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Review of "cqout.com"

published 10/03/2004 | moaltmann
Member since : 10/03/2004
Reviews : 1
Members who trust : 0
About me :
Pro alternative to traditionally large auction sites, UK hosted
Cons user privacy not enforced, lacks basic features
very helpful

"A big question mark from a buyers perspective"

CQout has been around for quite a while now (since 1999). I registered last year (around March 2003) and have had both good and bad experiences.

It is an auction site like many others: it offers items in a large variety of categories (much like eBay and others) including the obvious "Arts & Antiques", all variations of electronics, collectables, clothing, etc. but also tickets and seats for concerts etc. (Unlike many other auction sites, it includes an X-rated section that is available to within Europe and is even browseable without registering first.)

One thing in particular is tarnishing CQout's record: While its privacy policy (http://www.cqout.com/terms.asp, section "7. Personal data") seems okay I found CQout make its users' profiles and feedback available via public search engines (e.g. altavista.com or google.com). Try it yourself by searching for a username registered at CQout. I am certain that it is not a standard practice and further more believe that it contradicts the "Terms and Conditions" in particular section 7.

I understand that it is possible to search for users on all auction sites; however, no other auction site I know allows their profile and feedback pages to be indexed by search engines. I have sent CQout an email detailing the problem and asked for a reply in written by last Friday (March 5th). It has now been 10 days since I sent the email. To date no reply (or acknowledgement of some sort) has been received which further suggests that they do not care.

This review should be extensive and hence I won't get hung up on the above. Instead, let's take a look at a couple of other points:

I had a non-delivering seller (almost one year ago) and the CQout AuctionMaster was very nice in terms of providing advice and seemed to respond very quickly. I was relieved by the good support I received because that particular auction lot was in fact my first on CQout.

Unfortunately, this one positive point is offset by many strange or negative points (list is not exhaustive):

Missing functionality or strange quirks of interface:

- When browsing through the categories items are by default sorted by name (not by end of auction date/time as commonly found in eBay etc.)

- When using "ask the seller a question" while viewing an item be very careful of what you write as your question is going to be seen by all other users. This might be useful if you want to warn people of bad experiences you have had but also very disruptive if used by an inconsiderate user. Further more you might want to ask a personal question, which certainly is nobody else's business (enquire about meeting point, dimensions of adult toys,...). This brings me to the next point:

- One cannot contact seller by ID (i.e. cannot ask question that's not specific to an item). This might result in questions unrelated to an item as last resort solution.

- Often times you will not be told the p&p but instead the seller will only state whether the seller or buyer is responsible for it. This generally proves to be very annoying because obviously is of general interest and thus it's one of the first questions to be asked via the "Ask the Seller a Question" interface.

- autobid, now this one is interesting (I haven't checked with other sites, but this here seems to be counter-intuitive): If you bid using autobid CQout will always bid the minimum necessary to keep the bid. However, if you were to issue a second autobid CQout takes this as if you were a new user and thus you bid against yourself(!!) which results in the bid-price jumping to the maximum value specified by your first autobid. Does this make sense -- well, maybe, but not to me.

- Bought items disappear from "My Bids > Closed Auctions I Won" once feedback is left. This is very inconvenient for making comparisons. At the very least one should be able to see last xx items or all items bought within the last xx days.

- Every so often you will find an inconsistent layout: for instance, you will not be able to logout while viewing a profile of another member because there is no link for it.

- Talking about layout: if you are using the Opera web browser (I use the Win32 version 7.23) beware of occasional broken layout. This is most likely due to non-standard html or css code.

- On a last point, it is worth pointing out that the FAQ is quite extensive and generally of good quality information.

I realise that no auction site is perfect, but I expect a certain minimum standard, which CQout did not uphold in my opinion.


Mischa Altmann (aka MOAltmann)

P.S.: here's the email I sent to AuctionMaster of CQout:
---------------------[quoted from email]---------------------
From: Mischa Oliver Altmann
Date : 1 Mar 2004 02:28:48
To: AuctionMaster@CQout.com
Subject: breach of privacy policy

Dear AuctionMaster of CQout,

I am deeply concerned about finding personal profile pages using the google search engine: e.g. http://www.google.com/search?q=effy In the case of searching for my CQout-ID "moaltmann" this means that of the seven returned results five (sic!) are pages located on the CQout.com server. While I understand that transparency is of importance I vehemently deny the need for indexing profile and rating-related pages using search engines. Not only does it give quick access to private information to (possibly malicious) users but it is also in violation of the CQout privacy policy stating "CQout does not pass on [...]personal data to any third party [...]".
By letting search engines have access to such data you essentially violate your promise to "[...] not sell or otherwise distribute its registered user list to any third party without prior permission." I understand that anyone trying to lookup a user in CQout should be able to do so but this functionality should be provided from within the CQout website and *not* by a search engine. I will, if necessary, seek professional advice regarding internet privacy policies and inform relevant bodies. I urge you to take appropriate action and expect a qualified response by Friday March 5th 2004.

Mischa Altmann

(CQout ID: MOAltmann)
---------------------[end of quote]---------------------

I realise that the email might not be perfectly worded, but it does express my concern correctly. (Note: It's content was correct at time of writing. Now there exist several more links. However, this does not diminish the importance of the issue.)

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Comments on this review

  • BournemouthLad published 11/03/2004
    Hi... hadn't heard of this site before... welcome to Ciao!! Andrew
  • Lethal-Injection published 10/03/2004
    as below, some good points would have been welcomed here.
  • hotrodkzn published 10/03/2004
    Hello Mischa and a warm welcome to Ciao. You've written a great first review. One tip though, if you space the review into paragraphs, it would be easier to read. Anyway, welcome again and enjoy your Ciao experiences. Take care.
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Product Information : cqout.com

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Type: Auctions

Domain Extension: .com


Listed on Ciao since: 31/07/2000