A scheduled maintenance update causes several eBay sites worldwide to go dark.
Amy Dusto , Associate Editor
Several eBay Inc. web sites and the online marketplace’s customer service platform went dark temporarily last week due to a glitch in a scheduled maintenance update, eBay says. The sites were down intermittently between 11:45 p.m. Pacific time on Thursday, Aug. 22, and 6:00 a.m. Pacific time on Friday, Aug. 23. The company did not disclose exactly which sites and how many sellers were affected by the outages.
“Our top priority is delivering the best experience to our buyers and sellers,” eBay says. “We understand the high expectations our community has for our platform and we sincerely regret that we did not live up to some of those expectations.”
The company is adding safeguards to prevent a repeat of the outages, eBay says. It did not provide further details.
In a forum on eBay’s community message boards titled “Cannot log in or if I get logged in I cannot do anything,” which was opened on Thursday at 1:23 a.m. Pacific time, multiple sellers reported trouble logging into the forums and carrying out other functions on the e-marketplace. “Couldn't list or even revise, for several hours,” wrote an eBay merchant that uses the forum name tasteliberty.
EBay’s site outage policy protects sellers by crediting their affected item listing fees in most situations, according to its guidelines posted online. During an outage when no consumers can buy or bid on items for two hours or longer, the company also automatically extends affected listings for 24 hours.
“There are many events, from natural disasters to power outages, that can disrupt bidding and finding on eBay,” the policy says. “When a lengthy outage occurs and the cause was under eBay’s direct control, eBay does not believe sellers should incur their eBay fees for those listings that were most affected.”
The web site of the No. 1 retailer in the 2013 Top 500 Guide, in terms of annual web sales, Amazon.com Inc. has also gone down recently, becoming unavailable for 45 minutes on Aug. 19 and for 10 minutes on May 10. In March, daily-deals operator Groupon Inc. went down for part of a day, too, after a Starbucks e-gift card offer drove too much traffic to the web site, the company says.
For sellers with a “basic store” on eBay, the first 150 listings in a month are included in $19.95 per month ($15.95 annually) cost; then they are $0.25 per auction-style listing and $0.20 per fixed-price listing. With what eBay calls a “premium store”, the first 500 listings in a month are included in $59.95 per month ($49.95 annually) cost, then they are $0.15 per auction-style listing and $0.10 per fixed-price listing. With an “anchor store”, the first 2,500 listings are included in $199.95 per month ($179.95 annually) cost, then they are $0.10 per auction-style listing and $0.05 per fixed-price listing, eBay says. Basic, premium and anchor stores are terms eBay uses to describe the differing price tiers.