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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: eBuyer Feedback
       
Sat Nov 21 20:13:24 2009
At least my items still show up in other sellers' listings.
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: Ken
       
Sat Nov 21 20:15:09 2009
Called eBay support was told by customer support, that technical staff told them to give them up to 24 hours to fix it :-(
starting at about 3 PM pacific time.

Also there is a CHANCE that the auction promotion may be extended as a result.

Think this just proves again they don't know what they are doing.
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: Hardrock Rules
       
Sat Nov 21 20:16:07 2009
TRS = TOP RATED SUCKER ( Me paying fees, jumping through hoops for Master Donahoe )

This is the straw that will break the camels back for the remaining TOP RATED SUCKERS !
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: fruity
       
Sat Nov 21 20:20:01 2009
WSJ is reporting it, but they talked w/Wingo! http://tinyurl.com/yabtmhz
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: whatever.
       
Sat Nov 21 20:20:23 2009
I'm sure they don't intend to give any sort of compensation to all the sellers who have been and are continuing to be damaged by this hard outage.

But the scope of it, at this time of year, coming off the porn in christian, disney, and children's listings just a few days before.

This might be big enough for them to be shamed into doing the right thing and maybe just maybe take enough of a hit to their condescension and arrogance to at least modify some of their most recent ''innovations'' like the Search Filter to omit all non-TRS sellers from the search results; like the ebay spam email payment reminders at 48 hrs that you can't opt out of. Or, and of course I'm dreaming here, maybe even revert back to the old Item View page so our Item Descriptions and self-hosted pictures can actually be, uh, viewed.
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: D
       
Sat Nov 21 20:21:52 2009
Looks like they were not ready, they usually aren't but work to keep up appearances and that is it.   Just when my sales were picking up, now this carp.  
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: anonymous
       
Sat Nov 21 20:24:45 2009
8:23 PM EST still screwed up.

I sent a letter to msnbc.

I hope they call those clowns for an explanation.

Then I hope they can decode it with their "double-speak" dictionary.

Is there a place for us regular folks to get one?
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: santa clause
       
Sat Nov 21 20:25:01 2009
I bet so many people on ebay this year and this time guessing it crashed the system. I can just see the boss making phone calls to everyone to come to work. Then I imagine everyone running around with papers.
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: whatever.
       
Sat Nov 21 20:30:43 2009
@santa

So did Amazon go down today?  Bet they had a huge crush of buyer traffic.

Too bad because I really wanted to do some browsing on Amazon: need a new digital camera.

I'd better get on over to Walmart.com before it crashes too.
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: seller
       
Sat Nov 21 20:31:15 2009
They charge buyers 12% of the final value and then paypal charge 4% of the selling price and shipping and they are giving this kind of service. what a shame
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: seller
       
Sat Nov 21 20:32:59 2009
correction:They charge sellers (not buyers) 12% of the final value and then paypal charge 4% of the selling price and shipping and they are giving this kind of service. what a shame  

Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: Harriet
       
Sat Nov 21 20:33:01 2009
Come on over to eCrater.com lots of beautiful things listed for shopping, Christmas ornaments, decs, whatever you want and sellers get over there and list your items.

It's a nice place to be.
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: Long Time Seller
       
Sat Nov 21 20:34:16 2009
Whats really sad is when you do a search all the off site sponsor links still work..So I followed one all the way to Amazon and made my purchase there..Why oh why is Ebay doing all these changes right before the holidays? My sales have TANKED since Best Match 2 started. Anyone else?
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: Patricia
       
Sat Nov 21 20:35:34 2009
5:35 pm PST and still out...I'm beginning to think Ebay has been hacked!  Maybe someone just had enough of their "best match" garbage?
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: Jon
       
Sat Nov 21 20:41:25 2009
I had 14 listings on ebay today, all of which are ending as we speak.  I have been a seller for 8 year or so and have a perfect feedback rating.  However they twist it around, it's a major outage and they cannot hold sellers to commit to accepting the sale.  I sell sports cards and I am getting nowhere near what they normally hit on ebay.  2 days ago a Brett Hull OPC NrMt went for $18 and change, mine hit $1.58.  Same grade and everything.  Most cards pick up most of the bids at the end because of the nature of up and down values in cards.  I will not be sending any of my cards out to any winning bidders and expect ebay to refund me my fees and I expect any negative feedback to be deleted if a buyer decides to do so.  I am pissed because I did need the money, however it's technology and it happens.  Just sucks that it had to be on the day that my listings ended.
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: Jon
       
Sat Nov 21 20:50:45 2009
Seems like they are not allowing for payments to be made on any ending items.  13 of my 14 items have ended and I haven't received one payment yet.  If I do receive a payment I will be returning it immediately.  I can send an invoice if I want to accept the winning bid but none of my winning bids are anywhere near what they should get.
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: Ragn123
       
Sat Nov 21 20:53:04 2009
Hi All,

Please stop your nonsense conversation regarding ebay.Search item is working fine now.
Go to BuyItNow and continue your transactions.Auctions only not working.
eBay always wants the customer satisfaction.If still you are facing a problem be patience , all issues will be resolve soon.
Thanks eBay for your great response for customers issues.
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: jenny
       
Sat Nov 21 20:59:28 2009
Un freaking believable, couldn't get checked out in lines at the mall today there were so many people out and E-bay can't even keep their site up and running.
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: nora
       
Sat Nov 21 21:02:56 2009
Guess Donahoe got a taste of disruption, see how he likes it. He's probably bursting a blood vessel now.

This is the mother of all glitches. Guess their computers can’t keep up with all the changes either.

I'm thinking EBays stock value will take a hit Monday, all this milking of us Sellers to keep up the stock price and this happens.

I didn’t list anything, so I’m just watching all this as it unfolds.
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: jon
       
Sat Nov 21 21:03:44 2009
Someone from Canada, which isn't listed in my selling territory wanted me to complete the invoice for the sale.  I added a polite message about the ''EBAY outage'' and put $10,000.00 for shipping.
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