eBay to Hide Member E-Mail Addresses

ByMatthew Fordahl

S A N  J O S E, Calif., Feb. 2, 2001 -- Online auction house eBay Inc. will soon

start concealing the e-mail addresses of its customers, making it

more difficult for junk-mail senders to harvest the information.

The change also will make it harder for users to wrap up dealswithout eBay and lock the company out of fees.

Ebay receives hundreds of complaints each week from customerswho receive unsolicited e-mail, or spam, after using the site,spokesman Kevin Pursglove said Thursday.

"It's one of the biggest sources of complaints that we get,"he said. Form Will Replace E-Mail

Anyone registered on the site can currently view e-mailaddresses by clicking on a seller's or bidder's username.

Under the new system, to be deployed in the next few weeks,users who want to contact buyers or sellers will only see therecipient's username. They will enter their message in a form,rather than send e-mail.

"That message will be sent to the recipient, but the senderwill not see the recipient's e-mail address," Pursglove said.

EBay will not monitor the content of the messages, and anyreplies to the original message will contain the sender's address.

"At that point, it is the decision of the recipient to disclosetheir e-mail address," Pursglove said.

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