eBay Community External Site Warning Causes Confusion & Concern

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


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A coding change in the eBay community forums intended to alert users before navigating to an external site is causing confusion and concern as the warning is applied to some internal links in error.

At first some users thought the warning was spam or perhaps even evidence the forum (hosted and managed by Khoros on behalf of eBay) had been hacked.

Redirected to an external site
On the payments board, a “buyyers cant pay” question from Sri Lanka says this when you click on their feedback. A pop up says you are being redirected to an external site, and you must click go back or continue. What is this all about?

On the payments board, a "buyyers cant pay" question from Sri Lanka says this when you click on their feedback.

A pop up says you are being redirected to an external site, and you must click go back or continue. What is this all about?

Looks like someone hacking the ebay website. They better look at this immediately!!!

However, longtime community member WastingTime101 did a little digging and testing and discovered the issue was likely an unintended consequence of an intentional change not properly accounting for the fact that some official eBay links use subdomains.

This is a Khoros issue, not an eBay issue.

If I hover over the hyperlink to your FB it's a direct link to your FB page on eBay, but if I click on the link to your FB I get that pop up message about being directed away to an external site.

I can copy the link (right click) to your FB, paste it in a new browser tab and go directly to your FB page without the popup.

I'm seeing a coding error, but not a security concern. They probably rolled out some new code with Khoros and this is an unintended byproduct...

...Upon further testing, this appears to be an intended change with an unintended side effect.

Click on this link to the USPS home page and you should see the same pop up.

https://www.usps.com

I can click on 'view listings' next to anybody's userid and not get the pop up. I can click on links to policy pages and not get the pop up.

Clicking on links to external sites correctly produces the pop up warning.

Clicking on the number of feedback next to any member's userid incorrectly produces the pop up warning.

Unless I'm mistaken, the problem is the feedback page is not "ebay.com" it's "feedback.ebay.com" so any similar eBay URL is going to erroneously produce the pop up.

Ironically, the eBay Community forum itself is having this problem with some internal links - when users are trying to take certain actions like clicking the "load more" button, they are being shown this pop up warning.

eBay Community staff have acknowledged the coding change was intentional, but they are forwarding any reports of problems to the appropriate team at Khoros to troubleshoot.

Hey @wastingtime101 thanks for the tag. You are correct! The change was certainly intentional, but the change itself is intended to only pop up for external sites. We'll get this passed along to the appropriate folks.

The community teams both from eBay and Khoros have struggled lately with managing the forum, including being overrun by spam for scam links claiming to sell drugs without prescriptions and even occasionally extremely explicit adult content that is often stays up for hours, especially during early mornings or weekends when moderators are slower to respond.

While this new external link warning may be partially in response to the attacks, notably it doesn't do anything to prevent spammers from posting in the forum and including images that may be explicit or intended to enable fraud.

It's also interesting to note that eBay has also recently been undertaking some efforts to keep members only engaging within the confines of the community "walled garden."

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These efforts seem to be somewhat of a reversal as previously eBay often pushed users to outside social media like Facebook for customer support and seller engagement, apparently completely blind to the questionable wisdom of encouraging users to spend more time on a competing website.

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The external link warning may help to combat spam, but it goes without saying that it may also discourage users from sharing and visiting links to legitimate outside sources of information.

Is this just one more way eBay is trying to divert seller attention away from social media groups, YouTube channels, and articles from both mainstream and independent news sources?

eBay

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Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of online marketplace sales experience, providing commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Shopify & more at Value Added Resource!