Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Wed May 9 2018 21:36:07

eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

eBay finally acknowledged today that a seller promotion conducted last week in conjunction with WebInterpret had gone awry. eBay blamed a "technical error," and included its apologies in the subject line of the email sent to sellers: "Our apologies, you were auto-opted into the Webinterpret trial program."

The company offered no compensation for those sellers impacted by the mayhem that resulted from its error.

As we previously reported, eBay transferred seller listings to six of its international marketplaces without sellers' approval - a potentially costly problem since some offered free shipping that was meant only for domestic orders.

And because eBay/WebInterpret took each listing and duplicated it across multiple sites, some sellers showed thousands of extra listings and reached their selling limits as a result of the duplicate listings.

One reader who forwarded eBay's email today included a comment: "eBay sends this note just now, apologizing, but not saying we did this (to fool the investors). It's so clogged up now it takes 5 solid minutes for my relists to appear!!"

Another reader said he was unable to figure out what eBay had done exactly and which listings had been duplicated.

WebInterpret's Herbert Knibiehly responded to our inquiry about the promotion last week, but the company has not responded since. eBay did not respond to several inquiries.

You can find more information about the tremendous problems some sellers faced in this blog post.

Here's the letter eBay sent to sellers today:

Dear (redacted),
We want to inform you of a recent technical error that occurred when you clicked on a promotional banner advertisement in Seller Hub between May 1, 2018 and May 4, 2018. 

The promotional offer is for a free trial of Webinterpret and zero fees on up to 3,000 listings on each of eBay’s six international sites. Our intention was to direct you to an informational sign-up page. Unfortunately, when you clicked on the banner, you were auto-opted into the promotion, and your ebay.com listings were automatically translated and listed on eligible international sites. 

The promotion was offered to you to increase your listings’ visibility and grow your international sales. Webinterpret automatically translates, converts currency, and lists your ebay.com listings on eBay’s international sites where you had already enabled shipping. You may in fact have already seen an increase in your international sales.

If you do not want your ebay.com listings on eBay’s international sites as part of this promotion, you can remove them by opting out. To opt out, click here and fill out the form on the page. 

If you do not opt out, Webinterpret will continue to post your listings on eligible international sites during the promotional period and your Webinterpret trial will automatically end at the end of the promotional period, at no cost to you. 

If you continue with this promotion:

- You will not be charged fees during the promotion period (no insertion fees or final value fees on eligible international sites, and no cost for Webinterpret).

- Your items will remain listed on eBay’s international sites based on the shipping destinations and return policies you had already enabled in your ebay.com listings.

- Webinterpret will remove all of the listings that were created during the promotional period, on or before July 1, 2018. No action is required from you.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused. 
Thank you for selling on eBay.

Comments (32) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu   eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 9 22:02:39 2018

A "technical error" doesn't just happen. It requires HUMAN INTERVENTION.
Electrons don't go rogue by themselves.
Sadly, that's the strongest Mea Culpa ebay can muster..."tech error".

Perminate Link for eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu   eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu

by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Wed May 9 22:19:17 2018

For a technology company it is amazing to me the number of technical issues that Ebay seems to have.  They rarely acknowledge it at all which means this one must have come to light and had questions being asked by Wall Street analysts or another source which can have implications on Ebay's stock price or the questions about it would have been completely ignored as most other comments from the ''NOISE '' are.

Everything that Ebay touches programming wise has issues because they try to do everything on the cheap so that Wenig can continue to be overpaid his huge bonuses.  The funny part is if Ebay would actually put some money into fixing their system instead of the constant Disruptive Technology that Wenig spouts about, they might actually see some growth.  But as long as sellers continue to see nothing but problems with the Ebay site, more and more will continue to move their products to the other Web Sites and help them continue to grow until they actually surpass Ebay.

But Wenig is just to dumb to be able to see beyond his next bonus.  Hopefully his last one with be the last he ever sees from Ebay.

Perminate Link for eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu   eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu

This user has validated their user name. by: cfrphoto

Thu May 10 01:10:14 2018

Some of the issues initially appeared to be worse than they are. However, two major issues remain;

1. When 30 day store listings end will the corresponding international listings end?
2. If a sale occurs, will it appear on the US eBay site? This could be a show stopper.

The effect on the SixBit eCommerce solution should be minimal if orders appear on the US site. SixBit won't import from other country eBay sites.

Another potential glitch is PayPal reporting. Transaction reports mix currencies in some columns. While the amounts should add up to zero, transactions in play across year end or other reporting boundaries will not balance. This can be fixed if the report is imported into SQL Server, but import into Excel is awkward, requiring macros or manual deletion of non-US currency rows.

Still checking for other collateral damage or unexpected behavior.

Apparently, no one with any clout at eBay has read "The Elements of Friendly Software Design" by Paul Heckel.

Perminate Link for eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu   eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu

by: Dburn This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 10 01:17:54 2018

Ina

Thanks for picking this up . This will rank up their as one of the more egregious examples of their so called programming prowess. The fact that they didn't even bother to test the web app they wrote for this is a picture perfect example of how they program the updates into the site.

The site is has reached the point where the frequency of errors and unneeded complexity has made it a hindrance to increasing or even maintaining sales.  The gross negligence on display is breath taking. I doubt there is a product person among the ranks of the executives. There is certainly a paucity of online retail experience otherwise this wouldn't be happening. They would know that the constant stream of site failures cause mass exits by sellers and buyers.

If Wall Street wasn't so busy angling to do their next MA by giving this company a pass, the shareholders left would be lucky if the stock traded  at $10 . This is not a 40B (market Cap) company. Not even close.  

Perminate Link for eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu   eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu

This user has validated their user name. by: LasVagueness

Thu May 10 01:43:13 2018

eBay seems to have ramped up both the frequency and egregiousness of technical errors of late. This and the total breakdown of item specifics (effectively ghosting listings) suggest troubling issues in eBay's technology department. (Too much fiddling with design and change?)  

Perminate Link for eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu   eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu

by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 10 01:57:01 2018

@Dburn
Their stock price is lunacy, given their assets are a hologram.
They own nothing, ship nothing, deliver nothing...but take credit for all three.
They have a ton of cash...and a ton of debt.
Their ineptitude is case study gold...only Wall St. hasn't caught on.
How long can they ride the Wenig highlight reel?

Perminate Link for eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu   eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu

This user has validated their user name. by: DeathFromAbove

Thu May 10 03:12:06 2018

Who the hell is "webinterpret" anyway?  Isn't ebay supposed to be a technology company, and this is their business?  Why are they hiring out seemingly simple tasks?

Perminate Link for eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu   eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu

by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 10 03:47:24 2018

@DeathFromAbove

I think you will find that all if not almost all programming is contracted out to offshore companies as Ebay now goes for the cheapest possible cost for anything they do.  The less they spend the more that is there for the year end executive bonuses.  Ebay is run just like the government where those in office are only there to further enrich themselves with no attention being spent to the constituents or in Ebays case the customers who pay their salaries.  

All Wenig is concerned about is the Ebay stock price so he continues to get the outrageous bonuses and able to cash in his cheap stock options for additional money.  Everything he does is aimed to give the Wall  Street analysts this false sense of a company that is still a force to be reckoned with, when in fact it is now so far down the drain that I am afraid there is no coming back.  

A technology company that does not even do their own programming or know how to beta test the product before they just take it live and let the sellers once again do their beta testing for them and find all the problems.  Then Ebay will decide if any of them really need to be fixed and unless it is costing Ebay money, it is ignored.  i really feel sorry for those companies who are buying the data that Ebay is selling them because the old saying ''Garbage in, Garbage out'' really does come into play in this case.  Maybe that is why Wenig keeps insisting that China is Ebays future, because they are the only companies buying Ebays garbage.

Perminate Link for eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu   eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu

by: Paul W This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 10 04:15:36 2018

I've got quite a few orders from items posted on other sites.  PayPal's currency conversion rate is pretty bad, but the no FVF more than makes up for it.  At the end of the trial (they say) all the non-US listings will be ended so I am going to let it run until then.  

Perminate Link for eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu   eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu

by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 10 04:59:18 2018

SNAFU is what made this one newsworthy, but it raised an entirely DIFFERENT TAKE for me.  WHY did anyone think that even if it had gone off PERFECTLY that this whole thing was ever worth the candle?   I see some off-the-wall company who seems to honestly believe they could TRANSLATE eBay listing text from English into multiple different foreign languages ACCURATELY have ever gotten from OPIUM-Smoker pipe dream to actually luring eBay "management" into TRYING it?
This was a "solution" in search of a problem.  Example: eBay shoppers in Germany already HAVE their own eBay site auf Deutsch with the extra little bonus that MANY Germans already speak and read ENGLISH.
Ebay just seems entirely capable of SWALLOWING WHOLE any sort of Disruptive Ideas Hook Line and Sinker.
I am a happy eBay export seller who is completely merry knowing that I've included something like 20 Modern Well-Educated countries and IGNORED the 2nd 3rd and 4th world countries' willing buyers.
I could not wedge this next thought into my earlier comments above, but I (for one) frequently use $5 words and I just cannot imagine what some "machine translating computer program" would do to deal with translating Cerise (cherry red) into multiple languages.  One of my own examples is that a potentially apocryphal STORY is that at some time in the 1950's a technical paper about Hydraulic Cylinders (rams) got translated into Italian, then to Greek, then French and finally BACK into English.  Throughout the entire published paper any time "Hydraulic Ram" appeared in the original it was instead "WATER SHEEP" in the final translation.  'Nuf Said.

Perminate Link for eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu   eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Thu May 10 06:16:20 2018

Pay attention to two words: "auto opted".

How many times has this company "opted" us into schemes we did not want. Why would I think that this is any different.  Blame it on the rain eBay. Blame it on anybody but your ineptitude.

Meanwhile I see more items vanishing from my inventory than ever before.  I caught five yesterday that had been relisted earlier this month but had gone "poof".  I have never seen even one item vanish (and over many years) from my inventory on the other sites that I sell.

And I see messages from eBay that read "upgrade your store for more visibility".  Fat chance eBay.  Those "more visibility" promises have never come to fruition no matter how many hoop jumping promises they make.

Perminate Link for eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu   eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu

by: maxmad This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 10 07:22:07 2018


it must be really nice to have a business that you can do and say whatever you want to your customers and still be in business the next day,  

Perminate Link for eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu   eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu

by: frustrated This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 10 07:46:49 2018

It may have been a technical error, BUUUUT....

Notice they aren't going to FIX IT until July 1.  

Things that make you go HMMMMMMM.

Anybody guess what happens on June 30th??

My guess is they are looking for a desperate spaghetti throw to try to TRICK new buyers for the stock.

HMMM???

"We have increased total volume by 40% !!!!!!!!!!!"

Only a moron would listen to them, but that's who buys ebay stock.

Perminate Link for eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu   eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Thu May 10 07:47:18 2018

It would appear that eBay recruits their executive team from among the members of Delta House at Faber College, and their programmers from South Hoboken Institute of Technology.

Perminate Link for eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu   eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu

by: frustrated This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 10 08:13:24 2018

Ebay recruits their IT people from the sidewalk OUTSIDE the drunk tank.  Candidates must be face down in a puddle of drool to qualify.

And if you don't believe this was not a "SNAFU"

Then go in to active, hit US ONLY.

Then refresh and watch the total listings go from 18102 to 17896 to 18108 to 18109 to 17844. Within less than 60 seconds. **then check unsold to see if it changed. IT DIDN'T** Use 2 windows like I do! (you need 2 windows to check whether or not your relists have gone up when they say SYSTEM UNAVAILABLE, because 99% of the time, they DID GO UP)

Absolutely shocked that the VERY intelligent folks here on e-commerce bytes have not noticed this yet??

Lately everything at ebay requires a work around. Te whole site is totally fubar'd and I bet my HOUSE it's not an accident.

Perminate Link for eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu   eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu

by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 10 08:40:56 2018

@frustrated

I had missed that comment about everything being fixed on or before July 1.  So here we go again with another quarter end ''SNAFU'' that has the potential to make Ebay look much better than it does in reality.  How many more times are the Wall Street Analysts going to ignore the fact that Ebay has some type of a technical glitch at the end of a quarter, or in this case that the will not commit will be completely fixed before the end of the quarter?

This really makes me wonder if a sale on one site is going to wind up recorded on all 6 sites so that Ebay shows significant growth during the 2nd quarter.  Once again Ebay will only announce the GMV as their growth indicator and when the correction is finally made, everybody will already be focused on the 3rd quarter numbers.  I am really surprised that nobody has sued their stock brokers who got them into investing in this scam of a company.  They have never paid dividends to their shareholders and since Paypal was spun off they have had to rely on questionable tactics and numbers to gain any growth in their stock price.  Its also interesting that suddenly Wenig is cashing in on his stock options while the stock was in the low 40's, plus the sudden announcement that he is joining the GM BOD.  It is looking more and more like he has gotten his exit plan in order by lining up his next easy money gig plus cashing in on all the stock.  I'm sure he is aware that he will be poison to all other companies once Ebay cans him, which they either will have to do soon or watch as their core business becomes worthless.

Perminate Link for eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu   eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 10 09:18:05 2018

I would tend to agree that this is NOT an error - its a play to make Wall Street believe that there are more listings then there are.

The issue isnt "the error", its that HE GOT CAUGHT and had to make an "apology".

Fundamentally eBay is crooked, fundamentally eBay is one big con game - and its all (as others have said) a big game to con Wall Street to pump up the stock value - so that eBay honchos can cash in.

THAT is all eBay is.

If they wanted to be a REAL ecommerce company - they wouldnt be hiring/keeping people like GRIFF and BOB Cupcake around. They also wouldnt keep making anti seller rules, they would reign in VERO, they would have a summit meeting with Google, they would integrate eBay and Google Shopping - theres 1000 great ideas - NONE of which eBay is doing.

Enough with the 60 day returns garbage - get busy SELLING.

Perminate Link for eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu   eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu

by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 10 09:22:53 2018

They should do trial runs before they send those promos out.

Perminate Link for eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu   eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu

by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 10 09:58:29 2018

@Chicago48

Why would they ever spend any money on doing trial runs or any kind of beta testing when they have the sellers to do it for free. We not only wind up doing it for free but do a much better job than anybody Ebay could or would hire to do it because it effects our livelihood.  But all Ebay cares about is the cheapest way to get something done and out,, whether it works properly or not, as that is our problem (the sellers) not Ebay.  What they just cannot get through their heads is that all they continue to do is chase off more and more sellers and buyers who are tired of the games that are played.  Ebay may successfully be able to convince the buyers that its all the sellers fault, but at some point the buyers are going to wake up and realize that if it is the buyers fault, why is that the only type of seller that Ebay has !!!

At this point it is obvious that Wenig is milking this gig for every penny he can get out of it.  Who knows, maybe the BOD has realized the problem and given him 3-6 months to fix it or be gone, I don't know, but to me it just appears that every move he makes at this point in time is to enrich himself in some shape, form or fashion.  

Perminate Link for eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu   eBay Blames Technical Error for WebInterpret Snafu

by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Thu May 10 10:41:57 2018

In this case - the best solution is the easiest solution:

Just show all listings 24/7/365 - how hard is that?

Using UPCS for new goods isnt a big deal - info on most products is freely available on the net and IS used by the rest of the industry.

For goods that predate UPCS or have multiple - the title should suffice.

None of this is quantum level programming - unless you SPECIFICALLY design your search engine to NOT use this formula.

Its nice to be able to have your listings in other languages - surely it cat be that hard - ask GOOGLE (you know the people who dislike eBay) and they will (probably by IP and log on info) automatically translate the page to the required language (or offer it in a drop down).

Of course if you are trying to bamboozle Wall Street - fusterclucks like this are going to happen. eBay should have done testing - but like always they DONT.

How (since I wasnt involved in this test) does this "sync" with what a seller puts in his/her listing?

Was this applied to listings that were created that showed overseas shipping available? did they have to include a GSP option? what about listings that have NO overseas shipping options?

Simply - its another day, another eBay screw up - when will eBay and its garbage show up on CNBC Powerlunch?

Click to view more comments
1 2  [Next Page]


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment using your AB Verify User Name, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.