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eBay DST problems and missed snipes

 
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mario
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Joined: 03 Oct 2006
Posts: 6286

PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 3:04 am    Post subject: eBay DST problems and missed snipes Reply with quote

Starting yesterday after daylight savings time switch, users started seeing missed snipes. The problem was not consistent, it seems that snipes affected were completely random.

Further investigation revealed that time on ebay listings is randomly displayed incorrectly, by being one hour late. Since sniping services work by scraping pages, when such an incorrect time is picked up, this results in a missed snipe.

The problem is still ongoing. If you refresh an ebay listing page sufficiently many times, you will sooner or later replicate the problem and see an incorrect time being displayed, e.g.:

Here is a listing with the correct time:

http://www.gixen.com/DSTProblem/correct.jpg

And here is the same listing with an incorrect time:

http://www.gixen.com/DSTProblem/incorrect.jpg

eBay hasn't resolved the issue yet, however I deployed a workaround. When users add an auction, the listing information is fetched twice now. If a difference of one hour is found, an earlier time is used. It's an ugly hack, but it's the best I can do at this point. It seems to work though.

In addition, all the background processes (that update prices, end times) also have the following logic: update end_time only if an earlier endtime found than previously.

My apologies to affected users.


Last edited by mario on Sat Nov 26, 2011 7:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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mario
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Joined: 03 Oct 2006
Posts: 6286

PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

An update: since the workaround has been applied, the issue has almost disappeared. I can still see a few missed auctions from time to time, but it's fairly infrequent.
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mario
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Joined: 03 Oct 2006
Posts: 6286

PostPosted: Mon Nov 07, 2011 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

AuctionBytes just published the story about the issue.

http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y11/m11/i07/s01
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