Jeff Sexton

Monday, October 16, 2006

Memo to eBay, Part IV

It's the Web Stupid

Of all the things I'd really like to let eBay know, there's one that really stands out as critical to the site continuing on top of the auction heap: website performance. They can create all new "features" to nickel and dime us for, all new "services" and all the fancy graphics they want, and none of it makes any difference if the website simple doesn't work. I wish eBay would severely restrict all development of new ways to spam buyers with "bold" and "featured items" and "two line titles" until they where sure, and I mean dead sure, that the website itself performed perfectly all the time, and every time.

Not too long ago, eBay did reduce and simplify the number of images on their pages. This was a positive step. However, the fact remains that all the flashy graphics and logos add absolutely nothing to the buyers' experience, and add nothing to the site's ease of use, while serving to create longer page load times and opportunities for errors.

IIS server errors are also quite common. I can be browsing along, go to make a bid, and find out all I'm going to get in IIS page not found errors. Various combinations of logging out and back in, and clearing cache and cookies restores the functionality - sometimes. Other times, it doesn't and I'm simply done for the day. At other times certain items will become unviewable, or even parts of a page. I've also seen pages become malformed in various ways when sections of HTML are not transmitted for whatever reason. IIS? Please eBay, it's 2006. It's long past time to switch to some enterprise-grade server software.

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