Sunday, October 28, 2007

FeedJournal Features Images

FeedJournal now supports images! This is a feature I've been aching to add for a very long time and the work finally got going thanks to a potential customer who really needed it.

FeedJournal with images

The first image from each feed article is added to the newspaper. I am very happy with the visuals and you are welcome to check it out for yourself by downloading the sample PDF newspaper from the thumbnail in the left column on my blog.

For now, image support is a feature reserved for gold members. So, if you generate a sample basic newspaper from, it will not have images. You will have to contact me and I'll arrange access ASAP to a demo gold level account so you can review it for yourself.

To anyone curious as to how the reader project is coming along I have good news. A couple of finishing touches remain, and then I will be starting to send out invitations to get access to the beta version. I'll probably need one or two more weeks. If you want to be a part of the beta testing program, now is the time to let me know! FeedJournal Reader will allow each and everyone, free of charge, to generate and print their own customized PDF newspaper or magazine from a collection of their favorite feeds, using a slick web interface.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Suspended by eBay

eBay suspended my account after being a member for less than a week. I never bought or sold anything, just browsed their listings. eBay refuses to give an explanation for suspending me, but claim that they "can understand [my] frustration".

On Sep 30 I created a user account in order to buy a docking station for my laptop - an item which costs around $10 on eBay. I contacted about five sellers about shipping costs to Israel. Then I get the suspension e-mail from eBay. At first, I was convinced the e-mail was a phishing attempt and marked it as spam, but when I logged on to my eBay account it was obvious that they had really suspended me.

The only clue they gave as to why they suspended me is this:

"Your account was suspended under the 'Abusing eBay' section of the eBay User Agreement. This section states that eBay may suspend a user's account if we think that the user is creating problems (legal or otherwise) or acting inconsistently with the letter or spirit of our policies. [...] In addition, your account was found to be in violation of our Spam Policy"

Needless to say, I never sent any spam or in any other way misused eBay's services.

The representative who I got in touch with in order to understand the reason behind their action says: "For security reasons we are unable to be more specific about the details that led to this action. [...] eBay is taking a tougher stand to prevent fraud". He goes on to say that "honest members may be required to take one or two extra steps before they are allowed to participate on eBay". These extra steps involves faxing them a copy of a "credit card statement, a recent bank statement or a recent utility bill". I also tried to connect with their live chat support but they can't do anything as long as I did not fax them the statements they want.
I am not going to fax them this or any other personal information to get my membership back, and I will definitely never use their services again (I'm not allowed to, but that's beside the point).

Development of eBay ranking according to Alexa

Which other major web site are abusing new customers like this? It is amazing to consider that eBay is the #20 most popular web site in the world according to Alexa's ratings. Their rating peaked at #5 a few years ago, but has steadily been dropping since then. If they are treating me like this, a typical new user exhibiting typical user behavior - it is not being bold to assume that their rankings and popularity will continue to decline. eBay is still the #1 online auction but that has to change soon, unless they radically change their customer services and implementation of their policies.

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Friday, October 5, 2007

The Story of FeedJournal at 47 Hats

I have a guest post up at micro-ISV consultant/author Bob Walsh's 47 Hats blog, describing the development of FeedJournal, and some notes about what might come in the future.

On a side note, I am happy to report that category/section support has now been added to FeedJournal, and is available to paying customers.