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eBay knocked out by more tech problems

The leading online auction site suffers a 45-minute outage today and more than one hour of downtime yesterday.

eBay suffered a 45-minute outage today and more than one hour of downtime yesterday, in the latest technical setbacks for the leading online auction site.

eBay spokesman Kevin Pursglove said the company took its site down today at about 3 p.m. after noticing slow response times on its servers. The site was back up just before 4 p.m.

The outage followed yesterday's downtime, which Pursglove said followed the same pattern: The company took the site down itself after noticing slow response times. Yesterday's outage began about 11:30 a.m. PT and continued until around 1 p.m.

Pursglove attributed the problems to "inaccurate performance results" on the company's servers. Although he said the problems stemmed from overloaded computers, those problems were internal and not related to user demand on the systems. He said eBay had taken steps to correct the problems.

"Our external load had absolutely nothing to do with this," Pursglove said. eBay's outages come less than a week after the company reported less-than-robust earnings. The company said last Tuesday that its earnings had been depressed by investments in technology to improve site stability.

Despite eBay's attempts to fix the system yesterday, the site experienced similar performance problems today, producing error messages for users, several of whom complained on the company's message boards and to CNET News.com.

eBay power seller Jon Erle of Boynton Beach, Florida, said of his 51 auctions that closed today, 46 didn't receive any last-minute bids, something he attributes to today's intermittent outages. Erle, who lists some 200 seashells, orchids, and other items a week on eBay, said he was upset because the auction site seems to be unable to correct its continual system problems.

"They're taking their money, but they don't care about us," Erle said.

After several multihour site failures earlier this year, eBay hired Gateway executive Maynard Webb in August to oversee its technical operations. Earlier this month, the company contracted with AboveNet to help manage its back-end systems, in coordination with Exodus Communications. Previously, Exodus managed the company's systems by itself.