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Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Sat Nov 21 2009 16:34:13

Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed

By: Ina Steiner
Sponsored Link
eBay experienced search problems on Saturday morning, and now there appears to be a complete search outage. At 11:17 am PST, eBay posted an announcement stating it was experiencing "some issues with a delay in search being displayed," and by noon, users began posting that they could not search at all on the website.

When searching, shoppers either come up with an error message (see graphic), or a search results page with 0 items, but the ad listings showed up. 

There are several postings on Twitter from 8 and 9 hours ago complaining about eBay search, including this one from 9 hours ago: "eBay search engine is having issues this am."

Update: eBay posted a new message on its Announcement Board at 1:37PM PST:

Due to errors in some of our backend systems, members may be seeing different errors in Search. This could be that "We were unable to run the search results you entered. Please try again in a few minutes" or a blank page, or simply the browser being unable to display the page.

This is also affecting the ability to access eBay Stores through search directly, and sometimes from the store URL.

Please note that we are working as quickly as possible to get this resolved. Thank you for your patience as we continue to work to resolve this.

David reports that browse is not working either.

Update: 4:47 EST: I can get to the Daily Deals on the U.S. site.

I just tried searching UK site, same problem, no search! Ouch, international problem!

Update: 4:55 EST: I have inquiry in to eBay about what's going on and whether they will be issuing credits. Will update if/when I hear back.

eBay Outage Policy is found here, and only applies to listing scheduled to end during the outage or in the hour after the end of the outage. In the event of a hard outage of two hours or more, eBay automatically extends listings for 24 hours.

Given that it's impossible to find listings, I'd consider this a hard outage!

UPDATE: 6:12 pm EST - eBay replaced its previous Systems Announcement posts with one at 2:59 pm PST  that suggests a workaround:

If you use the Advanced Search option at the top of the page, and type in your search query and click the title and description box and then run the search, the results for the title and description search will be returned. Likewise, if you receive a 0 results page for title search and choose the title and description box and re-run the search, you'll see the appropriate results.
 
Does eBay think buyers are going to first of all, find this announcement, and second of all, follow these convoluted instructions? Surely eBay is not paving the way to get out of calling it an outage?

Update: 11 pm EST: eBay says it found the problem and that things will be fully functional tomorrow (Sunday). Will frustrated buyers return? What about sellers who lost money on this outage?

John Pluhowski sent me eBay's statement on the search outage:

eBay expects full search functionality to be restored to eBay.com on Sunday after a technical issue today resulted in searches returning either limited or no results throughout the day today. The identified technical issue has been fixed and is being implemented across the site. 

The unanticipated technical issue resulted from a surge in live listings as sellers ramp up for the holiday season. eBay currently has more than 200 million live listings, 33 percent more than at this time a year ago. The company said the technical issue, once identified, was easily fixed.

Interesting - apparently eBay can't handle a 33 percent increase in listings this month compared to last year. (Message to world: we're not scalable!?) It would appear to me that Diamond PowerSellers and LMS ("Operation Catalog" sellers) are to blame for today's search outage. See new AuctionBytes Newsflash article for details.

Update 11:20 pm EST: eBay spokesperson John Pluhowski said eBay will be issuing refunds to sellers, no details provided as of yet. 

Update: 11/22/09 7:45 am EST: eBay posted another announcement to the Systems Announcement Board on 11/21/09 at 10:55 pm PST in which it confirmed eBay would be crediting fees and would be compensating sellers appropriately.

Full search functionality expected to be restored to eBay.com on Sunday, Nov. 22 - Lorrie Norrington, President, eBay

We are really sorry about the technical issue that resulted in searches returning either limited or no results throughout the day on Saturday, Nov. 21. We know this search issue may have disrupted your business. Our No. 1 priority has been to identify and fix the issue as quickly as possible, and restore full search functionality. Our teams are working around the clock to do that. Search functionality is returning to eBay.com throughout Saturday evening, PST, and we expect full search functionality to be restored Sunday.

We know this is a really busy time for sellers as you are ramping up your businesses for the holiday season, and we regret any potential impact that this technical issue may have had. Please accept our sincere thanks for your patience as we work around the clock on your behalf to restore search functionality. We will continue to keep you informed of site performance. Our immediate priority is to resolve this issue. Once that is achieved, rest assured that we will assess the economic impact of this issue and will be compensating sellers appropriately. In the meantime, we will be issuing full fee credits for affected listings.

Update: 11/22/09 5:30 pm EST: eBay posted to the General Announcement Board about Saturday's search outage. eBay's Lorrie Norrington wrote on Sunday at 2:04 pm PST that "critical search functionality" was restored overnight on Saturday, while eBay kept some "secondary search features" temporarily offline. "We expect to bring these features online today as part of a phased approach to restore full functionality."

She apologized and wrote, "We will now be assessing the economic impact of this issue and will be compensating sellers appropriately.  In the meantime, we will be issuing full fee credits automatically for affected listings."

AuctionBytes continues to report on the outage and its aftermath. We are conducting a  survey to determine how sellers were impacted by the search outage. Please take a few moments to complete the survey, we'll publish the results in AuctionBytes.

Update: November 23 at 7:45 am EST: eBay posted on the Systems Announcement board on Sunday evening at 7:53 pm PST the following message:

Updated: Issues with Search results and eBay Stores - Resolved
We are pleased to report that we have restored the secondary search features of having Store Inventory Format appear in the main search results and refining certain item specifies, such as color or clothing size. All key search functionality is now fully restored. We appreciate your patience and understanding during this process.

However, eBay sellers are now looking for answers for what to do in the aftermath of the search outage. Auction sellers are looking for answers on what they should do about transactions that ended on Saturday at artificially low prices. If they cancel transactions affected by the outage, do they risk receiving negative feedback from buyers? We have a question in to eBay on this (and about why they had not extended auction listings on Saturday). 
Reading AuctionBytes Blog: Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
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Readers Comments

Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: jseller
       
Mon Nov 23 09:17:01 2009
It seems that I lost at least $200.00 dollars. I can imagine that some sellers lost thousands. Ebay is now offering an option to cancel those sales and preventing customers from giving negative feedback. Also blocking Paypal from processing 'item not received'for them. Are you kidding me, like I could trust their promise? They might try to do that, but they would not know how and my time would be spent trying to calm customers.
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: T
       
Mon Nov 23 09:19:12 2009
Errr, I'm not sure if it's because I'm not in the US, but I've not been able to access ebay (US or Uk) -at all- for over 24 hours! "Problem loading page"-galore...
If that is the case for a lot of people not situated in the US,then obviously that will also affect sellers...

Is anyone else having problems even getting connected to ebay or is it just me?
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: Outage-fallout
       
Mon Nov 23 09:33:54 2009
Received this ebay message this morning:
"eBay Sellers:

A few of you may recently have received a note from eBay in your My Messages inbox with the subject line: "50% OFF Auction-style Insertion Fees--Nov 23-25." Unfortunately, this message was sent in error: There was a promotion planned for this coming week that was cancelled. There are currently no plans for a 50% off Insertion Fee Promotion on the dates mentioned in the prior email. Please note that any listings created during these dates will be subject to normal Insertion Fees.

We apologize for any confusion that this may have caused."

TRANSLATION:
oH, CRAP, we really shot ourselves in the foot with Saturday's search outages, losing millions of $$$ in ebay sales.  This will hurt our 3rd quarter numbers big time. We better cancel that new fee insertion discount we just announced.
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: T
       
Mon Nov 23 09:42:03 2009
...And of course now it's working..
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: jeff hinds
       
Mon Nov 23 10:32:08 2009
Your customers are not stupid. We know when you lie, and how often.
9:28:22 AM  Anna Dou.
If there is noting else I can help you I am ending this chat.
9:28:29 AM  
LIAR
9:29:00 AM  Anna Dou.
Please stop coming into chat to ask the same questions. If this continues we will have to escalate this further.
9:30:02 AM  
thanks I will reproduce your helpful customer service comments and share with all my buyers and sellers and post on blog's! You've been perfect.
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: No mail for me?
       
Mon Nov 23 10:39:56 2009
II popped into Brews and saw an email that eBay has apparently sent out to sellers post crash outlining ways they will assist in this regard. Has anyone else that email?

I have not rec'd anything from eBay. Nada. Not one email, nor a cancellation of the 50% listing sale. I know I'm lumped in with the noise, but I’d like some direction here too!

I haven't changed my email address, and have received other email from eBay over the past few days, including confirmation on listings, favourites from search etc.

I’d like to know just how many other sellers have rec’d this?
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: A
       
Mon Nov 23 11:10:55 2009
How'd they manage in the old days?
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: o.c.d.collectibles
       
Tue Nov 24 00:51:39 2009
You know, it's not so much that the site went down, but HOW the management handled the customers when it DID go down.

Observation: Customer service was extremely poor. Had this kind of service been provided to our buyers, by US, we would have been graded a 0-1 by our buyers on our DSR's in the communication category.

I would suggest that the sellers (and the buyers (who ebay considers THEIR customers!) grade ebay on their communication as a seller. GIVE them the Detailed SELLER rating number on COMMUNICATION that they deserve for the TRANSACTION of the day when ebay went down.

It should be something they can understand in number evaluation form, since they DO that so well to YOU.
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: Disinformation or Misinformation?
       
Wed Nov 25 02:26:10 2009

@ocd

I agree. While eBay may expect me to be perfect, I do not expect eBay to be so. In fact, quite the opposite; I anticipate site problems, lost data and prepare for their inevitability.
And, though I cannot even begin to fathom the type of systems necessary to run a site as large as eBay, I do expect a company with such deep pockets, to employ round the clock hardware and software support. Even the Maytag repairman sits by his machine. To hear that IT was off for the weekend is unbelieveable. Is this even true? Misinformation or disinformation?

My issue is not with the crash so much as the way it was handled. Out of the gate there was blame and a complete breakdown in communication. Management seemed all but absent and to this day the CEO has not yet spoken. Turning to Auction Bytes for updates during the outage was rather like tuning in to CNN during 9/11. Glad the medium was there, but sure wish the reason for it was not.

After eBay rolled out the DSR I began rolling out my own game plan and started listing on others ites. The way this last fiasco was handled simply underscored I made the right decision and need to continue working to get off eBay.

*Disinformation is false or inaccurate information that is spread deliberately. It is synonymous with and sometimes called Black propaganda. It may include the distribution of forged documents, manuscripts, and photographs, or spreading malicious rumors and fabricated intelligence. Disinformation should not be confused with misinformation, information that is unintentionally false.
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless
       
Wed Nov 25 04:07:30 2009
The Ho is probably skiing in Switzerland or Telluride or off dotting the is and crossing the ts on the Skype sale.

But whatever, one thing is certain: as President of North American operations. the non performing bidder Pope Lorrie The No Norrington I is likely the executive responsible for U.S. servers.

I'd say her job is about as tenuous as Stephanie Tilenius's job was after she announced Zappos was coming on board only to have Zappos announce the following day they'd signed with Amazon.

The Ho will only be held accountable if the 4th quarter earnings are catastrophic. If they're merely bad, he'll blame the outage and suggest to Lorrie that she resign in order to pursue "other opportunities" or to spend "more time with her family" if she has a family.

The No -- a non performing buyer and a non performing President of North American Operations.

Sell your stock options now, Lorrie, before it goes much lower and don't let the door hit you on way out.

You won't be missed if The Ho scapegoats you.

DEATH to ebay corp. in 2009.
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: dalenasam
       
Wed Nov 25 20:19:31 2009
I chose not to accept the final bid on the winning item, and have now received very negative feedback from the buyer.  Now Ebay is making me jump through hoops to get the feedback revised, not removed, as they promised!!!!!!
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: Mr. Wilson
       
Thu Nov 26 09:48:11 2009
We are thankful that John Donahoe is a failure. We are thankful every time we get an OFF EBAY sale. We are thankful we can dance around our office when we get that OFF EBAY sale because we did not contribute to the bonus pay of John Donahoe the failure, living up to the CEO creed, rob the poor, the company, and give to thyself. We are thankful to Amazon, Bonanzle, Atomicmall, Etsy, Ebid and the websites we have all built whom sales are bomming, showing that John Donahoe is a failure. We are thankful for our family, friends, and God who have given us the knowledge, courage and love to move on and watch this man sink in his pathetic drooling greed.
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: CC
       
Wed Dec 2 12:35:03 2009
WAKE UP FOLKS---------->

DECEMBER 2, 2009 and GUESS WHAT?

Ebay ( aka- e-prey) is still experiencing a broken search feature.
Biggest issue seems to be that a lot of new EBAY MOTORS auctions only show in the "root search" (searched through the ebay home page) but will not show up in Ebay motors search or even in the sellers "items for sale list" all sellers have.
A lot of seven day auctions do not even show in the search until the last couple days and this shortens the time of a sellers auction even if the item "eventually shows".
OF COURSE EBAY DOES NOT ADMIT THIS.
This company EBAY sure does need some competition. Maybe COMPETITION AND A FEW LAW SUITS WOULD FORCE ebay INTO MUCH BETTER CUSTOMER SERVICE POLICIES AND MAYBE FORCE THEM TO BE MORE HONEST WITH THEIR CUSTOMERS.
But YES..........as of DECEMBER 2, 2009 the EBAY SEARCH FUNCTION is still broken.
COME ON EBAY......let's fix this and be honest about it rather than cheating your sellers in such an underhanded manner.
I personally have had to re-list the same action in Ebay Motors 6 TIMES in the last week in hopes of it finally showing up in the search. IT STILL WILL NOT AND I GIVE UP!

EBAY SELLERS BEWARE!
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