We're heading into another weekend with eBay's technical issue worsening. It's a problem we wrote about on Sunday
that messes up the formatting on the eBay site (some believe it is related to style sheets) and affects some functionality. Sellers who encounter the problem fear it is having a negative impact on sales.
It doesn't impact all users all of the time, but there are reports of it happening across all browsers and many configurations.
"Since around November eBay has been off and on," a reader explained. "Several times a day I see nothing but "word salad"/code. It is inconsistent, sometimes I can't list, sometimes I can't buy or search or contact a buyer or even view our own listings! Often it's a combination of all those."
eBay has not acknowledged our inquiries asking about the reports that have been coming in to Ecommerce EKG, Down Detector, via email, and on the eBay boards.
Not surprisingly, in the absence of information from eBay, sellers are speculating about the cause and scale of the problem:
"I'm not sure if eBay got hacked or if their tech department messed up," one user wrote. "I think it might have to do with their updates trying to make the site friendlier to cell phone buyers, which has left us computer people behind."
A seller wrote on the eBay boards, "No way this type activity could go down for so long without an announcement unless there is a major problem. They are in denial mode I think."
On Down Detector, one seller speculated the problem might be due to the update eBay working on to get rid of active content.
One seller said a representative from eBay merchant support acknowledged the problem and promised a fix by February 7.
The one response from eBay we could find blamed the problem on Internet Service Providers - yesterday at 1:36 pm ET in a thread on the eBay discussion boards, a moderator wrote
"Hey everyone, just wanted to let you all know that our tech teams are working on this issue right now for a fix as soon as possible. We've identified certain geographical areas that are experiencing this issue and heard some sellers are able to access the site without issue from their mobile devices once they disconnect from wifi. Usually this means that the internet service provider is the root of the issue, but we are digging into this for a solution for sure!"
eBay blaming users' Internet Service Providers is perplexing - as is the lack of communication.
On Twitter, AskeBay (eBay's customer service account) responded
to a user's tweet this evening by asking if they were seeing just a bunch of text and advised the user to clear their cache and cookies - as if this was the first time members of eBay's social media team were hearing about the problem.
Here's another Twitter exchange that started on January 15. Today, the user uploaded a screenshot of what he was seeing, and AskeBay responded
by asking if the user was using bookmarks to get to the eBay page (perhaps inferring the user wasn't really on the eBay site?).
"I wouldn't mind it as much if eBay at least was honest and let us know what was going on so we could plan around it," a reader wrote to us today. "It has been going on since early November. it used to last a few minutes. Now sometimes it lasts 20 minutes or so. So it is getting worse."