EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1276 - May 10, 2006     2 of 5

Seller Battles eBay to Recover Store Name

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Long time eBay seller Bobby Beeman uncovered a flaw in an eBay Stores naming policy that allowed another user open a Store under the same name as Beeman's User ID. But had to battle eBay before he could reopen his Store under his own name.

Beeman registered the eBay User ID Toyranch over nine years ago and has been using the site to sell collectible toys ever since. Recently, Beeman attempted to reopen his eBay Store called Toyranch, which he had temporarily closed last fall.

When he found he could not reopen his eBay Store, he called eBay's customer service department for help. He said the customer service representative told him he could not name his store Toyranch, because another seller had opened a Store called Toy Ranch (with a space in the name). When Beeman typed in, it resolved to - the eBay Store belonging to the other seller. (The spaces in a Store name show up as hyphens in the URLs.)

Beeman said he called eBay Stores customer service a second time for help in reopening his Store using his eBay User ID, but said the representative hung up on him when he asked to speak to her supervisor.

Frustrated, Beeman decided to open his Store under another name - one that belonged to a PowerSeller with over 80,000 feedback. Within 24 hours, he received a call from an eBay customer service named Rayna in Utah. She told him he should change the name of his store within the next 5 minutes, because there was an eBay seller with the same User ID he had used to reopen his Store. Beeman asked her for help in changing the name of his Store to back to "toyranch" - his User ID. Rayna refused, according to Beeman.

Rayna called Beeman back and helped him change his eBay Store name to Toyranch, but it's unclear why she was initially unwilling to apply the same policy to Beeman as the other seller. Beeman said he believes it may be that eBay treats large PowerSellers differently than smaller sellers like himself. eBay's longstanding position is that it provides a "level playing field" to all sellers.

eBay spokesperson Catherine England said Beeman's situation revealed a "loophole" in the eBay Stores naming policy related the uses of spaces and or hyphens in store names. "We are currently working to close the loophole and believe this issue has impacted very few people. We have restored Mr. Beeman's Store name and expressed our apologies to him for the inconvenience," England said.

England also said there was an unrelated bug affecting eBay Store owners last week. The bug allowed a "handful" of sellers to open new Stores using the name of existing Stores. One seller documented his difficulties in a thread on the eBay Stores discussion board ( England said last week that the bug has been fixed and, "we are working with Store owners to restore their Store names."

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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