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eBay Australia Big-Sunday Deals Hit Speed Bump

eBay Australia runs “Big Sundays” promotions each week, including a series of 5-minute auctions of “big deals” during a 1-hour period on Sunday evenings. On Sunday, users reported technical issues that led to accessibility issues.

“eBay have been hyping up a 1 hour of 5 minute big deals between 8 & 9pm tonight for the past week,” an EcommerceBytes reader told us. “Well all it was, was a big fail! System crashes, unsold items, people unable to buy decent items because of system failure.” He pointed to a discussion thread on OzBargain.com.au where shoppers described their disappointment (“This is where it really went wrong,” the reader said.)

eBay Australia spokesperson Megan English said the only known issue was with 5 Minute Sales that ran between 8pm and 9pm on Sunday. She said 12 deals loaded throughout the hour lasting 5 minutes each. Here’s how she explained the technical issues:

The issue was the inability for buyers to purchase the pillow pets deal (second last deal). There was definitely no systems crash and nothing that affected the wider site or wider deals page.

After investigation into the root cause of this, we found that that specific listing had an error in the way the image was hosted. As a result, users saw a “System is temporarily unavailable” message on that deal for 5 minutes. We are working with the seller to ensure the setup is correct going forward to avoid future issues like this.

We knew that the pillow pets would be really popular with our community so we made them available at the same price starting at 10am on Tuesday. We communicated this on our social channels and directly to people who let us know that they were disappointed.

An advertising trade publication called Campaign Brief said the eBay ad campaign promoting Big Sundays was “part of eBay’s commitment to remain Australia’s largest online shopping destination for big brands as well as millions of unique and hard to find items.” It quoted the managing director of the agency who did the spots, Alex Carr:

“The idea of owning Sundays, principally Sunday evenings when other traditional retailers have packed up, is absurdly simple and differentiating. We have loved working with the team at eBay to create a suite of communications and retail offers that brings fun and a lightness to what is invariably a staid world of retail communication.”


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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.