YOIS News Archive (2002)

12/29/2002New trade/sale items and some new vault pages today. Scroll down to find both.
12/27/2002Slight change to the waiting list. Thanks to a certain smartass (now banned from using it), new entries will not show up until I pre-approve them.
12/19/2002Breakthrough on the Eyal Katz fraud situation: One of the original collectors who contacted me has identified a company named Hed-Azri as the sole Sierra distributor in Israel. They've already forwarded his complaint to their solicitor, though I'm not sure they've yet confirmed that Eyal works there. If you were ripped off and haven't been contacted through GameTZ, you should report it as soon as possible, as Hed-Azri will probably want testimony from people he's scammed.

I have a feeling Eyal is going to start feeling some pressure very soon. (Yesss, precious, we squeezes it... Nassty thieving Katzes, gollum, gollum! B-)

12/18/2002I will be unavailable to answer Shoppe inquiries until 12/21.
12/09/2002Update on the Eyal Katz fraud:

One of the collectors he scammed got a reply from the Israeli Police, which basically said because this is international fraud, they can't open an investigation based on e-mail complaints. You will need to report it to your local authorities and any national fraud agencies, who will then report it to Interpol if they decide an investigation is warranted. Interpol would act as the go-between for law enforcement in the two countries.

Remember, power in numbers. The more complaints they get, the more likely they'll follow up.

12/08/2002This week I cleaned up the mess in the corner and was surprised to discover a number of duplicate Infocoms in it! They're listed below, along with some open but undeveloped InvisiClues and maps.

Just a reminder, if the waiting list flags you for an item, you need to click the link in the e-mail and respond, even if it's not what you want. I mention this because a lot of the InvisiClues generated matches, and I don't yet have the code in place for it to differentiate games from hint books. Take you five seconds, and it'll ensure your entries stay on the waiting list for when the right item does match.

12/05/2002If you were among those defrauded in a deal with Eyal Katz, here's a site (in English) for the Israeli Police. Click on "General Information", then "Have you seen or heard anything?" for a little background on how they will use anything you submit. There's an e-mail link at the top of the page (click "Contact Us"). Be sure to request any appropriate paperwork. Remember, power in numbers. More complaints increases the chance they'll look into it.

Happy Hannukah, Eyal. B-)

12/04/2002If you've had problems today with the www.yois.biz domain, it's because Go Daddy, the provider I use for redirection, has had their servers down for an upgrade of some sort. I have no idea how long the downtime will last. You can always get in through http://www.if-legends.org/~yois.
11/30/2002My top 10 wanted games are back on the want-list page. I just had a rotten snipe week on eBay (0 for 3) with the top games, so now's a chance to get a really good trade.
11/29/2002For anyone who needs Shoppe items to arrive by Christmas, here are the U.S. Post Office's guaranteed delivery dates:
  • Priority Mail (Domestic): December 19th.
  • Express Mail (Domestic): December 21st.
  • International Air Mail: December 16th.

International surface mail normally takes 4 - 6 weeks, so I can't guarantee packages sent this way will arrive in time.

BTW, the above dates are the ship dates, once the USPS actually has the package. Keep in mind it normally takes at least a day or two, depending on how busy I am, to put everything together and actually drop it off.

11/25/2002If you use eSnipe to place last-second eBay bids, BE CAREFUL! eBay has been experiencing page-view problems on some servers for the last couple of days, and I noticed it myself while my auctions were closing. The other day I heard from one collector whose bid cancellation wasn't processed by eSnipe, and just tonight I missed a great item when my snipe didn't go through.
11/24/2002If you haven't tried Citibank's c2it yet, I recommend it as a free alternative to PayPal. Within the U.S., there are no fees for the buyer or the seller. I am considering this service as a PayPal replacement when eBay raises PayPal fees (and they will). The disadvantage is international transactions with c2it are expensive, a $10 flat fee. So I'll probably keep PayPal support around for non-American collectors unless another option presents itself.

More fun with the eBay/PayPal merger in the next Shoppe column!
I finally had time to add a bunch of new items I've been accumulating over the last few weeks, about 50 of them. Lots of unboxed Apple IIgs bargains, quite a few Adventure International styrofoam folders, and lots of miscellaneous. Scroll down to find the full list of new stock.
11/21/2002Today marks the six-year anniversary of YOIS on the web! Thanks to Jay Goemmer of Downbelow Station (who originally helped the Shoppe get off the ground by giving it a single page of its own) for reminding me, and congratulations on his daughter's sixth birthday tomorrow.
11/19/2002The Eyal Katz column is now back up, and I suppose I owe everyone an explanation for why it was down this past week:

One of his buyers was negotiating a refund, but Eyal, apparently thinking this person actually co-wrote the column with me in addition to providing information on the Sierra fakes, refused to budge while the page about him was still up. In an effort to help this guy get his rather sizable chunk of cash back, I took it down. At which point Eyal's responses abruptly ceased.

In other words, the little rat lied again. So the page is now back up, and Eyal Katz gets yet another black mark on his (already badly stained) reputation. As he has shown no interest whatsoever in redeeming himself, I cannot envision any circumstances in which I would take it down again. Read it, pass it on to your friends, and by all means e-mail Eyal and let him know what you think of his behavior.

And in case you still have any doubts regarding this puke's integrity, check out his GameTZ page, where the bad trade reports continue to pile up like unsold copies of Big Game Hunter.
11/15/2002I've successfully ported the YOIS mailing list over to the Shoppe from its old provider. Newcomers, please let me know if you encounter any difficulties trying to sign up. (If you were already on the list before, you don't need to re-subscribe.)
11/12/2002This week I'll be phasing out YourMailingListProvider.com as the central site for the YOIS mailing list, simply because it's easier for me to manage it myself. This move should be completely transparent to subscribers, and adding / removing your address will work the same way as before.

Remember, you don't have to be registered with YOIS to join the mailing list and receive notices of new columns and other happenings.
11/09/2002After almost a solid week of investigation, e-mails, and lies, the story of a rip-off artist printing fake Sierra folder packages is now available in a special Shoppe column. This one's important! Everyone interested in protecting the integrity of this hobby needs to read it.

I've got a ton of Apple IIGS games and Adventure International styro packs on the way, but I've been working on the counterfeiting story all week and haven't had time to go through the packages yet. Hopefully this weekend.
11/06/2002Important! Do NOT buy any Sierra items from an "avi", "David Wolf" or "Eyal Katz" in Israel (bezeqint.net e-mail address). They are fakes! Full story coming soon!
11/03/2002If you're tired of looking at a long list of past purchases on your history page, you'll be pleased to know I've revised the page to display only open transactions. You can still bring up an entire account history by clicking the link at the top.
11/01/2002Just fixed an issue with the international shipping calculations: The shipping page pulls data from the U.S. Postal Service page, but the USPS changed their text so it reads "Airmail Letter Post" instead of "Airmail Letter-Post", so my script wasn't finding the right amount. If you weren't getting a regular (uninsured) airmail option before, you should be now.
10/30/2002Okay, for those of you who missed my cheese Danish auction, I've preserved it here, along with another funny listing I did back in March.
10/27/2002I think I've made eBay's "watch" list. They just e-mailed me saying how one of my completed auctions violated their listing policies... even though the broken rule involved doubly linking to PayPal (now an eBay company) and the auction didn't generate any bids. I'm sure glad they took the time to hunt down that serious crime instead of engaging in time-wasting garbage like stabilizing their site.
10/26/2002I've fixed the "name" error with the registration page. If you've had problems getting registered, you should be able to now. (Rotten work week, or I'd've gotten to it sooner.)
10/23/2002At LAST, some new vault pages! Scroll down to find a list of the latest ones, and check 'em out. More to follow.

I've also built a site map for the Shoppe, a good page to bookmark for the fastest possible navigation. It's accessible from both the FAQ and main index pages.
10/17/2002Aww, damn. Just got a message that eBay cancelled the cream cheese Danish auction. I did save the text, and I'll repost it here shortly for those of you who missed it. Anyone who still wants it, please e-mail me, we'll negotiate privately. I don't need eBay to sell a six-year-old stale pastry, I can do it myself! B-)
10/12/2002Heehee, check this out. I absolutely kill me. B-)
10/11/2002More eBay/PayPal fun: eBay now assures me that only transactions related to eBay auctions are currently of interest to them on PayPal. Non-auction payments, and payments related to other auction sites are not. (Note she said "currently". Right now the two sites are not prepared to share information, as the merger has just gone through.)

So. For the time being I will keep PayPal support around, until the two sites become fully integrated, which eBay customer service informs me will occur before the end of 2002. At that point I may or may not cease accepting PayPal, depending on the response I get from the two parties after it's happened.

For those interested, here are the phone numbers I've been using (obtained from The Auction Guild's website):

  • eBay (7:30 A.M. - 5:30 P.M., Pacific Standard Time): 1-800-322-9266
  • PayPal (no time restrictions that I've found): 1-888-221-1161, or 1-877-6PAYPAL

I encourage everyone to call (don't e-mail, no humans ever read them) and voice your concerns. If you don't have any, you should.

10/10/2002Is anybody having problems with the vault pics not showing up? I've heard from one person who can't seem to get them to appear, and am wondering if anyone else can duplicate this (since I can't).
10/09/2002You're gonna love this. So I called eBay last night (longer wait, but slightly better hold music than PayPal), pretending to be a PayPal user who has never used eBay before, and asked the same question. THEY claim eBay will NOT be able to access non-eBay transactions on PayPal. eBay informed me that the two are still entirely separate companies, even though eBay now owns PayPal. On a hunch, I called PayPal back this morning, and (wait for it!) they now tell me the same thing!

Okay, but, so wait, it gets better. I call PayPal back a little later, get a different customer service rep. HE tells me that, now that the two companies are working together, they will share some information, but that eBay will only have access to "what they need". Of course I pressed for details, such as for what sort of "reasons" eBay might decide they "need" such information, but neither of us was equipped with the legal BS knowledge necessary to decipher the privacy policy. According to this guy, eBay is still considered a third party by PayPal, and although the two parties share a "distant relationship", each maintains its own data, customer service center, etc.

He did specifically state that nothing would be shared if a person has a PayPal account but no eBay account. But I'm still not sure how this applies to non-eBay transactions for someone who has accounts with both eBay and PayPal. And of course all of this could change in an instant should either company alter their privacy policy (and eBay is notorious for making revisions and not bothering to inform its users). So my anxieties were not reconciled. I did get him to promise to pass my concerns on to PayPal's legal department, gave him both my home and work phone numbers, and encouraged someone to call me back.

To be continued...
10/08/2002My conversation with PayPal wasn't at all promising. After the nice support rep consulted the FAQ and tried to spew back the same answer I got through e-mail (stimulus, response), I managed to convince her to run my question by a supervisor. In a nutshell: Since eBay now owns PayPal, eBay can indeed access a user's entire transaction history if they want to, including bank account numbers and non-eBay transactions. This is very unsettling to me, and the very reason I avoided signing up with eBay's Billpoint.

So. I am closing my account and will no longer be accepting payments through PayPal. You're going to see some changes to the Shoppe in the next few days. I know it'll slow down turnaround, but this whole eBay/PayPal merger just gives me a very bad gut feeling. Special apologies go out to my international buyers, whom this will inconvenience the most. I will search high and low for another option.
10/06/2002Well, my initial inquiries to eBay and PayPal weren't at all promising. Both spewed out the exact same vague answer given in their FAQs. Copy, paste. Stimulus, response. Buncha freakin' amoebas working customer support. I've also posted to the appropriate eBay forum, and I plan to call both companies on Monday to see if the quality of their phone support exceeds e-mail. (Wouldn't take much.)
10/05/2002Well, the eBay/PayPal merger has gone through, and I personally could not be more concerned about it. I for one do not want eBay to be able to look through my entire PayPal history and see how much money I make from all of my (non-eBay related) transactions. Based on eBay's incompetence with problem resolution and past failure to listen to its users, would you trust them with your bank account number? I've heard too many Billpoint horror stories to have any sort of confidence.

In addition, this merger virtually guarantees eBay's continued monopolistic stranglehold on the online auction industry. With eBay and PayPal joining forces, who can possibly hope to compete? eBay's new inside access to the inner workings of PayPal gives them a distinct advantage over every other auction site.

I have written to both sides voicing my concern and asking them to specifically state how much PayPal account information eBay will be able to access. Depending on their answer, you may see significant changes to the Shoppe in the coming days. If I'm not satisfied with the response I get, I may stop accepting PayPal payments, both through eBay and the Shoppe.

Watch this page; I'll keep everyone posted.
09/29/2002I've just added ComputerGameCollector.com to the links page. This is a new and very ambitious site working to bring software collectors together. Post your own collection online and view other other people's lists. There are forums for discussion, and premiere features (being offerred for free indefinitely) include eBay auction and search tools. It's not quite off the ground yet (could really use bulk-upload features for large collections), but definitely worth watching.
09/23/2002In case you missed it, the Eli Tomlinson auction drew over 18,000 spectators, but not a single bid. I'm not surprised: Most serious collectors can't afford it, and there aren't many dealers with the resources to move that many pieces. Eh well, hopefully he'll have the online store up within a year or two.
Sorry for the delay, everyone... Couple of busy weeks followed by a busy crappy week. At any rate, the rest of the new Shoppe stock is up now. Don't miss the Cornerstone books (I finally got a plastic case of my own, thanks Tom!) and the Personal Software Zork manual. Quite a few waiting list matches, don't forget to respond to those. You can do so from transaction history if you've lost the original e-mail.

My CGE pictures didn't turn out like I'd hoped. There was plenty of light in the ballroom and I used the flash for good measure, but most of 'em came out really dark. I'll try to get around to posting the halfway decent ones this week though. I know, I really should buy a digital camera but I've been burned twice and just can't make myself hock up the cash again.

Next step, some new vault pages. It's been over a year now.
09/10/2002The Eli Tomlinson quarter-million games auction is up. Come join the spectators (or bidders if you're rich enough). The auction text has a link to a brief PC World article about software collecting.
09/06/2002I won't be around this weekend to answer Shoppe requests. TomMage and I are going game-hunting in Chicago on Saturday and hitting Six Flags on Sunday. Should be a blast! Everyone with paid outstanding orders will have their stuff shipped tomorrow morning.
Starting tomorrow, this guy will be auctioning probably the largest single collection of software in the world on eBay. (Thanks to Dirk Backenkoehler for passing the site along.) About 250,000 pieces (!!!), half of it pre-1990, 60% mint shrinked. Everything from Amiga to VIC-20, plus an enormous detailed database of everything.

He's informed me the bidding will start at $250,000 for the entire lot, so if there are any rich collectors out there willing to make a sizeable investment (and rent a small fleet of trucks), here's a chance to live off selling games for the rest of your life! (I can't possibly afford that, or I'd consider it myself.)

09/04/2002The latest Shoppe column is now up, featuring my personal take on the 2002 Classic Gaming Expo and a heartwarming tale of revenge against a spammer. Photos from the CGE will be posted as soon as I get my film developed, hopefully next week.
08/28/2002Got about three-quarters of the new items listed now, including a Sci-Fi Classics triple pack! Just a reminder to waiting-list users, I've seen the Shoppe flag a number of matches as I was entering items. Don't forget to respond to the e-mails sent out to you.
08/27/2002Got some more items added today, that's about half of them. Still have the bulk of the Infocoms to go, but there's some good stuff. (Check the Cranston Manor!) More tomorrow, and later this week.
08/21/2002Okay, I've begun going through my backlog of new items. Check the list below for the newest additions to YOIS stock. Just a few for now, I'm testing some code enhancements on the admin side. I have two whole boxes of Infocoms to add, so if you're on the waiting list, watch your e-mail so you don't miss first grab. Getting these and the new column finished are my top priority this week.
08/17/2002More deadbeats (thanks, Harry!), and I added commas to the list so it's easier for everyone to copy and paste them into your blocked bidder list on eBay.
I've also added a check in the transaction history page, designed to prevent abuses of the Shoppe's automated offer system at the hands of a few people (who apparently thought I wouldn't notice >B-). The Shoppe now makes you wait a full day before permitting you to cancel trades or transactions. This should discourage sneaky buyers from repeatedly making and cancelling offers in order to sniff out the lowest accepted price.

(No names mentioned, and no hard feelings... Actually I'm grateful you found this... Just be aware you won't be able to do it anymore.)

To anyone who ever needs to do a legitimate cancel, don't worry. If you intend to cancel a trade the next day but forget to do so, the Shoppe will eventually send you a reminder, and in time will even clear it out for you automatically.

08/14/2002The Shoppe is back open. CGE2K2 was great, lots of stories to tell. I'll try to get the new column typed up for this weekend, plus a few Shoppe mods I came up with during the trip.
Also updated the eBay deadbeats page with a couple of collections that other people were kind enough to send me. Remember, if we work together we can keep these losers away from our auctions, so please share your list if you have one.
08/08/2002I'm leaving tomorrow for Las Vegas and the 2002 Classic Gaming Expo. Expect a new column chronicling my take on the event shortly after I return. The Shoppe will be temporarily "closed" during this time. You'll still be able to browse and reserve games, but no trades will be negotiated and no orders shipped (and no outdated transactions will expire) while I'm away.
08/06/2002Finally got around to updating some vault pages today, correcting misinformation and adding some new trivia I've uncovered. I'm about halfway done with the backed-up changes. No new pages yet but I hope to add some in the coming weeks, after I get my new scanner hooked up.
07/27/2002I've modified the Shoppe's cleanup script to send out notices warning people with reserved items a week before they expire. This should help eliminate the frustration of having to re-reserve a forgotten item.
07/12/2002Updated the column back issues page with some old Usenet messages I dug up, including the post that first announced the web-based Shoppe back in 1996. (Still looking for any columns prior to 10/4/1997, if anyone happened to save them.)
06/30/2002New domestic postal rates are in effect starting today. I've just updated the Shoppe's shipping code to pull rates from the revised USPS page. Please LMK if you encounter any problems with it. Priority Mail is now entirely zipcode-based, and insurance is an additional 20 cents. International shipping is not changing at this time.
Tidied up the master items list a bit, and the main vault page quite a bit more (corrected some entries, fixed some typos, added some new stuff I've acquired). Added the missing I, Damiano scan for the Bantam package. Also added Vintage Sierra to the links page.

The new Shoppe has now been live three weeks, so I've also started the daily cleanup process. If you have unclaimed waiting list items, unpaid buys, or open trades, resolve them quick or risk the items being unreserved!

06/22/2002Added a bunch of new sites to the links page: American Games Shop, C64 Game Guide Shop, Dr. Feelgood's, RetroDirect, RetroGamer, Sauron's Corner, SinTech, the Tolkien Computer Games Pages, and TradeInPost. Check 'em out.
06/08/2002The PHP/MySQL edition of Ye Olde Infocomme Shoppe launches!


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