System Glitches Plague eBay

Online auctioneer eBay has suffered from outages this week that have left the service offline for between 15 and 30 minutes on several occasions.

The problems started at 9 p.m. Eastern Monday when eBay’s database server became overloaded which degraded the response time of the company’s system. After a reboot, eBay was back online at 10 p.m.

In messages posted to members, Michael Wilson, eBay’s senior vice president of product development and site operations, attributed the problems to recently-installed equipment. He said while the equipment has been functioning properly most of the time, it also appeared to be at the root of the recent problems.

On Tuesday, the same problem repeated itself, resulting in another short outage around 8:15 p.m. Eastern.

After the second outage, eBay called in additional technical staff and began working with system vendors who came to the company’s headquarters to assist eBay’s system engineers with the glitch.

Wilson posted another message on Wednesday, saying the company had made some system changes that it hoped would resolve the problems. He also promised the company would refund auction fees to any member who felt they had lost money due to the problems.

Wilson said staff from several equipment vendors have been scouring the company’s systems following the outages and verified there were no problems with any of eBay’s hardware or software.

The problem did not reoccur on Wednesday or Thursday.

The glitches come one week after the online auctioneer announced it would stop allowing members to sell firearms on the site as of March 5. The company said it was unable to find a satisfactory solution that would allow it to comply with federal law that requires buyers meet certain qualifications to purchase weapons and to ensure they comply with laws governing firearms sales.

However, some eBay members have written protesting that the company has shut down several firearms auctions in advance of its own deadline with little explanation.

eBay officials could not be reached to comment on those claims.

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