Is anybody listening to eBay?

Counting on my fingers I have been off eBay for 3-1/3 years. I don’t even think about eBay most days but there are constant small reminders. For example, I sew every day on a machine I bought on eBay and I collect eggs every day in a vintage wire egg basket I bought on eBay. I bought my favorite tea mug on eBay, the list goes on.

Strong words that resonate

I read an article on Sunday by Chris Dawson, the UK based seller who writes the historically pro-eBay blog TameBay. I have respect for Chris, even though when it comes to eBay we are often poles apart.(def.# 9) This is a well written, reasoned article by someone who is not a small seller in the sense I use the word, he makes his living on the site and has been a stalwart (def.# 3,5) eBay cheerleader for years. He asks “Could a statistical blip put you out of business?” and it is not a rhetorical question.

“In order to run a business a company needs a level of certainty that they’ll be able to continue trading and currently eBay still don’t appear to be able to provide this.”

Chris goes on to discuss statistical probabilities of receiving bad feedback and includes an eyeopening screen shot of feedback from a ‘new to eBay’ buyer.

“Sellers need certainty on eBay. Sellers have mortgages to pay, warehouses to run, employees to take care of and bills to pay. Sellers often have to order stock months in advance and they need to know that they will still be in business when the stock arrives and invoices become due.”

Is anybody listening at eBay?

High speed goal posts or time-warp?

Back in September 2007 eBay CEO John Donahoe spoke at a top level leadership forum at which he revealed the existence of a three year plan.

“We set out a year ago to think about how we could change before we are forced to change. . . . By using a real focus on the customer, we embarked on a series of fundamental changes that will ultimately span a three year period. We started by creating a future vision. This was critical because not everyone felt the impetus to change, given the amount of success we were experiencing.”

Count with me, in 2007, “a year ago” was 2006, to 2007, 2008, 2009, three years, done. Even if you didn’t actually start the three year turmoil plan until 2007 it should have been done by 2010. Right? Got that?
Bloomberg business news, April 28th 2011 “EBay’s Sales Forecast Exceeds Estimates as CEO Revamps Site

“Chief Executive Officer John Donahoe, two-thirds of the way through a three-year turnaround plan, has bought at least seven businesses in the past year to help revive sales growth and revamp EBay’s main marketplace.”

The Bloomberg article is nicely padded with eBay spin but appears to be missing its #NotIntendedToBeAFactualStatement. Donahoe changed the search engine to help buyers find items and after auctions fell out of favor he began steering the company toward fixed-price listings.

Five years later eBay is still only two thirds of the way through its three year plan? Anybody should be able to count that out without even taking off their socks! Is anybody listening to eBay?

Y’all come back!


  1. ebay never could count very well…..they hope to lose you in the verbiage.

  2. I wouldn’t be surprised if it took eBay (management) 3 years just to get their 3-year plan out of the planning stage, which would put them about half-way through their 3-year plan in 2011. Well, I guess that’s still off, isn’t it, if they’re supposed to be two-thirds of the way through?! Only eBay is worse at math than I am!

  3. The Ho realizes that the Wall Street banksters eat up and regurgitate every word he mutters as if it were gospel so what’s a mere year or two among criminal co conspirators?

  4. I still sell on ebay - its kind of like walking on hot coals yet I need it as another venue…no longer as THE venue. I believe Ebay has been floundering and only just starting to realize itself as a viable business again by its mobile sector AND for the fact that it finally bit the bullet and allowed 50 free listings. No more do small sellers have to list and relist at their own expense. This means a lot and is the reason why I’m still there.

    I do keep hoping that Ebay management will grow up and realize buyers are NOT dependable sources on which to rate sellers and have a seller’s account hinge on that rating! With this stupidity they’ve lost countless good, honest sellers who will never come back…in effect, losing business due to their own laziness and lack of hands on approach!

  5. I think we have to face the fact that if Ebay survives at all it will not be OUR Ebay - but will be entirely a platform for big retail. Every now and then I’ll list something on Ebay and watch it as the 7 days roll by with hardly one view of the item. An item that would have commanded 40 to 80 views in a single day in Ebay’s best years now often goes without one. Put the same item on Etsy or another venue and the views roll in. There is something very wrong with Ebay and it is really no longer geared to the small seller - these people need to move on and make their way on other venues instead of spinning their wheels on Ebay.

  6. Oh…if anyone is interested - Ebay paid Donahoe 12 million last year plus stock options. He’s well on his way to becoming a billionaire just like Megs by selling off Ebay stock at “just the right time”. Ebay paid zero federal income tax last year…

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