|Sat Aug 2 2014 12:06:11|
eBay Denies Outage Days after Widespread Accessibility Issues
By: Ina Steiner
After experiencing major problems with its website this week, eBay finally issued a notice on its Systems Announcement Board that it set up years ago to report technical issues and outages. But the tone and timing of the announcement was more "spin" than a genuine message of assistance to users having problems.
eBay did not deny its website had issues - the title of the announcement was "Intermittent Technical Issue" - but it's lack of details left more questions than answers.
Here's the fulltext of eBay's announcement, published Friday night, a few hours after we reached higher up the PR food chain to get answers:
"We have seen reports of an eBay "outage" recently, so we wanted to address them. Here is what actually happened: We recently experienced a minor technical issue that resulted in the homepage and Daily Deals page to load slowly or be intermittently unavailable to a small portion of customers. General site functionality remained intact during this time and the issue has been fully resolved. We apologize for any inconvenience or delay this may have caused."
The message implies that reports from its customers, the media, and independent monitoring sites were overblown, and it doesn't address specific problems users were reporting beyond two slow-loading pages.
Stating "we have seen reports of an eBay "outage"" implies that no one ever asked them about it.
Yet EcommerceBytes had several email inquiries in to eBay's public relations department and actually spoke to Amanda Miller, a high level eBay spokesperson, about reports of technical issues. (She said she would have someone get back to us, but no one ever did.)
Reporter Chris Merriman of the Inquirer said in his article on Friday that he also inquired about the outage ("Once again, there is no word from eBay, but we have asked it to comment. One would think that after the pasting it took over its attitude to the password breach, it might be more forthcoming.")
Slashgear wrote about the problem on Wednesday ("Believe it or not, eBay appears to be down in the United States"). And although it didn't say whether or not it had reached out to eBay for comment, its report came 2 days before eBay acknowledged reports of an outage on its announcement board.
eBay yet again gets failing grades when it comes to communicating with its customers and to reporting technical issues in a timely manner.