Sunday, July 23, 2006

eBay monopoly complaint filed, in violation of Sherman Antitrust Act

Recently I discovered a news article by Ina Steiner. It stated that eBay is banning the use of Google Checkout in preference over their own payment system, PayPal. This is clearly a classic example of anticompetitive practices. Immediately after reading this article, I have filed a legal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. eBay's Safe Payments Policy clearly states that Google Checkout is not allowed to be used:

"Payment Services not permitted on eBay:,,,,,, CCAvenue, ecount, e-gold,,, EuroGiro,, Google Checkout, gcash, GearPay,,,,, Liberty Dollars,,,,,,, paypay, Postepay,,,, stamps, Stormpay,,"

While everyone enjoys eBay as a marketplace, I want to make sure such marketplaces do not have anti-competitive practices. One claim eBay has against Google Checkout is that it doesn't have a history of reputable transactions -- this is circular reasoning, if you don't allow Google Checkout to be tried out, how will it have a history?

If you're interested in filling a complaint against eBay due to this anticompetitive practice, you can do the following:

1. Access the Federal Trade Commission site
2. Provide your contact info
3. Provide eBay's contact info:

2145 Hamilton Avenue
Suite 350
San Jose, CA 95125
Phone: (408) 376-7400

4. If you don't know what to say, just state facts. Here's what I submitted:

eBay is in violation of the Sherman Act. eBay has restricted the use of Google Checkout, a payment service online because they do not want it to compete with PayPal, eBay's payment service.

In their Safe Payments Policy, dated 7/23/06, they state:
"Payment Services not permitted on eBay:,,,,,, CCAvenue, ecount, e-gold,,, EuroGiro,, Google Checkout, gcash, GearPay,,,,, Liberty Dollars,,,,,,, paypay, Postepay,,,, stamps, Stormpay,,"

This can be found on:

The Sherman Act provides: "Every contract, combination in the form of trust or otherwise, or conspiracy, in restraint of trade or commerce among the several States, or with foreign nations, is declared to be illegal" (see 15 U.S.C. § 1). Clearly, because eBay wants to have market position with their payment service (PayPal), they have restricted Google Checkout and other payment services to hinder competition. This is in serious violation of the Sherman Act.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Thank you Hamas and Hezbollah (satire)

If I was living in Palestine or south Lebanon, this is what I would say to Hamas and Hezbollah:

Thank you Hezbollah for promising us peace from the Zionist, and instead delivering death and destruction to our home. Thank you Hamas for fighting political corruption so that you could bring fear, terror, and starvation to our families. Thank you Hezbollah and Hamas for saying great things, only to do the wrong things. Thank you Hezbollah and Hamas for protecting our children, by killing them when they are young.

Thank you Hezbollah and Hamas for enraging the West by bombing and kidnapping, now they can really hear our message that we are a persecuted people and that they should empathize with our conditions.

Thank you Hezbollah and Hamas for ruining the chance of peace. Now we can forever continue to blame the Jews for all the pain and suffering we experience by your actions.

Thank you Hezbollah and Hamas for everything you've done...for killing us, for starving us, for making the world hate us, for advancing the cause of God and Islam, to deliver a message that Islam is a jihad religion, to kill and kill and kill and kill and kill and kill and kill and kill... Mohammad would have been very happy!

Thank you Hezbollah, thank you Hamas.......


This girl died thanks to terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas.
Good job guys, you really are advancing your death!

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Hezbollah thought it could fool the world

What's going on in Lebanon?

Hezbollah, an Islamic extremist group that functions independently in Lebanon, killed 8 Israeli soldiers and kidnapped 2 on a daring raid in Israel territory. It was a followup to a similar operation sent out by another headline grabbing terrorist organization - Hamas. Not to be outdone, they finished off the raid by launching rockets to hit Israeli territories.

The tactic's purpose was the following:
1. To bring attention away from Hamas and to bring the news back to Hezbollah.
2. To get a "good" image that Hezbollah too can attack Israel -- and better than Hamas.
3. Thinking a reprisal was coming from Israel, they hope to attract other Arab nations to the conflict when Israel would attack.
4. To reduce the influence of the pro-Western government of Lebanon.

Did they meet those goals?

While Hezbollah has shown that they are able to attract the media, they definitely didn't get a good image for attacking Israel. Throughout world, Hezbollah has been condemned not only by European nations and America, but also by Arab nations!

Ha! Who would have expected that? The truth is, Hezbollah broke the status quo and Arab nations are reluctant to support unrest in the region, especially if it was started with Iran's backing. Sunnis and Shiite Muslims do not mix well and the fact that primarily Shiite Hezbollah is flexing its muscle is causing some Sunni governments to worry. What if it this could happen in their country?

How come the Lebanese govt can't stop this?

The Lebanese government is not able to combat militant forces that is backed by Iran and Syria. Although they have political and social control, their interior forces remain to be questionable. They are not at war with Israel, in fact they are pleading for assistance from the international community to help them combat militants that do not follow the law.

How come the UN can't stop this?

Much like the U.S. Congress, the United Nations isn't exactly thinking as one. The difference is, instead of a two party system like in the U.S. Congress, the United Nations has a few hundred special interests and parties. Each nation to his own so to speak. The most powerful part of the organization, the Security Council, is often reluctant to strike resolutions or impose sanctions much less commit troops to the region.

Given enough pressures from both Europe and the Arab nations, there may be some action coming from the United Nations. At the moment, all there is that we see is a defiant terrorist organization living in a democratic country that just wants peace.

eBay Raises Fees for Store Inventory Listings By 150%-500%

eBay, the number one online marketplace in the world, is now charging additional fees for its Store Inventory listings. Store Inventory listings accounts for roughly 83% of all listings on eBay USA. The fees seem to be a move to "discourage" Store Inventory listings and encourage more Auction type listings. eBay makes more money through Auction Type listings than Store Inventory listings.

According to Bill Cobb's email that he sent me (President of eBay North America), the following changes will be applied starting Aug 22nd:

  • These Store Inventory format insertion fees take effect Aug. 22, 2006:
Starting Price New Insertion Fee Current Fee
$0.01 -- 24.99
$25.00 and higher 10¢
  • Some Store Inventory format final value fees also will also increase, effective Aug. 22, 2006:
Selling Price New Final Value Fee Current Fee
$0.01 -- 25.00 10% 8%
$25.01 -- 100.00 7% 5%
$100.01 -- 1,000.00 5% (no change) 5%
$1,000.01 and higher 3% (no change) 3%
Sellers Enraged

While this change really doesn't affect buyers that much, sellers are a rampage. This unpopular decision has already started a string of protests on online community boards.

Sellers like kcskorner posted the following: "I will probably sell off a good deal of what I have and close my store. What's the sense? They take away the search function and now raise the fees? I hope they shoot themselves in the GD foot. -Cheryl"

Another seller (jfcarr-lkcarr) stated: "My plan is to close my eBay store on August 21. It just won't be profitable enough to even offset fees after that. I may occasionally list auctions if I run across any high profit/high price item but that's it."

Another seller ( stated: "Bascially, eBay has just DESTROYED our business. Auctions NEVER worked for me, only eBay Stores."

Another seller (haplo127x) had this reaction: " I just marked Aug 21nd as D-day on my calendar. That's D for departure. "

A profound statement by seller unique-insights: "Because of this, I will be officially closing my store at the end of this month. Sorry eBay, 150%-500% fee increase doesn't work for me on the justification that you just need better quarterly earnings to have a better stock rating. I'm a store owner and a share holder -- though my .02 cents listings aren't helping you, my monthly store fees more than makes up for it. You're already making profits, why does the hand that feed you need to be continued to be punished? "


This latest move by eBay is understandable -- they need to continue to please Wall Street in order to show that they are growing. That pressure comes directly from the shareholders (like me) and Wall Street analysts.

The underlying question that will be answered in the next few months, will this move save eBay's quarterly woes and bring in more earnings or will this be a nail in the coffin?

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Rotten bananas attract mosquitoes

I had one of those "scientific observation" moments early this morning.

At 3:00 am in the morning, I went to get a late night snack. To my surprise, I find a whole bunch of mosquitoes gathered together near my banana bread. Great! Someone probably left the door open or something earlier today.

I hate mosquitoes and I don't like them biting me or my pregnant wife. So I killed about 20 of them and after my hands turned redder than a tomato, I quit. But I observed something else after I was done chasing mosquitoes in the middle of the morning. I saw another group of them (roughly 15 or more) sitting on rotten bananas. This was roughly about 5 feet away from the banana bread.

So rotten bananas had mosquitoes on them and banana bread had mosquitoes on them. Out of all the spots in the house, why do these two items attract mosquitoes? I scared them away from both areas again and when I came back a few minutes later, they came back to the same two places.

My conclusion? Something in bananas attract mosquitoes. Is it the potassium perhaps? Who knows. But there's a lot of folk lore out there about bananas attracting mosquitoes, I think this is one of the few instances that this was actually observed.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Kim Jong II of North Korea is like a child with a broken toy

As the United States was enjoying its birthday by launching fireworks and mortars in the air, Kim Jong apparently wanted to join in with the celebration by launching his long range Taepodong-2 missile. Unfortunately for Mr. Kim Jong II, his fireworks fizzled out within 42 seconds of flight -- showing the world that if he ever tried to deliver a nuclear payload to the United States, it would probably blow up in his face. It seems like my fireworks yesterday had more success than Kim Jong II's advanced missile technology. Yesterday, I launched 376 mortars, and hundreds of small rockets in celebration for July 4th. Everything worked according to plan. It was fun.

Just a word to Congress and our President -- if we want to declare war on North Korea, let's not spend any money or even send any troops. Let's have them try to tinker with missile technology and let them blow themselves up like yesterday. On another side note, I feel really sorry for the military officer that's going to be executed for that failed launch. Kim Jong II cries like a baby when something doesn't work. He's like a child with a broken toy.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Terri Schiavo-like vegetative man wakes up after 20 years

I have said it before and I will say it again, life is precious and should not be discarded just because our senses state there is nothing there. It is so very sad that Terry Schiavo had to die. If her husband, who was cheating, simply had faith, he would have seen new research that put old dogmas to rest about comatose patients.

If I'm ever in a coma, I will fight to live. No matter the situation, do not remove the darn feeding tube! Here's the news:

"LOS ANGELES -- Terry Wallis awoke from a coma-like state 19 years after tumbling over a guardrail in a pickup truck and falling 25 feet into a dry riverbed. Now doctors armed with some of the latest brain-imaging technology think they may know part of the reason why.

Wallis showed few outward signs of consciousness, but his brain was methodically rebuilding the white-matter infrastructure necessary for him to interact with the outside world, researchers reported yesterday in the Journal of Clinical Investigation."

Read more about it in: Boston News