Monday, November 26, 2007

Blast From the Past - eBay vs. Amazon Circa 1999

I came across an article written for Business Week in 1999 comparing eBay and Amazon and was blown away. Apparently not much has changed over the last 8 years and then again everything has changed (like the numbers).

Rather than doing my usual thing of commenting on the article I was hoping we could all read it fresh from our own perspective and then come back here to have a discussion about it. I know many of you do not comment on posts but please feel free to post anonymously because your opinion is very valuable and as eBay and Amazon appear to be in transition this year. It seems an appropriate time to discuss these things.

Here is a key paragraph from the article: (Remember this is from 1999)

BATTLE ROYAL. It's a collision in the making with an impact that could ripple far beyond which pioneer will lead the E-commerce revolution--and which will follow. Indeed, the budding behemoths present a fundamental choice for consumers in the Internet Age: Will most people gravitate toward fixed prices at the likes of Amazon's clean, well-lighted superstore, with its familiar brand-name retail sheen? Or will the masses take a shine to dynamic pricing, the fluid give-and-take on eBay's friendly, funky swap meet cybercharged into a global bazaar?

8 years is a long time and I thought this Blast From the Past would be interesting for you. Please let me know what you think.

Here is the link to the article.

eBay vs. Amazon.com
Fixed prices or dynamic pricing? Whichever wins biggest will shape the future

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

From the article:

"Says Kenneth J. Orton, chief strategist at market researcher Cognitiative Inc.: ''Amazon has a better shot at winning eBay's game than eBay does at Amazon's game.''"

That's an interesting quote when you can look back at their efforts.

In context the article was clearly talking about Amazon doing auctions, which I think is fair to call a failure. I don't think anyone would have predicted Amazon's marketplace to take hold in a fixed price format as effectively as it has.

In terms of eBay doing Amazon's game, they've certainly done well with fixed price merchandise in terms of growing GMV

I think it's still too early to say whose better at playing the other company's game

Randy Smythe said...

You are absolutely correct. The article was in a large part about Amazon taking on eBay with Auctions. That was obviously a failure.

I think its funny that after 8 years its still too early to say whose better.

One area where Amazon has eBay beat hands down in in the Buyer experience. When you are selling your own stuff you are bound to pick figure out how to present it to the buyer. eBay doesn't have the experience and it is showing.

CASA said...

i also believe the Amazon market is going to far surpass eBay.
i've another post that even showed that clearly by analyzing the share market value:
http://www.blog.imonlinegroup.com/?p=37

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