Monday, September 22, 2008

How Did I Do? 10 Ecommerce Predictions for 2008

It was a slow news day so I decided to check my top 10 Ecommerce Predictions for 2008 that I posted in Dec of 2007. Here is the link to the original post in-case you doubt me.
Remember, I wrote these predictions before Meg left and JD took over eBay. Check out my prediction batting average,so far with 4 months to go in 2008.

1. eBay and Yahoo Merge! At some point next year I see these two companies coming together as their respective share prices flounder. I just can't see investors putting up with another year like the last two. Yahoo is a on a short leash and eBay will be, especially as they move towards changing their marketplace fee structure.
What actually happened: Well, the jury is still out on this one; I was correct about both companies having trouble keeping their share price afloat. Not much chance of this actually happening now. 

2. If eBay and Yahoo don't merge, I believe Meg Whitman will leave the company to begin her next adventure. John Donahoe is becoming more of a public figure and seems to be the likely replacement. If #1 happens then I believe Meg will stay. (Remember for entertainment purposes only)
What actually happened: Meg left in Q1 of 2008 as I predicted and she was replaced by John Donahoe, so I was correct about this one. So far I'm batting .500

3. Amazon, will continue to make in-roads in the 3P business and add Automobiles towards the end of the year and will begin directly competing with eBay Motors.
What actually happened: I was partially correct about this one. Amazon has expanded their Auto parts category and has recently added a Motorcycle and ATV category; still not selling cars though. I'll call that a win though so i am now 2 for 3.

4. ChannelAdvisor will go public! (No need to expand on that). 
What actually happened: Well this one really didn't have a chance considering where the market is, nobody is going public these days. This was a solid no, so I'm back to .500

5. Amazon will acquire and that will be the end of TV commercials with "Its all about the O" as the tagline. Overstock has a decidedly different customer demographic then Amazon (60% female) and would fit into a portfolio of ecommerce sites.
What actually happened: This was one of those hair-brained ideas I had; looks like Amazon is just going to build their own Liquidation marketplace, no need for Overstock. I am now batting .400 still respectable but not going the right direction.

6. eBay will institute category based pricing for each of it's major categories.
What actually happened: Well, I got this one right, as eBay just made the change on Sept. 16th. Back to .500

7. StubHub will sign a deal with the NFL prior to next years football season.
What actually happened: Well, I will count this in the correct column even though the deal was just with one NFL team (Da Jets)

8. eBay will separate Stores from the core site and provide Store Sellers with the marketing tools to market their products all over the web including listing in eBay's Core, co-op advertising through Yahoo and listing on In order to make this work they will need to develop a separate platform with a shopping cart system. They already have this with Express so all they need to do is make Express the UI for each store while the current listing system supplies the inventory. With this new site sellers would pay a single monthly hosting fee and only pay listing fees or FVF if they choose to sell through eBay's CORE or a Stores based Site like Express (don't worry sellers it won't be the same Express as we see today), or they could market to their product using paid search or other methods. Store/Shops would become the worlds largest collection of independent Websites. This is not as difficult as they seem to want to make it -- Express front end and Stores back-end for each individual store. The technology is already in place.
What actually happened: Okay, no need to even discuss this one, I was flat out wrong. They even shut down Express -- Back to .500

9. eBay's PR department will return my emails.
What actually happened: They not only returned my emails (well some of them), but they invited me to San Jose in August for the Fee Change announcements. So I'm now 5 for 9

10. MyBlogUtopia will replace TechCrunch as the top blog (You have to think big folks)

What actually happened: Well, MyBlogUtopia did grow exponentially Y/Y but its not even close to TechCrunch - Maybe next year.

So in the end, I hit .500 -- to continue the baseball theme -- that would put me in the Hall of Fame in baseball, but is probably just so-so in the world of blogger predictions.

Just my 15%


Tony P. said...


I would give you a walk on #8. You were obviously into some sort of ebay-does-the-logical-thing state of mind.

Prolly too many lattes put you in an upbeat mood. Next time, try whacking your head with a rolled-up WSJ, first.

That's one way to get the 'ebay outlook' into yer brain.


ms.pat said...

Randy - I think your main problem was that you were thinking logically. Logic is something foreign to Ebay ;-)

Randy Smythe said...

Tony, yeah I have to stop doing that. :)

Ms. Pat, Ditto what I said above. :)

Tony P. said...

Baby got juice! Hey, being quoted is almost as good as a scoop and just as good as a prediction-come-true.

"Downplaying your core competency can cost you core customers -- and once rejected, they're not easy to win back."

"Search is a mess," says Smythe. "EBay is not a technology company. They should have outsourced search."

"While we all want our companies to grow, don't lose sight of what you started with. When the customers who got you off the ground start to stray, you've lost your way."

ebay - Dance alone, you cold-hearted B!

Randy Smythe said...

Aw Shucks! More to come BTW

Stefan said...

Oh Randy you're such a soothsayer,

Can't wait to see what your magic crystal ball says about 2009.. Now that will be a challenge to predict!

ms.pat said...

I predict early 2009 will mark Donahoe's exit. Maybe even Meg will return for awhile until another CEO can be found ...but I see Donahoe as gone!

Let's see how right I am on that one ;-)