'Technical issue' downs eBay search over weekend

Some power users are none too pleased, though, and are requesting refunds for seller fees if their auctions were disrupted as a result.

eBay on Sunday confirmed that a "technical issue" had caused search queries on the auction site to be messed up over the weekend, resulting in limited or no search results. The company says that it's being cautious, though, and is holding back on some advanced search features until the issue is fully solved.

"We are happy to report that critical search functionality was restored overnight on Saturday and we are seeing normal activity levels today," a post on the company's eBay Ink blog read Sunday. "As part of our effort to restore critical search functionality as quickly as possible for sellers and for buyers, we have kept some secondary search features temporarily offline. This includes refining search by certain item specifics, such as color or clothing size, and having Store Inventory Format results included in the main search results."

In a statement, eBay also said the technical issue was caused by "a surge in live listings as sellers ramp up for the holiday season. eBay currently has more than 200 million live listings, 33 percent more than at this time a year ago."

Some eBay members still weren't satisfied with the explanation. "I had a one day auction ending today, (and) no one was obviously able to bid on it because they couldn't search for it," one commenter said on the eBay Ink blog. "Will I get a credit for this?"

"eBay should credit all sellers with active listings during this time," another said. "These issues have cost sellers many bids and sales. Once again eBay is screwing sellers."

Much like Twitter's today, outages at eBay were rather prominent in the company's early days. They're not too frequent anymore. But this one came at a time when there are some sentiments of malaise among eBay sellers, some of whom use the auction site to make a living, and when it also faces increased competition in the e-commerce sector.

An analyst release from JP Morgan Chase said that it did not anticipate the outage would have an effect on eBay's fourth-quarter earnings. But, it contained a warning: "Although we recognize it is virtually impossible for a site of this complexity to not encounter occasional issues," the report from analyst Imran Khan read, "we continue to believe that eBay needs to make greater investments in the robustness and functionality of its site in order to remain competitive within the e-commerce space."

 

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