emlarson.com


Home

Blog

Work

Tech

Life

Lord

Play

 Blog: The absolute latest random thoughts


Kari Byron news

highlighted links:

Voluntary and enthusiastic

Twitter Blocking explained

Social Marketing... at last!

The Psychology of Collective Action, Social Media,...

Fwd: [#MRO-489-36585]: com-give.com scam site

Today's "what's this company?" mystery: Safer Alco...

Losing classroom content

Cross pollinating outreach ideas

Equity versus equality

Tempered glass whiteboard ideas




earlier posts:

09.2002   10.2002   11.2002   12.2002   01.2003   02.2003   03.2003   04.2003   05.2003   06.2003   07.2003   08.2003   09.2003   10.2003   11.2003   12.2003   01.2004   02.2004   03.2004   04.2004   05.2004   06.2004   07.2004   08.2004   09.2004   10.2004   11.2004   12.2004   01.2005   02.2005   03.2005   04.2005   05.2005   06.2005   07.2005   08.2005   09.2005   10.2005   11.2005   12.2005   01.2006   02.2006   03.2006   04.2006   05.2006   06.2006   07.2006   08.2006   09.2006   10.2006   11.2006   12.2006   04.2007   05.2007   06.2007   07.2007   08.2007   12.2007   01.2008   02.2008   05.2008   06.2008   07.2008   08.2008   12.2008   01.2009   02.2009   03.2009   04.2009   05.2009   06.2009   07.2009   09.2009   10.2009   11.2009   12.2009   01.2010   02.2010   03.2010   04.2010   05.2010   06.2010   07.2010   08.2010   09.2010   10.2010   11.2010   12.2010   01.2011   02.2011   03.2011   04.2011   05.2011   06.2011   07.2011   09.2011   10.2011   11.2011   12.2011   01.2012   02.2012   04.2012   07.2012   10.2012   11.2012   01.2013   02.2013   03.2013   05.2013   05.2014   06.2014   07.2014   12.2014   01.2015   02.2015   03.2015   06.2015   11.2015   02.2016   03.2016   04.2016   05.2016   06.2016   11.2016   04.2017  


7.17.2009

Goodbye, Half.com!

Today, my wife forwarded me an interesting e-mail she got from Half.com (a.k.a. eBay.com a.k.a. Mean Faceless Corporate Giant).

For starters, you should know that I've been buying things on eBay since 1996. No, that's not a typo and I'm not off by a decade; back when the auction site was named "AuctionWeb" (the reason that eBay e-mails had/have "aw" in them) tucked under the domain "eBay.com" (which was the "holding company"), I was buying brochures and guidebooks from the 1939 New York World's Fair there. So I know eBay pretty well, and have seen it shift from a cooperative community to a bloated money-making-venture for its owners to a dying site that has driven away its sellers by victimizing them in the name of "buyer protection".

Which brings me to today's topic. Years ago (just shy of four years, to be exact), we listed some old books for sale on Half. There weren't many sales... though one notable one went to "peaceandhope060" who gave Ruth her first and only negative feedback after claiming a book never arrived. For some reason, "peaceandhope060" didn't bother to contact Ruth and tell her about that before permanently messing up her eBay feedback rating. (Knowing Ruth, regardless of things like post office delivery receipts, she would have just refunded the purchase price and shipping cost just to avoid the hassle... but, hey, the experience taught us that it's the ones named "Peace and Hope" that you have to watch out for...)

Anyway, point being, the Half.com experience was never a good one for us. We took that set of books, set them to "Suspended" so that they were no longer included in the Half.com database as available, and figured we might get back to selling them someday.

Today, having paid very little attention to Half.com for a very long time, a surprise appeared in the Inbox. Before reading, note a few things:
  • The book in question wasn't for sale. It was tied to our account in "suspended" state, but nobody could buy it. (In fact, it was part of a collection that we gave away last year.)
  • We have no way of knowing what the problem really was. The book has already been deleted. eBay and Half.com: Judge, Jury, Executioner, Sender of Form Letter -- in that order. In a nutshell, the message is "Trust us; there was something wrong, but we already obliterated all evidence of it."
  • If we do it again (what, exactly?) the punishment will be worse. "You don't know what 'it' was, but so help me, if you do 'it' again, we're going to 'escalate' on you, though we won't tell you what that means, either." Nice.
  • None of the suggested issues could possibly apply. The only comments that we added to our listings are regarding quality (e.g. "Name on inside" or "Some highlighting"). It wasn't an international edition or teacher edition. I'm pretty sure it wasn't an 8-track tape.
Look, I'm all in favor of having policies and standards. But when you're trying to be a decent, honest, law-abiding (and TOS-abiding) citizen of the Internet, and you go through the pain of matching up ISBNs and making sure everything complied with Half.com standards... how are you going to react when out-of-the-blue you get a snippy e-mail like this:
Hello ----- (-@-------.com),

We are writing to inform you that the following item(s) were removed from your Half.com inventory:

12357068252 - Sociology : David M. Newman (Paperback, 1995)


When creating a listing at Half.com, sellers must match the ISBN, title, author, edition, binding format, publisher and publication date on the catalog page exactly. It is not appropriate to use the seller comment field to change any of this information. If an item your want to sell does not match an offering in our retail catalog, you will not be able to sell it on Half.com. Your item was ended because it did not match the catalog page exactly.

You can request that your item be added to our catalog by using the form below. If your book is not in our catalog and is out of print, published before 1990, from an out of business publisher, or vanity press we strongly suggest that you list the item on eBay instead of requesting a catalog edition.

http://pages.half.ebay.com/help/wizard/result_2_7_20.html

The following items can not be listed on Half.com and should be sold on eBay. In some cases you must be in possession of distribution rights.

- International edition books
- Teachers editions books
- Book club publications and Music Club releases
- Prepublication editions books (ARCs, galleys, proofs, etc)
- Promotional music cd's (including items with drill holes and saw cuts)
- The cassette, LP, and 8-track music formats

We have already deleted the item from your inventory. If you have any specific questions regarding your recently ended item please reply to this email and include the ended ITEM NUMBER and ITEM TITLE indicated above. We do ask that you find some time to review our list of prohibited items and compare it to the items in your inventory. Please delete any prohibited items from your inventory. If Half.com is continually ending your items it may escalate into stronger administrative action against your account.

Sincerely,

Half.com Trust & Safety
Well, Half.com, here's the scoop: I "found some time" and I just deleted all the items from our inventory. Happy now? Every last one of them. I started with the "suspended" ones, which left just five active books... but you still said that I had 36 listed out of the 90+ I started from. I'm no math expert, but I think 36 is greater than five.

It was awfully helpful of you to show that I had a second page of content... but when that page just duplicates the five books that really are there, I realize that you can't manage a database... and you can't write a civil form letter... and history shows that you can't be trusted to broker someone's online reputation.

So... Goodbye, Half.com!

 


emlarson.com:   Home | Blog | Work | Tech | Life | Lord | Play | Mail

Entire site contents Copyright © 2000-2005 Eric M. Larson

All rights reserved, please don't steal my stuff, etc. etc. etc.