Saturday, May 22, 2010

I Have a Little Hop in My Step!

Suddenly I feel invigorated; which is hard to do for a guy who is 50. The Rakuten acquisition of has me practically giddy.

Many of you know that I have been working for since January of 2009 and after joining the company, my blogging efforts nearly ceased. I became focused on my new job; growing the marketplace and to be completely honest... I have enjoyed every single minute it. was the absolutely perfect place for me (thanks Neel) but I was so focused on the new job I had lost any desire to write about it. Now, with this new chapter unfolding in my life, I am so excited I want to write about it too. is a great company and we have a great team here with lots of innovative ideas but ... isn't there always a but? We have limited resources. I've often dreamed of a day when with our near 6% conversion rate (that's huge for a website) would have the traffic of an eBay or an Amazon... we would literally take the world by storm.

In 45 days (when the deal closes) we will have access to the resources that I've dreamed of. Forget your old concept of as a male dominated, tech geeky, deals site. We are still going to be about deals but we will become so much more. When a marriage like this starts; the possibilities are endless.

Sure, many of you may say I'm putting the cart before the horse but think about this for a second:
  • Rakuten is the largest online retailer in Japan (Yes, larger than Amazon Japan). Japan is the second largest economy in the world behind the United States; unless you lump together every nation that is part of the European Union then they would be number 3.
  • Rakuten has recently expanded into other Asian markets. and our merchants now get access to these markets; not only access, but we will be the leader. The Asian markets are the toughest markets to crack for US companies.
  • eBay has tried for years to penetrate Japan and in one fell swoop, we are now the leader there ... well we are owned by the leader :)
  • is the 3rd largest general merchandise 3P marketplace in the US behind Amazon and eBay; a distant 3rd. Plenty of room for growth there.
  • The name will live on after this deal finalizes and more than just live on, it will grow to become a leader.
  • Our new owner says things like this: "We believe that we have a very different business model from Amazon and eBay. We empower the merchants" Check out my tagline at the top of the page. I should fit in very well here.
  • As Scot Wingo said in his post regarding the deal. "Speculation aside, what is clear is that a new $9.5b player is in town from Asia, they are willing to spend $250+$450m = $700m to get the pieces they need, and they clearly have their sights set on a US Ichiba-like marketplace as an alternative to eBay and Amazon."

    I get to be part of this new adventure with the great team we already have in place here at so I'm pumped.

Just my 15%


the_raptor said...

Congrats Randy. You must be just broken up over what this deal does to eBay's media strategy, hm? Payback's a bitch.

On another question, how do you calculate that 6% conversion rate? Per what?

Randy Smythe said...


The conversion rate is the ratio of orders to site traffic. The typical website is around 2%

Tony P. said...

Hey Randy, smooove move, dude! Mucho congrats to you!

I'm feeling giddy too. I feel like a whole boatload of torches and pitchforks just pulled into port.

The cold revenge of a glacier. ;-)

permacrisis said...

Good. That means you will help them to construct an AUCTIONS ONLY website with no Buy It Now.

I mean hey- they have the RESOURCES.


Be kinda cool Randy... you, being part of the 2nd greatest self-empowerment story ever told. ;-)

Randy Smythe said...


Unfortunately, I don't see auctions as part of the new Rakuten isn't an auction site in Japan so I don't see that happening in the US.

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