All-Day eBay Search Outage Frustrates Shoppers, Angers Sellers

eBay shoppers and particularly eBay buyers are annoyed after a back-end outage has kept shoppers from searching and from viewing sellers’ stores for most of the day. While the site posted a workaround that makes it possible for users to search, it’s unlikely that most casual shoppers will find and use the workaround.

Industry blog Auctionbytes has been watching the situation, and made the same observation:

UPDATE: 6:12 pm EST – eBay replaced its previous Systems Announcement posts with one at 2:59 pm PST that suggests a workaround:

If you use the Advanced Search option at the top of the page, and type in your search query and click the title and description box and then run the search, the results for the title and description search will be returned. Likewise, if you receive a 0 results page for title search and choose the title and description box and re-run the search, you’ll see the appropriate results.

Does eBay think buyers are going to first of all, find this announcement, and second of all, follow these convoluted instructions? Surely eBay is not paving the way to get out of calling it an outage?

eBay’s outage policy only covers auctions scheduled to end during or shortly after the outage, so the majority of current listings will not be included under this policy. Watch for eBay’s reputation to take a major hit after this incident.

Major Search Outage Leaves eBay Shoppers Empty-Handed (Thanks, Dale!)

(Photo: erikg)


Edit Your Comment

  1. catnapped says:

    Meh…their usual outage policy to sellers is for them to just “suck it up” (happened to me enough times) so I doubt much if anything will change.

  2. Hazel-rah says:

    I was wondering what was happening, but I don’t mind :P I’m bidding on something and no one finding it for a day means it’ll probably be cheaper.

    But seriously, they have a workaround, couldn’t they redirect the title page search to do that automatically while they fix/upgrade whatever is happening? Or at least have an error page suggesting how to do it.

  3. chrisholland03 says:

    I gave up on eBay years ago. Their business practices have chased off their customer base to the point that they are irrelevant.

    • trixrabbit says:

      @chrisholland03: agreed. i still have an almost 4-digit whatever-it’s-called. amazon for me from now on.

      • zandar says:

        @trixrabbit: That’s all fine and dandy, except the original intent of the site- to provide an auction environment for people to sell and buy each other’s stuff- exists only in anemic, subject-specific smaller sites outside of Ebay. Ebay really is the only viable online venue for such diverse antiques as pottery, photos, fabric, stereo and musical equipment, viewmaster reels, etc etc. I only turn to ebay for used and hard to find items. Amazon doesn’t work for that sort of purchase at all.

        It’s ironic, really, the eventual downfall of ebay will probably be tripping over themselves abandoning the original spirit of the site, trying to be an alternative to Amazon.

        • econobiker says:

          @zandar: “It’s ironic, really, the eventual downfall of ebay will probably be tripping over themselves abandoning the original spirit of the site, trying to be an alternative to Amazon.”

          I thought they were already doing this?

          R.I.P. Ebay

    • kateblack says:

      @chrisholland03: Agreed.

      It’s a sad place now. I used to buy things on Ebay frequently, but their high fees inflicted on sellers mean much higher prices for buyers. So I usually either find used things on Craigslist or go without.

  4. scoobydoo says:

    The worst part is that sellers with stuff ending tonight are seeing their stuff go for a fraction of what it is worth. With no search to use, nobody is able to find their items.

    I’ve already seen giftcards sell for a quarter of their value :(

    Ebay is such a frikkin mess, no accountability and no respect for their customers.

  5. ecwis says:

    What a relief! I searched eBay earlier for Wusthof knives but found no results. I thought they were just all gone from eBay!

  6. Thumbmaster says:

    It doesn’t matter what this does to their reputation. They already have a bad reputation, which only got worse after they acquired PayPal. Besides, it’s not like they have any real competition in the online auction scene anyway.

  7. Klaus_Kinsky says:

    What is this thing you call “Ebay?” Haven’t used it in recent memory.

  8. squishyalt says:

    All of the sellers should take their stuff and go to…..

    Well now…just where would they all go?

  9. christador says:

    I did a search for ‘Corvette’… I’ve bought two and sold one off eBay… ‘No Results Found’ was reported a few times and I got an ‘Apache Server Error’ the other few times….

  10. outlulz says:

    That slot machine sucks down money. You have to do like $4 a spin and keep jamming that button to keep the multiplier up for whenever to bonus appears. I did win like $500 off it once though.

  11. Englishee Teacher says:

    I’m more concerned with another problem I found on Ebay today… apparently because of some French ruling about selling perfumes, you cannot buy condoms. Ebay’s explanation is that due to “technology limitations”, some unrelated items may be blocked.

  12. Bitter_Old_Punk says:

    I gave up on Ebay as a seller when their $xtra Selling Manager Pro took all items paid for and threw them into “shipped” completely skipping items that NEED to be shipped. They knew of the bug and did nothing to warn sellers, many of us lost our high volume business’s because of it.

  13. thepassenger says:

    There’s another effect of the outage I haven’t seen anyone else comment about: all of my saved searches seem to have gotten wiped out, and it seems to be because the tools along the left side that help narrow down searches are missing. Wonder when those will come back?

  14. AngryK9 says:


  15. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    “Watch for eBay’s reputation to take a major hit after this incident.”

    …eBay/PayPal’s reputation couldn’t get any worse if they started posting videos of how to properly butcher kittens.

  16. martinch says:

    Ebay banned me after my very first purchase because I didn’t receive what I had ordered and had the nerve to complain about their highly rated seller. F*** ebay!!

  17. ciccionetta says:

    All the changes that have taken place have sucked all the fun out of Ebay. It used to be the best place to find good deals but now the prices are about the same as Amazon. I’ll take Amazon over Ebay anyday.

  18. wvFrugan says:

    @Hazel-rah: NOT 10:44PM EST

  19. wvFrugan says:

    Sure you moron, and pay another eBay fee (“Reserve Listing Fee”).

  20. scoobydoo says:

    @Dafrety: Why? Perhaps the reserve was met? Reserves are bad for sales, and most people avoid them. When you list something, you do so with the understanding that Ebay is going to be working. You do pay them about 10% of your money.

  21. TurnkeyDB says:

    @StanTheManDean: That’s mighty sweeping generality you’re making that slams a lot of honest sellers.

    How about a bit less hyperbole so you don’t insult thousands of honest sellers for no reason? I’ve bought plenty of things on eBay with no problem.

  22. Sanshie says:

    @StanTheManDean: Now, now, this eBay seller has a stellar reputation! I’ve saved thousands of lives with my bed bug proof mattress protectors (NYC, we’re here for you!)

  23. Tedsallis says:


    Yeah, try closer to 15%. Don’t forget the bite that Paypal takes (owned by eBay) and the fact that Paypal is now the only choice for accepting payments.

  24. Coles_Law says:

    @nakkypoo: I was about to play it, but some jerk jumped in front of me at the last second.

  25. kbrook says:

    @nakkypoo: That would be the reason I go with Buy it Now. Makes the whole process a bit smoother, at least for the couple of items I’ve bought.

  26. StanTheManDean says:


    Name one.

    I can’t. I am sure you can’t either.

    Need a camera? How about a computer? Maybe a whole-house generator? NOBODY selling these products on fleabay is honest.

    How about a baby swing, a Brady-Bunch Lunch Box or a cat scratching post? Yep, you are about to be scammed, deceived or just plain ripped off.

  27. ceriphim says:

    @wvFrugan: Wow. Not quite the reply I’d expect from someone with a star…

  28. TurnkeyDB says:

    @StanTheManDean: Yea actually me and my 100% rating. I bought a laptop from Ebay a years ago and had no problem with the sale. Oh and the 1/24th scale commemorative Bullitt/Steve McQueen Mustang I bought a while back was no problem either, maybe from the same seller as your lunch boxes but I wouldn’t really know for sure. All the assorted bike parts I’ve bought from Ebay were no hassle sales as well.

    Apparently I missed fact that baby swings, lunch boxes, cameras and computers encompass ALL the items for sale on Ebay but that’s your world I guess where stereotyping is ok. Enjoy.