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eBay Outage Monday Follows Weekend Search Failure

eBay experienced a widespread outage on Monday – many buyers and sellers were unable to access eBay as technical issues continued to plague the site. Those who were able to access eBay reported problems with various functions – many sellers couldn’t print shipping labels or list items.

“”Service Not Available” is the message I get when trying to list,” one seller said. One reader sent a screenshot showing a “Server not found” message. Another forwarded the message they encountered:

Access Denied
You don’t have permission to access “http://www.ebay.com/sell/list.jsf” on this server.
Reference #18.17a40517.1472513839.1c4f94de

“eBay isn’t letting me purchase items, it says the network connectivity isn’t working but it’s perfectly fine,” wrote a would-be buyer.

Some said it was hit or miss, others said they were able to log in but then got bumped off. A reader told us, “in my almost 20 years on eBay, I would say the past 24 hours are the slowest with inability to answer messages, connect with PayPal, and extreme slow to print mailing labels.”

eBay search had broken on Thursday, with users reporting they were overwhelmed with too many listings that were irrelevant to their search term. The intermittent issue seems to have been caused by eBay’s search engine searching Titles and Descriptions for keywords rather than the default search of Titles only.

For example, a person searching for “japan” got items with Japan in the description field – “I dont care if some joe shmoe has a policy for their item about shipping to japan, I want it to search title listings like it did 2 days ago,” the user wrote.

It’s unclear if the reason eBay experienced an outage on Monday was due to its attempt to fix the search problem.

At 4:30 pm ET, a user reported they had been experiencing problems logging into eBay since noon Central time – “Works for a few minutes then off again,” he wrote.

A desperate-sounding seller wrote, “I have 500 free listings today is last day for them and eBay is not working so imagine how mad I am I can’t even access my sales and things I need to ship.”

At nearly 5 pm ET, sellers were frustrated that eBay had not communicated with them – one said when they contacted support, representatives were seemingly not aware of any issues: “Still down across the country – you call and they act like you’ve discovered a completely new issue this is entirely your browsers fault.”

One seller posted on Ecommerce EKG the following appeal to eBay CEO Devin Wenig: “Have never seen the site down like this and of course not a single announcement from eBay. Come on Devin, you and your team already prove to be better than Donahoe. Let’s get some communication going. Don’t be like your predecessor” (referring to former eBay CEO John Donahoe).

Another reader reported on Ecommerce EKG, “I can get to the home page, and some of the links on the home page, but can not get to “My eBay” (although, it appears that I am logged in). Some here, “server not found.”

Some eBay users were able to post comments on the eBay discussion board.

“When I called they first told me it’s my browser. The more I researched they’ve had problems for many hours. JUST BE HONEST…I wasted several hours thinking it was my computer. UNPROFESSIONAL.”

“Alas, that is The eBay Way. Some time tomorrow the Announcement board will announce that a brief problem that affected some users has been fixed. That is all.”

“I thought I was having a problem with my internet. I couldn’t get anything done all day today. Still can’t get into my drafts to list stuff. 🙁 So frustrated… I didn’t even see anything in the announcement board about this…”

eBay did not respond to our email and phone messages as of Monday evening. Reports on DownDetector indicated things might have been starting to return to normal after about 8 pm ET – at least 6 hours after reports first began surfacing.

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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/.