Thursday, July 23, 2009

Not Another eBay Video!

I don't have much time to write these days, but I came across this video clip from CNBC where an analyst says “[EBay] took the buyer base that they had for granted and basically let the sellers run the business to the benefit of their individual businesses, but not to the benefit of the buyers ...”

So I thought I would have some fun and see what you guys and gals thought. Listen to the interview and give me your 15% in the comments

Sam, I posted another video just for you.

Just my 15%


David said...

I do agree with him up to a point. There were some sellers that provided horrible customer service and eBay turned a blind eye and did nothing. Remember bargainland?

As far as sellers being replaceable. I would say it depends on the category. GlacierBayDVD left eBay in early 2006. eBay made zero effort to make a deal to keep GlacierBayDVD. Did losing their #1 seller having any effect on eBay?

It works both ways IMO. Without buyers you can't have sellers, without sellers you can't have buyers.

Problem is, there are too many sellers and not enough buyers!

Tony P. said...

Another analyst that judges business with an old-school retail yardstick. What he says is partly true, with the remainder being 21st century truth that he has not a clue.

Jim Cramer stated that Bear Sterns was SOLID and "not going anywhere", on a Tuesday. By the next Monday there was no Bear Sterns. Jim used all of his skills on that Tuesday, but he really had no clue.

Not a single analyst understands the auction side - their only comparision would be the floor of the market where they deal in "pigs in a poke" all the time - that's not how ebay operates. We know that. They don't.

Analysts are now saying that Donahoe's Turnaround is working because this quarter's numbers are "not as bad as expected". I wonder if Jim thought the same about Bear Sterns on that Tuesday?

Anonymous said...

I chalk this up to lazy reporting. He's basically spewing back a lot of what eBay itself has been saying the past few years.

Anonymous said...

eBay management...what a bunch of fucktards...

Randy Smythe said...

I think letting these small business run eBay was the secret sauce. eBay just didn't do their part to remove the bad actors.

Remember Meg's saying, that people are basically good. The only way to get back to the eBay secret sauce is to let the sellers run eBay again.

Of course that will never happen.

David said...

Randy, here is another thing I want to ask you about.

Remember the days when there was no eBay checkout and no paypal?

You'd win an item and the seller would send you a personal email. It was just a fun way to connect strangers, and feedback almost seemed like it was a social networking. You were almost making friends with your seller.

It's a lot easier now and more convenient with checkout & paypal but I just think the fun and magic that made eBay special 10 years ago is gone and I don't know how to get it back.

Anonymous said...

So basically all he is saying is that eBay failed to hold their bad sellers accountable and all eBay cared about was profits.

But is the solution to tip the scale in the other direction and let the buyers run the show? This will cause just as many problems.

permacrisis said...

The person-to-person sales model that originally powered ebay was self policing, because in the back of your mind you only bid as much cash for an item as you were willing to lose in the mail.

This kept the early item selection on ebay tightly focused, since the only items listed were items worth taking that chance on. It was a very natural and self-regulating filter.

The people that used this ebay were flesh-and-blood wheelers and dealers as well, and felt very comfortable in this atmosphere of risk. After all, most were used to real, sit-down auctions.

With additional "safety"- which is actually impossible to guarantee on the net- cases of toiletpaper and lightbulbs started showing up. Everyone started jumping into the act.

Back in those early days, if ebay had required state ID numbers at signup, limited two accounts per living breathing member, and banned brick-shippers etc off ebay for 1 year we would have a very different ebay now.

Holding those early users accountable would have been the ounce of prevention that shored up their rep today. Everyone knew not to mess with Amazon from the minute they began selling used.

Instead, ebay raked in the cash as some bad folks yelled "Yee Hah" and really started grifting the buyers.

Upon going public, suppose ebay had hired 250 people to work with local police departments say, 5 in each state. Imagine these liasons were proactive in keeping in touch with the various counties PD's, rather than waiting for 20 negs in a row and the FBI to come knocking, or a missing truckload of nike's to show up.

People would have soon known which end was up. We wouldn't have all this technobabble and gee-whiz 'enforcement by mouse'. It would have saved them a lot of PR embarrassment also.

Part of the problem with analysts and ebay- with anybody and ebay really: Most discussions about seller quality and customer service end up going nowhere because the participants are talking about two different ebays.

Take your pick- there were about 5 of them!

David said...

In the old days of eBay, SNP used to only apply to small sellers. They'd get rid of small sellers over 1 or 2 negs while the Bargainlands and Mikescoins1 were aloud to run rampant screwing people left and right and eBay turned a blind eye.

Now they are too tough. I have 4.8, 4.8, 4.8, and 4.9 on my DSR's and a 99.8% positive feedback rating yet I'm probably not even going to be a "certified seller" because I have "too many" 1's on shipping time. It doesn't even matter that my shipping time is nearly a 4.9

ms.pat said...

I think it will mostly be over with monday when Ebay announces they will help big sellers reach their goal and even give them precedence in the listings. I kinda lost my appetite after reading that CNN article today. Plus the fact that the two measly items I put up (two freebees) haven't had one view in two days. At the same time I'm actually selling on Overstock! Sales and views for a lot less money and no stress.

As for the analysts -not one of them know what its like to buy or sell on Ebay - they don't know the environment and deal only in numbers (most of which are fed to them by Ebay). Not a one realized that at this time last year Ebay has between 12 and 15 million listings. Today they have over 33 million listings and STILL managed to lose 29 percent of their profit in core! Don't know about you folks but that speaks volumes to me...

BTW I didn't bother to watch the video. I've been reading the same thing in articles since Ebay's quarter two report.

Daisy said...

I keep hearing it will be easier for Ebay to manage a hundred mega sellers rather than a million small ones. But isn't that a double edge sword? Won't Ebay lose the incredible diversity of products the small sellers provided, from the unique to the hard to find?

It seems there will be a wide gap left. Won't buyers still want those items, those quirky items you couldn't find anywhere else?

At any rate, in Wallstreet's eyes, Donahoe's looking like a genius, a shining star.

permacrisis said...

Wall Street oh please. Wall Street's eyes could outglaze a Krispy Kreme donut.

I bet if I stapled a $20 bill to a fishing line and reeled it thru the financial district I could lure 50 of those guys into the back of a garbage truck.

I'm not interested in what that type person thinks of Donahoe- I'm interested in what the Justice Department thinks of him, and his 'Mandatory Ebay Paypal Premiere Reserve' vision.

I give even the worst, sloppiest, slowest-shipping seller on ebay more credit than any financial pundit. At least the seller produced something.

David said...

Randy, have you read Ina's cheat sheet? What do you think of the announcements?

Randy Smythe said...


I read the list. I've heard much of what was in her post, but I would caution you to wait until the final announcements are made to judge them.

It does look like small sellers are getting the shaft and the larger sellers will have an even greater advantage.

Once again these changes cry out for splitting the site. Of course they will not do that.

At one time eBay was the greatest personal empowerment story on the web now it is just another marketplace.

ms.pat said...

I think that's the danger in what John Donahoe is doing. He's taking a once vibrant and interesting site and changing it into yet another boring catalog site. Every listing the same through millions of listings. When do the buyers' eyes glaze over and they wander off out of sheer boredom? Sellers are right to migrate to other sites - eventually the buyers will come...they certainly aren't on Ebay anymore in the amounts they used to be ;-)

Anonymous said...

The real problem lies in the fact that you cannot compete on a price standpoint with Amazon and Walmart. Ebay has ignored this fact for a long time and is now realizing they HAVE to have a few large sellers who maybe can compete.

Bottom line is price wins. People talk about buyer satisfaction, etc but unless you are selling iPhones I think that logic is flawed.

Ming the Merciless said...

The majority of Caball Street 'analysts' aren't really analysts at all.

Instead they're overpaid parrots whose egos are stoked by off the record conversations with CEOs who feed them deliberately misleading and, in some cases, utterly false information knowing it will repeated ad infinitum ad nauseum.

Multiply this farce by dozens of times daily, and you have an artificially created bubble in which companies with three consecutive quarterly losses magically become "buys."

Why? Because these guys profit when investors BUY stock and suffer no consequences when the stock tanks. In fact, when it does tank and investors sell, they make more money in commissions.

It isn't just the corporations like ebay that are breathtakingly corrupt; it's the entire financial system from top to bottom, and ebay is just an example we know more about.

Sellers didn't ruin the old ebay. Neg Meg Whitman did by refusing to get rid of both bad sellers and buyers early on instead of promoting a wild west, anything goes environment.

But with business queen Neg Meg running for governor, it much easier for the The Ho to blame sellers instead of his friend.

The relationship among corporations, Caball Street, and 'analysts' is just one more example of a rotten to the core, cancerous American institution that needs immediate radical surgery.

Otherwise, it will be business as usual. Bernie Madoff got caught; these guys just haven't been caught...yet.

Mr. West said...

This guy is a moron. He probably just looks at the numbers, just like the ebay exec's and has no clue what it is like to run an ecommerce biz, especially one on ebay where now as a seller you are screwed no matter what. You can still succeed on ebay but at the end of the day you will be screwed one way or another on a regular basis by buyers who think they are right even when the are wrong. Notice how the segment starts with ebay but ends with talk about amazon. Just like ecommerce started with ebay and will end with amazon being on top for ever. There is no turn around for ebay, ebay is what it is always going to be. It will always have a rep for being micky mouse until they do a complete overhaul of the executive state of mind. They should just consult with Jeff Bezos. When will these people ever see what the real problems are and what is causing them? Is it only me who thinks that everyone at ebay and paypal seems to not have any common sense? Every time I call and speak to them and express the real problems they do not have any real answers except I am sorry, I don't know and blah blah blah.

Joe Gl. said...

Mikescoins1 got in trouble because Paypal took nearly $100,000 of his money and put it in reserve after a large scammer from New Zealand put in a chargeback. He is well respected amongst coin dealers and from what I can see is doing well on other sites and on his own webpage. Just picked up a few rolls of the new pennies from him, got them in 3 days.

frank said...

ok ebay is nothing but profits they charge an arm and a leg too sell on there site the fees are way too high now and its not good service anymore and paypal is double dipping on fees and they dont care about the sellers or buyers if ebay would have kept it the way it was they would have a good thing but now paypal and ebay are one and losing there touch hold money that is not theres yes i know alot of dishonest people but dont treat honest people like criminals thats my take on ebay and paypal fees are too high and ill never use them again

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