Tuesday, January 20, 2009
The Silence is Deafening!
Usually, I hear a lot of chatter in the days leading up to eBay's earnings reports, but things have been decidedly different in the last few weeks. I haven't quite put my finger on why?
It is possible that eBay watchers have extremely low expectations for Q4 results and expect eBay's guidance for Q1 to be muted as well. There is almost a feeling of resignation that 2009 will be a wash and so everybody is looking at other options.
I know sellers that I've spoken with are working hard to lessen their dependence on eBay, though many of them still sell on the platform. They've jumped through so many hoops in the last year they are unwilling to continue jumping and just trying survive the ride. Many are thriving on their websites and other platforms and eBay is becoming a smaller portion of their overall business.
I'm not sure if this silence is a good thing for eBay. It is probably not a good sign for the company when people stop talking about them. The feeling of eBay is "so yesterday" starts to take hold. John Donahoe was even concerned about this back in April of 2008 when he was interviewed on the eBayInkBlog. Richard Brewer Hay asked:
Q. Any advice to the new guy?
Listen and have passion. Our goal is not to be a finely tuned, smooth, perfect machine. The minute our community stops talking is the minute I worry. Because their opinions, constructive criticism or praise, stem from passion. People are basically good – that is our belief. And we will not shut our ears to what people have to say – we will embrace it. [bold is mine]
I agree with Mr. Donahoe, the minute the community stops taking is time to worry. Have they stopped talking, probably not yet but we will know better when eBay makes their annual announcements later this month.
When there is no longer much "noise" it could mean that people have stopped caring. When that happens the silence will be deafening.
Just my 15%