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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 396 - September 19, 2002 - ISSN 1539-5065    1 of 2

AMS Vendors Report Problems with eBay's API

By Ina & David Steiner
September 19, 2002

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Several eBay Preferred Solution Providers report problems accessing eBay via their Application Programming Interface (API). Auctionworks sent a letter to their customers yesterday telling them that the recent problems in launching auctions was due to problems with eBay, not Auctionworks itself.

Auction sellers who use auction management software began having problems launching auctions to eBay on September 4, and again on September 8. It appears that customers seeking an answer to the problem got the run around, with vendors and eBay pointing fingers at each other.

"Often the support folks at eBay seem to be the last to know about technical issues with the API," a representative from another vendor posted on his company's customer service board.

Auctionworks CEO Alec Peters expressed frustration in the September 18 letter that his customers are given what he calls "inaccurate information" from eBay customer support. In his letter, he said, "Over the last three weeks, eBay has been having intermittent problems with its API. The API is critical as it is the method Auctionworks, and other service providers, connect with eBay to send data back and forth. Auctionworks has been working diligently with eBay to help them isolate and resolve these API issues."

Vendors contacted by AuctionBytes told varying stories about the duration of eBay's API problems. All confirm that there were API problems on eBay's end on September 4 and 8.

"eBay is currently experiencing problems with their API, which is causing latency in auction launching, launch errors, and latency in Sales Manager updating," read a posting on the AuctionWatch announcement board on September 8. AuctionWatch also provides auction management services to sellers.

eBay spokesperson Kevin Pursglove said the API does experience problems on occasion, while other times it is the vendor's problem in trying to make their code match eBay's. “Sometimes when we sit down to work out the problem with the vendor, we find out that the problem lies with the vendors. Sometimes it not the API, sometimes it's a site-wide problem that affects the API.” Pursglove also said it is possible for some vendors to experience problems while others do not.

eBay requires third-party vendors who access their database to apply for API certification. The API eases the burden on eBay's system and makes it easier for vendors to keep up with the frequent changes to the eBay site. Vendors must pay a sizeable upfront fee to go through the certification process, and they pay an annual fee plus monthly usage fees. eBay says 200 companies are API certified, and there is a waiting list of vendors who have applied for certification.

About the author:

Ina and David Steiner are publishers of EcommerceBytes.com and have been writing about ecommerce since 1999.

You may quote up to 50 words of any article on the condition that you attribute the article to EcommerceBytes.com and either link to the original article or to www.EcommerceBytes.com.
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