Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Feb 4 2013 14:20:03

PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails

By: Ina Steiner

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Sellers are reporting that PayPal notification emails are missing the buyer's email address, for both eBay and off-eBay transactions. A seller on the eBay boards explained that normally when someone buys a product, "the email you receive has their email address in the FROM line. This allows sellers to setup an automated response, thanking customers and directing them with additional instructions, links etc. As of 2/1 all of our notification emails have this in the FROM line: MEMBER@PAYPAL.COM. The customer's name still appears, but no longer their email address."

The seller said sellers who have autoresponders setup to send an automatic email to buyers will receive failure notices of delivery. "I TRULY hope this is a glitch, and not a permanent change. This will impact 1000's and 1000's of sellers," the eBay seller wrote.

An EcommerceBytes reader also wrote in about the problem and wondered if it was a step toward anonymizing buyer email addresses.

"When you click reply, the email address still shows up to send an email to, but is this the first step towards anonymizing? So that we're forced to communicate within the eBay Message system? I send a personal email to all my Buyers after I ship, and use that PayPal email to reply to, in order to try to not run afoul of the "No communication is good communication" bs for my DSR's."

The seller was referring to the policy in which eBay gives sellers automatic 5-star DSRs on the Communication criterion for transactions in which there is no communication between the buyer and seller (announced in last Spring's seller release).

I've sent an inquiry to PayPal and will update this post when I learn more.




Comments (21) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails   PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Mon Feb 4 15:44:10 2013

I noticed this change started on 2/1 for both my PayPal accounts.

I agree this is likely another insidious directive from eBay in an attempt to force sellers to communicate through eBay's message system.

Management must be jumping with joy at their latest destructive innovation, knowing they have imposed yet another system change with no advance announcement to sellers thus giving sellers zero opportunities to adjust their business practices as promised by CEO John Donahoe.

eBay has a financial interest in forcing sellers to communicate through eBay.

eBay sellers who send post transactional emails through eBay's message system are not eligible to receive automatic 5 star ratings for communication. Once ratings are left open to buyers, the likelihood that buyers will leave lower scores is obviously a risk for sellers. Once more lower scores are received, it becomes harder for sellers to qualify for Top Rated Seller discounts saving eBay the 20% discount on final value fees.

While email addresses are still available in the body of payment notification emails, the removal from the sender address line defeats most auto responder programs. It is unlikely that auto responder programs are able to pull the address from the body of the payment notification or from the PayPal transaction detail page.

Fortunately, we never trusted post transactional shipping update communications to a auto responder program. Instead, we created a form letter which is pasted and personalized then directly emailed to buyers at their address as shown in PayPal through our email client.

This allows us to send personalized shipping confirmation details directly to every buyer without jeopardizing out 5 star DSR ratings.




Perminate Link for PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails   PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Mon Feb 4 17:40:38 2013

"I TRULY hope this is a glitch, and not a permanent change. …”

Seriously? Of course it is a permanent eBafia-instigated change. The only surprise is that it has taken these headless turkeys so long to remove this ability to harvest buyers’ email addresses ... (I hope all you sellers have already done so for past transactions … you have had plenty of warning that this would probably eventuate.)

eBay is now so desperate and paranoid it believes it has to protect itself from all you unscrupulous sellers trying to take transactions off eBay (even when it is already an off-eBay transaction, apparently); eBay believes that sellers will cheat them just as surely as they will cheat sellers; they simply assume that everyone has the same utter lack of scruples as they have …

And, if the buyer’s email address is still available somewhere else in the PreyPal message, that will be only because these incompetent turkeys have overlooked same …

Simply one more reason to get as far away from PreyPal as soon as you possibly can …

Clunkity, clunk, clunk, clunk ...

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

Perminate Link for PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails   PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails

by: AgendaSwallowsAll This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 4 18:12:13 2013

We at this point in time already spend what seems to be 5 times longer on a transaction than it once did, the time spent simply doesn't justify the profit if in fact there is any to be had.

Now we have to create special documentation for the purpose of easy access to the given record in our online filing cabinet should there be an issue to address and/or because we do special order creating the need for that access  which has taken things that much further past time vs. profit.

This did occur at some point about a year ago give or take, lasted a few days and then all went back to the way it had been, all we can all do is hope this is the case once again.

I did call PayPal last year when this happened, at that time they said it was intended offering some song & dance explanation having to do with security, not anonymity, the type of explanation that could only flow from the mouth of an eBay or PayPal CSR.

Perminate Link for PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails   PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails

by: Harriet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 4 18:22:19 2013

I just looked at a notification email from PayPal for a sale on eCrater on Feb. 2 and it shows the buyer's email address in the from section and also in the buyer section.

Perminate Link for PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails   PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails

by: Tiffee Jasso This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 4 23:58:19 2013

It is interesting that Ebay on one hand states sellers are not to try and lure buyers off site and then fill their search page with links to offsite department stores. My sister was using her smart phone to check on some Mikasa dishes at an estate sale she thought of buying and reselling on Ebay and all she could get out of Ebay's  search engine were links to Macy's and a host of other department stores. She scrolled down the page to try and find the link to get into Ebay's regular search pages and was told she needed to shorten her search words.  She had one word Mikasa, I don't know how you would shorten that? When she tried later to look up souvenir spoons, Ebay again gave her department stores. I didn't know those clothing stores and toy stores  sold souvenir spoons. What I do know is that Ebay sellers apparently will not reap any  benefits from phone shoppers. If that is the new way Ebays dances, the rest of us will be out of tune.  

Perminate Link for PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails   PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Tue Feb 5 00:39:56 2013

“A spokesperson for PayPal explained that the change was made to conform with anti-phishing standards established to decrease the number of spoofed messages that reach customers. "As one of the industry leaders behind the Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting & Conformance (DMARC) specification (dmarc.org/specification/ page), PayPal is committed to improving the protection of consumers by championing open Internet standards to defend against phishing," she said.”

Funny, eBay gave a similar reason for utterly anonymising bidding IDs: supposedly to stop fraudulent SCOs … LOL

And, how can the removing the buyer’s email address from an email advice to the seller possibly cause a reduction in spoofing, when any email to the buyer ultimately has to be addressed to the buyer anyway?

Now, altogether, how can you tell when an eBay/PayPal spokesperson is lying?—their lips are moving!

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

Perminate Link for PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails   PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails

This user has validated their user name. by: Anonymous Annie

Tue Feb 5 00:44:52 2013

eBay is obsessed with the WRONG THINGS. It's not the ''off-eBay'' sales that are hurting eBay. It's EBAY that is hurting eBay! Face it, JD... we sellers would not be wanting to take sales ''off-eBay'' if it was actually WORTH IT to sell ''on-eBay''! (And if it was actually fun, safe, easy, and profitable!)

Jimminy H. Cricket!! Get a flipping clue!

Sellers who use eBay to drive sales to their own site is not the REASON FOR eBay's problems... it's the the RESULT OF eBay's problems.

All of eBay's little worker-bees are focused ONLY on their little section of the hive, and NOBODY can see the big picture and figure out what's wrong.

Nobody works together, there is no unified vision. Just a bunch of little departments and independent programmers all running around with NO CLUE what anyone else is doing.

''We need a new logo! That will solve our problems!''
''Buyers need to be more anonymous. That will solve our problems!''
''We need a distribution center. That will solve our problems!''
''We need SAME DAY delivery. That will solve our problems!''
''We need MANAGED RETURNS. That will solve our problems!''
''We need MANAGED International Shipping. That will solve our problems!''
''We need BIGGER form fields input boxes. That will solve our problems!''
''We need BLUE BUTTONS. That will solve our problems!''
''We need to HIDE accepted best offers. That will solve our problems!''
''No, we need to SHOW accepted best offers. That will solve our problems!''
''We need to clutter up listings with ads from competitors. That will solve our problems!''
''Hey... maybe those ads should go off-site. That will solve our problems!''
''We need less communication. That will solve our problems!''
''We need to make unannounced changes just before the holidays. That will solve our problems!''

Perminate Link for PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails   PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Tue Feb 5 01:19:34 2013

“Big picture”? Let’s face it, the only picture that the Ho has ever seem of eBay is the “small” one he sees on his wanker phone—as he waves it about … Come to terms with it guys and gals the Ho is a fool, and until he is dispatched things probably can only get worse …

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

Perminate Link for PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails   PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails

by: Beth This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 5 07:32:37 2013

BY God I think she's Got it!! Anonymous Annie I Mean.  SHE exactly listed all the things I would have if I'd gotten here first.

NO one NO ONE at eBay sees the whole picture.  

Perminate Link for PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails   PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Tue Feb 5 08:23:46 2013

"All of eBay's little worker-bees are focused ONLY on their little section of the hive, and NOBODY can see the big picture and figure out what's wrong."

Brilliant Annie, just brilliant.

They are ALWAYS trying to implement some kind of change.  Just stop already.  

Perminate Link for PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails   PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails

by: kzeeman This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 5 10:53:46 2013

Ebay is fighting a losing battle trying to keep buyers & sellers apart. But if we were them we would do exactly as they are doing. They can only delay the inevitable at best. They can only keep us from transacting together, without Ebay, once. I dont see the big deal here.

Perminate Link for PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails   PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails

by: macsbaby This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 5 12:08:38 2013

The problem with this is how do sellers include email address for shipping labels. Some European customs/postal departments actually notify recipients that they have a package or package with customs due by email and or phone. Thank goodness I can still use my email through paypal to get this information, but it probably wont be long before they start blocking this also.  

Perminate Link for PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails   PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails

by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Feb 5 13:51:46 2013

I find it um interesting that we are being so feared by ebay.

As ANNIE said in her brilliant comment above they are sooo far out of their OWN loop they cannot see what any of them are even doing.

Since I mostly sell one-off items and don't always have the sort of items a buyer might return to me for I haven't been "harvesting".  But this is hysterical!  

This ties right in with the absurd ploy they are nattering on about on how to completely REMOVE the buyer and seller info from a MAILED PACKAGE!  

Now aside from the creepy Big Brother aspect of all of this I like seeing where my packages are going to.  And I DON'T print labels!  Sooo---what exactly ARE they going to DO to me?

And--I used an old template the other day to list a simiilar item.  I got a REJECT notice because ebay claimed I had an email address on there!!!!!   Which I did NOT!

But what it turned out I DID have--after fruitlessly weeding thru the entire listing terms etc--was an "@" sign!!!!   From way back when we were told that WE as the SELLERS were not allowed to TELL buyers what the DSR system was about!  Apparently the mere USE of an "@" sign is enough to get your listings FLAGGED!

Now THAT is paranoia my friends!!!!!

Perminate Link for PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails   PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails

This user has validated their user name. by: Philip Cohen
Web Site

Tue Feb 5 15:08:26 2013

@macsbaby,

“Some European customs/postal departments actually notify recipients that they have a package or package with customs due by email”

Good point, but do you think that the headless turkeys at eBay/PreyPal would have thought about that? I doubt it. This is all about a doomed effort to stop eBay’s ongoing slide into oblivion …

@Comet,
Actually, eBay’s filtering of email addresses is on the level of “Programming for Dummies” … which is the problem with the whole of this clunky site …

eBay / PayPal / Donahoe: Dead Men Walking ... http://bit.ly/11F2eas

Perminate Link for PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails   PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 6 17:25:03 2013

Good Annie.
MH

Perminate Link for PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails   PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails

by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 6 17:27:55 2013

JD: REMEMBER, these are OUR customers- we serve THEM.
WE are Y-O-U-R customers, You need to serve US.
Mass Howler
PS: Every one of MY buyers recieves my special offers as THEY are MY customers.
You BUILD LOYALTY- you do not FORCE LOYALTY.

Perminate Link for PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails   PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails

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

Wed Feb 6 17:30:24 2013

The sooner ebay is forced to sell Paypal the better.

I like to send a thankyou to my buyers
Will I no longer see their email address ?

Perminate Link for PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails   PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Wed Feb 6 17:46:13 2013

@Digmen1 - I send Thank You's too, and reiterate my return policy in an email.  I am still finding the email address in the body of the PayPal receipt. It is just not in the Title Bar at this point.  

Perminate Link for PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails   PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails

by: wannabdancin This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 6 19:45:21 2013

All week I have sent my usual ''your package is on its way'' email to the people whose payment email showed Member@Paypal.com , and the emails all went to their correct personal email addresses.  I just hit ''reply'' and didn't have to type their email address in -- it just showed up in the To: section.  

Perminate Link for PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails   PayPal Hides Buyer Email Addresses in Notification Emails

by: lurkulator This user has validated their user name.

Thu Feb 7 04:40:25 2013

It is annoying - it will make locating those notification emails more difficult for me.

At this point the buyers email address is available in the reply-to header in the email messages, and any autoreply software worth its salt should be able to deal with that.

That doesn't mean I don't think eBay and PayPal are being idiots yet again.

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