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Wed July 9 2008 08:09:05

A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility

By: Ina Steiner

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Finally, there are names for phenomena that eBay would have sellers believe is conspiracy theory thinking. Ed at BuildASkill.com calls it "tap-on-tap-off" visibility, and "rolling-region" visibility. It's when sellers experience surges of sales, or when all of a seller's buyers are from one particular region. Sellers have raised the issue at Town Hall meetings, and it came up again at the recent IMA meeting in March, where eBay yet again denied there was anything to it.

I believe the first time "geo clustering" came up as an issue was after eBay expanded Item numbers from 10 to 12 digits in 2006.

For those who experience it, it has to be reassuring to know there's a name for it and that they are not alone.




Comments (19) | Permalink

Readers Comments

A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility   A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility

by: gcarr

Wed Jul 9 09:42:57 2008

Here is the actual message you get when you attempt to sign in after beibg suspended for leaving NEG to buyer:
Dear (SELLERS NAME AND EMAIL)
We regret to inform you that your eBay account has been suspended due to the violation of our site policy below:

* Site Interference - Feedback Abuse

An activity that interferes with any of eBay's operations. In this case, manipulating the transaction process by entering into one or more transactions without the intention of following through with the transaction(s) and with the intent of leaving feedback as part of a campaign to harass the other member(s) involved.

Due to the suspension of this account, please be advised you are prohibited from using eBay in any way including registering a new account.

Please note that any seller fees due to eBay will immediately become due and payable. eBay will charge any amounts you have not previously disputed to the billing method currently on file.

Regards,

Investigations Department
eBay AG

A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility   A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility

by: 981166

Wed Jul 9 09:59:39 2008

Interesting article.

I took note of the following point:

"Is the eBay infrastructure under such strain that they shut users out of portions of it from time to time rather than dip into their war-chest to upgrade and expand that infrastructure? "

If this is the case then I have to wonder about the real motive in creating Best Match. Might have been created as an excuse to hide the fact that their system can't handle the current number of listings, and their desire to favor the large (buy) sellers.  

A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility   A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility

by: Greg

Wed Jul 9 10:25:18 2008

I was originally of the mindset tht this phenomenon was coincedental in nature until the past 6 months. I kept a detailed record of my sales and enlisted friends from far-flung US locations to do the same. We've come up with an otherwise indiscernable pattern of late day and overnight exposure to the eastern seaboard. (I'm on the west coast). There are times when a specific search parameter, when done on the east coast, will contain 60-70 items and at nearly the exact same time and date on the west coast it contains 35-40 items. My Sales tend to be late day and evening and the exposure to the East Coast at those times is evident in the number of items sold in that region.
Today, I believe eBay has a problem. I don't pretend to know what it is or how to fix it, but a problem it is.

A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility   A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility

by: Patrick Alexander

Wed Jul 9 12:30:10 2008

There is a concept in consumer law called ''A reasonable expectation of service.'' In other words, you should receive what a reasonable person would consider to be acceptable service.

This would be in spite of any disclaimers to the contrary in any user agreement.

I don't believe eBay is meeting that ''expectation'' on the rolling server blackout issue as well as a number of other levels. Look for it to be challenged in court in some state where a sharp A/G becomes aware of the situation.

BTW: A little know fact is eBay LEASES a lot of server space from other entities. A smart person could probably find out what percentage. (David?) I have a feeling it would be a real eye opener....

And if you think eBay's legal dept is still the 800 pound gorilla, look at the recent verdict in France.

A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility   A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility

by: Ryan

Wed Jul 9 15:14:38 2008

Is this why last summer all my customers were from Brazil?

A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility   A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Wed Jul 9 19:44:07 2008

You know what the definition of a pathological liar is?

It's an entity who deliberately lies when the truth would have served as just as well.

Ebay management is loaded weith pathological liars.

NOTHING they say should be believed without rigorous and independent verification.

Lying is their default response to everything.

When Meg Whitman, ebay's former CEO who presided over the world's largest venue for porn, proudly commented once that she ran ebay the way the Republican Party and the Bush administration is run.

When you think about this comparison in a fair light, the parallels are eerily similar.

Ebay: the world's most despicable corporation.

A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility   A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility

by: Patricia

Wed Jul 9 22:29:15 2008

Wow Ming - right on again...and to think, Meg now had McCain's ear LOL

www.ACEOart.net

A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility   A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility

by: Dan

Thu Jul 10 00:25:19 2008

What is the incentive for eBay to block certain parts of the country from viewing particular listings? They would lose sales by doing that.

Fewer items available to buy (because they don't show up in search) means fewer items being sold.

If you "follow the money" there is no reason for ebay to do this.

Dan

A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility   A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility

by: Matt

Thu Jul 10 03:42:54 2008

Dan...you are kidding?

A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility   A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility

by: Patrick Alexander

Thu Jul 10 07:28:40 2008

''If you ''follow the money'' there is no reason for ebay to do this.''

I don't think it is done on purpose to limit or penalize anyone in particular. I think it is a problem caused by lack of adequate server infrastructure. Those affected are just experiencing ''the luck of the draw'', so to speak.

As any long time eBay observer knows, they don't like to spend money on the eBay core site.

A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility   A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility

by: EH1984

Thu Jul 10 16:50:06 2008

> it is a problem caused by lack of adequate server infrastructure

To understand this concept look up ''server load balancing.''

This is a normal process when servers are overburdened.

If you want to know why this is happening, read eBay's quarterly reports. The amount they spend on capital infrastructure is rising geometrically, while the services eBay provides is rising exponentially.

There are two ways to solve this problem.

1) eBay can increase capital expenditures. Which historically means stock prices will fall.
2) eBay can decrease server load. And you do know how that is accomplished.

A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility   A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility

by: sallyforth

Fri Jul 11 22:57:26 2008

Who coined the term "geo-clustering?"

A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility   A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility

by: Ed

Sat Jul 12 04:21:29 2008

sallyforth - that'll be me

Why do you ask?

Ed

A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility   A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility

by: Kathy_The_Green_Fish

Sat Jul 12 10:40:00 2008

Dan, eBay always has an ulterior motive.  Best match does not work like the customer wants it to.  I request batteries in best match, I get 400 I-pods.  Why?  Best match pulls the sellers eBay wants me to see, right to the top.  I request yarn, I get carpeting.  It is not a level-field market.  eBay will most likely use this format to promote pay for placement in the near future.  Just my opinion, and I could be wrong.

Ming you are absolutely right, most despicable corporation.

A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility   A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility

by: the-silver-lotus

Sat Jul 12 13:10:13 2008

The server problem has been around for a long time. And it's been denied and lied about for just as long. Sometimes I think eBay's infrastructure is worse than the USA's highway infrastructure!

A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility   A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility

by: Stacy

Sat Jul 12 17:26:59 2008

I've read about this on ebay message boards.  When it comes up, we would choose one poster's auctions and we would all do a keyword search to find that auction at the same time.

Only once were we unable to see an auction we searched on, and it turned out that there was an error in the title of the listing (the word "shirt" misspelled without the R) which ebay's computers flag as "objectionable" and pull the item out of search for ALL users.

In every other case, everyone was able to see auctions we searched on, regardless of where the seller or the searchers lived in the world.

Until I search for an item I know is there and do not see it, when someone in another part of the country can, I will remain doubtful that ebay is "hiding" listings from me or suffering from "rolling blackouts".

Instead I will continue to presume that my items which do not get many hits are simply because they are not what people are looking for.  Not because of some grand ebay conspiracy.

A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility   A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility

by: columbo

Mon Jul 28 16:25:31 2008

This rolling region visability supports my theory that when eBay is done making changes they will be able to control both your sales and the traffic to your listings. They are interested in limiting their liability in lawsuits. I feel like they have me by the balls and I haven't even done anything wrong. For a minute there I lost myself, you know what I mean? Anyone else?

A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility   A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility

by: RT

Wed Aug 13 03:06:51 2008

My current items are right this second being blacked out.
It is 2:00am Central time on August 13th.
When I try to pull my listings up from my posting account's favorite seller link on my high speed internet my selling account has NO listings.
When I log into my selling account through AOL dial-up all my items are listed in ''My Ebay'' Items I'm Selling section.
This ''Rolling Server Blackout'' is in fact TRUE.

I have also noticed the ''geo clustering'' of my sales.
One week ALL my buyers will be from CA and then the next week they will be from the East Coast.
Then the next week from the center of the US.
Then It is back to CA for my buyers.
The ''geo clustering'' is also a FACT.

So I am guessing that eBay will NEVER admit this but everyone knows it.

It is just another way that eBay is cheating the sellers and the ''system''

A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility   A Name for eBay's Rolling-Region Visibility

by: VERY TRUE

Wed Aug 13 05:33:43 2008

Was wondering why all these buyers are from NJ last week, Ca. this week etc.



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