Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Aug 13 2012 20:59:46

Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay

By: Ina Steiner

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Glitches began plaguing the eBay marketplace on Monday, from suspicious pop-up boxes to disappearing photos and missing data - yet eBay has yet to announce the problem on the systems board. Some sellers who called in to eBay customer service report they've been told not to list for 24 hours - one said a rep told him not to list for 5 - 6 days.

Despite the widespread nature of the problems, eBay failed to announce the issues on its Systems Announcement board, which is designed to communicate with users when there are technical issues.

The top three problems reported by eBay sellers through numerous emails to EcommerceBytes, the Ecommerce EKG board, and on eBay's own discussion boards include:

- Difficulty uploading photos during the listing process

- Photos disappearing from live listings

- Suspicious pop-ups requesting username and password

Other problems reported include:

- Missing data, such as item specifics

- Top Rated Sellers showing as "Standard"

- Some listings not accessible or viewable

- Missing PayPal payment email notifications

eBay experienced similar problems recently - critical information disappeared from product listings, including shipping information and item specifics.

eBay failed to use the Systems Announcement board in that case as well. It ultimately canceled the listings affected by the glitch and issued double-refunds to sellers because sellers had to edit their listings to put back the information eBay's glitch had deleted.

The cost of the glitches on eBay is high - not only in lost revenue thanks to missing information in listings, but in time spent by sellers trying to resolve the problem. "I'm using firefox," wrote one seller. "I just scheduled 2 auctions for tonight. Took me forever to get the pics to load. Now when I look at them the pics aren't showing. This is really getting to be a chore."

Since there is no notice of the problems on the eBay Systems Announcement board, sellers are also spending time waiting to speak to customer service reps. Currently there is a flag on the "Contact eBay" page warning of "High phone volume leading to extended wait times: We are currently experiencing high call volumes and apologize in advance for extended wait times you may experience. Thank you for your patience and your call will be handled as quickly as possible."

Sellers suspect that what is making matters worse is a promotion eBay is running allowing sellers without Store subscriptions to list up to 5,000 fixed-price listings - the promotion began on August 8 and runs through August 18.

Update 8/13/12 10:55 pm EST: eBay spokesperson Ryan Moore responded to our questions with the following statement: "We experienced a technical issue with images today that prompted the pop-ups. The issue was resolved around 4:30 this afternoon. We apologize for any inconvenience." We've asked further questions and will update the story as we learn more.




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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay   Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Spartacus

Mon Aug 13 21:14:26 2012

In the meantime, eBay's stock was up 1.33 per share today on announcement that fixed-price sales on eBay surged a record 33.1 percent in July from 2011.

Funny, every single seller I've talked to said sales have been DOWN since April.

Does anyone else get the feeling that eBay is going to be the next Enron?

Seriously folks, an eBay meltdown could very well send the economy into a further tailspin which is why I think eBay is handled with ''kid gloves'' by the FTC and other government organizations.

However, eBay is burying the truth for shareholders, they're walking a razor's edge with consumers and they're juggling too many potential ticking timebombs not to have something blow up in their face.

Perminate Link for Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay   Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Mon Aug 13 21:57:15 2012

Another serious glitch that just happened is someone else's information and NOT mine showing in my seller's dashboard. I had to call to get it corrected. Very alarming. I am wondering if this is another reason views and sales are down. Completely messed up.

Perminate Link for Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay   Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: windsorbear

Mon Aug 13 22:16:38 2012

Someone elses info in your dashboard?  That's not good.  That's a sign of a corrupt database index.  The whole eBay system is basically a huge relational database, and uses an index system to keep track of what information goes where.  If the index become corrupt, info will either not show or show up where it shouldn't.  That could explain a lot... still.... seems to be an awful lot of glitches in a single day.  Images are getting better, but I'm still not receiving thumbnail images on my "listing confirmation" emails for listings where I have used eBay stock images.  I am getting them for listings where I provided the image.  Images are showing up in individual listings, but are slow to load.  Thumbnails are not showing up in search results for items listed since late last night.  Would seem to indicate problems with the thumbnail database or servers.

Perminate Link for Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay   Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay

by: Harriet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 22:22:55 2012

photos are absolutely messed up. None of the newly listed items I've looked at have working thumbnail photos, although they seem to be there for each individual item, just not in the search list. The older listings have working thumbnails. What a mess!!  

Perminate Link for Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay   Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: windsorbear

Mon Aug 13 22:50:07 2012

GOOD NEWS!  For the first two listings I did early this afternoon; their thumbnails are now showing up in search results!  Here's hoping that the system is repaired and trying to catch up!!

Perminate Link for Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay   Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay

by: AgendaSwallowsAll This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 23:34:20 2012

H*LL will freeze over before you'll ever again see Ebay providing any information in an email and/or forum that could in any way point to their being held liable.

Don't be shocked Ebay has posted nothing, expect it.

Perminate Link for Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay   Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay

by: Grace This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 23:34:32 2012

Sales have been in the tank since April and now my pictures are missing in some of my auction listings.

Perminate Link for Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay   Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: thehosst

Mon Aug 13 23:54:14 2012

Yep, I was thinking it was the browser, but the listings today were missing pictures for many hours.
I would like to add, the messaging system was also down, a pretty serious issue for the communication DSRs, for eBay to acknowledge something like this is to accept that they have to reimburse sellers for lost sales or to give them a break for affected DSRs, something that in my lifetime, will never happen.  

Perminate Link for Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay   Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay

by: MoonlitMemory This user has validated their user name.

Mon Aug 13 23:54:48 2012

I had happen to me weeks ago the issue in which the returns info under the Shipping tab in my listings disappeared. It came back around a week later.

For at least two weeks, re-list or sell similar through eBay occasionally brings up a nightmare form that has deleted all the photos and description.

I had a couple days in which required Item Specifics were erased on several items.

Intermittently for at least a week, my gallery photos on newly listed items became invisible ghost photos to anyone looking at the search returns pages. (Sellers figured out a work-around, but it is time-consuming.)

Last week, I couldn’t checkout from Shopping Cart. I just kept getting spit onto a generic “ERROR” page.

Yesterday, My EBay Active Selling page was blank white with black computer scripting on it and I wasn't able to post on the discussion boards.

All day today, photos were missing on most of my active listings, that freaky pop-up asking for my password kept stalking me, and there was a missing description with this message seen by the now-not-a-buyer instead:
“Sorry, that’s not working right now. The eBay function or feature you have requested is temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.”


No mention of any of these issues on the Announcements board. None of the threads about these issues on the Technical board were responded to by eBay employees.

For hours today, sellers who called eBay CS were given the spiel that they were the only ones experiencing it and it must be an issue with their computers, not eBay itself.

Doesn’t it occur to eBay that they would not have a “High Volume” of calls flooding them if they would promptly and publicly acknowledge these issues and provide sellers clear updates on progress to solve them?

Perminate Link for Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay   Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay

by: dans parts This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 14 00:00:07 2012

Glitches?  eBay?  You've got to be kidding.  eBay is nothing BUT a glitch.

Let's see...Ryan said picture glitch was fixed at 4:30 (assume that's Pacific time), so 7:30 my time.  Why then, at about 11pm my time, are pictures still not loading in some auctions?

Add another glitch.  On my My eBay page, with 50 live auctions now running (listed Sunday night), all 50 of my auctions show 0 views.  Including 2 that have 3 Watchers and one bid, and one that has 6 watchers and one bid.

Also, I don't have any way to know for sure, cause I don't write things down like that, but it seems the number of watchers has fallen off too.  Very seldom do my Watched auctions lose Watchers, unless maybe one or two on the last day cause people give up because it gets bid beyond their price point.  About 99.5% of the time the Watch numbers only increase during the week (as is logical).

Wonder what tomorrow's glitches will be?

Perminate Link for Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay   Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay

by: MoonlitMemory This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 14 00:01:05 2012

This article in a computer-interest UK magazine is from August 2011.
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/08/23/ebay_cassini_search_r
ewrite/

In
an interview with eBay's ''vice president of search and experience technology'' he talked about eBay planning on switching over to cheaper servers.
“Search currently runs on ''thousands'' of SPARC servers in eBay distributed data centres around the world but, for added excitement, eBay plans to uproot from SPARC and head for ''commodity servers'' – industry shorthand for cheaper Intel or AMD x86 hardware.”

Does anyone with tech knowledge (mine would fit on a TicTac) know if they have completed this switch?

I wonder if it is possible the bevvy of glitches are either from them gearing up switching over or the results of having changed servers?

Perminate Link for Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay   Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay

by: Tess This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 14 00:01:11 2012

I want a refund on all my listings today.  Did not get any further bids on items, due to problems.
When is it seller who have stores turn to get free listings

Perminate Link for Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay   Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay

by: innerpuppie This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 14 00:05:57 2012

What is so terribly sad is that eBay tells its sellers that they are the only one with the 'issue'. That smacks sellers right in the face because they know that the problem is system-wide and eBay is treating them like a bunch of dummies who can't put 1 and 1 together and come up with a viable answer.

Perminate Link for Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay   Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: windsorbear

Tue Aug 14 00:09:44 2012

One by one, the thumbnails of the listings I did much earlier today are starting to show up in search results.  Hopefully by morning, the system will be caught up.  I'm hoping Tuesday will be a much smoother ride for us all than Monday was.

Perminate Link for Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay   Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Tue Aug 14 00:19:27 2012

There was also something wrong with PayPal's MultiOrder Shipping feature. I spent almost 30 minutes, beginning shortly after 10:00 a.m. this morning, trying to fill in their form to print one label.

Perminate Link for Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay   Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay

by: uncle rico This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 14 00:50:52 2012

I wasn't able to create a listing tonight...kept getting this lovely message when I tried to create variations. Note the last sentence...lol


''Page Not Responding

The eBay page or feature you are attempting to access is not responding.
Please try the options below:

Try to access the feature directly from the eBay Home Page, instead of using a bookmark.
Wait a few minutes and try to access the feature again.

If you have waited ten to fifteen minutes and you still can't access your page:

Check our Announcement Board to see if the feature is currently unavailable.''

Perminate Link for Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay   Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay

by: Digmen1 This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Tue Aug 14 01:05:08 2012

AT Moonlit

I thought they built a new data centre in the US desert two years ago.

Like all big corporations they are always looking at ways of saving money.

Perminate Link for Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay   Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay

by: SallyH This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 14 01:13:59 2012

I had the same problem with photos not loading, the last time they had 5000 free listings promo.

Perminate Link for Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay   Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay

by: blaumann This user has validated their user name.

Tue Aug 14 01:21:28 2012

Ebay is being congratulated for a huge turnaround. Meanwhile, the site is all screwed up and sales stink. Great results from mobile? What is selling and for whom? Is this turnaround from just diamond sellers?  

Perminate Link for Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay   Meltdown Monday? Numerous Glitches Cause Chaos on eBay

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Tue Aug 14 01:27:37 2012

eBay is guilty of concealing information regarding their many and frequent glitches not just from their buyers and sellers, but from the public and investors.

Now that customer service staffing in the US has been cut back in favor of agents spread out all over Asia, it is nearly impossible to get a straight answer out of eBay customer service.

This afternoon, a customer service agent stated the issues were related to scheduled system maintenance. The excuse suddenly changed when it was pointed out that the system maintenance announcement board did not indicate any scheduled maintenance for today. The story then because eBay was having technical issues and they had no estimate of when the issues would be repaired.

Two different excuses from the same agent in the same conversation !!!


Time was when eBay was experiencing a glitch, an announcement was posted on the systems announcement board that described the issue, and even provided an estimate of when the issue was anticipated to be repaired.

This stopped happening shortly after John Donahoe became CEO. Apparently, part of his effort to fix eBay included refusal to admit anything was wrong in the first place. After all, eBay is viewed as an IT company, and if they made announcements every time their systems went down, Wall Street Analysts might begin to believe that eBay's IT infrastructure was threatened and in danger of collapse.

So... to protect the share value of eBay's stock, John Donahoe ordered that posting of announcements (read admissions our systems are broken) be discontinued.

It is easy to understand why eBay's CEO is so actively concealing the many technical issues given the fact that John Donahoe sold 162,500 shares on 07/23/2012 at an average price of $43.31. (Link: http://community.nasdaq.com/News/2012-07/weekly-ceo-sells-highlight-sp
lunk-inc-ebay-inc-skyworks-solutions-inc-and-vivus-inc.aspx?storyid=159487).
That amounts to over $ 7 million reasons to deny by omission that eBay's IT infrastructure is a jumbled mess.

The company's ongoing efforts to conceal the many technical issues from analysts, investors and users in order to avoid negatively impacting share values amounts to massive fraud and warrants further investigation.

No CEO should be able to conceal vital information or put their personal wealth ahead of the interests of customers and investors by obfuscating relevant facts.

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