Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Mar 21 2013 15:47:27

Ten Thousand eBay Sellers Watch in Horror as Listings Disappear

By: Ina Steiner

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Ten thousand eBay sellers are living through a nightmare situation after receiving a letter on Wednesday telling them they'd reached their selling limits. The letter itself was not the greatest concern - it was when recipients of the letter discovered that eBay had removed all of their listings with the exception of listings with bids. (See today's Newsflash newsletter article.)

eBay said today the problem impacted approximately 10,000 sellers in global markets including the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and Australia, and was caused by a software issue that was later resolved.

For 12 hours, sellers were left confused and uncertain as to what they should do. We pegged the earliest reports as coming in at midday on Wednesday (Pacific time), and in a rare occurrence, eBay used its General Announcement Board to notify users of the problem at 11:36 pm (PST) Wednesday evening.

Today some sellers have reported their listings have come back - one reader wrote at 11 am (PST) Thursday morning, to say, "My fixed price listings are back but not my auctions and no contact from eBay."

Remembering incidents of the past, some sellers were concerned for their colleagues who might have attempted to relist their items on Wednesday, telling me they worried that it could lead to duplicate listings that result in higher fees and policy violations.

eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff told me today that would not be an issue. "The issue yesterday caused some listings to be inadvertently ended, and some were temporarily hidden from search results. The hidden listings are now restored to view. The listings that were ended are in the process of being re-listed. This will not have any adverse impact on sellers' standing in Best Match search or seller feedback or standards, and it will not cause duplicate listings for sellers who have already re-listed any items on their own."

eBay has yet to disclose what compensation, if any, eBay would offer to sellers impacted by the "disappeared" listings.

Such incidents are a reminder of the importance of having backups for all your work, though it appears in this case, nothing was lost.

Thanks to all the readers who alerted me to this problem yesterday via email, Ecommerce EKG, and Twitter.




Comments (48) | Leave Comment | Permalink

Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Ten Thousand eBay Sellers Watch in Horror as Listings Disappear   Ten Thousand eBay Sellers Watch in Horror as Listings Disappear

This user has validated their user name. by: Ed Gadfly

Thu Mar 21 17:11:10 2013

If they aren't changing the rules they are just making items disappear.

Wait until it happens with your PayPal money.

Buyers can't rip you off if there is nothing to find.

Perminate Link for Ten Thousand eBay Sellers Watch in Horror as Listings Disappear   Ten Thousand eBay Sellers Watch in Horror as Listings Disappear

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

Thu Mar 21 17:52:11 2013

What needs to disappear is 10,000 ebafia mental age middle school management employees and third world programmers.

This is what sellers get in exchange for the highest selling fees on the internet.

Sellers, check your question page in your My Ebafia because in my case at least 2/3rds of them aren't arriving in my mailbox.

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by: Ebay's Slow Death This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 21 18:03:41 2013

What I hear is:

''....telling them they'd reached their selling limits.''

And:

''....some were temporarily hidden from search results..''

Apparently, those double-secret, we can't tell you what they are, Selling Limits, and the ability for Ebay search to easily hide listings, strike fear in this Seller's heart.

Who knows when we have reached our Selling Limits, and when our listings are being hidden to everyone except for the Seller being affected.

Perminate Link for Ten Thousand eBay Sellers Watch in Horror as Listings Disappear   Ten Thousand eBay Sellers Watch in Horror as Listings Disappear

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

Thu Mar 21 19:20:32 2013

''....some were temporarily hidden from search results..''

I like how that is promulgated as something NEW!  When in fact, it's really old news.  We've known that for quite some time.

Of course, maybe the actual news is that they finally admitted something like this could happen...but then they covered up the admission by claiming it to be a glitch.

Har-de-har-har-har...

Perminate Link for Ten Thousand eBay Sellers Watch in Horror as Listings Disappear   Ten Thousand eBay Sellers Watch in Horror as Listings Disappear

by: lemonsandlemonade This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 21 20:03:17 2013

@ming

Where do you find a question page besides the messages tab?

I have had Best Offers show up with just hours left before they expire (they are good for 48 hours)

Perminate Link for Ten Thousand eBay Sellers Watch in Horror as Listings Disappear   Ten Thousand eBay Sellers Watch in Horror as Listings Disappear

by: JAY This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 21 20:47:08 2013

FLASH-  I just got this apology email from eBay after they restored all but 2 of my jailed listings (have no idea if the last 2 will ever be restored)- in case it was just for me and or you don't have yours yet, here it is:

"Dear eBay seller:  You crybabies have no idea how hard it is to keep a place as big as eBay operating properly.  We are forced to keep a bare minimum staff of computer software experts as our president Mr. Donahue insists on a $30 million salary and shareholders insist on higher profits, so to have computer experts working between the hours of 6 p.m. and 8 a.m. at double pay would exceed our budget, so you can certainly understand why it took us more than 24 hours to get this slight snafu solved.  Just think of all the fees you saved over the past 2 days by not having anything sell.   Those of you who are demanding that we do something to cover your lost sales are ungrateful sops, and have already forgotten what we do for you- why, we just streamlined your final value fees to a straight 10% a few days ago, making it much easier to figure. Some sellers even suggested we do not take any final value fees from the items that were temporarily removed from full exposure, but we have extended their duration to more than make up for this, so stop whining. Thanks you for your patience, and you have a nice day!

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

Thu Mar 21 21:11:29 2013

@lemonsandlemonade

Normally in addition to receiving user messages through the ebay messaging system, I also have been receiving them at my email address until about 3 days ago when only about 1 in 10 messages were delivered via standard email.

Perminate Link for Ten Thousand eBay Sellers Watch in Horror as Listings Disappear   Ten Thousand eBay Sellers Watch in Horror as Listings Disappear

This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Mar 21 21:54:02 2013

I think a whole lot more than 10k worth of sellers were affected.

And while some are joking about this problem.  It is no laughing matter.  It is a royal mess for both sellers and ebay to work out of.

While this all started inside some program at Ebay having to do with selling limits, it really has nothing to do with it.  They didn't close or hide listings because these sellers actually met some limit.  It was a software malfunction.

Some of us suspect, but have no proof that it was because the affected sellers did not have any selling limits on their account.  The program ran and was a bit to literal.  If an account showed no selling limit, the soft assumed the seller shouldn't have any listings.  So away the went.

This wasn't my idea, it was another savy poster, but I just can't remember who it was to give them the credit.  But I sure think it is an interesting idea.

Perminate Link for Ten Thousand eBay Sellers Watch in Horror as Listings Disappear   Ten Thousand eBay Sellers Watch in Horror as Listings Disappear

by: AgendaSwallowsAll This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 21 22:13:46 2013

Quote from Ina: ''eBay spokesperson Johnna Hoff told me today that would not be an issue''

Judge Judy says ''Do you know how to tell when a Teenager is Lying?'' When their lips move.

I and all live in reality say: Do you know how to tell when an ebay spokesperson is lying? When their lips move.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Thu Mar 21 22:20:49 2013

That is out of context and doesn't accurately portray what her full statement said.

Perminate Link for Ten Thousand eBay Sellers Watch in Horror as Listings Disappear   Ten Thousand eBay Sellers Watch in Horror as Listings Disappear

This user has validated their user name. by: Sandymenu

Thu Mar 21 22:30:01 2013

@ Ming the Merciless:

Question to you:
Do you currently sell on ebay too?
Do you also buy on ebay?

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by: comet This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 21 23:44:28 2013

@SANDYMENU--

Seriously--aren't you getting TIRED of tryiong to hi-jack EVERY thread here with asking MING what his relationship is with ebay?  Either he--or she!--sells there--or does not.

If you are asking to BUY the products that he or she might or might not sell--then SAY SO.

IF you are just nosy---well--no cure for that I guess.  

And why oh why do you CARE????  

Perminate Link for Ten Thousand eBay Sellers Watch in Horror as Listings Disappear   Ten Thousand eBay Sellers Watch in Horror as Listings Disappear

by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 22 00:06:07 2013

Lesson Learned Here:

YOU all (small American sellers), if you exceed your (stealth) maximum selling limit, ebay would take out all your listings with a hit of a button.
 Don't dare sell too much again!
We are watching YOU!

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by: vampira This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 22 01:01:14 2013

I had over 200 fixed price closed during this a few have been relisted but I noticed they are charging me for the relists !! anyone else seen this ??

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

Fri Mar 22 01:02:52 2013

@ sandymenu

I have an intensely dislike - hate relationship with ebafia.

With all due respect, I can't imagine why it would possibly matter to you if and where I sell or whether I buy on ebafia or not.

However, if you've read man of most posts, then at one question is answered.

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by: BigMama This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 22 01:57:51 2013

I am really like etsy...putting 300 listings out there and getting sales.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Fri Mar 22 02:09:24 2013

@vampira

Yes, this will happen, but they will credit you.  Just give them some time to get caught up.  Read the announcement board, that may help you with some info on the subject.  If your credits don't show up over the weekend, then call them on Monday.  It's not just happening to you.  It is happening to everyone that has to have the listings relisted.

Those that had their listing go MIA, relisting isn't necessary as Ebay just had to recover them and get them showing on the site again.  Those listings were never closed.

************************

As for the rumor that continues to go around about the Selling Limits.  This crisis was NOT cause by the 10,000+ seller exceeding their selling limits.  The issue was a bug or something in a program.  Not a single seller did a darn thing wrong.  It was a computer glitch.

Spreading around incorrect information does nothing to help those seller affected by this problem.  And for many it was and is a serious problem.  It's neither funny or anything to joke about.

Ebay seriously mess up, there is no doubt.  But the important thing is to try and help these sellers through this.  This can quite literally affect some people's ability to keep the lights on and food on the table.  That's what's important here, not all this constant jabbing at Ebay.

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by: tc This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 22 04:26:03 2013

@marie

A bug? Are you serious??? Why, seeing how it was Ebay, it couldn't have been anything more than just a minor system glitch. I'm sure it will just go away and nobody else will ever notice. ;-)

Perminate Link for Ten Thousand eBay Sellers Watch in Horror as Listings Disappear   Ten Thousand eBay Sellers Watch in Horror as Listings Disappear

by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 22 05:11:55 2013

Another day, another glitch. Business as usual.

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by: Frank F This user has validated their user name.

Fri Mar 22 05:54:54 2013

I'm sure it wasn't a 'bug' that just surfaced, and was most likely was a software CHANGE that went virus and wasn't properly tested.  As we know ebay is CONSTANTLY making software changes and I don't think that they do the proper diligence in testing.  I worked in IT for many years and our company had stringent change control/management processes  and testing processes with use cases that covered every conceivable user business process, backend function (like selling limits..) and system function.  Changes  that could have major impactful to our customers were rarely allowed and closely vetted,  and unnecessary tweaks and changes to the user interface were definitely not allowed if proper notification and communication did not take place.  Ebay needs to use some common sense and adapt stringent change management processes, and well defined testing processes and these types of problems will not happen or will occur with much less frequency. Over the last couple of year we have had all sort of glitches and major issues.  In just the last weeek we had this one, a major paypal snafoo, emails not arriving, label printing issues, etc etc...  

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