eBay think sellers are a magic porridge pot which will keep spewing out fee payments whatever they do to us.

I'd like to see eBay rewarding seller loyalty. Give us a reason to put other channel plans on the back burner, and make eBay a cornerstone of our business again - whether it be a Paypal-like tiered fee system, the ability to "bulk purchase" listings or upgrades ("buy ten Galleries, get two free"), a certain number of store listings free with your subscription, whatever. Frankly, just about anything that gave the message that we're all in business together, that eBay are there to facilitate things for their sellers rather than just screw them harder into the ground, would be very much appreciated right now.

And ANYTHING AT ALL they want to do to promote Stores is good with me :-D Despite last year's changes, 80% of my sales STILL are from store listings. Stores work. They work beautifully. I just wish eBay could appreciate that. They're so stuck in their old-style auction mindset, I don't think they realise how many of their buyers and sellers have moved on from that way of dealing, that the novelty of the auction format has largely worn off. eBay is now "the place where you can get anything". But if you cripple Stores, you stop that happening. The obscure items we might need to list for a month or two before we find a buyer are no longer worth what eBay will charge to sell them, so we won't bother. Result? A site that's filled with the same crap you can buy on Amazon. This sure as hell affects the vibrancy of your marketplace. Recognise what you have in Stores, eBay, and work with us to promote it.

As for what else we'd like from eBay, well, Mountie already wrote a list.


Every move you make

I've always resisted the idea of a web cam for use with Skype. I mean, who wants to have to put make-up on just to make a phone call? But after Ryan's piece of genius in The Chatter about using two Skype accounts and a web cam to help house train his dog, I think I may have to reconsider. This has so many possibilities, from security monitoring when you're away from home to keeping an eye on your kids in the next room, I think I'll get myself a web cam now.

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A penny for your Porsche

Geoff Iddison of Paypal presents Porsche keys to Warren WysockiWarren Wysocki of Horsham registered for PayPal Mobile and donated just one penny to Children in Need.... and won a brand new Porche Boxster!

We blogged the promotion back in November and the winners were revealed today.

I can't believe I've won my dream car. I am thrilled to have taken part in this competition and am now the envy of a lot of people in Horsham I can tell you!

Twelve other lucky winners won cash prizes ranging from £1,000 up to the top prize of £25,000 by using PayPal to send money in various different ways or even simply for getting their PayPal account verified.

Congratulations to all the winners.... any chance of a ride in the Porche?

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eBay Blogs arrive in the UK

eBay Blogs are about to be released in the UK, a blog (like tamebay) is a "web log", a journal or newsletter that is regularly updated with news and information for its readers. Users on have been unable to register to use blogs on and simply been told it's a feature that won't be available in the UK. However although it's not yet live the help pages have been updated and when eBay blogs go live in the UK you'll be able to log on at

Before you start blogging it's worth checking the updated Community Content Policy for the rules, which incidentally will also apply to the eBay Wiki. Rules for community content are slightly more relaxed than on auctions or the community boards tempered with the warning that you're responsible for the content you publish.

It looks like are at last going to get the features which rolled out with MyWorld in the US back in the Autumn.

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Wednesday, 3 January 2007

Happy New Year, give us more money

Only two days back at work after the holidays, and prices are going up on eBay.
  • On the core site, the insertion fee on the US$1 to $9.99 is being increased by 14% to 40c.
  • FVFs on the US$25.01 to US$1000 tranche increases from 3% to 3.25%.
  • Transaction fees for Motors increase by US$10,
  • and the Motors reserve fee switches from a fixed amount to a percentage of the reserve price.
I'd see the first of these as most significant, as eBay continue their campaign to get low-cost items not only out of Stores, but off the core site too. Bill Cobb might "believe these changes are modest", but they potentially represent a huge hike in eBay's bite of the turnover for many smaller and hobby sellers. Still, speaking generally, it's difficult not to feel some level of relief that hikes are relatively limited.

The same fees changes as above are being applied to Changes go live on 30th January.

European sellers, get ready; we are surely next.


Scottish charity auctions looking good

Scotland on Sunday has an interesting crop of auctions in aid of Sightsavers on QXL. My brother in law's an MSP, so I'm rather tempted by the chance to tell the Scottish Parliament what to debate, though if anyone wants to get me a late Xmas pressie, I'd be very happy with Alexander McCall Smith, or Rebus, or the whisky...

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RM wildcat strike in Leeds

Royal Mail staff in Leeds held an unofficial strike today over the amount of junk mail they are expected to deliver. Deliveries were disrupted to the LS14 and LS15 areas, though Royal Mail said that they were attempting to deliver as much mail as possible. The Communication Workers' Union said that management were not listening to staff concerns, but as junk mail seems to be the only thing that's keeping Royal Mail going at the moment, they might just be striking themselves out of a job.

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Internet Explorer version 7 has popularised internationalised domain names (web addresses in scripts other than the Latin abc) by allowing Internet users to access Internet domain names in their native language. Domains such as the Arabic domain have been given a boost in desirability as Internet Explorer 7 allows them to be viewed in the native script. American English has dominated the Internet so far but now other languages will gain importance and Arabic along with Chinese is likely to be the most influential.

International Registrar have chosen this week to auction on eBay the Arabic equivalents of (بوش.com), (صدام.com) and (الأمريكية.com). Jesse Lee owner of the site says

This is the right time to auction these domains, the increased popularity and awareness of IDNs is important, not only to developers but also to people throughout the world who have been forced to use English online, rather than their native language. These sites have amazing potential for development, the historical importance of these domains makes them highly sought-after commodities, regardless of any perceived controversy.

Non Latin alphabet domain names are incredibly important. In the week following Saddam Hussein's execution these three could fetch the most money for the seller, but the importance of Internationalised domain names could be overshadowed by the political overtones. For the seller the timing is right, but non-latin scripts deserve greater attention than as the legacy of an execution.


Tuesday, 2 January 2007

Going solo

Andrea has been an eBayer for over three years and recently took the step from part time eBay seller with full time employment to full time eBayer. Today she shares her story of how redundancy spurred her on to success. Andrea is a full time business-registered PowerSeller with over 11,000 feedback from over 8,000 seperate buyers.

For me, taking the next step to being a full time eBayer was simply that. Taking that step. Working two full-time jobs, i.e. as an eBayer and as a market research exec was taking its toll on me. 9 to 5 in the office with a three hour round commuting trip five days a week and then working evenings, weekends and lunch hours eBaying was slowly but surely draining me. I got up at 6.30am and went to bed at 1am with a lie in on Sunday (midnight to 7am). The worst of it was that I NEVER had time for the children. As a single parent, that was the criminal aspect of how I was leading my life! Something had to give eventually.

I was a bit of a coward, I ‘downsized’ my off-line job and became a Regional Manager for the same company – looking after interviewers and mystery shoppers in the field, which meant I could work from home. All this meant was that I managed to cut out the three hour daily commute. It brought its own problems though. Working from home in my off-line job meant dealing with interviewer problems etc in the evenings and the weekends as well as during the day. I was also earning less than half of my previous wage. Which was good in a way, because it showed me that my eBaying was actually able to sustain me. My off-line job wage now reverted to becoming my pin money. However, I STILL wasn’t spending time with my children. Not properly, anyway. I was at home – but at my computer the whole time.

Finally, October 2006, my company closed its field department and now outsource that aspect to another company. So I was made redundant. Best thing that could have happened really. I now work from home, eBaying full time, but now with the added ability of being able to schedule eBay and my personal life to really suit me. I can now work harder on it, I can list more because I am now able to cope with more sales, I can spend time on proper customer service, my mistakes are almost non-existant (I was forever sending out the wrong thing to the wrong person, or sending out only one when two were ordered etc). I am able to concentrate on getting a real off-eBay website set up and can now factor in some other retail projects for 2007 properly, i.e. book myself onto a whole lot of Festivals.

All in all I am very VERY glad to have been made redundant. I don’t think I would have had the nerve to do it without that shove – I used my off-line job as a crutch for way too long. I wish had been brave so I could have done it all earlier…and by myself.

The best of it all, of course, is that I now have time for the children. We have a LOT of things planned for 2007 for us as a family and I CAN’T WAIT! They are the reason I worked myself into the ground in the first place and they are the reason I realised that my life had to radically change to fit them into it.

If you are working two jobs and are on the verge of going solo, I would say go for it IF it means you can make MORE of your e-tail business if you do. It might be an idea to downsize first, i.e. take on a part-time job or find a job that you can do from home first. Do your accounts properly, so that you know exactly what you need to do to go solo. You need to be sure that the time you give up being employed will make a real difference to you as a full time e-tailer. You need to be sure that you can live off your earnings as well as keep investing back into the business. You need to also love being on your own, eBaying is a fairly anti-social business – no colleagues to throw paper-clips or to roll your eyes at when the boss is having a go! Finally, your foundations for being able to do so must be your reasons for doing so – they must far outweigh any reasons for not doing so.

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Want it now

With the first day back at work of the new year I've been thinking about what eBay could do to make my life easier. How could they iron out some of the little niggles that constantly pop up on a regular basis in my life as an eBay seller. It's by no means a definitive list, but if eBay could work on it over the course of the next year I'd more than a little grateful!

Block echeques for eBay payments

eCheques are the worst type of payment for serious business sellers. First PayPal promise the buyer they'll clear in three to four days! Complete poppycock, in the UK they take around ten days to clear. Secondly you're reliant on an email from PayPal to inform you that they've cleared (well email was never the most reliable medium) and finally there is nothing so frustrating for both the buyer and the seller than having waited the requisite ten days just for the darn thing to bounce! Scrap em or give the ability to block them.

Multiple shops on one ID

Many sellers open more than one shop for a variety of reasons, different stock lines or to tailor products to different geographic marketplaces. Life would be so much easier if you could have multiple shops on one User ID.

Account verification for buyers and sellers

There is very little justification for either buyers or sellers not to have fully verified accounts. In the US there has been ID Verify for some time - why not in the UK?

Listing upgrades bundles

Some countries already have the option to buy multiple listing upgrades at a discounted price, if this was offered it would not only gain eBay more revenue but would encourage sellers to use and experiment with more features, e.g. why not offer Gallery, Bold and Highlight as a bundled price?

Biddy's button

When a buyer has bought something from a Shop, eBay present them with two options: "pay now" to checkout, and "continue shopping with this seller". We propose changing the latter from its current unclickable text, to a button that would take the shopper back to the Shop (or seller's other listings), at one stroke making things easier for buyers to buy multiple items and therefore increasing eBay's revenues.
Screen shot: Pay now (button) or continue shopping with this seller (text)
Biddy first suggested this on the Power Seller message board over two years ago (and on some now-defunct US board even longer ago than that): it's received support from numerous Pinks from Doug McCallum downwards, but promised action has failed to materialise thus far. It's a tiny change in code, so why on earth has it not been implemented? Go on Doug.... Change it to
Screen shot: Pay now (button) or Return to seller's Shop(button)

PayPal & eBay to learn we're in the UK

What is so difficult about UK address formats? We do not have City_State_Zip on the last line of our addresses! We have City, County and Postcode on SEPARATE lines specifically with the postcode on the final line on it's own. Seven years trading in the UK and they still haven't worked it out! Bit pathetic really.....

Shop listings bundled with shops fee

To encourage Shop Inventory Format now that it's rendered practically obsolete by excessive fees why not include a certain number free with the Basic, Featured or Anchor monthly shop fee?

SIF Fees to be per sale not per item

While we're on the subject of shop fees the biggest gripe with the BIN and SIF final value fees isn't the percentage per se. It's the fact the percentage is applied per item. This means if you bulk sell quantities of low cost product each and every one is charged at the highest percentage rate. Why not apply the percentage to the total sale of that product line purchased in a single transaction, or even better apply it on a pro rata basis based on a months total turn over similar to PayPal merchant rates.


Yes we know it's available in SMP, but quite frankly if any part of eBay is going to fall over it's SM and SMP, just check the community boards to confirm this. Why not incorporate autofeedback into either TurboLister, or even better a standalone option in my eBay.

More cheap listing days

We love em, they save us fees

Scrap cheap listing days

Yeah I had to put these last two in to prove you can't please all the people all of the time. Many sellers detest cheap listing days because they fill the site with junk, so if we're going to have them just don't make them Free Listing Days ever again ;-)

Oh and finally.... just carry on as per normal! eBay is a fantastic platform to run a business on. Don't make it too easy or everyone'll be doing it!

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Staffs. RM strike again

Royal Mail staff in Staffordshire are again on strike, this time over the suspension of a colleague for alleged agressive behaviour towards a temporary measure. Staff in Burslem, ST6 walked out on Friday and Saturday last week, and no deliveries are being made again today. An RM spokesperson said, "This unofficial and unlawful strike is not the way to resolve any dispute."


Polish shines for QXL

eBay-competitor QXL has bought a 75% stake in Polish price comparison site Ceneo. QXL already runs a Polish auction site, Allegro, but Robert Dighero, QXL's acting chief executive, said that "This acquisition provides us with expertise in what is currently an underdeveloped area of the e-commerce market in Poland and the potential to develop this area in other geographic markets."

This is an interesting strategy: QXL's homepage lists Scandinavian and eastern European countries as their "principal operations", without even mentioning their UK and German sites, the two European countries where eBay is strongest. It seems that QXL are trying to position themselves to pick up business that eBay, with their unfortunate concentration on China, have missed.

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Tax offices may strike on January 31st

UK taxpayers may want to plan to get their tax returns posted a little early this year, as the largest civil service union plans strike action for deadline day. The industrial action, which could also affect many other services from driving tests to passport applications, is over compulsory job losses, below-inflation pay offers and outsourcing.


Monday, 1 January 2007

Spam me, eBay, one more time

I know it's not like me to complain that eBay communicate too much: normally, it's exactly the opposite. But this week, I've had a bunch of communication from them that's gone beyond pointless, deep into 'completely infuriating' territory.

you have two alertsFirstly, we have the "you've changed your email" alert. Actually, I have two, because my main email account went down on Friday, came back Sunday, and so I changed to an alternate and then changed it back again. eBay put alerts in My Messages, great. And then they tell me I can't delete those alerts for ten whole day. WTF? I've read the messages, I made the changes, it's all legit, why do I have to have that stupid red blob at the top of my screen making me think that my seller account is overdue or some buyer has filed for non-something or other? I don't need it, eBay, I really don't.

Secondly, there's eBay's neat trick to double your spam. For some reason, rather a lot of Chinese wholesalers think that my gothy jewellery-selling ID might wish to invest in their electrical products. In fact, they're so sure that I should become a customer of theirs that on Christmas Day, they sent me spam ASQs from a dozen different accounts with the same enticing message. I know there's nothing eBay can really do about spam ASQs; I've been getting them for seven years, and I can deal with them. On Boxing Day, I duly clicked the "report" link beside each one in My Messages and grassed them up as spammers. So far, so good.

But then I received back, for each spamming ID, a "Communication Partner Warning" from eBay, informing me that a member with whom I had recently communicated had now been excommunicated from the site. These were not people from whom I'd bought, or to whom I'd sold. They were people who had sent me ONE email, whom I'd reported. And gotten a whole bunch more spam back from eBay as a result. Thanks. Thanks SO much.

Finally, and perhaps least expicable, is the "Notification of Change to my Feedback":

Dear biddybidbidbid,

A member with whom you've recently transacted has been indefinitely suspended from eBay within 90 days of registration. We have removed any feedback they left for you or others.

eBay removes feedback when a member is indefinitely suspended for certain policy breaches within 90 days of registration. eBay believes that members indefinitely suspended soon after registration shouldn't be able to permanently affect another member's account.

To see your current feedback score, go to your Member Profile.

Thank you,

They obviously liked me because I got fifteen of those messages: musta been a nice big order. But do eBay tell me who it was? Nope, not a clue. So what was the point of that? They don't tell me who the dodgy buyer was so I can look out for them when they re-register, or suggest that I keep an eye on their Paypal payment as a potential chargeback. Maybe they want to to make phishers lives easier by encouraging clicking of links in emails (which it does - I get this message from phishers too)? Who knows.

Please could someone who designs this rubbish for eBay actually start using the site, get rid of the stupid over-communication when it serves no purpose, and start communicating with users about the things that actually matter.

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Romania hacks PayPal and joins the EU

Romania joins the European Union as a full-fledged member today and gains the same status as the other member states. PayPal however continues to block Romanian IP addresses and fraud prevention rules mean a single login from a ‘prohibited’ country causes a PayPal account to go into a restricted mode.

This was irksome for Sagewing Corporation whose technical team that integrate Joomla and Paypal is based in Romania. When working on a client account a single test logon would limit the account! Still, no problem - they just hacked a solution by using Windows Virtual Private Server and their techies log onto the server using Remote Desktop thus appearing as if they're based in a different company.

If it's that easy for a legitimate technical team to get around PayPal fraud controls I can't see other hackers having too many problems!


Sunday, 31 December 2006

Bidding hello to 2007

"Who can say what we'll find, what lies waiting down the line" sang Abba. Well, in a rush of New Year's Eve wine crystal-ball gazing, here are our predictions for 2007 on eBay:

  1. SIF FVFs will be reduced (though not back to their pre-August 2006 rates). This year's emphasis on 'core listings' will be deemed a success, so much so that shop/store listings will need a little loving to encourage them back.

  2. Shop subscription fees will be increased to compensate for the above. Big sellers will love it, small sellers will complain that eBay are trying to put them out of business (as usual).

  3. As eBay's management rediscover their love for Shops/Stores, eBay Express will be quietly sidelined, ready for abandonment in 2008.

  4. There will be new feedback stars for 25, 2500 and 500,000 - because even Jay and Marie have to have something to aim for, right? ;-)

  5. Feedback ranking will happen. Sellers hate it, disgruntled buyers will love it, but eBay *will* bring in Amazon-style 1-5 feedback scores for various aspects of transactions from accuracy of description to speed of delivery.

  6. Turbo Lister will release a Pro version. eBay's free software will finally grow up, with a ultra-stable, pay-for version incorporating most of the auction management features of SMP, plus inventory, sales and traffic analysis and basic accounting features all in one package.

  7. Amazon will start taking Paypal.

  8. There will be increased cooperation between tax offices and eBay, so don't wait until *they* contact *you*.

  9. Meg will quit.

  10. I will go to eBay Live and cry because, at that moment anyway, I love eBay so much. *blush*

Happy New Year :-)