One of the more amusing problems people have on eBay revolves around eBay’s use of anonymous emails from buyers. Prior to purchase, a buyer may send a question to a seller about anything. When the buyer sends the question they have the option to keep their email address private. If the buyer selects this option and the seller tries to email the buyer back directly from the email they receive from eBay, they will see that the buyer’s email address is UseTheYellowButton@ebay.com. This means that the seller has to click the yellow “Respond” button within the email if they want the buyer to receive a response. A response emailed to UseTheYellowButton@ebay.com of course will not be received by anyone. This is confusing to most new sellers. A couple of years ago I caught my girlfriend responding to an email at UseTheYellowButton@ebay.com. I asked her what she thought she was doing. After I explained her mistake she said that it made a lot of sense because it seemed like none of her emails had been received by her buyers. For more than three years eBay has tried to devise a system that will allow sellers to email the buyer directly while still keeping the buyer’s actual email address anonymous. It seems like eBay has finally implemented such a system, although I have been drinking all weekend so it’s possible that I am confused, so don’t hold me to this one,ok?
On Friday evening I noticed that when I went to reply to a buyer’s email that their email address was firstname.lastname@example.org. This leads me to believe that eBay is trying to implement their anonymous email forwarding system as part of the October update. EBay first tried to implement such a system in October of 2006. Like most things eBay, it of course didn’t work and eBay nixed the entire program the following month. It seems like they haven’t quite figured the system out in 2009 either, because after replying to the buyer’s question I received an email from email@example.com stating:
Your recent message to megwhitman was not sent because that member’s mailbox is not accepting messages. This could be for several reasons, including:
- The email address is no longer valid
- The member’s mailbox is full
- The member’s email server is not working
- The member’s email provider is blocking messages
You can still send the member a message through eBay. Here’s how:
- Click on the member’s user ID anywhere it appears on the site.
- You will see the member’s Feedback page. Click “Contact member”.
- Enter your message in the form and click “Send”.
For assistance, please contact eBay Customer Support at: http://pages.ebay.com/help/contact_us/_base/index_selection.html
Interestingly, none of the reasons mentioned for failure were “EBAY IS RETARDED SO SRRY TRY AMAZON OR SOMEFING.” It’s possible they’re still tweaking the failure email as well.
If eBay can actually figure out the anonymous email system it would be a step in the right direction. I’m sure eBay gets really annoyed with the six million daily emails they get from confused eBayers at UseTheYellowButton@ebay.com. One might assume eBay would want to limit the failures they’ll be experiencing over the next few weeks with all of the October changes coming, but it appears that they don’t think there’s much of a difference between 1,000 failures and 1,001 failures. I suppose I am inclined to agree.
I would also like to take this opportunity to thank my seven loyal readers for making September the most visited month ever for AuctionCope Auction Blog. It looks like we’ll be over 2,500 unique visitors for the month. Until next time, Josh