Not Having a Great Year.
eBay is certainly no stranger to controversy. They even catch hell when they're giving away items (well technically, they're charging a buck....for things like sports cars, jet skis, etc.). The auction site is hosting a contest called "Holiday Doorbusters"
The problem is that some users are running scripts that "game" the contest, and that of course angers eBay users, who are trying to win prizes legitimately. After all, nobody likes a cheater. However, eBay users apparently like a contest developed in a way that would allow this to happen, even less. That is where eBay comes in to receive the bulk of the blame.
Bob Sullivan at MSNBC points to a section in the contest rules that says:
“Sponsor reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to cancel or suspend part or all of this Promotion at any time without notice, if in the Sponsor’s opinion there is any suspected or actual evidence of electronic or non-electronic tampering with any portion of the Promotion, or if virus, bugs, non-authorized human intervention or other causes corrupt or impair the administration, security, fairness or integrity of the Promotion.”
"During a series of brief interviews, however, eBay representatives were unable to provide a clear explanation of what kind of automation is allowed and what is prohibited," says Sullivan.
Caught with pants down perhaps? Many eBay users have already migrated to other sites, but this has been mainly a seller issue. After this, some buyers might be inclined to follows suit. It has not been a great year for eBay, and I would guess that the company is eager to put 2008 behind them. Let's hope that 2009 offers a bit more productivity in terms of keeping users happy.