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eBay : Where "Opt-out" Means "Keep Trying"

Hemos posted more than 13 years ago | from the really-frickin'-irritating dept.

Spam 300

Cadrys writes "Like anybody tired of spam, junk mail, and telemarketers, I opted out of all of the above when I signed onto eBay. Today I got this letter (text below) where they decided--for me--to reset my preferences. " I got the same letter today, which really irritated me. I had *purposfully* said no to most of the "notifications", and just because I haven't opted in to what they want doesn't mean they have the right to change my preferences. I mean, that's why they are my preferences. So, today, eBay lost at least me as customer. .

<Quoted letter follows>

Dear cadrys,

Several times a month, eBay sends out valuable email communications with news, offers and special events that help you buy and sell. Unfortunately, we have noticed that an error occurred during your registration process that prevented you from receiving these communications. Many of your Notification Preference defaults were set to "no" rather than to "yes", which means that unlike other eBay members, you're not receiving these types of communications.

We'd like to resolve this problem quickly and efficiently. Therefore, on 1/8/01, we returned all your Notification Preferences to the standard default of "yes" to put you in line with the rest of the eBay community. However, we want you to choose your Notification Preferences rather than rely on our standard defaults and will therefore not include you in any communications until 1/23/01. This will provide you with some time to evaluate these choices and modify your Notification Preferences. You will, however, continue to receive certain administrative emails that are part of executing your eBay transactions.

<Quote ends>"

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Living Large (1)

TheTiGuR (115921) | more than 13 years ago | (#519879)

Doesn't it seem that as companies grow larger and larger, they feel they can be more and more liberal with thier customers and expect to get away with it?

eBay (1)

ThePixel (47166) | more than 13 years ago | (#519881)

if you read the privacy policy, it'll become very apparent to you that they are not in buisiness in the interest of the customer... and it has always been that way.
.e. []

I too will suspend my account (1)

Neter (56934) | more than 13 years ago | (#519884)

I have all of my preferences set to "NO" on eBay. If I get this email today (like a few other people that I talk to have) I will be suspending my account as well...

So, let's get this straight... (1)

TDScott (260197) | more than 13 years ago | (#519885)

They altered your preferences, and started sending you unsolicited mail? That's got to be against some privacy/spam law somewhere.

Alternatively, why not complain to SpamCop [] ? It is technically unsolicited mail...

Still staying (4)

Fervent (178271) | more than 13 years ago | (#519889)

So, today, eBay lost at least me as customer. .

Not me. The cost-value ratio of selling stuff on eBay still continues to be the best I've ever seen. I've reached dozens of buyers for used computer equipment easily and cheaply.

You have to the weigh the sheer convenience of getting good money for your stuff (without going through a middleman) vs. a single irritating email. If their service is strong enough, which it is, I can let this one go.

me too (2)

austad (22163) | more than 13 years ago | (#519891)

I got one also. I replied with a very nasty letter and a threat to report them to MAPS and ORBS. If I receive anything else from them, I will definitely stop using them and happily report them to the blackhole lists.

When people say "don't send me any shit", it means "don't send me any shit". I guess they don't really know what that means.

Kind of like... (5)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 13 years ago | (#519893)

This is kind of like when that Hot Babe opts out of a torrid sexual encounter at your place. You wait five minutes, quaff another brewsky, and ask again.


yuck (1)

RainbowSix (105550) | more than 13 years ago | (#519958)

I guess I'm going to have to "opt-out" of ebay entirely also.

Error? (1)

clockwork18 (237920) | more than 13 years ago | (#519961)

I don't quite get why they decided to call this an error... It's not like some computer-gremlin magically adjusted all of the prefs to no. This is unfortunate, as these sorts of computer-gremlins would provide excellent excuses in the IT world...

The end of innocence (1)

Geek Dash Boy (69299) | more than 13 years ago | (#519965)

This is happening more and more with web sites that hold your personal info. Very few sites give you the option to remove your info from their database ("Cancel Your Account").

In a way it's an end of innocence... we have given our names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses freely in the hopes of having a convenient place to order (or bid on, or sell) items online, and now that info is being abused.

What's the solution? Change your real info on those sites to bogus info (preferably to the mailing address of someone you don't like... *grin*).

"Your selection is an error" (5)

Grab (126025) | more than 13 years ago | (#519968)

Nice to see that selecting "no" is an error! :-) What's next then? Maybe they'll have a "no" option in the sign-up, but when you click "Submit", it'll come up with "Error - you failed to fully sign up for mailbox-clogging shite. Please try again."


Hilarious (1)

ReadbackMonkey (92198) | more than 13 years ago | (#519971)

That is the funniest thing I've read all day.

My experiences... (2)

dagoalieman (198402) | more than 13 years ago | (#519975)

While I remember opting out of everything (as the only good spam is that in a ziploc baggie with an m-150 firecracker tied to your enemy's light socket..), I never got this message.

They at least gave you time to reset your preferences- I get the impression that possibly a file system went corrupt, so they just reset everyone's profiles to their ideal profile, and then let you reset it if you wanted to (but prayed you let them send spam.)

Ebay's been good to me- recently had to appeal a non-paying bidder warning where the putz had an invalid email address and never contacted me, and they responded quickly, professionally, etc.

Anyone had any other bad experiences with Ebay itself? Or good ones? Almost everyone I know is fairly impartial...

Think i heard something like this (1)

11thangel (103409) | more than 13 years ago | (#519979)

Didnt' AT&T do something like that? Where they call you about long distance and "no" seems to sound like "yes" over the amazingly staticy yet advertised by them as crystal clear phone? What's next? Smoking or non-smoking: oh, i'm sure you meant to say smoking, i'll just set you up there anyway.

error? (1)

bmongar (230600) | more than 13 years ago | (#519982)

Unfortunately, we have noticed that an error occurred during your registration process that prevented you from receiving these communications

I guess clicking no is an error now.

Re:Still staying (1)

xercist (161422) | more than 13 years ago | (#519989)

That's why they can keep spamming their own customers at their plesure -- because most people don't like it, but arn't determined to stand up for themselves, and show the company they won't get business this way.


Get in line! (3)

Booker (6173) | more than 13 years ago | (#519992)

Unfortunately, we have noticed that an error occurred during your registration process

An error? Oh, so de-selecting spam was an error on my part I guess...
we returned all your Notification Preferences to the standard default of "yes" to
put you in line with the rest of the eBay community

Oh good, just what I wanted. Join the hive!


Ebay Stock Up 9% (3)

mosch (204) | more than 13 years ago | (#519995)

AP - Investors, having learned that Ebay is willing to engage in annoying practices that help them retain market presence, upgraded their price points for Ebay. At time of this press release Ebay's stock is up 9%.

In other news, Ebay CEO Meg Whitman took a break from the work involved in attempting to become the Asian Internet Auction leader, to cry over the loss of one customer.

"Don't trolls get tired?"

In other news (1)

iamriley (51622) | more than 13 years ago | (#519996)

droogie73(210) lost his perfect feedback [] rating.

Speechless (1)

TVOJ (300679) | more than 13 years ago | (#520001)

I'm continually blown away at how brazenly the "brand-name" web sites pull this kind of stuff. (Remember Amazon's updated privacy policy...)

I suppose you should thank EBay for correcting your "mistake" in judgement.

I have my own domain name with a single mail queue...each time I give out my email I give a different addr with identifying information. It's always interesting to see who spams me in spite of their stated policy.

you're not a customer (1)

corrosiv (116029) | more than 13 years ago | (#520003)

Do you pay for any services? Yeah it sucks that they want to pump ads into your face, but that is their only source of revenue. You'd have a right to complain if you were paying for their service.

my $0.02 (Canadian)


Re:The end of innocence (1)

Grab (126025) | more than 13 years ago | (#520006)

Well, that's why my "spam account" (which I use for signing up to this stuff) is on Hotmail. I don't really care how much it clogs up Hotmail's servers... :->


So. (1)

scott1853 (194884) | more than 13 years ago | (#520008)

Maybe they did screw up the defaults and they figure you're a stupid user like most of the people on the net. At least they informed you and gave you time to change it.

Isn't /.'s motto "News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters". I guess it matters if a moderator has the same thing happen to him.

What the hell are we suppose to discuss about this anyways? Do you have any proof that they didn't have the defaults screwed up?

In the time it took you to load /. and post the story, you could have gone to e-bay and flipped the switches off.

Not that I don't see how it's a stupid action, I just think you two are whining a little too much about it.

Ha ha ha (1)

Golias (176380) | more than 13 years ago | (#520013)

I don't know what is funnier, the way they treated all no responses as an "error", or the fact that they had the balls to send such an irritating message out to spam-averse customers.

The management at eBay is either really stupid, or else they just don't give a rats ass about people who don't accept spam. Either way, I got a good laugh out of it.

Come to think of it, that would be a fun question to ask a marketing rep from eBay... "You recently sent out a message that can not possibly result in anything other than infuriating your customers. Do you dislike your them, or have you just failed to understand them?" Could we set up a Slashdot interview? :)

They Changed the 'defaults' (1)

Ronin X (121414) | more than 13 years ago | (#520016)

Well, they are really changing the 'defaults' because someone no doubt noticed that it was stupid to default everything to 'NO'. Then they got the bright idea of grandfathering existing users who might have just blindly submitted the form.

At least they're using a 'grace period' before they open the floodgates.

As long as they don't sent me notices about auctions for University Diplomas, internet spy software, and pop-up-laden pr0n, I won't be TOO annoyed.

It's Nice To See... (4)

Steve B (42864) | more than 13 years ago | (#520018)

...that the Palm Beach County election board have found themselves a new job.

Right. (4)

MAJ Rantage (261356) | more than 13 years ago | (#520022)

So, today, eBay lost at least me as customer. .
Sure. Who are we kidding here?

Technophiles are notoriously weak-willed when it comes to resisting the allure of the new, shiny, and automated. We may talk a good game, but the majority of us still buy CDs, go to movies, passively support the use of Microsoft products (even purchase them), etc. etc. etc.

I'm sorry to be the cynical black cloud here, but "let's rage against everything corporate and wrong in this world" idealism has gotten tired. It's got heart, it's got courage, but it doesn't have a brain -- a brain that knows that Joe Consumer will repeatedly allow himself to be shat upon if he can get the Next Greatest Thing(TM).

eBay won't suffer from this, and I wouldn't be surprised if you frequent their site again within a few months.

If you hate spam (3)

LennyDotCom (26658) | more than 13 years ago | (#520024)

This doesn't apply to ebay but if you hate spam
the bets thing to do is reply to it

follow my sig. for details

Such a difficult Task... (1)

antis0c (133550) | more than 13 years ago | (#520025)

When has pressing the delete key on email you don't want become such a difficult task that people nearly have a stroke when something like this happens.. I do see how eBay is trying to get more people to receive emails from 3rd parties, but they aren't forcing you. Especially with todays technologies and being able to filter email into the "Trash" folder, what is such the big deal? I live in an apartment, and I have one of those tiny apartment mail boxes, and every day I get some kind of catalog, or Penny Saver thing with ads on it, what do I do? I throw it away, but in computers when someone gets one peice of spam, its the end of the world. I can see getting upset about Porn Spam, or spam where you are getting an email every hour on the hour, but getting something once a week, that I can easily press that key labeled "Del", its right under the "Insert", I fail to see the earth shattering problem.

bcentral anyone? (2)

prisoner (133137) | more than 13 years ago | (#520027)

I had signed up for bcentral when I started my website a couple of years ago so I could use the banner exchange system. I quit using it completely about a year ago. I got sick of the daily email "updates" (full of crap) and also unsubscribed from that - twice. After unsubscribing the first time, the "daily updates" stopped for about a month and then restarted. The second unsubscribe didn't even faze them.

Just Over One Piece of Mail?!? (4)

IanCarlson (16476) | more than 13 years ago | (#520030)

Many times, E-Bay's been a place for me to find junk that just can't be found in my neck of the woods. I think cancellation of your account is kind of an overreaction to the situation. E-Bay's given you the option of setting your preferences back to the way they were, and you won't recieve anything until 1/23, anyway. Set them back yourself, and if they perform a stunt like this again (which I don't think they will) then leave E-Bay.

I think that E-Bay will be well aware of the anxiety this e-mail caused, and avoid situations such as these in the future.

When you receive the emails... (5)

Thalia (42305) | more than 13 years ago | (#520031)

I believe the difference between your settings and mine may only be that I have the following two set to yes:

Legal Notices

User Agreement Changes
Receive notice from eBay if the current User
Agreement changes.

Privacy Policy Changes
Receive notice from eBay if the current Privacy
Policy changes.

I want to know if their policies change in either of those two areas. I don't want any other junkmail. And I didn't get one of those letters.

But it is certainly odd that they'd assume it was an "error" especially if you've had these settings for some months.


Nothing new... (2)

Eggplant62 (120514) | more than 13 years ago | (#520036)

Though I'm not a subscriber to Ebay's service, I've seen other people complain about this on Check out these discussions [] and you'll see that it's been a problem at least since early December 2000.

The only difference between spammers and Ebay is that spammers are just a bit more ruthless.

Re:you're not a customer (3)

xercist (161422) | more than 13 years ago | (#520038)

"their only source of revenue"? No, it isn't. They charge for each item put up for bid. A company that makes money on spam alone wouldn't do as well as ebay...I hope...


What about Yahoo!? (1)

iamriley (51622) | more than 13 years ago | (#520040)

From what I understand, they don't even charge to list items. I know the buyer base isn't as large, but if Ebay starts losing customers, then maybe they will stop sending spam.

Re:Living Large (2)

dinotrac (18304) | more than 13 years ago | (#520043)

The unfortunate thing, if you read some of the comments below, is that many people are perfectly willing to let them get away with it. People like using eBay and get some good deals, so they will tolerate ridiculous business practices.

This is also the ultimate irony whenever "privacy and the internet" become hot topics on some news show. The fact is, most of us willingly give away sensitive information without thinking twice. How many people, for example, fill out those contest entry forms set out at shopping malls, etc.

In the end, you only know that you have convictions when they get inconvenient.

Re:Get in line! (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 13 years ago | (#520045)

> An error? Oh, so de-selecting spam was an error on my part I guess...

No, the error was theirs. They meant to offer
Opt out of our spam distribution sytem? __No __no
BTW, that letter was really lame. Never was there a species more bent on self justification than Humaniti.


Re:The end of innocence (1)

wcb4 (75520) | more than 13 years ago | (#520048)

You could always edit your preferences to all Yesses, and change your email address to root@
I think....therefore I am

Way to go, ace. (3)

matt-fu (96262) | more than 13 years ago | (#520051)

I haven't gotten that email, and a quick poll of some ebay users that I'm friends with indicate that I'm not alone. Have you ever thought that maybe a drive died somewhere and they had to restore from tape, resetting your settings or something like that? Maybe you should consider it next time before you start with this "I think I'll use my slashdot gun to get back at them for such an irritation", Hemos. Children like you shouldn't have such power.

Anyway, if you're pissed at the ebay/spam connection, there are much better things to raise your hackles about.. such as spammers getting email addresses from ebay.

Re:Still staying (4)

Zachary Kessin (1372) | more than 13 years ago | (#520053)

Well in life from time to time you have to deal with people who annoy you. If you want to sell stuff online you have several options (Ebay, Amazon, Yahoo and Others) None are perfect, the Question you have to ask yourself, is what I get from using this service worth taking the bad parts too?

I can only say that for me it is sometimes worth using EBay. You may decide to use a different online auction or none at all.

There are things I don't like about many stores and services I use, I deal and if they are bad enough I go elsewhere if I can.

The cure of the ills of Democracy is more Democracy.

Why, exactly, is this surprising? (1)

RareHeintz (244414) | more than 13 years ago | (#520056)

For the record: I agree that this is a shitty thing for eBay to do, and that this is not the first shitty thing they've done.

That said, what is all this whining about? Did you really think that setting a bit in someone's database - especially a known privacy sink like eBay - was going to protect your privacy, or that a company like eBay would even make an attempt to honor your wishes if they thought they could tighten their bottom line?

I really hope all this shocked outrage I'm seeing here and on K5 is just curmudgeonly posing, because if it's actually genuine surprise, it represents a depth of naivete that boggles the mind.

It's business, and it is without a concept of honor or morality. Unless you make a law that holds representatives of the business personally accountable - as in jail time - they're going to do this again and again as long as it benefits them. Self-regulation doesn't work.

- B

If there really was an error... (1)

WinDoze (52234) | more than 13 years ago | (#520061)

Wouldn't it have been nicer to send out a message saying "Sorry to bother you, but we experienced some file system problems, and just wanted to make sure you wanted these preferences set to 'NO'. If you'd like to receive our messages please click HERE and change them to 'YES'". Actually changing the preferences seems like a big no-no.

Re:So, let's get this straight... (1)

ZxCv (6138) | more than 13 years ago | (#520062)

They altered your preferences, and started sending you unsolicited mail?

No, they altered his preferences and have "given" him about 2 weeks to change them back before they go into effect. Underhanded and wrong, sure. But at least they are giving him the chance to undo it before it goes into effect... The only problem being when he might have to go through this again should he change his preferences back.

Re:"Your selection is an error" (1)

telstar (236404) | more than 13 years ago | (#520065)

Yeah, maybe my $1,000,000 bid will actually be just an error from now on.

Unfortunately.... (2)

Masem (1171) | more than 13 years ago | (#520067)

First, I do think that Ebay has a right to change your user preferences when they feel like it, as long as you still have the option to change them back; it's their server. Yes, it's a stupid little thing only meant to increase their own ad revenue, but legally, they've done nothing wrong.

Unfortunately, the US Gov't in the recent privacy discussions probably feels that Ebay could do this normally. While they are going to come down on sites that don't have good privacy info, or that do not adhead to standards, the gov't seems fine to let the standard "opt-in" for web registrations continue unchecked, despite many computer and rights groups arguing for out-out as default. Mind you, I have found commercial sites that I use where opt-out is the default, and require you to click to sign in, but 90% of the rest of the sites are the reverse. Is it wrong? No. Is it immoral? Hard to say, since I can't opt-out of junk snail mail, though there's no direct cost to me with that. Is it poor customer service? Yes, for sure.

Re:Still staying (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 13 years ago | (#520068)

> > So, today, eBay lost at least me as customer. .

> You have to the weigh the sheer convenience of getting good money for your stuff (without going through a middleman) vs. a single irritating email.

Ah, it's good to see that there are still smart customers out there.

BTW, I just added you to the International Spam Distribution Company's mailing list. You'll be hearing about lots of bargin prices and MAKE MONEY FAST! opportunities from them, too.


Sorry, that should have been... (1)

TDScott (260197) | more than 13 years ago | (#520071)

"They altered your preferences, and plan to start..."

Re:The end of innocence (1)

iamriley (51622) | more than 13 years ago | (#520073)

Change your real info on those sites to bogus info...

I did that with my Amazon site when they had their TOS change a while back. Unfortunately, they can still count it among their accounts, which means that it still looks good on paper to stockholders. Also, if Amazon ever changed their ways and I decided to sign up again, I would have to create a new account. There is no way that their user base can shrink.

Oh wow.. (1)

Rombuu (22914) | more than 13 years ago | (#520075)

I mean, that's why they are my preferences. So, today, eBay lost at least me as customer. .

Oh man, I guess they'll have to get by with 3,499,999 registered users instead of their 3.5 million.... I hope I have time to short their stock before the market reacts to this.

Re:So, let's get this straight... (3)

Faulty Dreamer (259659) | more than 13 years ago | (#520076)

This sounds very much like those spammers that offer an "unsubscribe" option in their unsolicited emails. You know, where they send you to a site to unsubscribe which really means you just put your email into a "yep, this one really exists" list and you will now get about four times as many emails from them?

Ebay is giving you the illusion of opting out of their emails, while still preserving their right to make sure you get everything they want you too (by claiming a glitch in the system no less). It's really quite ingenious. The average user would probably figure that there really was a glitch in the system and just shrug it off, meanwhile recieving a bunch of emails and saying, "Didn't I say no to this?" At least, I know quite a number of people that wouldn't be bright enough to connect the few. You know, the people that just totally turn off their brain when they sit in front of a computer? The ones that have to retrained on how to use it every day when they get to work because, "this computer stuff is hard"?

Of course it backfires when there is someone there with more than half of a clue, but they are going to risk that as most of their customers won't have that half a clue.

More than one reason... (1)

parasite (14751) | more than 13 years ago | (#520080)

This just ads to my growing list of reasons to stay away from ebay. My main problem with them derrives from their continual corporate suckage. Instead of helping their customers sell stuff, be it legitimate or not - they suck up to the companies that would rather it not be sold. Of course these "companies" have an interest vested in such a thing, the resell of a used item is often the loss of a sale of a new item. Last year I tried to sell a near worthless genuine copy of Win 95 in the original box and all. After a few bids my auction was canceled and good-ole Microsoft informed me that if I wished to sell it on ebay I would have to FIRST ship it to them so they could verify the legitimacy of it, and also include an original recipept. Do you think I have an original recipet for Win95?? Ridiculous. Not to mention its not exactly worth the postage to send it to MS and back to get permission from them, "god" apparently, to sell my item. The other problem with ebay is the continually growing list of banned items. They don't care AT ALL about freedom so to hell with them.

Keep eBay users in line? (2)

Xerithane (13482) | more than 13 years ago | (#520082)

I now have a mental imagery of a Catholic nun walking down the cubicle rows slapping young online bidders on the wrists to keep them in line with other eBay users.

Re:Such a difficult Task... (1)

Todd Knarr (15451) | more than 13 years ago | (#520083)

After the 37th e-mail I had to hit the delete key on in one day, is when it became such a difficult task. The straw that broke the camel's back, it was. Once a week from a company times a hundred companies is 14-15 a day.

Re:My experiences... (1)

GlassUser (190787) | more than 13 years ago | (#520084)

File system went corrupt? They said in the letter that they noticed that his preference were already set to "no." They could actually read his profile, they just chose to consider a response that they didn't like as an "error."

Metric tons of Spam on my Doorstep... (1)

lconover (112984) | more than 13 years ago | (#520085)

Now, I'm not sure if my experience has been the same as every eBay seller/buyer, but for the past six-eight months I've been getting a "Get Rich Quick" spam-mail at least once a day addressed to "Dear eBay User..."These emails almost always originate from a bogus email account that vanishes within a day or so.

My impression is that it is caused by people using a search routine to troll through eBay's databases and search engines to get my email address. When I'm selling items, I don't list my email address as part of the listing nor as part of my listing, nor is it part of my login name. But it's annoying all the same that they do not apparently protect against such abuses of their own system.

Emails to them go ignored - I can't think of anyone I hate more than dealing with eBay's customer support as a seller.

Is there any way I can protect my email address from spam without making my buyers not be able to contact me?

It offends me deeply that eBay has arbitrarily forced me to 're-opt-out' of their email spam when I'm already getting spammed because of their negligence in securing the email addresses of their users.

Re:I too will suspend my account (1) (87560) | more than 13 years ago | (#520087)

Invest some time in learning about local mail filters. Why bother unsubscribing from a thousand different mailing lists, each with its own interface when you can simply refuse mail from their domain or mail that matches any regular expression in any header field.

If you aren't running your own mail server you might not get the total satisfaction of giving them an SMTP protocol error, but dropping their mail unceremoniously into a bit bucket is certainly still worthwhile.

Solution: Multiple Email Addresses (1)

Zordok (90071) | more than 13 years ago | (#520089)

Its not very difficult to get free email addresses... Microsoft [] , Netscape [] , and many others [] , will give you a plethora of email address to use if you're afraid of getting your "real" email full of canned meat.

No notice here, they didn't touch my account (1)

Rurik (113882) | more than 13 years ago | (#520091)

Because I use eBay regularly, there are things I need from it, so I had yes to:
Listing Confirmations
Bid Notices
Outbid Notices
User Agreement Changes
Privacy Policy Changes
and Daily Status Reminders

Geez, as slashdotters that are worried about TOS and privacy policies, I'm surprised that it seems so many of you set "Privacy Policy Changes" and "User Agreement Changes" to NO! Maybe the management thought that something really was in error, because people either want to hear about their auction updates, or they want to hear about corporate changes that affect them. Someone not wanting to hear anything is a bit odd, I must say.

Where you gonna go? (1)

brogdon (65526) | more than 13 years ago | (#520095)

For all your talk about "eBay losing you as a customer", what are you going to do about it? Yahoo auctions? I hope you like the items you're trying to sell getting viewed by all of three people.

For all the anti-monopoly sentiment that gets thrown around on /., you don't see much getting directed at eBay, even though they complete dominate their market, and can pull stuff like this crap without too much worry. I wonder why.

--Brogdon does the same crap... (2)

Randy Rathbun (18851) | more than 13 years ago | (#520096)

And it managed to get them on the RBL. Looks like ebay may find themselves there too if they are not careful.

Re:me too (1)

xinit (6477) | more than 13 years ago | (#520097)

We're sorry, but in your post to slashdot, it appears that an error occured during posting that kept the default, standard eBay post of "eBay is great" from appearing in your message, and instead, the erroneous message above was received.

Since this is obviously an error, we have censore^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hcorrected the problem. Now everything is double plus good.

The past was erased, the erasure was forgotten, the lie became truth.

I too am cancelling my eBay account... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#520099)

...because they sold me a defective cowbell.

- Homer Simpson

You do have filters in your e-mail program... (1)

COBOL/MVS (196516) | more than 13 years ago | (#520100)

Even Outlook Express allows you to set up rules to direct incoming mail. And don't come back to me saying "But I shouldn't have to set up a filter to block unsolicited mail blah blah blah" because that's exactly what filters are for. And, all you *nix gearheads probably have mail programs with a lot better filtering capablities than OE. Use 'em.

And when you do change your preferences: (1)

indiigo (121714) | more than 13 years ago | (#520103)

"Thank you for letting us know which types of eBay communications you'd like to receive.
Your preferences have been saved. Please note that changes to your preferences may take approximately 14 days to be reflected in our communication to you."

Ah, 14 days... This is internet time, eh?

Blown out of proportion? (1)

egon (29680) | more than 13 years ago | (#520104)

Am I the only one who this this has been blown out of proportion?

Yeah, I understand. You don't want to receive email from them. They messed up from a marketing perspective and made "no" the default, so now they do something mildly slimy.

At least they're being honest about it.

In the immortal words of Eric Cartman, "What's the big fuckin deal, bitch?"

First off, it's not like you can't go back in and turn it off. This takes what, all of 60 seconds? Secondly, they're giving you two weeks to do it before they start sending you stuff.

It just seems kind of overreactionary to me.

Just my $.02 :)

Give a man a match, you keep him warm for an evening.

Re:What's the big deal? (2)

Black Pete (222858) | more than 13 years ago | (#520105)

Yes, let's look at the big picture, why don't we?

When I signed up for eBay, I selected NO to all the spam. I don't want spam. Period.

Now they're saying that it looks like an error if everything was selected as "no", and therefore they need to put you "in line" with the others.

Now... they've already proven that they've done this once. What about the NEXT time when they "notice" that all your selections are set to NO?

What about the next newbie who signs up for eBay service? Will s/he have to go through the same thing at some point in the future? If s/he does, will everyone else have to go through the same thing AGAIN? Will it become company policy to periodically reset your preferences because they look like an "error"?

If they keep resetting my preferences in order to send me spam, that's unsolicited mail. What's worse, they are SPECIFICALLY opting me back in without my permission. And if they're going to do this periodically, this makes it even worse. Eventually, they're going to catch me while I'm gone on vacation, and I won't be around to reset my preferences before the deadline expired.... HELLO SPAM!

No thanks, I am *NOT* going to put up with that. It looks like that in order to opt-out of eBay spam, I have to completely opt-out of eBay altogether.

Re:What about Yahoo!? (2)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 13 years ago | (#520106)

they just started charging, sorry.

Re: So then why do you hide your email? (1)

COBOL/MVS (196516) | more than 13 years ago | (#520108)

You will see my email address above. Now, the question is why did you post anonymously?

Gotta Love It (1)

Omicron (79581) | more than 13 years ago | (#520109)

Nothing like having a company tell you how to think. "We noticed you didn't want to receive we put you in line with the rest of the community." Gee...sorry for thinking for myself, and not like a bunch of sheep. It's good to know that the companies out there are respecting our opinions. I have an ebay account, but I didn't seem to get that email yet. Kind of odd, I just placed a bid on something yesterday.

Re:Such a difficult Task... (1)

Black Pete (222858) | more than 13 years ago | (#520110)

You underestimate the power of spam.

Try signing up on AOL. Post your email address on an usenet post somewhere (preferably in one of the pron groups). Or anything that'd expose you to bulk emailers.

Now, when you're getting 400+ spam emails a day (yes, PER DAY), let's see if you're still singing the same tune. You're effectively forced to wade through 400+ emails for that ONE email from your dearest relative.

I don't know about the USA, but up here in Canada, I can actually ask the post office to NOT deliver junk mail to my mailbox. I can't say the same for my ISP (and frankly, I can't seriously expect them to block every single piece of spam without blocking the entire internet).

What's the big deal? The big deal is this: if we don't fight spam, then you're likely to receive unsolicited mail from just about EVERY SINGLE DOTCOM. In that light, even 400 emails seem like just a drop in the ocean....

Yes, go right ahead and waste your time hitting delete 400+ times a day (while being careful not to delete any important mail!) No big deal, right?

You think I exaggerate? Look at Usenet. People have all but given up on it due to spam.

Some nerve... (1)

sunhou (238795) | more than 13 years ago | (#520111)

I got that e-mail last night too. Ok, it's annoying that they reset my preferences. If they had simply said something like "we think you may really be interested in our special promotions, so we're signing you up for them; if you still don't like them, you can unsubscribe again" at least it would have been honest, although still annoying.

But to claim that opting out of their promotions is an error that they have corrected for me really takes some nerve. If they had computer problems and lost my preferences that would be acceptable too. But the e-mail says an error occurred "during your registration process". So basically they are telling me it was a mistake for me to say "no". That's what really ticked me off about this.

Re:you're not a customer (1)

rprycem (113790) | more than 13 years ago | (#520112)

??? Last time I checked I had to pay ebay for every sale...

Bother... (1)

SmokeSerpent (106200) | more than 13 years ago | (#520113)

Why am I always having to explain these things to you people?

eBay is not saying that your opt-out choices are an error, they are saying that their defaults were in error. Still, it is questionable for them to reset the accounts that were affected by this "error", but note that you have two weeks to re-customize your preferences before they start sending you emails based on the reset preferences. This letter is yet another example of how the corporate mentality allows for rough treatment of customers to attempt to recover profit opportunities lost through their own mistakes, but its not such an egregious assault as y'all make it out to be.

With all the companies that have lost Hemos' business, its no wonder we're experiencing an economic downturn. :)

Re:Right. (1)

TekPolitik (147802) | more than 13 years ago | (#520114)

Not me - I've personally pulled hundreds of thousands of dollars of revenue from companies that have spammed in less offensive ways than this.

Re:Such a difficult Task... (1)

prisoner (133137) | more than 13 years ago | (#520115)

I agree that spam is a pain but it doesn't irritate me near as much as the junk I get via snail. I had to buy a seperate trash can just for this shit. At least with email, there's normally an unsubscribe mechanism. With snail spam (TM) there isn't any such. People who disagree with me will say that snail spam(TM) subsidizes the post office, etc but I could care less. I'd guess that 70% of the mail delivered winds up in the trash within 1 minute. All that shit goes right to the landfill.....there is no "delete" key in meatspace.

Re:Such a difficult Task... (1)

j_snare (220372) | more than 13 years ago | (#520116)

Exactly where did anyone say anything about 1 spam a week? Not only do you get usually at least one spam a day, they share your address with anyone who wants it. And they send you one every day or so, as well as passing it on themselves.

You typically don't see any large increase immediately, but you'll definately see an increase over more time, on an exponential curve.

Plus, ever run a mail server on your home system? That's disk space being taken up, my friend. No cost to the spammer (in fact, once you track them down, you find that most of them haven't paid for their services for some time), and exponential cost to you (see above).

Glad I am not dating them (1)

sherpajohn (113531) | more than 13 years ago | (#520117)

There was an error in processing your answer to our question "would you like to have sex?"...we thought we heard you say "No". To bring you in line with all our past dates, we are going to starting f***ing you now. Of course, we want you to retain choice, so you can tell us what position you want us to give it to you in.

Going on means going far
Going far means returning

Re:error? (1)

xinit (6477) | more than 13 years ago | (#520118)

Well, it's never happened before - everyone ELSE let's us email them - why don't YOU?!?

Re:So, let's get this straight... (1)

mirrorz (301217) | more than 13 years ago | (#520119)

very strange how these business live off of advertising sales based on "supposed" customers

<RESET> (1)

Khopesh (112447) | more than 13 years ago | (#520120)

...I got that message and clicked the link to change all those spam settings back to the way they should be.

In doing so, I noticed that there is no 'End of Auction Notices' selection except for my pager. That's the one email I need...


Subscribe eBay admins to some other lists (1)

X.25 (255792) | more than 13 years ago | (#520121)

Well, you subscribe them to few thousands of mailing lists (they'll love linux-kernel one), and send them a notification that they can unsubscribe at any time.

Sounds fair to me...

Re:What's the big deal? (1)

Faulty Dreamer (259659) | more than 13 years ago | (#520122)

I disagree. If you say 'no', how does that constitute and error?

And the fact that they LET you have a choice doesn't matter if your choice is "say yes" or "say no and get told you meant yes". That sounds about like the choice between Bush and Gore. And I know I keep rehashing this, but a choice between two options that leave you in the same state is not really a choice. And that is the big picture.

I don't think it should be blown up to be a case of 'violation', spam is just annoying, not violating. But it should be addressed. And a company that is knowingly doing such things (and I really doubt that this is done without anyone in the company having knowledge of it) should have its customers say, "What's going on?" at the very least.

Give Hemos 48 hours (2)

eclectro (227083) | more than 13 years ago | (#520123)

Then he'll be back. Ebay is like crack when you want to find something. Unfortunately, there are no other solid alternatives.

You have Amazon, but supposedly everybody gave up on them when they raped the privacy policy.

Also, Ebay probably has giggles when they get mad customer emails, because they know that few mad customers are like drops in the ocean of consumers willing to roll over.

Rather than the half-ass lame "they lost me as a customer" a far more potent (but requires work) is to get legislation passed that prevents companies from spamming you, or using personal data that you don't want them too. If you can find a congressperson who isn't 0wn3d already (hard in itself).

Then once you have the legal recourse, you get hold of some attorneys and file a class-acion lawsuit for some big bucks. Again this requires more effort/money.

So its a long road to hoe. But only when companies are about to get there ass blown off financially will they pull there head out. Until then, lame "they lost me as a customer" only makes them laugh.

Re:Kind of like... (1)

GungaDan (195739) | more than 13 years ago | (#520124)

Alternate headline: EBay mail-rapes users.

Re:Such a difficult Task... (1)

geomcbay (263540) | more than 13 years ago | (#520125)

A lot of the resentment towards spam is not based on the level of spam today, but of years past. Don't get me wrong...spam is still undoubtably a problem. But it seems to me there's far less spam today than in the past. There's likely a number of factors as to why this is true: new laws, less tolerance for spam from ISPs, the emergence of spam-block blacklists, and companies realizing that blanket, undirected spamming is not a very effective way to market to customers, etc. Nevertheless, many of us have such strong feelings towards spam that were cultivated in the days when you couldn't open an email box anywhere on the net without getting 70 spam mails a day. Hitting the delete key 70 times in one day IS kind of a big deal, especially when you need to go and manually sort through the useful mail from the crap. (And no, I've never found an automatic mail filter that I've been completely pleased with).

Another issue that I have with spam, that I'm sure many people share, is that I miss the days when I could use my actual email address on Usenet or other internet forums, or give it out freely in the hopes that people that wanted to reach me for legitimate purposes and discussion could.

What else might they change? (4)

rosvicl (43795) | more than 13 years ago | (#520126)

Okay, fine, it's business. They basically offer a service which includes a bunch of yes/no choices: do you want to receive this, that, and the other.

All of a sudden, they're saying "we know you said you don't want this, but we don't believe you meant it. Let us know if you did."

The point isn't setting up filters. (It isn't even that filters mean the stuff is still going through your ISP.) The point is trust.

Would you do business with a car dealership that sent you a letter saying they were altering your lease, and call by the end of the month if you don't want to pay more? Sure, you have the chance to keep it the way it is. But you shouldn't have to go to extra trouble to get them to stick to an agreed-on set of rules.

This month, they're saying they'll spam people unless they opt out again. A company that would do that is entirely capable of sending out email saying "we noticed an error in your registration. Please log in and go to thus-and-such if you really don't want us selling your name and address."

Yes, eBay has a good record so far. They also have no actual product--they're an intermediary between buyers and sellers. If they lose trust, they're hosed. And this sort of behavior does not inspire me to trust them.

ebay spam (1)

mirrorz (301217) | more than 13 years ago | (#520127)

So, today, eBay lost at least me as customer.

is this to say that if nabisco sends you some junk mail you won't eat oreos anymore ? .... (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 13 years ago | (#520128)

eBay is only one of many that do that sort of thing. I and a lot of other people I've talked with have had similar problems with places like, which is a major recruiting technical site. If you opt-out of their mailing lists, they continue to email you, but from other regions. For example, I signed up on the Portland Oregon site. Then I opted out of their mailing lists. They stopped sending the spam, but then I suddenly started reciving spam from places like their Kentucky server.

Re:Not such a big deal. (1)

mckyj57 (116386) | more than 13 years ago | (#520129)

If they did this once a year, it won't be a big deal, but if they do it every month it would be a PITA.

Well, if EBay is the only company you deal with, I agree that it is not that big a deal. However....

I deal with dozens of different companies, and over time have purchased from hundreds. If every damn one of them sent me one or two of these a year, it would be a big problem.

Barnes and Noble is amongst the most rude, IMHO. It was confided to me that if you haven't ordered from them for three months, they figure they have lost you and that they may as well spam you against your preference in case you have forgotten them and will then order. If every company operated this way, email would be unusable.

That is why a preference once expressed should remain the preference forever. If you screw up the database and spam your customers you should be sanctioned like any two-bit MMFer.

Re:It's Nice To See... (1)

Saige (53303) | more than 13 years ago | (#520130)

...but how soon until the US Supreme Court rules that it was wrong to allow users time to opt back out again and makes new law stating that all ebay users must get all the spam?

Not such a big deal. (1)

n3bulous (72591) | more than 13 years ago | (#520131)

The text they sent along was pretty much BS, but they do notify you 2 weeks before anything is supposed to go into effect.

If they did this once a year, it won't be a big deal, but if they do it every month it would be a PITA.

There may be some underhanded tracking going on as everyone logs back in to set their prefs to "no", but in general, it is a very slight annoyance. They are only insulting your intelligence, not violating your rights.

-- n3bulous

Re:What's the big deal? (2)

British (51765) | more than 13 years ago | (#520132)

I noticed in the email they considered your choices of "NO" everywhere to be a "default".

Of course, RealPlayer does this too. If you uncheck all their spamming options, you'll get a popup window asking you if you are really sure you wanna do that. I also think there's no button that says "unselect all" but there is one to check all the damn boxes.

Re:Right???? (1)

bapink01 (137229) | more than 13 years ago | (#520133)

That's not what Martin Luther King Jr. would have done.
Or Ghandi
Or nader(although I liked exploding cars)

George Washington didn't put up with crap. We do I?

This isn't idealism. This is the everyday struggle that good men must fight to keep from having a jack boot on your throat.

e-bay and the darkside (1)

enrico_suave (179651) | more than 13 years ago | (#520134)

LANDO: You said my E-bay references would be left in the city under my supervision.

VADER: I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further. [] -- All that is NOT fit to link to

Here's what I do (1)

thilmony (248711) | more than 13 years ago | (#520135)

I have my own domain, so when I sign up for stuff, I use their domain@my For example, I used to get crap from Microsoft sent to "". When it started to irritate me, and they wouldn't unsubscribe me easily, I just set up my smtp to redirect "" to "". I haven't heard from them since.

Re:So. (2)

AstynaxX (217139) | more than 13 years ago | (#520136)

The issue is having to worry about them doing this more in the future. Now, I do think its a bit reactionary to drop them for one instance of this, as it may well be some legit problem, but if it were to occur repeatedly? And that is the fear, that everyone who has a matched set of 'no' in their prefs will get 'there was an error and we reset everything to yes' once a month till they leave or allow SPAM. Give them a few months, if the behavior continues, then roast them.

P.S. No site would likely ever do this, but I personally wish they defaulted to 'no' in the first plae.


Let's give them a chance (2)

y6y6y6 (84925) | more than 13 years ago | (#520137)

If it isn't a spoof I have to think that whoever came up with this stupid idea will be fired rather quickly. Let's give them a chance to denounce this.

The first time I read this I just assumed it was a spoof. Can we even verify that this is genuine? It's so ludicrous that I can't believe the company, any company, would stand behind it.

I admit companies will play very fast and loose with the rules to get their message into my in-box, but the wording here sounds like it's almost trying to incite a riot.

"Many of your Notification Preference defaults were set to "no" rather than to "yes", which means that unlike other eBay members, you're not receiving these types of communications."

This is just stupid. It's got to be a spoof. "We feel you made an error when you asked us not to send this email."

Jon Sullivan

Re: So then why do you hide your email? (1)

COBOL/MVS (196516) | more than 13 years ago | (#520138)

You're right. I'll change it to the right one. Thank you for pointing that out.

I'm not against writing a rule to direct my mail. Anyone who complains about it should either

  1. Take five minutes to learn how to do it, or
  2. Don't use email.

Again, I apologize for not practicing what I preach.


Maybe there was a problem (1)

eXtro (258933) | more than 13 years ago | (#520139)

Before jumping to conclusions maybe there was something that indicated there may have been a problem. I've been an eBay user for years, have the bare minimum of email notices set (I only want to know if I'm outbid, if I win an auction etc) and didn't get this 'spam'.

It could've been handled better (ask you to double check your settings) but since not everybody received the message indications would be that for some reason they thought there might be a problem.

Re:Such a difficult Task... (1)

Milican (58140) | more than 13 years ago | (#520140)

Well I post to usenet all the time and I use my real e-mail address. I get maybe five spams a day or so. However, I have also signed up to a free spam filtering service at Brightmail [] . I recommend everyone else do the same. Their filters don't catch everything, but its free and it helps.

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