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Sat Nov 21 2009 16:34:13

Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed

By: Ina Steiner

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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). 

Comments (273) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed

by: SPECIAL DELIVERY

Sat Nov 21 21:07:06 2009

taking a break from ebay tonight.
check out sam and dave on xm 202 or sirius 197.

scissors up, dogsy!

ps call in and let them know about what's on your mind

Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed

by: Doughnut-Hole

Sat Nov 21 21:09:55 2009

Hey folks, bring out your pitchforks  and get Ragn123 (aka eBay employee) and tar and feather him/her/it!

Go to heck calling our disatisfaction with eBay's outage ''nonsense conversation''.  People don't care to hear you talk out of your rear.

Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed

by: SPECIAL DELIVERY

Sat Nov 21 21:14:32 2009

sorry, i think the number is 866- -969-1969

not sure, though

Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed

by: Total BS

Sat Nov 21 21:16:24 2009

You can tell Ragn123 above is indeed a true ebay employee since he misspelled "be patient" as "be patience."

Sadly, there's a requirement to work @ ebay, one must be illiterate and rude to customers who pay a fortune in fees to ebay.

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: Kayleigh

Sat Nov 21 21:23:32 2009

We're losing tons of money today on No Reserve collectibles auctions we started at .99 a week ago. Items that retail at about $159.95 and close at a minimum of half are going for about $5 - $30. At least ebay should allow us to cancel the auctions but the only thing we can do is try and cancel bids since the auctions are under 12 hours from close time. We tried cancelling bids on one auction but people kept coming back to rebid or they'd email confused, angered or offended.

What will this do to our DSRs and discounts if we try and cancel with people after the sale?  I have 100% positive with over 20K feedback and can't afford ebay's search glitch to screw up our rating, our discount fees, our standing in search, etc.  This is my family's livelihood.

What will eBay do? Can they promise to not count DSR scores and ratings from these people if we try and cancel their transactions?

So frustrated!

Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed

by: seller

Sat Nov 21 21:23:37 2009

does anyone knows ecrater.com?????? is it scam??

Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed

by: CC

Sat Nov 21 21:25:45 2009

@ Jon

You'd better hope the customer doesn't pay the $10,000 -- because then he'll give you only one star for shipping costs.

Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed

by: whatever.

Sat Nov 21 21:25:57 2009

I thought the ragn123 post was a parody of a typical email reply from ebay customer support.

Don't get out the pitchforks against the clever person who has perfect pitch for off-shore customer service employees.

Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed

by: fruity

Sat Nov 21 21:27:44 2009

Ina, did you post the right link for the system announcement because its dead to me i can't get it

Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed

by: You've got to be kidding!

Sat Nov 21 21:27:48 2009

Surely they can’t be reworking the system at this time?

4th quarter figures to date must be really bad for ebay to pull a stunt like this so late in the season.

Turnover/profit must have severely plummented.

Ebay is a company in chaos and in crisis, thrashing around trying to find something, anything which will save them from being trounced by the likes of Amazon this Christmas.

I can’t understand why someone at ebay doesn’t grab Donahue by the shoulders, shake him violently, slap him about the face and say, “For goodness sake, man, it’s not working! Innovative? Maybe. Disruptive? Certainly!”

What’s wrong with the current ebay executives? I hope they have their résumés ready.

What does Pierre think of all this??

The rest of the stockholders must have money to burn.

No wonder Meg jumped ship – she couldn’t afford for ebay’s taint to effect her election chances.

When history reviews the fall of the giant companies – eg Enron, General Motors, etc, ebay will be amongst them.

It’s sad. It’s tragic. A once great company reduced to this.

If ebay does survive it will be a runt of its former self.

Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed

by: eBay Store Seller

Sat Nov 21 21:29:31 2009

Not quite sure what eBay site Ragn123 is using since Search still isn't working unless you use the ''Advanced'' work around that eBay recommends.  Even then not all items show.  

I have over 400 items in my eBay store which I can view by going to ''My eBay'', but when I go to ''View My Store'' only 26 items show.  This happens even if I search for and pull up one of my items and click on ''View Seller's Store'', which is what a buyer would do.

I suspect eBay realizes the extent of the problem, put I decided to post to let others know and to let eBay know just in case...

Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed

by: SPECIAL DELIVERY

Sat Nov 21 21:30:36 2009

seriously all you satellite radio listeners ... they have a few hundred thousand listeners and WILL CHANGE THE SUBJECT IF ENOUGH PEOPLE CALL IN.

Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed

by: James

Sat Nov 21 21:34:27 2009

According to eBay policy, eBay is liable for a hard outage. They will offer listing refunds and extensions for outages more than 2 hours. It's going over 12 hours now.

Posters on the eBay boards are reporting that Live Help is stating there will be no refunds or extensions since they don't consider this a hard outage.

EBay just lies and thinks they will get away with it I guess. Nothing but bottom feeders.

Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed

by: jon

Sat Nov 21 21:35:07 2009

Ebay has gotten a lot worse over the past couple years.  The fees are horrible and make it hard to make money on anything unless you are a supplier.  One time I was the winning bidder on a really nice flat panel TV.  The seller didn't have his paypal set up.  So I went about looking for another flat panel.  Once again, the seller wasn't able to accept paypal because of a dispute with another sale.  I had repeated conversations about this issue with customer support.  Why would they let someone list an item it they can't accept paypal which is the only payment option ebay allows.  The funny thing is ebay asked me to contact the seller for alternate payment options.  I've had issues being a seller more recently then I did in the past.  I am running into non payment bidders too often.  The last non payment bidders account was closed 2 days after I put in the dispute.  It turns out this clown went around bidding on a ton of items just for fun.  He won about 300 items that he never paid for.   All high end items, so he pissed off a lot of people.

Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed

by: Liusa

Sat Nov 21 21:41:22 2009

It's now been FIXED!

Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed

by: Doughnut-Ho!

Sat Nov 21 21:44:23 2009

No it's NOT!

Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed

by: Harriet

Sat Nov 21 21:44:32 2009

@ seller above, "does anyone knows ecrater.com?????? is it scam??"

Well, I know eCrater.com, been there for a few years now and it is filled with old ebayers and others. It is a great site, well run, it has Google Checkout, you can also use PayPal if you like, and you can take money orders and chashier checks, etc.

I have never had a problem there. The owner is wonderful and all of the recent changes he has made have been very helpful for sellers. He tries to make is easy.

They have a wonderful raport with Google search and on November 9, 2009, Google announced this, "Today, we're excited to launch the Product Search Marketplace Partner program with our initial partner marketplaces eBid, eCrater, and Etsy. These marketplaces will submit product data for their sellers frequently and with all relevant attributes, so online shoppers get the up-to-date information they need to make smart buying decisions. Additionally, these marketplaces are a great solution for merchants who don't have a standalone retail website because they provide online visibility for the merchants' products."

So Google thinks very highly of them.

It is definitely not a scam!

Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed

by: James

Sat Nov 21 21:47:26 2009

Search is most definitely NOT fixed. Even when it's up and running it is still broke but there is NO search as I write this.

Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed

by: anonymous

Sat Nov 21 21:48:23 2009

9:38 PM EST still broken.

Lets hope its on all the major networks, that should make stockholders wake up.

AND if you are really ticked off, and had "literally hundreds" of auctions end today, take your money out of pay-pal, and make them ASK for their money for fees.

Tell them you are sending $____ and deducting $_______ for the outage, and related expenses. (do this AFTER you have seen whether buyers are willing to back out of these illegal sales.) Tell them to SUE YOU. They can't win, auctions have to be allowed bidders, until the END of bidding, or they are null and void.

Then go list on ecrater.

And use the money you held back to ADVERTISE. LIKE CRAZY. ALL DAY.

Keep track of how much you save in fees, and use every cent to ADVERTISE. ALL DAY, like CRAZY.

Post your own site, and send every single buyer from ecrater to the site, give them a coupon, or special offer.

People who are this bad at something deserve to flounder. It's the law of the jungle, survival of the fittest.

Guys, it'll be tough for a couple months, but we can take it.

All of you "hundreds and thousands of auctions" guys could blow eBay out of the water, if you would just post HALF of your stuff elsewhere, F-R-E-E and advertise with your savings.

QUIT WHINING about these dingbats who can't seem to get anything right, and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

You will be helping ALL the "millions whho make a living or extra income selling on eBay"

Then we could ALL go someplace else.

Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed

by: a

Sat Nov 21 21:51:08 2009

This is going to be a major lost for ebay/paypal

My guess $50/$100,000,000

Wouldn't you love to see JD's face now,

The start of the selling season and big fat ZERO

Cant wait to see the stock dive monday morning,

HA HA HA HA HA................

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