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eBay hits brief snag after expansion

The online auction leader suffers a one-hour outage this morning, just a day after setting up a new batch of local auction sites.

Online auction leader eBay suffered a one-hour outage this morning, just a day after launching a new batch of local auction sites.

The company acknowledged problems with its auction bidding and listing systems on its announcement board at 7:56 a.m. PT today. In a subsequent message, the company said its systems were down from about 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. PT, and blamed the problem on a "hardware issue."

"The precise cause is unknown at this point," said company spokesman Kevin Pursglove, adding that the outage appeared to be unrelated to a series of downtimes last month.

The outage comes as eBay is revving up its local auction presence. Yesterday, the company launched 23 new regional auction sites, including ones for Cleveland; Honolulu; Pittsburgh; Portland, Ore.; and Houston.

Today's downtime is only the latest outage for the online auction leader. Last month, eBay suffered four outages in five days, delaying auctions and infuriating users.

After experiencing multiple outages earlier in the year, including a 22-hour downtime in June, eBay has worked to get backup systems in place to prevent such lengthy outages from recurring.

Pursglove said the company used its so-called hot backup system to revive its site after the outage, and the site is still running on the backup system. Pursglove credited the system with limiting the outage to just one hour.

"We're not quite where want to be yet," he said. "But tremendous progress has been made since June."