728_header.jpg (23748 bytes)
 EB Blog 
 AB Blog 
EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2836 - June 28, 2012 - ISSN 1539-5065    1 of 4

eBay Clarifies Controversial Email Syncing Policy

By Ina Steiner
June 28, 2012

Email This Story to a Friend

eBay generated controversy this week with the announcement of a policy in which it would automatically sync users' email accounts associated with their eBay user IDs with their "My Messages" folder on eBay. Sellers were uncomfortable with the idea that eBay could peek inside email messages sent from their own email clients, such as AOL, Comcast, Gmail and other email providers, and some wondered just how much access eBay would have to their in- and out-boxes. Others were skeptical that the practice would actually give eBay access to their email inbox.

On the EcommerceBytes Letters to the Editor blog, it was clear some users were confused over the wording of the announcement, which read in part, "Starting next week, your email account associated with your eBay user ID will be automatically synched (sic) with your eBay My Messages folder."

eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff told EcommerceBytes on Wednesday that eBay has no access to any eBay members' personal email clients or messages, and said the goal of syncing messages between eBay members' My Messages and email accounts is to simplify the messaging experience for customers. "The My Messages syncing only happens when a user replies to an email that was sent through the eBay messaging system and is therefore copied to their inbox," she said.

Sellers appeared less concerned that eBay would see all correspondence between themselves and their buyers on eBay and more concerned with how eBay would access their email. They raised concerns over privacy, and some feared eBay would have access to all of the emails sent from their account accounts associated with their eBay selling IDs, but Hoff said that would not be the case. She provided the following example to clarify how the process would work:

"When eBay members send messages to each other, eBay sends the message to My Messages, and sends a copy of the message to the email address associated with the user's account. However, the email address which appears in a message in the user's email account inbox is an anonymized, eBay-generated address that only the user sees, such as ytger_hxi3209pe@members.ebay.com (mailto: ytger_hxi3209pe@members.ebay.com). The user cannot copy/paste the anonymized email address and send separate communications, but they can select "reply" from the inbox of their email account, and reply to the message that way. The only emails eBay will ever see through our system are replies to the "@members.ebay.com (mailto: %E2%80%9C@members.ebay.com)" email addresses.

Users should be aware that they must hit reply to the messages in order for them to go through the system to their trading partner. Hoff explained, "The only case where eBay would block a user's email from being sent is when a user copy and pastes the anonymized email address our servers created in order to protect our users' privacy - and tries to compose a new email that did not originate from our servers. We block those, because of spam purposes."

Comment on the AuctionBytes Blog.

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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.
All other use is prohibited.

Email This Story to a Friend
Email this story to a friend.

1 of 4

Sponsored Ad