Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Get to Know eBay's New Corporate Blogger!

eBay recently upgraded their Corporate Communications department to PR 2.0 when they added the company's first Corporate Blogger, Richard Brewer-Hay. His official title is; Senior Manager Corporate Communications and he will be the Editor-in-Chief of the new eBay blog "eBayInk" which should launch in April.

It appears he will be blogging about eBay, Inc and its many businesses; "There hasn't been one place where investors, industry analysts, employees, [eBay] buyers and sellers, and PayPal and Skype users can talk to someone from the company, or listen to someone from the company discuss what changes mean from a high level," said company spokesman Jose Mallabo. So it appears his focus will not be on the crucial issues facing eBay today but on fluff pieces about all of eBay's businesses

Mr. Brewer-Hay provided a hint about what he will be writing about:
"RBH: You name it, we're going to blog it. On one day I might sit down with [eBay CEO-in-waiting] John Donahoe and talk about how he sees where we're going. The next day, I might be meeting with the head chef of our cafeteria here who's cooking for 7,000 people every day.

I also plan on having guest authors from people within eBay. The majority of the posts are going to be from me and the other 30% to 40% are going to be from other people within the company. I plan on traveling to Asia, to Europe, you name it, and meeting with those folks and soliciting their input too.

There are so many different topics. EBay as a recycler: how green is the company? I also plan on setting up an open Q&A for readers and subscribers to the blog. I really want it to be a conversation between eBay and the outside world. - an open conversation. So, I'm going to invite people to e-mail me questions that I can pose to certain people in the company."

Many eBay users have already identified his "special purpose" which is to help repair the damage between eBay sellers and eBay management. This task alone will consume every blogging moment of his day. His new title may soon become Senior Martyr, Corporate Communications.

As I have said in previous posts, eBay needs to improve communication between Sellers and management and a position similar to this is needed to achieve that goal, but only if it is truly transparent, as Mr. Brewer-Hay states in his interview with Fortune Small Business:

"It's got to be transparent. There's got to be an authenticity to it, an honesty to it, otherwise there's no point in doing it in the first place. I'm going to open up my e-mail to questions from folks. People can comment, too, and comments are going to be open. You're going to get the good, the bad, and the ugly."

The jury is still out whether eBay is even capable of being transparent, and there are serious questions regarding Mr. Brewer-Hay's credibility because he has never sold on eBay and has only been at the company for a couple of months.

IMO, he might be the right person for this position in 2009 but not the right person today, or even for the rest of 2008. eBay needs someone to deal specifically with the Seller/Management relationship. Someone with deep seller experience who can bridge the great divide between sellers and management. The position needs to be completely transparent and have 100% access to eBay management, but also must be an advocate for the seller to the company.

There are many factions among eBay sellers; store owners, auction sellers, small, medium and large sellers with their own issues, flee-market sellers, new in-box sellers, retirees, part-timers, casual sellers, full-timers, single mom's eeking out a living and the list could go on and on. Mr. Brewer-Hay has absolutely no experience with any of them.

So, if I was eBay, I would bring on Mr. Brewer-Hay to be the corporate blogger to talk about all of the businesses of eBay, Inc. but I would also hire a Seller Evangelist to deal specifically with seller issues and be a seller advocate to the company. Someone who would not fear for his/her job if they spoke out; someone who would have access to actual data and be able to effectively explain the reasons for the many changes; someone who would be allowed to speak up within the company about issues that face sellers today; someone who can tell sellers when they are wrong and when they need to concentrate on improving their businesses rather than whining; someone who can encourage sellers to diversify, but make eBay a very solid part of their over-all business plan.

eBay has a unique opportunity to reach out to sellers with a bold new vision, otherwise all they will have is a company mouthpiece that continues to practice "eBaySpeak".

Mr. Brewer-Hay may be a wonderful PR person and Corporate Blogger, but today, eBay needs something more than that.


Anonymous said...

Brewer-Hay, any guy who gets snickered into taking his wifes name... Yikes!

Tony P. said...

Randy, here's fodder for the guy's first blog entry:


That has to be the funniest chit I've seen in quite a while. I'm guessing the runner-up is Enron.

Randy Smythe said...

Tony, I read that post this morning and forgot to add my 12% thanks for reminding me.

Rich said...

It's almost April Fool's Day...

Randy Smythe said...

Rich, it would be funny if they launched the eBayInk blog on April 1st wouldn't it?

Anonymous said...

Hey....I'm diabetic and I doubt I can stand any more of Ebay's phoney sweetness. Yeah...he's gonna show the ugly. The guy doesn't know the meaning of the word. He'll never get to the nitty-gritty of anything because the powers-that-be will dictate what he can and cannot post on his blog - don't care what he says. Ebay has never ever been known for its blatant honesty. Its more silly ebay-speak put into blog form. Much like the silly ebay-speak put into those stupid town hall meetings bill cobb thinks so highly of! Spare us...please...

Anonymous said...

Below is an example of 1 post deleted by ebay. I did make refferece to Pollacks, but are we not over that yet? Obviously the entire post it is written as a joke. Guess ebay can't take a joke and there going to be so open now?
There is one thread in the feedback forum where the first 2059post have beeb deleted. Page one of the post starts @ 2060.

----- Original Message -----
From: "eBay Moderation Team" ModerationTeam@ebay.com
To: "xxxxxxxxx" xxxxxxxxxxxx@bellsouth.net
Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2008 4:47 AM
Subject: Discussion Board Policy - Feedback - xxxxxxxxx

> Hello xxxxxxxxx,
> We appreciate your participation in the eBay Community Forums.
> This email is to notify you that we unfortunately had to remove the
> following
> post that you made:
> xxxxxxxxx (953 ) View Listings | Report Feb-25-08 12:23 PST 8448
> of 8527
> I have had 3 post removed and I'm surprised they haven't
> removed more. How many removed post does it take before they
> suspend us? That sound like a Pollack joke (no
> offense) How many ebay trolls does it take to
> remove a seller? one to hit the report
> button one to translate it one to make sure the member
> is not a buyer one to make sure the post is a chinese
> power seller one to send the removal email to the
> wrong member
> In order for the community forums, which are based on the eBay Community
> Values,
> to be a place where all members can feel comfortable interacting with each
> other, there are certain types of posts that we have to remove if reported
> to
> us. The guidelines for posting in the forums are defined in the Board
> Usage
> Policy. Your post was specifically removed for the following reason:
> Discussing or reposting deleted posts or warning letters, or discussion of
> sanctioned or no longer registered members. For clarification of this
> policy,
> please visit this page:
> http://forums.ebay.com/db2/thread.jspa?threadID=410492018
> We understand that most posts that are removed were not intentional
> violations.
> Please take a moment to review the Board Usage Policy and policy
> explanations
> via the following URLs for clarification about the types of posts that we
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> http://pages.ebay.com/help/policies/everyone-boards.html
> http://forums.ebay.com/forum.jspa?forumID=2005
> Again, we value your participation in the forums, and we appreciate your
> support.
> Regards,
> Jerri
> eBay Moderation Team