Since eBay Live 2007 is fresh in my mind, I thought it would be fun to search for news coming out of each eBay Live conference beginning with the first 2002 event in Anaheim, CA. I have attended 5 of the 6 eBay Live! Conferences and was struck this year by lack of information regarding "The Power of Three" the eBay mantra that came out of eBay Live! in 2006 from Vegas. I was curious if the messaging from eBay had changed and wondered how it has changed through the years. I am not going to make any comments regarding any of this news, but I will select a short item or two from each year to give you a taste. Please read the articles and digest them and then if you would like, comment on what you've read. Okay, one comment: After attending this eBay Live in Boston and hearing my 5th Keynote Speech from Meg Whitman I made a comment to a friend. "They could have just played a video of Meg's Speech from the first eBay live and she could have taken the night off."
History is a great teacher - Class is in session.
eBay Live! 2002 - Anaheim, CA - Tagline - "eBay: The People's Market."
- eBay to Celebrate its People and Passion at eBay Live 2002 Community Conference - eBay Press Release
eBay exists because of the strength and spirit of our community,” said eBay President and CEO Meg Whitman. “At the very core of this online company is a community of people who have built it to become the largest Internet marketplace. We look forward to celebrating the many individual and collective successes of the people who are eBay.”
- eBay Live Power Panel Answers Tough Questions from Attendees - From Auctionbytes
Some of the questions were answered with standard eBay responses. When someone asked why it is difficult to get an answer from customer support, and that many large companies have live phone support, why not eBay, the room exploded with applause. eBay's Maynard Webb said that eBay has introduced chat capability. He failed to mention that the feature is only for help in using eBay features, and not with customer support issues. He also said that they are reviewing a phone support model, but the cost of such a plan must be weighed against the high number of transactions with low values. "We are judiciously considering it," he said (Funny coincidence Maybard Webb is now CEO of LiveOps a Phone Customer Support business)
eBay Live! 2003 - Orlando, FL - Tagline - "Do It eBay"
- Whitman's Keynote Speech Lists New eBay Fraud Initiatives, Then Gets a Little Weird (Al, that is)
Whitman emphasized the company's progress in its ongoing efforts to minimize fraudulent activity on the site and announced the company's plans to introduce a buyer protection program through PayPal, eBay's online payment service.
- Day Two of eBay Live Begins with Tough Questions from Users
Questions ranged from, "What is eBay doing to ensure the identity and survival of the Mom and Pop businesses as they try to compete with the corporate world?" to "What will the next hot categories be?"
eBay Live! 2004 - New Orleans, LA - Theme - "Leap to New Heights".
- eBay Execs Give Keynote Speeches at eBay Live
Whitman handed the stage to Jeff Jordan, Senior Vice President, North American Business ... Jordan reviewed some of the initiatives eBay has undertaken in the last year. eBay now offers combined multiple item purchases; sports a new faster and more efficient search engine; and has a comparison shopping feature.
Jordan spoke about the importance of providing buyers to the site, and said eBay spent 25% of revenue, $200 million, on sales and marketing efforts in the first 3 months of this year.
- eBay Execs Face Tough Questions During Saturday's Q&A
Griff read aloud questions from eBay buyers and sellers. The topics ranged from concerns about large sellers taking business away from small sellers, to large-volume fee discounts, to global trading issues on the auction site.
- Security Q&A with Rob Chesnut, eBay's Trust & Safety VP
Most of the session time was spent responding to questions from the 75 or so PowerSellers in attendance. Some of the issues expressed by attendees included photo copyrights, grey market transactions, retaliatory negative feedback, feedback extortion, shilling, private User IDs, private feedback, key word spamming, fee avoidance, account hijacking, counterfeit items, and more.
eBay Live! 2005 - San Jose, CA - Tagline "the power of us all"
- eBay CEO's Keynote: eBay Broadening Scope, but Still Listening to Users
Whitman said several times during the night the words "off eBay." This seemed a strange admission from the company to acknowledge ecommerce outside of the eBay platform. Earlier in the day, the launch of ProStores, eBay-hosted ecommerce web sites, was announced. Whitman said, "You are looking to expand your sales. Our fundamental mission is to help you become more successful." She said eBay could help sellers through its technology and its expertise in Trust & Safety. Bill Cobb said in talking about Pro Stores, eBay wants to be the best solution provider for all your online selling needs.
- Fees, Safety, and Support Key Issues at Saturday eBay Town Hall Meeting
The meeting wasn’t just about fees though. There were many questions about safety, international bidding to unconfirmed addresses, the problems of buyer and seller communication when selling to a non-English speaking country, feedback, power seller level criteria, and many more.
- Glacier Bay DVD Becomes the Top Seller on eBay (Thanks to my friends at Channel Advisor for the press release.)
While we passed Jay and Marie to be the #1 feedback seller on eBay we were in reality in the midst of a huge restructuring and modification of our business plan. 2005 would be the year we either "fished or cut bait"
eBay Live! 2006 - Las Vegas, NV - Tagline "The Power of Three"
- eBay Announces Major News During 'eBay Live' Keynote Address
Meg Whitman explained her philosophy of the power of three to the crowd: eBay, PayPal and Skype, its new Internet telephony company. "Both eBay and PayPal grew faster after we acquired PayPal," she said.
The most serious moments of the evening came when Bill Cobb addressed the issue of "Stores in Search" (SIS). When he described the rollback of SIS, a number of attendees booed, the first time in five years that eBay Live attendees booed during a keynote address.
- Members Ask eBay CEO for Seller Verification at Shareholders Meeting
At eBay's annual shareholder meeting today, long time eBay seller Jay Senese asked eBay CEO Meg Whitman to address the issue of seller verification. "Maybe the time has come for more verification," he said. Many members believe better verification will make the eBay marketplace safer from fraud.
Whitman said the head of eBay Marketplaces John Donahoe has reviewed policies. "The Internet has become larger, with many more people, and we have asked, do we need to revisit issues like seller verification? We're hearing from our community and are reviewing it."
eBay Live! 2007 - Boston, MA - Tagline "Social Commerce"
- eBay Throws Changes at Sellers During eBay Live Keynote
eBay CEO Meg Whitman got a warm greeting when she walked onto the stage, and she replaced last year's mantra, "The Power of Three" (which referred to eBay, PayPal and Skype), with "Social Commerce." In fact, Skype was hardly mentioned during the gathering.
- eBay Live Town Hall Meeting: Will We Have Fees with That?
Fees and Feedback star ratings were two of the most talked-about issues at the Town Hall meeting held on Saturday, June 16, the last day of the eBay Live conference in Boston, as eBay sellers lined up at the mics to get their chance to talk one-one with eBay's top executives.
Many thank to Ina Steiner for having these links available on the auctionbytes website.