Posts tagged “advertising”.

Why Does eBay Despise Women?

I am fed up with eBay’s denigrating (Def.#1, 2) attitude towards Mom and Grandma and women in general. Here is a prime example.

Really eBay?

Do tell, how did such a stupid Mother get to have such a smart daughter?

It has been going on for a while and I think it is supposed to be funny, but it really is not; especially if you happen to be a mother or grandmother. When I think about it, probably a high percentage of women in the USA are mothers, grandmothers or both.

A very quick look at eBay’s customer demographics on confirms my theory about eBays traffic. Most visitors to browse from home, they are

  • More female than male
  • with some college education
  • the largest group is aged 45 to 54, (moms and some grandmas)
  • next largest group is 55 to 64 (probably lots of grandmas)
  • the lowest demographic is aged 18 to 24.

It is possible that the advertisement shown above is aimed at improving the 18 - 24 visitor statistics while touting mobile shopping capability. I question that the best way to do that is by belittling the intelligence of women who are your best customers. It is demeaning, sexist, condescending and not very funny.

What do you think?

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The Emperor Has Spoken, All Is Well On eBay

So, (as we say on eBay) everything is wonderful on the bay! There was much repetition, the odd comedic moment, a few genuine clues, subtle contradictions and lots of filler.

“So our Lorrie Norrington and our U.S. team are very on top of executing between now and the remainder of the year.”

Stylistically I noted an increasing tendency towards nosism, but the undoubted word of the quarter is “our”. Things were so jolly I almost expected one of those vintage postcards saying “Wish you were here”.

There are few surprises in eBay’s second quarter 2010 (Q2-10) report. In the interests of economy and being green CEO John Donahoe recycled his Q1-10 opening remarks.

Q1-10 “First, we are becoming a more customer focused company. We are driving improvements to our user experience and we are measuring our success with three customer oriented metrics; net promoter score, velocity and market share. I have tied a portion of our leadership compensation to customer satisfaction… Second, we are becoming a more technology driven company and we are increasing our commitment to innovation.SeekingAlpha

Q2-10 “First, we’re becoming a more customer-driven organization. We have three clear customer metrics, net promoter score, velocity and market share, and we’ve tied a portion of management’s compensation to customer satisfaction… Second, we’re becoming a more technology-driven company with an increasing commitment to innovation.” SeekingAlpha


  • 60% of the eBay marketplace revenue was generated outside the U.S.
  • marketplace revenue up 11% year-over-year
  • Net promoter scores up for top and active buyers in the U.S., U.K. and Germany,
  • Sold item growth continued to be strong at 11% globally.
  • cross border trade is down except China and the UK
  • the U.S. grew more slowly than the market
  • active users increased to 92 million
  • classifieds business was up 7% in Q2
  • U.S. core GMV was 2% in the quarter, down 4 points from Q1 driven by lower ASPs due to broader selection of well priced inventory

Basis point or point: One hundredth of 1 percent (0.01%). Each percentage point of yield equals 100 basis points. Gross Merchandise Value - GMV

Presumably we would never have guessed scores are not up for low grade and inactive buyers?

Clues and contradictions

It is entirely possible I am being dim here, if so please enlighten in the comments.

Classifieds grew 20% in 2009, showed a 14% gain year over year in Q1-10 and slowed to 7% in Q2-10. Advertising revenue growth is slower at 9% for the quarter from 12% in Q1-10.

Whatever happened to Has it turned into the red headed stepchild of eBay Inc?

G-Market acquired at a cost of $1.2 billion in 2009 is conspicuous by its absence from Q2-10.   In Q1-2010 CFO Robert Swan said “our acquisition of G-Market increased growth by four points resulting in organic revenue growth of 11%. ” His Q2-10 statement

“Marketplaces segment margin was 40% in the quarter, down 220 basis points from a year ago. The main drivers of the change include increased investments to continue to build trust, value and selection, as well as, the inclusion of Gmarket” SeekingAlpha

In Q1 Swan excused decreases in Marketplaces segment margin with ‘investing in a lower take rate’ and ‘new Buyer Protection programs’. In Q2, surprise!

“The take rate increase was driven by higher velocity on lower priced items and lower power seller discounts versus last year … along with a shift of much of the cost of our Buyer Protection Program from PayPal to marketplaces”

Donahoe says velocity is down, sold item growth was 5% in the U.S. Swan says it is up, on lower priced items. Donahoe is going to fix it.

“we’re in the midst of making some adjustments in the format mix of auctions and fixed price … we’re now going to be increasing gently the fixed price exposure, as well as, ensuring that higher ASP items are getting appropriate visibility.”

Velocity is an expression of conversion measurement, stock into sales. Inventory turnover ratio (ITR) measures the velocity or speed of conversion of stock into sales. It is important to realize that a high inventory turnover ratio may not be accompanied by high profits. Margin at its simplest is another word for profit, more cultured.

Decoding the BaySpeak

Secondary markets are so last year, we prefer “off-price inventory”.

Delicate fine tuning of search with a pitchfork and shovel is taking place, expect the excavator later.

Once again decreases in eBay fees resulted in increased costs for eBay sellers, what a surprise, (not). “a shift of much of the cost of our Buyer Protection Program” is coming out of seller hides too. Think payment hold, rolling reserves, and coming soon, pre-authorized direct debit from your bank account and/or charges to your credit card. Bet you can’t wait.

Cheap stuff is selling, mainly from stagnant and previously invisible stores inventory, but I wonder if that inventory is being replenished.

The Emperor has spoken, it would be nice if you did too in the comments.

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Christmas at The Big Red O vs eBay

This catchy 2007 ‘earworm’ Christmas advertisement from the ‘big red O‘ is back, hear it once and find yourself humming the tune all day. appears to have chosen to go green this year by recycling a proven winner, incidentally saving the substantial cost of producing a new advertising campaign. Contrast this with eBay’s uninspired but brand new “Come to think of it” advertisement series. Reader EventHorizon1984 noted the theme title is a vintage 80’s Heineken advertising slogan. Oh well.

It gets worse on eBay
You can see the rest of the TV spots, then comes the difficult task of choosing which one is the worst. I think possibly chicken tenders man Kevin is the best of a bad bunch, although his rapid fire delivery of the punch line makes it hard to understand. There are three subsets of TV spots.

Kevin has two:

  • The wife’s designer dress, chicken tenders
  • and his flat screen TV

Then there is Jim who has four. Why? Jim is an unshaven, sleazy looking dimwit, but judging by volume he is the eBay winner. Is there a message there? Hmmm.

  • Snowboard
  • Grandma who needs to cut him out of her will. Is this a dig at Etsy I wonder? “Nobody wants handmade gifts … it smells like church”, this must be why Etsy is booming.
  • The treadmill
  • The vest, “kind of the thong of coats, which I also look good in”, only memorable because the mental image is pukeworthy.

Last but not least what eBay calls the Michaels

  • Dude getting a tattoo of a shark except it is a dolphin. Does eBay get the insensitivity award here?
  • The freako impulse buyer scuba ad about which Chris Dawson said ‘a good eBay experience is likened to pissing in a swimming pool”

I would give the worst advertisement prize to thong man, how about you?

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Other good reads on this subject:

Scott Wingo - eBayStrategies

Cliff Alliperti - eCommerce Examiner

Edited to fix HTML whoopsie 10.17am

Come to Think of It, I Don’t Get IT eBay

This video from the Wall Street Journal offers a preview of eBay’s latest advertising campaign, which we are told is themed as “Come to think of it, eBay”. I enjoyed the irony of the lead in advertisement on the clip. Ironic because in 2006 eBay and Yahoo made a deal which could arguably be called germinal (def.# 1) to the current decline of the eBay Marketplace.

The advertisement

What do you think about this advertisement? I could go on a bit about stereotyping, but I won’t. My first impression is that this particular advertisement targets women, I don’t think the target is clear and I believe that is deliberate.

The ad is funny, sort of, but is it memorable? Is the call to action too subtle, too ‘insiderish’ to work, like the 2008 Jerry Seinfeld Bill Gates campaign for Microsoft Vista? eBay undoubtedly spent a lot of money putting together this theme but the almost subliminal windorphins campaign of 2007 was not cheap either, just too highbrow and contrived to make much of an impression except for weirdness. Lets not forget the domain debacle which, if true, illuminates the occasion of an eBay lie. A bald faced lie as Auntie May would say, but I digress.

Effective advertising

The whole point of advertising is to draw attention to something, a product, an idea, an event or website which must in turn have its own call to action to be effective. Advertisements without a call to action are essentially pointless, a waste of time and money unless they are ‘trailer’ advertisements. Think of the “watch this space” concept that was popular some years ago. A call to action is a request to ‘do something’—often the next step that a consumer could take toward the purchase of a product or service.

Most eBay sellers are thrilled that eBay has decided to put advertising back into this season’s promotional mix. Last year’s reliance on convoluted coupon and cash back deals did not seem to provide enough incentive for buyers to fight through eBay’s highly manipulated and dysfunctional search. This year’s ‘improved’ Best Match II is still being decoded, will this campaign bail out the sinking boat?

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UPDATE: Link to Windorpins page