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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
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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). 
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: Bustedseller
       
Sat Nov 21 22:26:52 2009
Just to make sure that I'll get some feedback, even if I still loose a bunch, I filled a complain to the FTC:

The EBAY site had an outage on 11/21/2009 and I had auction ending during the outage, Since nobody was able to search and bid during that period, the last valid bid was made 8 hours prior to the end time and nobody had a chance to over bid. This resulted in a monetary lost for me and EBAY does not acknowledge any responsibility, This is an unfair practice and they should have either stop all transactions or make the highest bid aware that the auction were not conducted in conformity with accepted practices. EBAY has to be held responsible for the damages that they are responsible for. I have no idea on how many sellers were affected, but the monetary lost have to be in millions of dollars.
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: Ann
       
Sat Nov 21 22:29:40 2009
Thing everyone will find this interesting. Apparently the 18th biggest search term on google is ebay outage (as of 1/2 hour ago). It's slowing down, but of course, the East Coast is starting to go to sleep!

http://www.google.com/trends/hottrends?sa=X&oi=prbx_hot_
trends&ct=title&q=ebay+outage

Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: Harriet
       
Sat Nov 21 22:30:09 2009
@ seller "one more thing i want to ask how ecrater charge the seller???? and is there any phone number of theirs i can contact?"

As others have said, eCrater.com is totally free. You will have some of the regular charges from Google Checkout and PayPal if you use them, but that is all. They have community forums you can go to and get answers for just about anything. And you can contact the administration by email. They will answer you. I don't know how long it might take because they are VERY busy people. But the community boards can help you get up and running. That is probably the best bet for fast and helpful answers. Once you get the hang of listing there it is easy.

You have absolutely nothing to lose. I am getting sales each and every day. I am not a very high volume seller, but others there are and they love eCrater.com

I hope you try it and have good luck there. I see my views are way up tonight, so I guess everyone is over there looking around. GOOD!!

Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: seller
       
Sat Nov 21 22:33:24 2009
10:22

Sorta kinda maybe fixed some.

OF COURSE MY LISTINGS AREN'T COMING UP, THO...
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
This user has validated their user name. by: Doc
       
Sat Nov 21 22:34:26 2009
Search brought up no articles that eBay was brought down by hackers. But as sloppy as that data dump is anything is possible!

Where is Zudalv?? LOL!
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: Ann
       
Sat Nov 21 22:34:41 2009
Found a better term that is number 4 in google's current rankings - eBay search down

http://www.google.com/trends/hottrends?q=ebay+search+down&
date=2009-11-21&sa=X
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
       
Sat Nov 21 22:46:19 2009
Some functions have been partially restored.

We'd all better hope this wasn't Chinese or Russian cyberterrorism.

The Ho would then have a perfect excuse.

Instead, let's hope that it was karmic reciprocity. I would gladly give up today's revenue and forego fee refunds IF today's outage leads to The Ho Team's termination.

I believe the most likely explanation is The Ho's adolescent middle school programmers finally broke Humpty Dumpty's Best Match.

As another blogger mentioned early file an online consumer complaint againt ebay on your state's Attorney General's website.

While I think the FTC may view outage complaints as individual consumer complaints, perhaps if they receive enough of them they'll investigate for ebay's pattern and practice of refusing to refund sellers for outages likely caused from their their negligence and incompetence.

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
Consumer Response Center
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20580

Mission: The Federal Trade Commission is the nation's consumer protection agency. The FTC's Bureau of Consumer  
Protection works For The Consumer to prevent fraud, deception, and unfair business practices in the marketplace.

The Bureau:

Enhances consumer confidence by enforcing federal laws that protect consumers

Empowers consumers with free information to help them exercise their rights and spot and avoid fraud and deception

Wants to hear from consumers who want to get information or file a complaint about fraud or identity theft

To report a company for a pattern and practice of suspected fraud:

1-877-382-4357

Online fraud complaint form:

https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/


Any class action suit that might arise from today could dwarf any previous ones so forward the ionfo to any landshark class action law firms you may know of.

Despicable people=despicable decisions=despicable corporations.

DEATH to ebay in 2009. Closer than ever.
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: Jon
       
Sat Nov 21 22:49:11 2009
Ebay has a funny way of describing what the outage policy is.

Title search outage:  Occurs when the title search isn't working and listings cannot be found.

Hard outage:  When bidding functions are not working.

??? What good are the bidding functions if the listing cannot be found on ebay?

Either way, ebay in it's policy states that any listing ending during or within one hour after outage ending will receive a full refund on fees.

I had 14 items end and I am not accepting payment on any of them because I got nowhere near what the normally go for.  My only option is to relist the items and hope these bidders bid again.
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: EBay GO home!!!
       
Sat Nov 21 22:50:40 2009
@on lies and secrets

I'm still so frazzled I can't find your reply, forget about anything on EBay. After 15 hours I've given up, no back door round about worked for me.

Years ago they pulled listing after listing until I proved I was licensed to sell what I sell. Over a dozen notarized documents, sent at my expense via fax, not to mention a substantial legal bill to argue my case. In the end, they finally “allowed me” to sell on the site, wrapping it up like it was some big gift.  A flipping privilege to be a seller on EBay? Amazon…. maybe. But not EBay.

Now, any Tom Dick or Harry Chan (no offence meant to anyone that lives there) can sell what I do, no license required. Heck, as of today, or at least when the site is up, they can even sell their fakes on the back of the real deal – MINE!

I’ve put up with years of condescending remarks from JR account reps with about as much knowledge on selling as a 7 year old at a lemonade stand. And no offence meant to the lemonade kid – heck you’re my hero!

Someone needs to investigate this company from top to bottom. And everything they touch. They remain the most poorly organized, unethical, egomaniacal bunch – ever.


Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: seller
       
Sat Nov 21 22:56:53 2009
NOT working.

10:56 PM EST.

For the record.

Search term CALPHALON brings up no listings.

Right.
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: Nancy
       
Sat Nov 21 22:58:00 2009
Agree TOTALLY with Ming

I would gladly give up today's revenue and forego fee refunds IF today's outage leads to The Ho Team's termination.

If only...
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: MD
       
Sat Nov 21 22:58:19 2009
10:56 ET here and it is still a mess!

Out of 450+ CORE listings, eBay shows I have only 17.

Search may be working sporadically but plenty of sellers are still getting hosed!
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: thumper
       
Sat Nov 21 23:02:08 2009
this is horrible and the lack of communication is even worse , I have staff here to list for the week and cannot even get information from EBay to make a business decision -  and is this going to happen again cannot risk auctions
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: Fire the Ho!
       
Sat Nov 21 23:15:14 2009
The Dirty Ho! and his team won't get fired.  This was staged to cover up poor performance numbers this quarter.  Pierre despite his comments made a little over a year ago:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kp2PBPOkeqE

had the nerve to say what he said then did behind closed doors EVERYTHING he stated he was against.  This company is rotten from the core outward and deserves everything it gets in the end.

Like Ming says, DEATH TO EBAY CORP. 2009! R.I.H. - Rot In (you can guess the rest!)
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: Niles
       
Sat Nov 21 23:15:41 2009
This has been a bad Weekend so far. Yesterday I checked my UNPAID items list to discover another 7 Non payers from last week. Total is over $1000.00  NOW this outage occurs as we listed 10's of items the last few days and have lots of items ending today and this weekend. This really sucks.
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: fruity
       
Sat Nov 21 23:18:39 2009
I'm going to spend all the time telling everyone how to use Google Stores SHopping Search!!!
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: fruity
       
Sat Nov 21 23:19:15 2009
oh and btw, the listings are flickering now, do a search then a reload. This is EXACTLY the same behavior that we had seen for years 2006-2008
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: Ina Steiner
       
Sat Nov 21 23:47:10 2009
Making sure everyone knows this blog post has been updated throughout the evening, and there's a lot of new information, including a statement from eBay.
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: Fire in the Ho!
       
Sat Nov 21 23:54:21 2009
A misconception right now is that eBay is losing millions of dollars.  They aren't.

They are stating this is not a hard outage and do not plan to compensate your listing or commission fees in any way, shape, or form.  People can and have been still buying from Google and ebay international domains (Australia, France, Denmark, etc.)

If you use a third party tool to list they are still charging you fees.  They are still going to collect fees on automatic relisted items (GTC) and ending auction commissions that transpired today.

They aren't feeling it as bad as you think and definitely not as bad as we as sellers are feeling it.

Like it or not, it's all smoke and mirrors folks.

The Ho! sucks, Unkie Griff sucks, and the rest of that nameless team of crackpots suck too, but above all Pierre sucks the most for giving the go ahead on this whole fiasco 2 years in the making!
Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed   Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed
by: madfashionista
       
Sat Nov 21 23:55:30 2009
Ebay: The Company That Raises Failure To An Art Form.

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