EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 104 - June 17, 2001     1 of 1

Users Protest eBay's Removal of 'Jacket Auction' - eBay

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An eBay seller with 12,880 feedback points posted an auction Saturday afternoon that included criticisms of eBay in the auction description. eBay pulled auction item # 1156855648, and message boards "lit up" protesting eBay's removal of the auction.

Auction #1156855648 listed a jacket that eBay apparently sent to members who earned 10,000 unique positive feedbacks. The auction included the following statements opposing eBay's "Recommended Emails" feature:

"The box [containing the jacket] arrived the same day that eBay made it perfectly clear that they would listen to the two nitwits and the halfwit who make up their marketing department and ignore the anguished screams of all the folks who made them the success that they are. This quarters numbers matter much more then the lives of the people who built eBay,... No seller who has invested tens of thousands of dollars building an inventory can ever hope to make it back - eBay will be stealing all his customers away."

Over the past several weeks, many sellers have expressed outrage at eBay's "Recommend" policy in which "underbidders" are sent email telling them where they can get the same item elsewhere on the site. This policy move is the latest action by eBay that has its members up in arms.

Many users protested eBay's removal of the Jacket Auction last night, and one user posted a petition Item # 1608411040 for members to "sign" by bidding a penny on the protest auction.

eBay's notice to the Jacket Auction seller reportedly said, "We realize that you may not be aware of this policy, but auction listings are not the appropriate forum for voicing personal opinions, or including contact information about other members." [Editor's Note: I was unable to find this policy listed on the eBay site.]

We contacted the seller last night for his comments. When we asked what he hoped to accomplish by posting the Jacket Auction, the seller stated that he wanted to get rid of the jacket; he wanted people to know what a high-volume seller thinks of the decision-makers at eBay; to make it know how repulsive he thinks the Recommend EMail policy is; to "show my utter and total disgust with the direction eBay is taking and the way they are treating the folks who made them the success that they are"; and to "point out that none of the people who created this monstrosity actually is an eBay seller and that they ignored the unanimous opinion not only of the large number of folks on the DNF board but also the Voices people they are supposed to listen to." (eBay invites high-volume sellers to participate in a "Voices" program where they can give eBay feedback.)

The Jacket Auction seller also stated, "I often get emails from folks who say that they cannot page through all my auctions and do I have X? I usually do and I send them to the auction where it is running. What right does eBay have to go and tell them, if they are outbid, that there is someone else offering to sell it? This person came to ME - they will come back to ME for another try. eBay is supposed to be a venue - get the hell out of my auctions and stay away from my customers."

An archived copy of the auction can be found at

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

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